Exploring the 19th century community of New Berlin

A visual tour of a 19th century fishing village that continues to survive several miles northeast of Downtown Jacksonville: New Berlin.


Located near Dames Point in Northeast Jacksonville, the village of New Berlin dates back 1860 when Dr. Henry Von Balsan acquired 50 acres at Yellow Bluff, renaming the area after his hometown in Germany. After the civil war, the New Berlin became a small fishing and shipbuilding village along the St. Johns River. One of many fishing villages established along the St. Johns River between downtown and Mayport during the late 19th century, New Berlin was dealt a significant economic blow when the creation of JAXPORT’s Blount Island Terminal destroyed the fishing industry. Despite many peer communities being erased from existence during the 20th century, New Berlin continues to survive.


The former Dames Point Marina and Bar at 4518 Irving Road.

McAllister Towing was founded in 1864 by Captain James McAllister with a single sail lighter. Today, the company operates a large fleet of tugs, ferries and bargest at major east coast ports and Puerto Rico. Serving the Port of Jacksonville since 1986, McAllister’s local operations are located on Apollo Avenue in New Berlin.

For many decades, the foot of Frederick Street was the location of Christopher’s Pier. Operated by Joe Christopher “Uncle Joe”, the pier was a restaurant known for beer, wine and fish.

Shrimp boats docked behind a residence at 4302 Apollo Avenue. Despite the development of JaxPort largely destroying New Berlin’s fishing industry, the village is still home to residents who operate their fishing fleets from the New Berlin waterfront.

New Berlin Road

New Berlin Road connects the 19th century community with the modern world of Jacksonville. It is considered to be the major thoroughfare in New Berlin.

New Bethel AME Church is a Black congregation with a long historic tie to the New Berlin community. This building on New Berlin Road was completed in 1989.