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The Mecca of Sprawl, can you guess the city?

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This city is widely considered as a poster child for sprawl. This thread will take you through two older neighborhoods, Springfield & La Villa, near downtown. Lets see if we can figure out what the name of this city is.


Springfield was originally laid out and planned in the late 1870's. Although growth was slow at first, after a streetcar line was built, it started to grow rapidly and boomed after a devastating fire destroyed most of the city in 1901. Its now in the process of genification after being one of the most dangerous areas of the city.


Lauderdale Apartments on Market St. (1912)


1206 Hubbard St. (built in 1890)


originally First Church of Christ Scientist (1921)


This residence is being renovated into lofts


Kirby-Smith Junior High School (1923)


a couple of houses along Laura St.


more homes along Laura St.


This house with the flag is the only new one


houses awaiting restoration on Silver St.


Main Street


an older warehouse district forms the North boundry of Springfield


This former Chevrolet Parts Depot (1929) was one of a couple of industrial buildings in the area, designed by Detroit architect, Albert Kahn


an overgrown railyard forms Springfield's eastern boundry


a large hospital sits on Springfield's western boundry

Have you guessed the city yet? Well lets move on to neighborhood #2

La Villa

Once called the Harlem of the South, La Villa is the oldest African-American community in the state. This community was incorporated as a town in the late 1860's. It was annexed into the city in 1887. By the late 1880's the southeastern section of this community had become a red light district and a busy warehouse & manufacturing center. A major African-America nightlife district, similar to Beale Street in Memphis, also sprung up on Ashley Street. This community took a downward turn after segregation ended and unfortunately has almost completely been torn down during the great urban renewal years.


Many people lived in shotgun houses


These houses will be restored to live on as an example of what existed in the past


Genovars Hall (1895) awaiting reconstruction


The Ritz Theater (1929)


The Masonic Temple (1912) housed the city's first black bank as well as dentists, physicians, insurance agents and other professionals. The Richmond Hotel (background right) was built in 1909 as the finest hotel for the city's black citizens during the years of segregation. Its guest include Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington and other jazz greats who came to town to play in the numerous jazz clubs that existed on Ashley St.


This railroad terminal (1919) was modeled after Penn. Station, in New York City. It was the largest in the South and in its heyday, it handled 142 trains & 20,000 passengers a day. It was converted into a convention center in 1985.

Need another hint? How about some downtown street scenes.


Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (1907)


Greenleaf & Crosby Building (1927)


The Hildebrandt Building (1926) now overshadowed by the BellSouth Tower


West Forsyth St.


St. Johns Epicsopal Cathedral (1903)


Adam's Mark Hotel


From left to right, The Florida Life (1911) , Florida Bank (1902), & the Bisbee (1908) Buildings await their restorations, which will hopefully begin this spring. The two taller buildings were designed by Henry Klutho, Jacksonville's most influential turn of the century architect. Because of him, Jacksonville is home to the largest collection of "Prairie Styled Architecture" outside of the Midwest. The "Prairie School Movement" was led by Frank Llyod Wright and Louis Sullivan in the early 1900's.


The Western Union Telegragh Building (1931) is now the ne Museum of Modern Art


construction on both sides of Duval St.


A new infill housing development of Church St.


I don't know what this red brick building is, maybe some Jax people can help me out


The new arena, as seen from the Hart Expressway


vacant buildings on the corner of Adams & Broad hoping to be reused some day


Laura Street on New Year's Eve


The Jacksonville Landing

I'll end with a couple shots from my walk across the Acosta Bridge


St. Johns River


A piece of the Southbank


A piece of the Northbank


One more shot from the Acosta

Well you should know what this mecca of sprawl is now. Its the city of Jacksonville, FL. Even though it covers over 800 miles and has a density of around 1,000ppm, it does nice core, left over from the pre-consolidated city, that once had around 205,000 residents living in its 30 square miles.

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Great pics! I kinda figured it was Jacksonville from the start! :D

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AWSOME pics thelakelander I wouldn't have known what city it was until i saw BOA in 10th pic then i knew it was jacksonville

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Awesome pics, Lakelander!! Although I figured it was going to be Jacksonville before I clicked on the thread. Oh well, awesome pics & a great tour! Thanks. :)

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Thanks for the comments, I figured most of you all would already know what city it was. Well one of these days, I'll take a surprise trip somewhere, with my camera, and get you all.

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Well, the title of the thread led me to believe I was going to see Houston. Does Jacksonville really have a reputation as a Mecca of Sprawl? Is it really deserved? My aunt and uncle from upstate New York lived there for a while and rather liked it. But they ended up settling in Portland, OR.

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Thanks tocoto.

Cotuit, Jax sprawls lik most cities do, but a lot of people give it a bad rap because it's consolidated with Duval County, which gives it a population of 800,000, when the "real" pre-consolidated city only has about 200,000.

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When I heard "poster Child for Sprawl" i thought Atlanta. I see that title being associated with Atlanta more than any other.

I ruled that out when I saw Palm Tree's and new it was Jacksonville when i saw the St. john's river.

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Nice pics.

It's amazing how many coastal southern cities, from Wilmington NC to Corpus Christi TX have similar architecture.

Laura Street looks just like parts of uptown New Orleans, and like much of Galveston TX.

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Great pics, TheLakeLander. JAX found a great representative in you :)

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Those duplex photos look like they could've come from Cleveland.

I wouldn't call the city sprawling,on my map the urban area is colored right around the river. I think the city has a huge potential of being one of the largest in the nation,it's in Florida which is growing over 3 million a decade,it's huge,and it's right next to the ocean and on a river,most large cities in the nation are near water. If they keep the density up to 5-6,000 a square mile it could have a population from 4-5 million plus.

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Great pictures!!! I was hoping to get to guess too!! I could have guessed it right too....only due to the skyscraper shots though. LOL

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I think as more and more people notice sprawl is a big problem it will eventually nearly dissapear, as more smart growth methods and greenbelts are put in.

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