San Marco and San Jose
San Marco and San Jose are historic neighborhoods along the eastern shore of the St. Johns River just south of Downtown. Their Spanish names suggest settlement during the Spanish occupation of Florida, but in reality, San Marco was established as South Jacksonville under British rule, and true development of San Jose did not begin until the 20th century.
The area we now know as San Marco was established as a suburb on the south bank of the river at the Cow Ford during the time when Britain held Florida as a territory. When the Spanish regained control of Florida, they established Fort San Nicolas at what is now St. Nicholas and issued a land grant for the establishment of a plantation along the river running south to about where Miramar's southern boundary is today. Isaac Hendricks took over control of the plantation in the mid-19th century and married a neighboring landowner, thus expanding his ownership of land on the south bank of the St. Johns. His daughter married Albert Philips, who owned Red Bank Plantation - the 1854 main house still stands today on Greenridge Road. These marriages ensured the Hendricks family's control over most of South Jacksonville through the end of the Civil War period.
After the Civil War, the plantations were divided and sold for development in pieces over the course of decades. By the turn of the century, developers has named the area South Jacksonville and promoted it heavily as a suburban enclave. Transit improved with the establishment of the railroad bridge over the river and the completion of Atlantic Boulevard out to the ocean. Between the turn of the century and 1917, South Jacksonville's population had doubled, and plans were made to build the Acosta Bridge to span the river at downtown.
The completion of the Acosta Bridge in 1921 was a boon to the development of Jacksonville's close-in suburbs. San Marco experienced a period of enormous growth and Telfair Stockton, one of Avondale's developers, planned his most ambitious project yet. The original 80-acre San Marco developement sold out in three hours, an incredible record for the area. Building and development continued through the real estate boom and survived the bust, with Stockton purchasing and developing land to the immediate south and selling lots at a regular pace even through the Great Depression. San Marco remains home to the very few homes built in Jacksonville in the 1930s. During this time, the people of South Jacksonville voted to consolidate with the City of Jacksonville, and South Jacksonville eventually became known simply as "San Marco."
Passing through the San Jose area, it is impossible to miss the Spanish Revival homes and cluster of Spanish style buildings at the intersection of St. Augustine Road and San Jose Boulevard. The striking similarities between San Jose Episcopal Church and School, San Jose Country Club, and The Bolles School are no coincidence. In 1925, the O.P. Woodcock Company, buoyed by the great Florida land boom, platted a massive residential and commercial development just south of San Marco along the river.
Originally, the Bolles School was a luxury hotel, intended for the use of well-heeled visitors to Jacksonville. What is now San Jose Country Club served as the hotel's clubhouse, and San Jose Episcopal Church was the administration building for the master-planned community. A few homes were built on surrounding streets with Spanish names, but the boom turned to bust and the development failed.
After the collapse of the San Jose Estates development, a prominent neighbor purchased the property and held it until his death in 1935. Alfred duPont's widow, Jessie Ball duPont, donated the administration building to the Episcopal Diocese and it became San Jose Episcopal School. The hotel became an all-boys' military academy in 1933, and the clubhouse became San Jose Country Club in 1947. Residential development of San Jose Estates did not resume in earnest until after WWII, and the neighborhood was built out by the late 1960s.
The duPont family
1. Wood, Wayne W. ( 1989). Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage: Landmarks for the Future. Jacksonville, FL: University of North Florida Press.
San Marco (Jacksonville). (2015, March 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:59, April 23, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=San_Marco_(Jacksonville)&oldid=650868137