The search for our next home continues!
In the last few months, we have considered housing options near downtown Jacksonville including San Marco, Brooklyn, Riverside/Avondale, and St. Nicholas, but one neighborhood has kept us coming back again and again, even after touring houses that were not a fit for our needs.
Springfield is nearly 150 years old. The area exploded after the Great Fire of 1901, when many of Jacksonville’s affluent families built new Victorian and Craftsman style homes there.
Springfield is a historic neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida, United States, located to the north of downtown. The Springfield Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and contains some of the city’s best examples of 19th and early 20th century architecture.
The January 2010 issue of Southern Living magazine spotlights Springfield as the #1 “comeback” neighborhood in the South, noting significant improvement over the past decade. The December 2010 issue of Florida Trend Magazine also featured the Springfield Historic District in an article titled “A Life of Its Own”. The piece detailed how, despite the down housing market, the neighborhood has continued to thrive.
Springfield is pretty easy to get around. The numbered streets run east/west and go from 1st to 12th. The named streets run north/south and start at Boulevard to the west and end at Ionia to the east. There is a set of railroad tracks that form a sort of north and east border. In addition, there are a series of parks that cut across the southwest corner, complete with Hogan’s Creek that eventually meets up with the St. Johns River.
The area is definitely in transition. In the 20 or so times we have been there since our search started, we have found it both incredibly charming and occasionally unnerving. If you are looking for cookie-cutter suburbia, Springfield is not it. There are still a fair number of single family houses and multi-family residences that are in rough shape and some of the homes have been converted into half-way houses, which might make some people nervous. However, many more homes are in the process of being refurbished or have already been restored, and there are dozens of newer homes that have been built in the last 10 years. Combine all that with another dozen new houses that are under contract to come out of the ground this summer, and you have a mini real estate boom.
We love that there is a strong neighborhood vibe here led by SPAR, the Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council. In addition, there is a mommies group, SAMBA, a business merchant association and even a sustainability group, all of which are very active.
The neighborhood recently got a nod from the Jacksonville Business Journal to boot.
Retail finally appears to be following the recently renovated residential rooftops in historic Springfield as Main Street is in the midst of a commercial boom.
Several craft breweries and restaurants are taking a leap to be a part of the area. In future posts, I hope to share firsthand info about all of them as we try them out.
While this is all good news, it doesn’t stop me from worrying a little bit about how we’ll adjust, moving from an upscale apartment community to a grittier part of town. I am excited about making new friends and being part of this vibrant and dynamic neighborhood, but I know that there are going to be times where I’ll be out of comfort zone. Transients, homeless and folks living with mental illness and addiction are part of Springfield, as much as middle class families like ours. From what we have garnered from friends, everyone co-exits quite well, but it will be different for sure.
And different is what we want. Springfield is where we are going to find our next home.
Want to check it out for yourself?
Get your tickets for the SPAR Historic Springfield 39th Annual Tour of Homes held on May 20th and 21st. For $15, you’ll be able to tour seven homes – and kids 12 and under are free!
We’ll be there and hope to see you there too.