This tour focuses on the west side of the Springfield neighborhood.  During the tour you will learn about homes that may have a haunted past, ones that were so magnificent they have been moved to save them, and some other amazing treats!

Check out the links within the tour to where the information was acquired from to learn even more.

These are private residences, and are owner occupied for the most part, please respect the homeowners privacy!

1 hour



Content/Research Provided by: Annie Howe, Chris Farley, Diane  Graese, Jeff Gardner, Joshua Wilkerson, Kiley Secrest, and the Prairie School Traveler.

If you have any additional content to provide on these homes, please contact us.

This craftsman-style home was built between 1897 - 1912.  Though this house pre-dates Prairie-school style it has many characteristics of this style; take note to the extreme horizontal emphasis of the structure, the roof line is very shallow and the eaves are classic hallmarks of the Prairie-school style.  The dormers are unusual as the windows slant at a forty-five degree angle, matching the pitch of the roof.  The attic windows foreshadow skylights.  The decorative support brackets under the eaves are holdovers from the Victorian era-with large, scroll swan brackets such as those often found on train stations during this time period.

This house has an interesting past.  In the early 20's it was located at 1116 N Laura St, where Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum is located today, and it was used as a parsonage by Bethel Baptist church.  This house is so special, that the church moved it twice while it was owned by them, and moved it a 4th time in 1987 to its current location.  According to the church’s records JFK drank tea in the parlor when he was campaigning for presidency.

References: Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage

This Queen Anne, with elements of Tudor and Spanish Colonial Revival styles, was constructed in 1909 for Dr. Horace Drew.  Take note of the home's half-timbered eaves that are clearly Tudor Revival, of how its hexagonal side porch and the opposing tower fit the asymmetry of Queen Anne, and how its porch parapet, third-story tower arches, angular blocks, and clay roof tiles exemplify Floridian “Spanish Colonial” or Mediterranean Revival.

Dr. Horace Drew was born on January 20, 1854  to Columbus Drew, Sr and Marietta Hume (Robertson).  Columbus Drew was born to British parents, Solomon Drew and Elizabeth Glyuas, on January 6, 1820 in Washington, D. C.  His early education and training was in journalism and printing.  In 1844 he married Marietta Hume Robinson of Richmond, Virginia. Their first son, Columbus, was born on December 3, 1847.  Drew brought his family to Jacksonville in 1848 to establish a newspaper, "The Florida Republican." The newspaper's plant was destroyed in 1854 and one year later Drew opened the Columbus Drew Stationery Printing Company at the corner of Bay and Newnan Streets. The business was moved in a few years to 60 West Bay and later to 49 West Bay.

During the Civil War Drew served in the Confederate Treasury Department out of Richmond, Virginia. For a few months in 1862 Drew's eldest son Horace, still living at home, oversaw the business for his father.  However, the family was forced to leave Jacksonville for Lake City due to war skirmishes.  After the war, Drew and son Horas returned to Jacksonville to begin rebuilding the business. In 1876, upon his appointment to the position of Florida Comptroller by Governor George Drew (no relation), Columbus Drew sold the business to his son.  At this time, Drew brothers William B., John Graeme, and Julius joined Horace in a new printing plant on West Bay Street; the firm was named then "H. Drew" or "Horace Drew." Dr. Columbus Drew, a fifth brother, did not join the business.

In 1886 brother William became a full partner, the name of the firm was changed to "H. Drew and Brother," and they operated on 49-51 West Bay Street.  Two other major family events occurred during this time period: Horace Drew married Gertrude Fairbanks, the daughter of Major George Rainsford Fairbanks, and in 1891, Columbus Drew died and was buried beside his wife in Jacksonville's Old City Cemetery.

In 1893, the company was incorporated as "H. & W. B. Drew Company, Inc."  Several years later, the Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901 destroyed the company's plant, and new two story building was soon erected at 45-47 West Bay Street. Horace Drew continued as Company President until his death in 1926. The business remained primarily in family ownership for most of the twentieth century.  As a result, the H. & W. B. Drew Company was known as the "oldest family business" in Jacksonville.  It provided engraved stationery and office supplies to professionals throughout the country. In 1997, Wells Legal Supply, Inc. acquired the Company to form The Wells & Drew Companies.

Dr. Horace Drew passed away on January 4, 1926, and you can pay your respects to him at Evergreen cemetery.  The family remained for several years after Dr. Horace Drew passed but by the late 30's the moved out.  The Mears family occupied the home in the 1950s into the early-1960s when the house was abandoned.  After the Mears moved away the house became known as the “haunted house” but that is for another Walking Tour.

This home is currently under renovation and will be used as a commercial space when it is done.

References:  Archives of Springfield Improvement Association, University of Florida's Drew Family Collection, JAX Psycho Geo: Springfield: Drew Mansion and the Buried Head

Henry J. Klutho Park (formerly Springfield Park) was created between 1899 and 1901 on land donated by a developer, the Springfield Company. The City’s first zoo opened at the park in 1914, followed by the first municipal swimming pool in 1922.

The Hogans Creek Improvement Project of 1929-30, designed by architect Henry Klutho (1873-1964) and engineered by Charles Imeson, turned much of the park grounds into a lovely Venetian-style promenade. The City renamed a portion of Springfield Park in 1984 to honor Mr. Klutho, a Springfield resident whose high-rise buildings in downtown and Prairie School of Architecture transformed Jacksonville after the Great Fire of 1901.

There are various points of interests in the park today.  The bandstand was originally built in 1904 by the Springfield Woman’s Club, now know as Springfield Improvement Association and Archives (SIAA).  On Thursday evenings brass bands would play till the sun set.  In 1926, the original wooden structure was replaced with what we have today by Henry Klutho.

To the left of the bandstand, take note of the Mary Dillon Fountain .  It was first placed in 1910, in memory of the founder of the Springfield Improvement Association. The sculptor was C. Pillars. Restoration took place in 1907 by the association in the amount of $135,000. Enzo Torcolletti was the restoring sculptor. The beautiful fountain was restored by SIAA in 2006.

To the right of the fountain is the Jewish corner stone.  This stone represents a very important period in Springfield history and the incredible contribution made by the Jewish Congregation which dominated the Southwest quadrant for almost 50 years.

Along the east side of Boulevard Street you will find the Main Street trolley line exhibit.  This exhibit was built from original rails and pavers recovered in 2016 during emergency repairs to the Springfield Main Street Bridge.

Scattered throughout the park are art sculptures you are sure to enjoy.

There will be a tour coming soon for exploring our parks, this was just a summary of what is there to explore.  We have dedicated many years and substantial resources to the preservation of our park and we hope you enjoy the many jewels it has to offer.

References:  Archives of Springfield Improvement Association

This Neo Classical Revival style brick structure was designed by Robinson & Reedy and construction was completed in 1911.  The building served as the State Board of Health for many years then was saved from demolition by Dr. Wilson T  Sowder and SPAR, it was dedicated in 2002 as the new Florida Museum of Medicine and Public Health.

The museum was named after Dr. Wilson T Sowder, who served as the Florida Health Officer for a long tenure and was a pioneer and a national leader in the field of public health.  Dr. Sowder led Florida as its State Health Officer for almost 30 years. Assigned by the Secretary of Navy to serve as Venereal Disease Control Officer at Pensacola, he also served in the same capacity later in Tampa and Jacksonville. He later became the Health Officer of Hillsborough County.

Dr. Sowder was born February 27, 1910 in Callaway, Virginia to John Harvey and Mary Catherine Webb Sowder. He lived in Jacksonville more than 60 years before he passed on February 16, 2007.  Dr. Sowder received his early education at the Phoebe Needles School in Callaway, Virginia and the Blue Ridge School in St. George, Virginia. He attended the University of Virginia for undergraduate pre-medical studies and received his M.D. degree in 1932 from the University of Virginia Medical School. He interned at the University Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa where he met and married his wife Lucille Marguerite Leslie Sowder, an R.N.  Dr. Sowder was in residency at St. Luke's Hospital San Francisco before receiving a commission in the U.S. Public Health Service in 1934. Dr. Sowder served at Marine hospitals in Baltimore and Seattle, with the U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska, and at the U.S. Quarantine Station on Angel Island/San Francisco before receiving his Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. He then served in Tennessee, Pensacola, Tampa, and Jacksonville before being assigned to the Navy and the War Shipping Administration as a Consultant on Preventable Diseases during World War II.

In 1945, Dr. Sowder was granted a leave of absence from his position with the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington, D.C. and was appointed by Governor Millard Caldwell to become the State Health Officer of Florida at the age of 35 — one of the youngest in the United States. During his tenure as State Health Officer, with the dedication of the many health workers throughout the state, Florida became a model in the field of public health. Dr. Sowder was proudest of helping to develop the statewide health system that established Florida’s county health departments. John Agwunobi, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, formerly Florida’s Secretary for the Department of Health, said this system links county health departments together and allows a degree of coordination not found in most states.

References:  Archives of Springfield Improvement Association, This History of Public Health, the Florida Times Union obituary of Dr. Wilson Thomas Sowder

This three-story Frame Vernacular home with colonial revival influences was built in 1903 for Judge Robert Archibald and his wife, Dr. Mary Allen Starkweather.  Take note at its proximity to the park and magnificent views of downtown Jacksonville,.

Judge Robert Burns Archibald was born at Alva, Scotland on July, 15th 1842 and in 1850 his family immigrated to America.  In 1861 Judge Robert Burns Archibald joined the Union Army where he served under the 74th Illinois Regiment as a private and was promoted to captain.  After the conflict was over, Archibald entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he graduated in law and studied the bar in Freeport, Illinois. In 1869, he came to Jacksonville and went into a law partnership with Colonel Horatio Bisbee.  Mr. Archibald took a prominent part in the civic, social, and political activities of Duval County.  In 1873, he was appointed Judge of the 4th Judicial Court of Florida.  Judge Archibald is prominent in the history of Duval County as a member and President of the Board of Trade and of its River and Harbor Committee.

By 1988, the house had fallen into a state of disrepair.  However, a love struck newly wed couple, Josef and Carolyn Molenda, saw the potential.  They purchased the home with the intent of restoring it to its former beauty and converting it to Jacksonville's first licensed bed & breakfast.  The couple sold the inn in 1995 when they moved to the McMillan House located at 149 West 3rd Street.

References:  Archives of Springfield Improvement Association,, The Jacksonville Historical Society

This Neo-Classical Revival building was built in 1921 by W.D. Gerbich and deigned by designed by Marsh & Saxelbye for the First Church of Christ, Scientist.  Overlooking the open space along Hogans Creek, this creates an impressive entrance to Springfield. It is a departure from the more usual ecclesiastical styles found in Jacksonville at the time of its construction (Gothic Revival, Romanesque Revival, Spanish, etc.), with an imposing Neo-Classical Revival façade highlighted by monumental Doric columns. Marsh & Saxelbye dominated the Jacksonville architectural scene during the 1920’s and this is a good example of the diversity of their repertoire of architectural styles.

The church dissolved shortly after selling the property to David Karpeles in 1992.  Today, the building serves as the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum which is the world's largest private holding of important original manuscript documents.  You can also rent this space for private events.

David has acquired archives that include; Literature, Science, Religion, Political History, and Art. Among the treasures are: The original draft of the Bill of Rights of the United States, The original manuscript of the sheet music for the The Wedding March," Einstein's famous formula "E=Mc2", The "Thanksgiving Proclamation" signed by George Hanson (first President under the Articles of Confederation), Roget's "Thesaurus," Webster's "Dictionary," and over one million more.

References:  Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum

This Frame Vernacular home was possibly built between 1896 - 1897 pre-dating the Great Fire of 1901.  Records prior to the Great Fire of 1901 are hard to find as most were burned up in the fire.  Often, we can piece together some of the facts using the Sanborn Fire Insurance Mapsbut even then there are assumptions that have to be made based on records that come later.

This lovely home was built for twin sisters, Martha Lena and Mary-Kate Gould.   The sisters were born in Thomasville, Georgia in 1868.  According to the 1985 Property Survey, the sisters were school teachers at Central Grammar High School which was originally located downtown on Church St, but moved out of downtown after the fire.

The deed and the 1985 Property Survey, show this house was built in 1903.  According to additional research performed during a prior tour of homes, this home was part of a larger lot, and possibly in 1903, it was moved to the east side of the lot.  Around 1910, the west lot was used to build a duplex that the sisters used as rental income to offset their regular income.  In the 985 Property Survey, the duplex had an address of 227-229 W 4th St, but by that time the property was long gone.  



References:  Archives of Springfield Improvement Association

This Queen Anne, Frame Vernacular home was built in 1897 by C.E. Hillyer, and is one of the and one of our oldest beauties in the neighborhood.  C.E. Hillyer also built Fire Station No 2 on Main Street.  It was not until September 2015 when this homes true age was determined, thanks research Jeff Gardner and Chris Farley completed.  According to the  1985 Property Survey and Property Deed records indicate this home was built in the 1920s.  Records prior to the Great Fire of 1901 are hard to find as most were burned up in the fire.  Often, we can piece together some of the facts using the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, City Directories that were popular during the time, Census records,, but even then there are assumptions that have to be made and reasoning.

This home was originally built for for Roy Ingersol and his wife Richie Ingersol.  Roy was born February 1870 in Michigan and passed away on December 10, 1933 in Los Angeles, CA.  His wife was born in August 1873 in Alabama.  According to the June 6th, 1900 census, Roy and Richie had been married for 6 years at that point and had 3 children; Margaret B born October 1894, Dorthy A born September 1896, and John M born 1898.  At the time, Richie's sister, Jessie O. Ackerman born September 1863 and her two sons were also living in this house; Monroe A born June 1887 and Edmund R. born June 1890.  And if that was not enough to live in this 1600 square foot house, Richie's widowed mother also lived with them, Lou Sturdivant born January 1837.

According to the 1885 Florida Census, there was an R. M. Ingersol living in Suwanee County Florida with his parents A.M. and M.E. Ingersol, one younger sister, (M.C.) and three boarders.  Based on this, we are assuming that sometime after 1870, the Ingersol's moved to Florida.  Roy, his wife, their children show up in Springfield's 1898 city directory for the first time with an address of 41 W 2nd Street.

It would appear from the 1910 census that Roy, his wife and their children left Springfield after the 1900 census and moved to Richmond, VA where Roy was selling scales and Ritchie was making dresses at home.

References:  Archives of Springfield Improvement Association

This Frame Vernacular building was built in 1906 for a Presbyterian Church located at Southwest corner of 6th and Silver Street, per the 1912 Sanford Fire Insurance Map.  Even though the church faced Silver Street, the address was later changed to 201 W 6th.

The church had out grown the space by 1936, and needed something bigger.  They agreed to sell the building to the Springfield Woman's Club if they moved the building and would allow them to continue to use the space while they completed construction on their new church.  With that, the women of the club agreed to pay $140 for the building, acquired the property at 210 W 7th Street from JEA, and contracted with Henry Klutho to move the church.  The women took out a bank loan for $1,000 to finance the land and the move of the building and a smaller loan from a woman in the neighborhood.

The piece of land the club sets on was once the artisan well for this and the surrounding neighborhoods.  At the time of the move, the well was no longer utilized and capped,  hence the Woman getting a deal on the land from JEA.  If you look right behind the fountain, you can still see remnants of the capped off water main.

The Woman's Club, now known as Springfield Improvement Association and Archives, was founded in 1904 when when Mary Dillon invited several ladies from the neighborhood to join her and improve the neighborhood.  When she died in 1907, the members decided to build a fountain in her honor, and the organization has evolved and changed its' name a few times it has been investing money in beautifying and preserving the neighborhood ever since.

References:  Archives of Springfield Improvement Association

This frame vernacular, post-Victorian style home with Queen Anne influences was built in 1910 for Francis Mason Dowling, his wife Harriet, and their three-year old daughter Marion. The home originally had an upstairs porch, which can be seen in pictures taken of Pearl Street around 1910.

Francis Dowling was born in 1857 in Florida and listed as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Kings Road Grocery Co. in the 1910 census.  Unfortunately, his wife Harriet died in July of 1909. Mr. Dowling remarried in April 1910. His new wife, Minnie Byrd, born in 1879, was a widow. She brought Carl, her young son from her previous marriage to the family.

Francis and Minnie Dowling remained in the home for many years. The 1930 census records show that they were living there and had taken on lodgers. Their lodgers were Mathew Thornton whose occupation was listed as bookkeeper in a bank and John Wilcox who was listed as a salesman.

Francis M. Dowling passed away at the age of 81 on December 25, 1937. He was buried next to his first wife, Harriet, in Evergreen Cemetery located nearby on Main Street. The cemetery contains the graves of many of Springfield’s early residents.


References:  Archives of Springfield Improvement Association

Under Construction

Built in 1912, this house served as the Cuban Consulate from 1921-1960 and was occupied by Julio R. Embil, the Cuban consul during those years.





This Tudor Revival two story home was built in 1917 by Arthur D. Stevens.  This home is unique in Jacksonville’s architectural heritage due to its design and construction using ferrous cement and steel.  This home also has a full basement and a circular staircase cast in cement which is located in the center of the home.

Stevens was an renowned engineer President of the Merrill-Stevens Shipbuilding Corporation which was located at 750 E Bay Street.  He patented the use of ferrous cement in the ship-building industry.   Stevens died in this home on December 14, 1931. His partner and best friend, Captain Frank Jacob Brock, lived across the street at 140 W 5th Street.

This shipyard was established as a blacksmith shop by Jacob Brock in the 1850's, after Brock's death in 1877, it was sold to Arthur Stevens, who teamed up with James Merrill.  The two formed Merrill-Stevens Engineering Co., which was incorporated in 1887.  The company was reorganized as Merrill-Stevens Co. in 1904, as part of a recapitalization to raise the funds needed to build the floating dock "Roosevelt".

During WWI, they built small freighters, first of composite materials and later of steel, for the Emergency Fleet Corporation, (EFC), using a separate facility, which was closed after the war. The company then reorganized as Merrill-Stevens Dry Dock & Repair Co., in their original yard and started a second operation in Miami in 1933, both yards operating as repair yards through WWII.

In about 1953, Merrill-Stevens leased the Jacksonville shipyard to Rawls Brothers Contractors and relocated to Miami, where it is still in business, as Merrill-Stevens Dry Dock, Inc., describing itself as "Florida's oldest continuously operating company". Rawls Brothers renamed the company Rawls Brothers Shipyard, but sold it again in 1963 to Bill Lovett, who simultaneously bought Gibbs Gas Engine Company, the shipyard immediately across the river, and Bellinger Shipyards, in Jacksonville Beach, renaming them all Jacksonville Shipyards. The new company was sold again in 1969, this time to Fruehauf Corporation. Finally, in 1989, it was sold to Terex Corp., which closed all three shipyards for good in 1992, selling the two large floating dry-docks to the Arab Ship Repair Yard, (ASRY), in Bahrain.

References:  Archives of Springfield Improvement Association, Merrill-Stevens Engineering Jacksonville FL

According to the 1985 Property Survey this two and a half story Queen-Anne home was built in 1893, but historians Jeff Gardner and Chris Farley did extensive research dating this home to 1909.  If you look at the Sanford Fire maps of 1897 you will see the home that was on the property at that time had a much smaller foot print compared to the foot print of the home that stands there today.  The historians than comb thru directories and other maps published at that time to determine the home was built in 1909.

Based on the research Jeff Gardner and Chris Farley completed, we believe this home was originally built in 1909 for Henry and Eva Meyer-Jacobs and their 2 children, Sollace and Bertha Jacobs-Geiger.  Henry was born on November 28, 1868 and Eva was born on January 10, 1874, and according to the 1930 census, the Jacob's were of German decent.  Sollace was born on February 7, 1896 and Bertha was born on January 2, 1899.

The Jacobs were entrepreneurs, they owned the Milliners and Ladies Clothing store downtown that was originally located at 411 W Bay Street.  We have not completed research on their business to date, but if you have information please share that with us.  The couple also owned the 3-story apartment building located around the corner at 115 W 2nd Street, now know as JAXBrickhouse, that they used as a rental property.

Henry and Eva moved out of this home after their last child passed in 1937.  The entire family has been laid to rest in the Jewish section of Evergreen Cemetery.

References:  Archives of Springfield Improvement Association

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