The massive Fire of 1901 consumed much of downtown Jacksonville, making a lot of the city’s most popular and wealthy people homeless. Smoke from the fire was said to be so much that it could be seen as far off as North Carolina. The fire lasted for about 8 hours and damaged 3268 buildings, consumed 146 city blocks, and killed 7 people. A great deal of the residents of Jacksonville who had actually lost their houses due the fire relocated to Springfield.
Contributing structures in the district date from about 1885 to approximately 1930. Most of the houses are wood frame vernacular structures, however there are some examples of late 19th century revival and romantic styles, including Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and the Stick design. 20th century classes consist of the Mediterranean, Prairie School and Bungalow. The neighborhood did not go through a renewal of construction during the 1920s, as did other home parts of the city, and the “boom” bypassed the area since the majority of the land was already rather occupied, other than in the north location of 8th Street. Building and construction was, therefore, limited to the periodic vacant area or those sites where older structures need replacement or had been lost.
A lot of the blocks if not all have streets, usually arranged in a “H” patterned way, although other configurations can be found. A couple of streets keep their initial granite curb stones and brick pavers, however over half are now covered with asphalt and have concrete curbs.
The sidewalks include both the modern poured concrete sections and earlier hexagonal flat stones. Trees provide considerably distinguishing attributes to the area. Oak trees are predominant. Spread throughout the neighborhood are such decorative components as rusticated concrete block walls, cast iron fences, hitching posts, and testimony to the area’s turn-of-the-century origins. There is no big concentration of such elements.
Springfield started off as a residential community in the year 1871 by developer John H. Norton. Its concentrated improvements began in about 1882 with the development of the Springfield Development Company and progressed after a fire that damaged much of city center Jacksonville in 1901.
Around the period the district was enlisted in the National Register, it happened to contain 1,784 structures that were either fifty years of ages or older that added to its historical characteristics. Out of that number, 1,686 were restricted as property. Only 48 were relating to commerce. The majority of the structures, 1,595, were of wooden frame, and 201 of them were masonry. There were 1,294 structures of two stories in height and 10 three-story buildings. The remaining were all one-story structures.
The borders of Springfield are properly laid out. Hogan’s Creek lines along its south edge, and railroad lines can be found on the north and east. The blocks of the historic district are organized in a normal grid, with the titled streets going north and south and numbered streets likewise going to the east and west.
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