Oklahoma is San Marco
The San Marco neighborhood started out as “Oklahoma”. William Jones received a land grant in 1793 for acres on what was then called “Cow Ford”. Jones did something to the Spanish Government and they tool the land back from him. It was re-granted to William Hendricks (Hendricks Avenue) in 1797. Hendricks would marry Elizabeth Hudnall and she would eventually call the land “Oklahoma”.
The Hendricks land extended west to Old Kings Road and South to about present day River Road. It had everything a community of the time would need in the 1800s, sixty homes, a church, a saw mill, a railroad depot, a ferry dock and extensive orange groves. One of the most prominent citizens of Oklahoma was Harrison Reed, who was elected Florida’s governor in 1868 and 1873.
Reed’s sister, Margaret Reed Mitchell and her husband, Wisconsin railroad tycoon Alexander Mitchell soon came in Jacksonville. They both fell in love with Oklahoma and built their winter home, Villa Alexandria, on 140 acres on the river. By 1872, the palatial estate included a mansion (near the present corner of River Road and Arbor Lane), barns, tennis courts, a swimming pool, polo field, over 2,000 orange trees, bridle paths and formal gardens. By 1873 Mrs. Mitchell was one of Jacksonville’s most influential women and was active in many charitable causes. She died in 1902. Details about the history of the neighborhood may be found at the San Marco Preservation Society.
Railroad develops San Marco
The real development of South Bank began in earnest with the opening of the St. Johns River Bridge in 1921. Telfair Stockton bought 80 acres of land north of the Mitchell estate for the new “San Marco” subdivision. The business district was based on the Piazza di San Marco in Venice, Italy, which had impressed Mr. Stockton on a European trek. The clay pit of Gamble & Stockton Brick co. was transformed into Lake Marco.. An additional subdivision, Villa Alexandria, was platted on the now overgrown estate in 1929. The first two homes in this development were built by Carl and John Swisher, who had just moved their King Edward Cigar Company from Chicago to Jacksonville.
The neighborhood’s initial success carried it through the Depression years. The scenic layout, lack of commercial intrusion and proximity to Downtown continue to make the area one of Jacksonville’s most popular neighborhoods. With new developments slated to start construction where empty lots are now, the area will see more demand for housing and basic services.
Videos of the San Marco Neighborhood:
Prices & Options of San Marco:
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[idx-platinum-saved-link id=”4728-41927″ title=”$500,000 and higher” ]
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