Here are four wonderful buildings on the same block, beginning with The Aberdeen Apartments, 2005 Herschel Street, in the Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida. The Aberdeen is located just around the corner from the 5 Points business district and is a short three block walk to Memorial Park and the St. Johns River. The Aberdeen is one of my favorites. Here's another view of this handsome apartment building:
The Aberdeen is one of many elegant apartment houses in Jacksonville built by the team of architect Roy Benjamin and builder H.F. McAden (source: Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage, the Jacksonville Historic Landmarks Commission). The influence of the Prairie style of architecture, so prevalent in Jacksonville in the years around World War I, is evident here, and reminiscent of the same team's San Juline Apartments, just a couple of blocks away on Riverside Avenue. The San Juline was built in 1915-1916, and The Aberdeen appears to be of that same vintage. Here are some of the building's details:
The Aberdeen's architect, Roy Benjamin, was a native of Ocala, and was one of many architects who came to Jacksonville after the great fire of 1901 to help re-build the city. He is best known for the nearly 200 movie theatres he designed across the south in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi. His Jacksonville credits include the 1915 Arcade Theatre, and its remodeling in 1934. The Arcade later became the Center Theatre, but, sadly, has since been demolished. Benjamin designed the 1926-27 Florida Theatre in downtown, one of the great atmospheric movie palaces, which today operates as a performing arts center. One notable moment in the Florida's history came in 1956 when Elvis Presley performed under the watchful eye of a judge who warned him after the first act that he must tone things down. Roy Benjamin also designed the art-deco 1938 San Marco Theatre, just across the St. Johns River in the San Marco neighborhood, which continues to play first-run movies. Benjamin's architectural firm eventually became KBJ Architects, still a prominent and prospering Jacksonville firm.
Now, let's go across the street:
The Charron Apartments, 2016-18 Herschel Street. This spanish-style apartment house dates from the 1920s and was renovated in 2003. It is a four-plex and has an additional garage apartment in the rear. Buildings like this are located throughout the Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods of Jacksonville. Some are clustered together while others are located side-by-side with single family homes.
Here are more details of the Charron, including a marvelous lion's head above the name:
The Charron looms over its next-door neighbor which appears, at first glance, to be a single-family home. In fact, the spanish-style home, seen below, at 2024 Herschel Street is a duplex, also dating from the 1920's. In recent years it has been used as an office. This is a good example of the way apartment buildings are interspersed with duplexes and single-family homes in these historic neighborhoods. Shopping, restaurants and a movie theatre are all within easy walking distance.
Above: 2024 Herschel Street, duplex. The Charron apartments can be seen to the left of the house. Another apartment building, The Stellalina, is located to the right. More pictures of The Stellalina below.
Here is a closer view of an upstairs porch:
The view above gives a closer look at the decorative shingle work. Note the copper rain chain on the left! Next, a view from the sidewalk showing the lovely entrance to the home and a closer detail of lamp post and tile:
These impressive examples of the fine restoration work in Jacksonville's historic neighborhoods can be enjoyed as a group as they are located on the same block of Herschel Street. If you stand in front of The Aberdeen you can see the other three across the street. These wonderful buildings have provided comfortable, charming and architecturally delightful homes for several generations of Jacksonville residents. It is encouraging to know that these early 20th century buildings now have a renewed life in the 21st century to provide enjoyment for both residents and passersby.