Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Touch of Key West

I called this post "a touch of Key West" because this series of three rambling buildings on Vernon Terrace in Jacksonville's Riverside neighborhood reminds me of Florida's southernmost city.  One reason is the buildings themselves, which are reminiscent of the kind you might find around any corner in Old Town Key West. The other is the setting behind the palm trees and lush foliage:

2737-2749 Vernon Terrace, Jacksonville, built in 1916.  The age of the neighborhood is evident not only in the buildings, but also in the street, which is made of red brick.  In 2010 the buildings were for sale for just under one million dollars.  According to the real estate ad, there are 27 units, all one bedroom/one bath, and the property has been "very well maintained."

These are deep buildings, as illustrated by this side view from Bayard Place:

The three buildings line up along Vernon Terrace and run the length of the block east of Bayard Place.  They do not connect; each is self-contained, as seen in this view:

Each of the buildings has large, double-deck front porches, giving them a light, airy look.  The porches, and the archways between them, add interest and character to the facade, which would be rather plain without them:
The front doorways are not consistent from building to building.  You can compare them by starting with the picture above, and then going to the next two pictures, which show the entrances to the other buildings. I don't think any of these are true to the period, so it's impossible, without an original photograph, to know how the front doorways looked in 1916:

Vernon Terrace is an interesting street, a one block long cul-de-sac tucked away in a quiet corner of Riverside at the end of Bayard Place.  Vernon Terrace runs parallel to the St. Johns River, which is just across the street from these buildings.  At one time, the front apartments must have had a fine view of the river, but that view is now blocked by several other apartment buildings that are chock-a-block on the riverfront.  

Still, those large porches are nicely positioned to catch the river breezes, and look like pleasant places to relax and enjoy the fresh air.  As there is no through traffic, Vernon Place is very quiet and peaceful, but it is densely populated.  All of the buildings on this riverfront block are apartment houses, a contrast to the lavish estates that mark the end of many other neighborhood streets at the St. Johns River.

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