Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Willowbranch Apartments

Is anyone else in the mood for another four-plex?  I am, because I love these little buildings.  You'll find them in historic neighborhoods across the country, and they are abundant in Jacksonville's historic Riverside, Avondale, San Marco, and Springfield.  This one is in Riverside.

Willowbranch Apartments, 2925 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida.  Sources list the year of construction as 1942.  I'm skeptical; the heyday of the Mediterannean Revival had passed by the 1940's and this style would have been unusual at that time.  The building looks at least a decade older to me, but what's important is that the Willowbranch is a vintage building, now fully renovated, and a part of a neighborhood with new life at every turn.

The apartments are two bedroom, two bath units, and have fireplaces and hardwood floors.  One unit is currently advertised for rent for $1150 per month.  The ad says the building was gutted to the studs during the renovation/restoration.  The Willowbrook takes its name from the park and creek next door.  I have not been able to determine the architect.  The features are simple; ornamentation is mostly at the roofline and is typical for a Mediterannean Revival.  Simple is not a bad thing...I like this building very much.

The front elevation continues with a parapet above the roofline which is decorated with red barrel tile.  Behind the parapet, a slightly pitched flat roof is out of view, eliminating the expense of an entire tile roof.

Here's an unusual feature for Florida: the driveway along the side of the building slopes down to the backyard....

...which allows for garage parking under the building.  The topography in this part of the state (indeed, in most of the state) does not usually include hills, but here is one, and the architect has put it to good use.

Here's the park next door.  It is a linear park, an extension of the larger Willowbranch Park which is located three blocks north, just above Park Street.  This extension follows Willowbranch Creek south to the St. Johns River.  The creek widens and becomes Willowbranch inlet as it reaches the river, just two blocks away.

Along the creek, I found these.  Are they cypress knees?  Perhaps someone with more expertise could identify them.  They look like cypress knees to me, which makes me wonder if cypress trees once grew here and supplied lumber for some of the buildings.

Willowbranch Park is a fine neighbor for the Willowbranch, just one more of the many four-plex apartment buildings that help keep this neighborhood interesting.  Next post, a building completely different from any that I've shown you.  But it will have to wait until after the holiday weekend.  Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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