Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Prairie-style Pattern

I've discovered three buildings in Jacksonville's historic Riverside neighborhood which are interesting variations on the Prairie style and are so much alike that I wonder if the same architect is responsible for all three.  Here's the first of these four-plex apartment houses.

1018-1024 Osceola Street, Jacksonville, year of construction and architect unknown.  Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage, Landmarks for the Future shows a house at 349 West Fifth Street in Springfield that is almost identical to this one.  The Springfield house was built in 1915 and designed by the architectural team of Mark & Sheftall.  The most eye-catching features of these buildings are the cantilevered canopies over the balconies.  The effect is quite dramatic.  Note that the roofline mirrors the line of the canopy.

The design of the porches on each side of the house is equally interesting.  Rectangular piers are the base for intersecting crossmembers which, in turn, support the porch roof and the balcony. 

The design adds up to a gravity-defying look on both floors of the building that is unique.

The current owner has done a nice job of showcasing the building's interesting design.  The pleasing color scheme highlights architectural details.

Some of the residents have their own color-scheme going with the flower pots they display!

The building is constructed in a U-shaped plan, which leaves a small yard between each wing of the building.  The apartments are two up and two down, with entrances divided between the porches. 

As I mentioned earlier, an almost identical house on West Fifth Street in the Springfield historic district was designed by the firm of Mark & Sheftall, whose work can be seen throughout Jacksonville's historic neighborhoods.  Did Mark & Sheftall design this house as well...and the two others in Riverside that are so similar?  I would be interested in hearing from anyone who knows more about this.

In my next two posts I'll take you to the other houses on Herschel Street and Donald Street which share so much with this one.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Seminole and Seminole Road

Here's my third Mediterranean Revival apartment house in a row, and it occurs to me that I might have done better to post these buildings in a different order.  This house and The Parkland (two posts back) are both on Seminole Road in Jacksonville's historic Riverside.  The Clifton (my last post) is on Riverside, I've jumped around the neighborhood a bit when continuity might have been a better idea.  On the other hand, all three buildings share a lot in common, so you might enjoy making a comparison to see for yourself.

The Seminole, 1623-1629 Seminole Road, Jacksonville, built in 1925, architect unknown (at least by me).  This attractive four-plex has been converted to condominiums and is very well-maintained.  It follows the pattern of most of these buildings; the apartments are two bedroom, one bath units.

Arched windows, a shaped parapet, and barrel tiles on the roof over the entrance give this building its Mediterranean Revival character.  As is typical in the neighborhood, a cast stone plaque with the name of the house is centered on the facade.

Doors to the upper units face the street, while the doors to the ground units are next to them facing one another across the front porch.

The apartments' porches and balconies are enclosed.  They would have been open originally, with entrances to the first floor units located inside the porch (see The Clifton, my last post, for an example of this).

The Seminole is a very nice building at the intersection of Oak Street, where Seminole Road begins a transition from apartment buildings to large and impressive single family homes.

Seminole Road is a pleasant street with a number of interesting buildings.  As noted in my earlier post on the Parkland, the stretch of Seminole Road closer to Park Street has one of the nicest oak canopies in the Riverside neighborhood.

In the shade of the massive oaks, ferns and palmettos thrive.

Further along, at the intersection with St. Johns Avenue, you'll find the Kahler apartments, designed by Henry John Klutho, one of Jacksonville's great architects.  You can read more about this interesting building in my post from last year:

After Seminole Road crosses St. John's Avenue, the houses become larger and more impressive still, which is no surprise as you are now on the last block of the street as it approaches the river.  A big oak tree divides the street again. 

Finally, Seminole Road ends in a pocket park on the St. Johns River.

One of the advantages of this historic neighborhood, and one of its greatest assets, is the proximity to this beautiful, wide river.  The St. Johns is a short walk from the Seminole apartments and almost every home in Riverside.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Clifton

The supply of  Mediterranean Revival four-plex apartment buildings in the Riverside historic district seems never-ending.  Here's one that's very pleasant.

The Clifton, 3021-3027 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville.  My guess is the building dates from the mid to late 1920s.  This is another example of an apartment house that shares the basic layout and shape of so many buildings of this period, with enough individual touches and features to set it apart.

The arched doorways are interesting counterpoints to the double door entrances to the porches and balconies.  These are clearly original and retain their arched screen doors.  I love the choice of colors on this building. 

Among the appealing details of the Clifton are pecky cypress beams and ceilings over the front porch.  Cypress is a common building material in the neighborhood.

Arched entries lead to the front porches and mirror the arched doorways on the front of the house.

The downstairs apartments have front porches.

The upstairs units have balconies.

A driveway between the Clifton and the building next door leads to parking in back.

And the back entrances to the apartments...

It's a straightforward building, with clean lines and nice details. 

The Clifton is another of the modest but delightful apartment buildings that makes a walk or drive though this historic neighborhood so pleasant.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Faded Beauty: The Parkland

Here's a cool little Mediterranean Revival four-plex on Seminole Road in Jacksonville's historic Riverside neighborhood just waiting for someone to come along and rescue it from the effects of time and neglect.  The good news is that it's still standing!

Parkland Apartments, 1503-1509 Seminole Road, Jacksonville, Florida.  This four unit apartment house appears to date from the mid to late 1920's and is typical for the time and the Riverside neighborhood.  I have no information on the architect or builder.  Based on similar buildings, the Parkland likely contains two bedroom, one bath apartments.  As you can see, all units have a porch or balcony overlooking the front.   

Is anyone home at the Parkland?  As far as I could tell, no; the building appears unoccupied.  This is unusual for the neighborhood and especially here, on the busy corner of Seminole Road and Park Street.  Even with the economic downturn, there are signs of renewal and restoration everywhere in the Riverside neighborhood, so it's sad to come across a neglected structure like this.  The good news is that this is the exception and a great opportunity waiting for the right person.

A wheelbarrow on the front porch is one sign that work on the building was underway at some time, but it all seems to have come to a  halt.  We can hope this is temporary and the owner is ready to resume restoration, but it didn't look that way to me. 

As is usually the case with neglected buildings, if you can look past the peeling paint, dust, and emptiness you can find interesting details that are reminders of a more respectable past and a lovely building that could, with the right attention, provide a comfortable home again.  These are the kind of embellishments that elevate an ordinary building and make it special.

Next to the building, a one-time garage that was converted at some point into a fifth apartment.

So the Parkland waits for the right person to bring it back. 

In addition to the attributes of the building itself, there is the location.  The Parkland looks out on a very pretty stretch of Seminole Road where the road splits around a line of beautiful oak trees that provides a cooling canopy.

If I had the means and know-how to save the Parkland I'd do it!  Here's hoping someone will do just that.  This is a building worth saving.