Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Alcazar

Which came first...the Alcazar in St. Augustine or this namesake apartment building in Jacksonville's historic Riverside neighborhood?

I know, silly question.  Henry Flagler built the Alcazar Hotel in St. Augustine in 1889, inspired by the royal palace in Seville, Spain.  Flagler's hotel, which is now St. Augustine's City Hall and home of the Lightner Museum, pre-dates this humble house by at least three decades.

The Alcazar, 1645 Mallory Street, Jacksonville, circa 1925, is considerably less grand than the original or the St. Augustine hotel of the same name.  But isn't it a pleasant four-plex apartment house?  And in case you don't remember the name...just look up.

I took these pictures shortly after Christmas 2011.  You can see the decorations still in place for the holiday.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, the kind of day that showcases these wonderful old Mediterranean Revival buildings so nicely.  Note the handsome lights that flank the sidewalk leading up to the building.

There are the usual hallmarks of the era and this architectural style: archways, balconies and porches for each of the apartments (two up and two down), window boxes, and ironwork.

Here's a closer look at one of the upstairs terraces.

A resident assured me the building contains vintage features, and pointed to the spiral stairs in back as evidence.  Those, of course, are not original, but I didn't argue the point.  

As is common in older buildings in the neighborhood, the Alcazar includes garage parking for residents.  Unusual is the fact that in this case, there are two garages.  Each two-car garage is located at the back of the property opposite one another.  This view shows one of them.  A corresponding garage is located on the other side of the backyard.

The Alcazar is located on a very nice block, just a few houses away from Willow Branch Park.  The St. Johns River is an easy three block walk in the opposite direction.

The Alcazar is another of the historic buildings that made this walkable neighborhood such a treasure for Jacksonville.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Nice Mediterranean Revival

What?  Another Mediterranean Revival apartment house?  Well, considering that there must be dozens, maybe even hundreds of these charming old buildings in Jacksonville's historic Riverside neighborhood, yes, here's another one.  I've presented many examples of the alternate vintage architecture that abounds in this area, but there's no getting around the fact that you can't go far without finding one of these familiar structures that are so much at home in Florida.

3201 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida, built in 1926, architect unknown (at least to me).  As is usually the case, the building is constructed in an H-shape, with two apartments up and two down.

The front doors to the upstairs units are straight ahead.  The downstairs entrances are to the right and left off the front porch.  Overhead, a barrel-tile roof provides shade.  You'll note that one of the residents was studying me as I took my pictures.

He came out for a closer look, but was friendly enough.  A few minutes later his owner came out too.  She told me the apartments are one bedroom, one bath arrangements, and retain the architectural charm you hope for in a 1920's building.

Each apartment has a balcony or porch.  Upstairs, the enclosures are framed by columns and topped by an archway.

There's no archway or columns downstairs.  The cross-hatch brickwork allow for ventilation.

Here's a closer look at one of the downstairs units and details of the lighting, followed by a detail of the upstairs columns.

In this view of the back of the building you can see the other side of the "H" that allows for interior exposures and back stairs.

A small courtyard separates the building and the garage.  The garage (on the right) has been converted into another apartment and is occupied. 

3201 Riverside Avenue continues to provide interesting living space more than eighty-five years after it was built.