Meet Your Neighbors: Derek & Michelle and Aaron & Shaina

(Originally published 2010-2014)

Meet Your Long-Time Neighbors

p18-XL.jpgName: Derek & Michelle, and Family

Location: W. 6th Street

Occupation: Derek works in the computer security field and Michelle is currently on sabbatical.

Fun Fact: The family prefers to travel by bicycle, and one of their favorite places to visit on their bikes is the historic Evergreen Cemetery. Peaceful and full of history, it's just a mile North of the neighborhood.

What brought you to the Springfield historic district?

Derek: Michelle & I were looking for a house in the Tampa Heights area of Tampa, FL in 1997. But, we got pregnant and wanted to be close to family with the baby, so we decided to look for homes in Jacksonville where both Michelle's and my parents lived. We were looking in the older historic neighborhoods of Jacksonville, because we love homes with character and history. After looking in Riverside, San Marco, Avondale, Ortega, etc, we weren’t finding the right house for our budget. One evening during our search, we were having dinner at my parent’s house. My father, a retired police officer, suggested looking in Springfield. Being a native of Jacksonville, I looked at him and said “Are you crazy?”

My mother said “don’t get them killed!”, but my father went on to explain how Jacksonville Sheriffs Office and city had been putting a lot of resources in the neighborhood, and thought we should take a look. I really didn’t have a concept of even where the neighborhood was at the time. To me, historic Springfield was anything North of Downtown to Brentwood. But my father urged us to have a look for ourselves, and we did. Here we are today.

It took us about 6 months of looking, but we finally found a house that suited us. We renovated the house first, then moved in in 1998.

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Meet Your Neighbors: Randy & Connie and William & Victoria

(Originally published 2010-2014)

Meet Your New Neighbors

p4.jpgName: Randy & Connie, and Family

Location: Walnut Street

Occupation: Randy is a driver for UPS and Connie is a homemaker. The kids are students at FSU, FSCJ and Stanton College Prep.

Fun Fact: The Logan's own a kiln to make pottery. Who else has that at home?
 

What brought you to the Springfield historic district?

Randy: In a two words, community and history.

Connie: I'll give you a quick synopsis. We were living a neighorhood on the Southside of Jacksonville. Randy actually built the house 22 years ago. While it was a small, quiet neigborhood, we really didn't know many people there. Everyone was polite, but just kept to themselves. One day, Randy came home and suggested we sell the house. It was a good time for us personally to do it, and we were ready for something new. Personally, I've have had an interest in Springfield from afar for many years. But, Randy and the kids weren't so sure about it. But, I was adement about looking. So we did. The more time we spent in the community, the more we felt comfortable. At our realtors advice, we attended a number of the community events and social gatherings to meet people and find out first hand what type of neighborhood it is. It really opened our eyes to what kind of people live here, and how far the neigborhood has come. We moved in to our "new" old home about 7 months ago.

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Meet Your Neighbors: Will & Wendi and Leon

(Originally published 2010-2014)

Meet Your New Neighbors

p42.jpgName: Will & Wendi

Location: Market Street

Occupation: Will works in insurance & Wendi works for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

Fun Fact: This is one glamorous couple. Will once worked as a male model for Nike in New York City, and Wendi declined a date with super star Shia LeBeouf at a Hollywood movie premiere.

What brought you to the Springfield historic district?

Will: We originally moved to Springfield a couple years ago to rent, then we moved away, and now we’re back.

I’m from Jacksonville, so I’ve known of the neighborhood. But what first brought us here was the search for a bigger rental. We were renting a little apartment in San Marco and really wanted to move into a bigger space, and ideally in a cool area with interesting things & people. A bigger place in San Marco was too expensive at the time, so we looked in Riverside. But the large rentals there were more than we wanted to pay too, so I started to look at similar neighborhoods where we could get more for our money. I found a house for rent in Springfield on Craigslist, and that’s how we first came to the neighborhood.

Wendi: He had some convincing to do. I had never lived in a "transitional" neighborhood before, so I had reservations. But we had friends who lived in the area, so they helped convince me to give it a shot.

Will: And we loved it. But when our lease was up, we decided to move into a relative’s property in Murray Hill for a year to save up cash for a home purchase. When we were ready to buy, we looked at our options, missed Springfield, and knew we could find the best deal here. We purchased our home in February 2013.

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Meet Your Neighbors: Barney & Darlene and Brian & Amy

(Originally published 2010-2014)

Meet Your Long-Time Neighbors

p3-XL.jpgName: Barney & Darlene

Location: 6th & Silver

Occupation: Barney is a Vice President at Wells Fargo, and the couple are owners of Avela Day Spa on Main Street.

Fun Fact: Not only are Darlene & Barney small business entrepreneurs, but they also own an agricultural farm in South Georgia.

What brought you to the Springfield historic district?

Barney: In 1987, we were newly weds, had a two month old daughter, and were living in a one bedroom apartment in Riverside. So, we needed more space, affordable space, and Springfield had that. We looked all over town, and Springfield was centrally located between our families, which was important to us. Darlene’s family lived on Southside and mine on the Northside, so it made sense to be in the middle.

Beyond that, I could see the vision of what the neighborhood could be. There was early revitalization going on at that time, but it was still relatively sketchy. My wife was apprehensive, but we decided to jump in anyways.

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Meet Your Neighbors: Brent and Jeff & William

(Originally published in 2010-2014)

Meet Your Long-Time Neighbor

p41-XL.jpgName: Brent 

Location: Laura Street 

Occupation: Owner of  “An Olde Time Hardware” store, since 1995. 

Fun Fact: Brent worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 32 ½ years, and was their Union Representative for 27 years.

What brought you to the Springfield Historic District?  

I started working in the neighborhood in 1974, through job at the United States Postal Service. Our office was at 1925 Liberty Street. That’s the year I came to Springfield and that’s the year I fell in love with it. I worked in the neighborhood and became very active in the community at that time, but didn’t actually move here until Mother’s Day, 1984. But I didn’t fall in love with it as it was – there wasn’t much to like at that time. Mostly homes falling apart, rooming houses, and crime. I fell in love with the vision of what it could be. The vision and charm, that’s what brought me here.

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Meet Your Neighbors: Cherie and John & Judy

(Originally published in 2011)

Meet Your New Neighbors

p8-XL.jpgName:  Cherie & Family

Location: Pearl Street

Occupation: Cherie has taught in the Duval County Public School system for 9 years.

Fun Fact: Cherie is dancer by passion, (East Coast & West Coast swing dancing connoisseur) and trade – she also teaches Jazzercise,  a mix of dance and aerobics, in her spare time.

How did you discover the Springfield historic district?

I've been familiar with the area since childhood. As a teen, a friend's family fell in love with a great big house here and bought it to restore. I remember visiting and just loving being there in the house. That was 20 years ago, so it was a different time though. Also, my Great Aunt and Grandfather lived in the general area too. In fact, if I remember correctly, my Grandfather is now the oldest living Andrew Jackson High school Alumnus, and owned a tire shop in the area many years ago. So I've always known about the neighborhood.

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Meet Your Neighbors: Nicole and Jim

(Originally published in 2011)

Meet Your New Neighbor

p40-XL.jpgName: Nicole

Location: 9th Street 

Occupation: Medical Sales Representative 

Fun Fact: Through traveling the world in the 1940’s, Nicole’s great uncle developed one of the world’s largest and most extensive collection of mounted animals, now displayed at museums in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

What brought you to the Springfield Historic District?

I first heard of the neighborhood a couple years ago when it was featured in Southern Living Magazine. Before that, I had no idea this community even existed.  I’ve always been drawn to old houses; each has a history unto itself and a story to tell. The front porches, character, and quarks. A few months ago, I was searching online for houses, looking in other historic neighborhoods in Jacksonville, and stumbled upon one in Springfield. I loved it, but wrote it off because of the perception I had of the area. After a couple months of searching, I just couldn’t let go of the Springfield house and decided to do some research. I spent a few days reading everything I could find about the neighborhood: the history, the fall from grace, the gentrification, and current events too. Pretty much everything I could find, I read. When I found all the information and stories in the Myspringfield.org site, it really sealed the deal for me. I finally decided to drive by the house and just see for myself. Luckily, someone was working outside the home and I was able to talk to them about it. I knew my search was over the minute I walked in the door! I moved in just a couple months ago.

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Meet Your Neighbors: Ms. Flo and Brent & Angie

(Originally published in 2010)

Meet Your Long-Time Neighbor

p36-XL.jpgName: Ms. Flo

Location: Pearl Street

Occupation: Retired from Sears Roebuck.

Fun Fact: Flo is a passionate seamstress, and enjoys sewing everything from drapes to afghans.

Q: What brought you to Historic Springfield?

A:  It was 1971 and I was moving back to Jacksonville. I had lived in Virginia for a while, making a living as a seamstress, but it was time to move back. When I came back down, I was living with friends for a while before I could find a place of my own. I also decided to get married about that time to. It was a busy time of my life.

Anyway, I didn’t know a lot about the area then. I just knew what I heard through the years, you know. It was a quiet neighborhood then, with lots of seniors. And I guess I just fell in love with the houses and the neighborhood. We bought this house that year, 1971.

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Meet Your Neighbors: David & Laura and Paul & Alison

(Originally published in 2010)

Meet Your New Neighbors

p10-XL.jpgName: David & Laura, and Family

Location: E. 3rdStreet

Occupation: David is a Biology professor at FSCJ and Laura owns Yard Chicks Inc, a landscape design business.

Fun Fact: David and Laura met in Fiji, while in the Peace Core. 

Q: What brought you to the Springfield Historic District? 

David: We moved to Jacksonville from Gainesville in 1993 after I received a job offer for a tenured professorship. We were looking for houses in Jacksonville but we didn’t have much time, and our realtor was showing us a number new subdivisions on the outskirts of Jacksonville. I remember being shown Julington Creek and thinking that the houses were just dreadful.  Not my taste at all, and that they had just bulldozed a forest to build them.

The homes in Springfield caught our eye, we loved the houses and architecture, but the neighborhood wasn't' "there" yet, so moved to San Marco. It was somewhat of a compromise between the two.

Laura: Crime was still too much of an issue then for us to seriously think about moving into Springfield then. But in the past few years we’ve had friends move into the neighborhood, neighbors of ours from San Marco. We saw that the neighborhood had improved by leap and bounds and heard about how resident’s created a great sense of community. And how, you know, they weren’t afraid to have a drink now and then.

I think we just wanted to part of something bigger, if that makes sense. Bigger than the suburbs. We wanted to make an investment in something worthwhile, and wanted to live somewhere special. We moved in at the end of July, 2010 and are loving it.

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Meet Your Neighbors: Carlon and Russ & Bruce

(Originally published in 2010)

Meet Your Long-Time Neighbor

p6-XL.jpgName: Carlon 

Location: E. 5th Street

Occupation: Crossing guard for R.L. Brown Elementary

Fun Fact: Ms. Robinson has collected over 400 individual recipes from friends and family, but not one of them is for carrot cake (She’s taking suggestions).

Q: What brought you to Springfield? 

A: Well, it was the early 80’s and we were living in Boston, Mass. “We”, meaning my husband and me. We went on vacation down to Jacksonville. He’s from the North, so anywhere in Florida was good enough for him. It was winter, freezing cold up in Boston, but still balmy down here in Jacksonville. When he saw a guy cutting his front yard, that was it, he was sold on Jacksonville. He just thought that was the greatest thing, to be cutting the lawn in winter.   

But that was in Arlington. That was a “nice” neighborhood at the time. So how did we end up here? Good question. I didn’t quite get it at first, either. When my husband said he bought a house in Springfield, I said to him, “Why are we moving to Harlem?”. But we could have more space here in Springfield, the houses are bigger, and it was less expensive, so it made practical sense, I guess. 

We first moved here in 1982, when I was pregnant with my third child. I bought this house in 1988 though, just after my husband passed. It was built in 1916. 

(continued)

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