Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida and is the county seat of Duval County, with which it is consolidated. Located in Northeast Florida, and at the mouth of the St. Johns River, it is a major seaport city and the center of the Jacksonville metropolitan area. With an estimated 913,010 residents as of 2017, Jacksonville is the most populous city in both the state of Florida and the southeastern United States. It is estimated to be the 12th most populous city in the United States and is the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Jacksonville metropolitan area has a population of 1,626,611. It is the 34th largest MSA in the United States and fourth largest in the state of Florida. The city is situated on the banks of the St. Johns River, in the First Coast region of North Florida, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and 340 miles (550 km) north of Miami.
Jacksonville is the cultural, commercial and financial center of North Florida. A major military and civilian deep-water port, the city is the site of two United States Navy bases and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport. The two US Navy bases, Blount Island Command and the nearby Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, form the third-largest military center in the United States.
Jacksonville also serves as headquarters for various banking, insurance, healthcare, logistics, and other institutions. These include CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, FIS, Landstar System, Ameris Bancorp, Atlantic Coast Financial, Black Knight Financial Services, EverBank, Rayonier Advanced Materials, Regency Centers, Stein Mart, Web.com, Fanatics, Gate Petroleum, Haskell Company, Interline Brands, Sally Corporation, and Southeastern Grocers. Jacksonville is also home to several colleges and universities, including University of North Florida, Jacksonville University and Florida State College at Jacksonville.
Prior to European settlement, the Jacksonville area was inhabited by Native American people known as the Timucua. In 1564, the French established the short-lived colony of Fort Caroline at the mouth of the St. Johns River, which was one of the earliest European settlements in the continental United States. In 1822, a year after the United States acquired Florida from Spain, settlers platted the town of Jacksonville along the north side of the St. Johns River. The city was named after Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States.
Atlantic Beach offers a small-town atmosphere with easy access to the ocean. The intersection of Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach is a hot spot called the Beaches Town Center which is the perfect spot to enjoy casual and upscale dining, diverse shopping options, and a very happening nightlife scene. Although part of the greater Jacksonville municipality, Atlantic Beach has its own mayor, city council, police and fire department. This beach is bordered by Hanna Park to the north, Atlantic Boulevard to the south and the Intracoastal Waterway to the west.
Neptune Beach is the youngest and smallest of Jacksonville’s beach communities. Known for its thriving entertainment scene and local eats, Neptune Beach is making a name for itself as a charming, yet cool social center. The citizens today can be found biking and walking about town, hanging out at Pete’s Bar, the local watering hole, and participating in yoga meet-ups.
Neptune Beach came about when the citizens organized a tax revolt against the city of Jacksonville Beach for better services. Since 1989, it has operated under an elected mayor, council, and city management government. Neptune beach has also seen a steady rise in property values and has offered a chance for many do-it-yourselfers to come in and renovate the home of their dreams.
Ponte Vedra, the northeastern part of St. Johns County adjacent to Jacksonville Beach, is a combination of ocean front luxury homes, the world-famous Tournament Player’s Championship annual golf tournament, headquarters of the PGA Tour, the home of the ATP Tennis Club, and the equally famous five diamond Ponte Vedra Inn & Club.
More land in Ponte Vedra is devoted to golf and country clubs than any other purpose. Marsh Landing Golf Course, the Tournament Players Club, Ponte Vedra Golf and Country Club at Sawgrass and Sawgrass Country Club all are found in Ponte Vedra. Ponte Vedra is also the headquarters of the PGA Tour. The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club features two golf courses including the Ocean Course; the 9th hole features the distinction of having the first island green ever built.
Intimate restaurants and boutique shops abound; everything about Ponte Vedra bespeaks of the best of year-round resort living.
Whether your choice is estate living, a comfortable gated community, no-maintenance condominium, or an ocean front home with a daily spectacular sunrise, Ponte Vedra has established itself as a Florida destination from all over the world for those seeking a substantial lifestyle.
Ponte Vedra is an area where you are never quite sure who that was you caught a glimpse of – was it one of the wealthy and famous who frequently and discreetly visit the area, or someone who lives the comfortable, everyday lifestyle of Ponte Vedra?
St. Johns County is the third wealthiest county in Florida, following closely behind the Palm Beach and Naples areas. Adjacent to Ponte Vedra further south in St. Johns County is the Guana River Wildlife Management Area, a pristine section of natural Florida.
Jacksonville’s four distinctive beaches are in this community – Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Seminole Beach all have characteristics of their own, but, collectively, provide some of Florida’s best beach living.
Not too crowded, not too busy, just a pleasant combination of atmosphere and advanced services, plus, the advantage of being immediately next door to Jacksonville and it’s superior transportation system, make Jacksonville’s beaches a pleasant place to call home.
The subtle change of seasons eliminates the monotony of one-season beach towns, but the moderate climate still allows a pleasant walk on the beach on New Year’s Day.
The Jacksonville Beach Pier is one of the finest on the east coast, and a stroll to the far end provides a stunning look back at all of Jacksonville’s beaches, from north to south. The Atlantic Ocean is a gentle giant when viewed from the pier, with the water changing colors at any given moment reflecting the surrounding atmosphere.
Just about everything can be found at the beaches, from local haunts featured in a John Grisham novel to an outdoor amphitheater screening classic movies on a warm summer night. Jacksonville’s beaches have year round events, festivals, and food tastings. You make the choice of enjoying a quiet day in your enclave, or venturing out into the always pleasant atmosphere of the beach experience
Country club living is available at the Selva Marina Country Club.
The quaint fishing village of Mayport still offers excellent seafood, and nearby Naval Station Mayport provides a backdrop of military might.
San Marco and San Jose are two of Jacksonville’s historic areas on the south side of the St. Johns River. Originally part of the separate City of South Jacksonville, San Marco is a charming area rich with small shops and boutiques, arts, historic homes, some of Jacksonville’s finest waterfront homes, condominiums and hotels.
San Marco Square is the heart of the area, and features one of Florida’s oldest live theaters, a popular movie theater which dates back to the 1930s, churches, and a bevy of restaurants, from pizza places to fine dining. The bustling square during the day serves shoppers and those enjoying the fresh air, and in the evening becomes a point of rendevous for those seeing and seeking to be seen through a combination of nighttime dining, energetic bars, and coffee bars.
When Jacksonville’s first bridge spanning the St. Johns River was built and opened in the 1920s, allowing Jacksonville’s blossoming population of automobiles the cross the river without having the wait for a ferry, the City of South Jacksonville was merged into Jacksonville.
San Jose has a lasting legacy of the Florida Boom of the 1920s. When built in the Roaring Twenties, San Jose was accessed just three ways: by river steamer going upstream from downtown Jacksonville (The St. Johns River flows north, so traveling south means going upstream.) or downstream from Palatka, by the brick-laid St. Augustine Road, which was part of the original King’s Road built by the British during colonial times, or down a dirt road which soon became San Jose Boulevard.
The neighborhood centered around the Florida Hotel – today’s prestigious The Bolles School main campus – built as a getaway for the rich and famous seeking Northeast Florida’s agreeable year-around climate. The riverfront hotel (the original building is still in use as dorm rooms for The Bolles School) was built in the typical Spanish-influence of the day, with highly detailed ornamentation. Next to the school was the newly laid out neighborhood of San Jose, where 30+ large Spanish-style homes were built. Today, the neighborhood remains as a testament to the vision of the those in the Florida Boom – even after the boom went bust. San Jose, which to its north has Epping Forest Yacht Club as a boundary, remains one of Jacksonville’s most interesting, comfortable, and upscale areas. Twenty-nine of the original homes have been preserved and upgraded, and are some of Jacksonville’s greatest architectural home gems.
Part of the original campus of the Florida Hotel is today’s San Jose Country Club and golf course, one of Florida’s most prestigious, historic golf and tennis clubs. The San Jose Episcopal Church and school are also historic buildings from the Florida Hotel, and sit across San Jose Boulevard from the original hotel property.
Jacksonville’s south side of the St. Johns River is comprised of San Marco, Lakewood, San Jose, Beauclerc, Baymeadows, and the newly growing St. Johns Town Center area. Together, these areas offer a vibrant part of Jacksonville with a mix of luxury estates and homes hugging the St. Johns River, upscale gated and open communities, and, for those seeking it, a faster paced environment.
Each of these areas hosts major employers and supporting companies; the prestigious Deerwood Country Club gated community is just a short drive from the busy Southpoint and Baymeadows business areas.
San Marco Square, representative of early 20th Century Florida, offers a walkable area of restaurants, bars, shops, entertainment, banks, and churches. Many of the outstanding homes and small estates in San Marco have helped make the area a desirable address since the 1930s.
Epping Forest Yacht Club in San Jose hosts one of Jacksonville’s best addresses in homes surrounding the club on the former Alfred I. duPont river front estate. Nearby is San Jose Country Club, which traces its (and the surrounding San Jose area’s) history back to the Florida Land Boom of the 1920s. Many of those original estate homes remain today, often perfectly restored to their former glory. The prestigious Bolles School, which offers elementary and college preparatory classes for local and boarding students is located in the buildings on the banks of the St. Johns River which were built for the ultra-luxury Florida Hotel during the 1920s land boom.
St. Johns Town Center offers the perfect mix of better living along with some of America’s best retailers and casual and fine dining establishments, along with offices and nearby luxury communities. It’s truly “having it all” within a short distance. Nearby are Windsor Parke Gulf Club and Glen Kernan Golf & Country Club, plus Deercreek Country Club.
The sprawling University of North Florida campus is near the St. Johns Town Center, and the large Florida State College at Jacksonville south campus is also nearby.
Named for the Mandarin orange in 1830, this neighborhood on the St. Johns River was once described as “a tropical paradise” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Both Harriet Beecher Stowe, and painter Lee Adams once lived here.
Mandarin is characterized by its magnificent oak trees hung with dramatic Spanish moss and boasts some of the best views of the St. Johns River in greater Jacksonville. Once an important river port for shipping oranges and other citrus fruit northward, today Mandarin is known as a family-friendly area with a blend of residential areas and shopping centers.
There are plenty of choices for home buyers with prices ranging from $140,000 to more than $3 million for a riverfront home. The median real estate value is $284,900.
Much of Jacksonville’s history can be traced to the Riverside and Avondale areas, just to the south of Downtown along the St. Johns River.
In the early days of motion pictures, the filming of black and white silent movies scandalized residents of Riverside with their antics. Local law enforcement and politicians gave the early movie makers so much trouble they packed up their equipment and found a new home in an equally sunny location, today known as Hollywood, California.
Riverside today still hosts the occasional movie maker looking for a certain ambiance. Brenda Starr, starring Brooke Shields and Timothy Dalton was made in Jacksonville in 1989, followed by Lonely Hearts in 2006, starring Jared Leto, Salma Hayek, John Travolta, James Gandolfini and many more.
In 1997, Demi Moore came to Jacksonville and nearby Clay County and filmed G.I. Jane.
The Kent Campus of Florida State College at Jacksonville is located near Riverside. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens hugs the St. Johns River bank, and offers a wide collection of art from around the world. Next to the Cummer is the Garden Club of Jacksonville’s Riverside facility, a favorite for generations of families for wedding, receptions, cotillions, and other social events.
During the warm season, the Riverside Arts Market is held every Saturday under the protective canopy of the Fuller Warren Bridge between Riverside Avenue and the St. Johns River. Every week, the outdoor market features the work of up to 160 artists, musical entertainment, street performers, food vendors, and a fresh produce market.
The historic Five Points shopping area is an interesting mix of shops, galleries, entertainment venues, and restaurants.
Nocatee Parkway opened in January 2007, with traffic routed from County Road 210. This east-west route takes drivers north of 210 into Nocatee, a 15,000-acre development that eventually will have 30,000 residents. A southern route, Crosswater Parkway, opened in 2007.
Some neighborhoods, like Riverwood, a 55+ community by Pulte Del Webb, and Coastal Oaks by Toll Brothers, have houses for sale beginning at $247,995 and going up to $1 million or more.
The town has more than 360 acres of neighborhood and community parks. Each neighborhood has its own park, which may include ball fields, tot lots, playgrounds and picnic areas. In addition, 185 acres of community parks are dedicated to athletic fields, an aquatics park, playgrounds, tennis facilities and basketball courts.
The turndown in the economy initially slowed construction in Nocatee, but today it is one of the hottest real estate markets in the region.
Yes there are staff pages as well. There is a folder on the dropbox that contains each staffs pictures as for information I will get the last few bios by the end of this week.