Springfield is an eclectic neighborhood located to the north of downtown along Main Street and Hogan’s Creek. Established in 1869, the community saw its biggest boom after the Great Fire of 1901 that destroyed 146 city blocks and more than 2,000 buildings. The area is widely known for its prairie style of architecture, made famous by architect Henry John Klutho, who rebuilt much of the city’s core after the fire.
Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR) was founded in 1974 to begin restoring and maintaining the glory of the Springfield neighborhood. The group has created events such as the SPAR Historic Home Tour and helped land Springfield on the National Register of Historic Places. Alongside their efforts has come a slight housing market boom. Home buyers who are fans of fixer-ups can venture to Springfield and find beautiful homes at incredibly low prices.
That growth has been incredible in recent years because, as SPAR President and myspringfield.org contributor Bill Hoff puts it, “It’s rich in character and characters, the community is as diverse as its architecture. Most like that quirkiness.”
Part of the Springfield draw and quirkiness are all of the businesses and people who work together to create an adventurous and driven community.
Food and Drink
Uptown Market – From the owners of Burrito Gallery, Uptown Market is a hotspot for breakfast and lunch, and more recently dinner. Located at 3rd and Main, the restaurant offers a large variety of food sourced from local farmers and vendors. Saturday mornings + huevos rancheros on tostado + $10 bottomless mimosas = heaven.
threeLayers Cafe – A cozy interior and decadent desserts make this spot all the rage. A slice of cake is the size of a football … seriously. The café also serves delicious coffee and deli food such as chicken salad and hummus. To the rear of the café is a zen garden complete with cuddly bunnies. Gotta be quick though, they’re hard to catch.
Shanty Town – If there were ever a mold for hole-in-the-wall bars, this would be it. Dressed with graffiti on every square inch of its exterior and interior, Shanty Town is a small place with a large personality. The stage and bar on the inside are incredibly close, creating the most intimate of shows, and the back patio has every piece of patio furniture from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum – This is one of the coolest and most forgotten places in Jacksonville. The museum houses the largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents in the world. Translation: they have things such as hand-written journal entries by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and original drafts of some of history’s most intriguing documents, all available for you to read. Admission is free.
Springfield Dog Park – Located on nearly three acres, the Springfield Dog Park is the only dog park in Jacksonville’s urban core and it is free. Visitors to the park enjoy its shade, fountains for dogs and humans, and proximity to area cafes.
Historic Main Street Cruise – On the fourth Thursday of each month, Main Street becomes a classic car parade. Residents and spectators line the streets as historic cars are shown off to the applauding crowd. Add in food and live music and this becomes a neighborhood event reminiscent of small town America’s heyday.
Springfield boasts much, much more. Shops like Sweet Pete’s (see Void’s Love issue), restaurants such as Wafaa & Mike’s Mideastern Café, and the disc golf course in Klutho Park are helping create a vibrant, close-knit community. More residents are restoring homes and additional projects like the ARTery are planned to make this one of Jacksonville’s best neighborhoods.