Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stumbled Upon in Springfield

Another weekend and another exploration of downtown. In the past we spent time near the river and decided to go in a different direction - lower downtown better known as Springfield.

Springfield is one of those historic neighborhoods filled with huge old homes, long ago abandoned by the upper middle class on their way to the suburbs. It has of late made some attempts to return to its former glory but like downtown Jacksonville is a shadow of its prime.

Roaming around we found this building and I was struck by the foliage growing along the facade. I took this shot up and almost parallel to the wall. Reviewing it now, it almost appears to be a photo of the ground.

Further into the neighborhood we ran into a strange sight for Jacksonville, a pedicab driver by the name of "Breeze" or as I repeated it back to him "As in cool breeze?" He moved here from Kentucky and says he is the only pedicab driver in Jacksonville.

And then the park... Confederate Park has all the signs of having once been a very beautiful place dedicated to the old South. The entrance below, padlocked and faded, now faces the back of an abandoned apartment complex.

The photo below also illustrates how beautiful the park must have been in it's heyday. The picture is calming but the creek running through it stinks to high heaven.

I spied this squirrel sitting on a branch of a palm tree. He hung around and didn't seem at all afraid of people.

And then on closer inspection I understood why. Someone in the neighborhood provides a ready source of handouts. Click the photo to get a better view of a bag of what appears to be dried fruit.

Despite a recent cold spell the roses have already begun to cover the trellis that is a major feature in the park.

There are various ducks and geese throughout the area. You get a real sense that they regard this as their territory and will not hesitate to let you know that fact.

Just outside the park is the Karpeles Manuscript Library, an unassuming jewel nestled in the neighborhood. It is the world’s largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents, circulating items such as the original draft of the "Bill of Rights" of the United States and even Einstein's description of his "Theory of Relativity." Who would have thought it!

To really get a feel of how far downtown and Springfied have fallen, I noticed this U-Haul truck perched high above a building and realized office space is so cheap, someone has converted an office building into a self storage site. The truck above it is simply a beacon to it's location.

And finally, our adventure draws to a close with this picture of a vacant lot highlighted by a beautiful sunset. Right after taking this shot a policeman told us we should leave "because the zombies would pretty soon begin to walk the area."


  1. A sad yet beautiful commentary!

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