Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Small Town In America

I read a little about the town of Green Cove Springs and since I had been working a lot lately it felt good to take some time off during the week. I went expecting to visit their Train Museum but once I arrived, found that the museum is only open on Sundays.

Not to be denied, I decided to walk around and realized I had stepped a little back in time to small town America. As always, click each photo for a better view.

As you can read on the sign above, Green Cove Springs used to be a booming tourist town that people came to for the mineral springs at what was called "The Sarasota of the South." But then the railroads began to route people further south and the town was left behind. The town itself reminds me of mountain towns back in Colorado... isolated and a little slow but in a sleepy, pleasant way. There is something to be said for small town life that makes you remember a simpler time.

This old movie house was closed but just seeing it made me think of how excited I was as a girl to go to the movies and lose myself in the excitement of what was on the screen. These types of movie houses were small and intimate which served to make going to the movies an event, something lost at the Multi-plex.

The City Hall is a prominent fixture on the main road that runs through the town for all the people heading someplace else. It is a beautiful Mediterranean style building that seems almost inconsistent with the old style Florida feel of the rest of the area.

Green Cove Springs sits right on the St. Johns River and behind the City Hall is a little park and a pier that looks out over the St. John.

The park was nice enough with a little stream running through it, but the smell of sulfur from the mineral springs hung in the air.

From the park there is a great view of the St. Johns and a lovely view of the little pier. Evidently this area is a gathering spot in a small town without much happening. I ran into several teenagers just hanging out in the sun.

And then I saw it! Within a block of the river was this beautiful old house that almost had me expecting to see Mark Twain sitting on the wrap around porch. It was the kind of place that sent your mind into overdrive with thoughts of life on the river that Twain wrote about.

It looked like a personal home but I would have given anything to look around inside. I took a side view to give a sense of just how big the house is. I'll leave it to you to guess the number and size of the rooms. If you look closely near the chimney stacks is a deck or overlook and I could just imagine standing there late into the night looking out over the river. Again, a simpler time...


  1. Seems so very snug and beautiful town !

  2. Nomore,
    It does take you back to a time when small towns were everywhere and life was a lot more simple. It was a fun trip for me... and I still have to go back to visit the Train Museum.

  3. GordonBeck@comcast.netJuly 12, 2010 at 8:06 AM

    Hi Cherrie,

    I enjoyed seeing your photos of Green Cove Springs. My cousin lived there and I visited many times as a child in the 1950s/60s. Went to the Clay theater with him many times and it still looks the same today. Went to the pool a lot, too. Thanks for the excellent photo reminders of a simpler time.

  4. Gordon,
    Glad you enjoyed them. I do agree there is something sort of warm and wonderful about small town life. I like so many others could not wait to get away to the big city, but looking back it was a wonderful place to grow up. Again, Glad it brought back a few of those memories for you as well...

  5. Just an interesting side note: the railing on the roof with the chimneys is called a "widow's walk". This is a rooftop platform frequently found on 19th century North American houses. A popular romantic myth holds that the platform was used to observe vessels at sea. The name comes from the wives of mariners, who would watch for their spouses' return, often in vain as the ocean took the lives of the mariners, leaving the women as widows. Beyond their use as viewing platforms, they are frequently built around the chimney of the residence, thus creating an easy access route to the structure. This allows the residents of the home to pour sand down burning chimneys in the event of a chimney fire in the hope of preventing the house from burning down.

  6. Dori,

    Thank you for that interesting update. It provides some very interesting imagery on several levels. I had heard the term "widows walk" but never connected it to the structure on the house. Also, preventing chimney fires gives a useful spin to it as well. Again, thanks for adding to the brain trust!