The intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Dennis Street in 1928. The Myrtle Avenue Subway can be seen in the background.

Within walking distance of the Skyway’s Convention Center station, Myrtle Avenue may be considered the mixed-use epicenter of the industrial and wholesaling areas surrounding the Honeymoon Yard. This corridor is dominated with century-old commercial and industrial buildings with limited or no setbacks to the street. Connecting the late 19th century black neighborhoods of LaVilla, New Town, Campbell Hill and Brooklyn, it developed as a walkable commercial district with industry sprinkled in. A streetcar corridor, it provided direct access to the Jacksonville Terminal and REA terminal. Immediately following the Great Fire of 1901, it became an attractive location for sawmills and lumberyards involved in the reconstruction of the city. By the 1930s, with the opening of the Jacksonville Terminal in 1919 and the REA Terminal in 1925, it had become lined with businesses, hotels, factories, warehouses and even a public market catering to residents and workers of the wholesale district. Early 20th century businesses included Armour & Company (sausage factory), Flowers Baking Company (bread) and the Moore Dry Kiln Company (dry kilns for lumber). Served by the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, industrial areas north of Beaver Street once included rail spurs running in the center of its streets.

  1. Campbell Hill

In the late 19th century, Myrtle Avenue between the Jacksonville Terminal and McCoy’s Creek grew into a walkable business district for Campbell Hill. Campbell Hill developed as a neighborhood for ex-slaves flocking to Jacksonville in search of a new life as free people and employment at nearby industries. While much of the neighborhood was removed to make way for I-95 in the late 1950s, a few abandoned buildings once home to taverns and bars still stand.

  1. Myrtle Avenue Subway

Tunnels in Florida are difficult to find. Hundreds of thousands of people drive over one in Honeymoon Yard without even noticing. Below I-95, the Myrtle Avenue Subway was constructed by the Jacksonville Terminal Company in 1909. The central section of the subway accommodated the streetcar line that connected westside neighborhoods with downtown.

  1. Jacksonville Transportation Authority

The Railway Express Agency (REA) was a major anchor and economic generator for the Honeymoon Yard area for five decades. Not surprisingly, the area’s late 20th century decline as an industrial center parallels the decline of the REA, which closed for good in 1975. In the early 1980s, the REA’s buildings and tracks were replaced with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s bus maintenance operations.

  1. McGill’s Custom Counter Tops, Inc.

Located at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Hogan Street, McGill’s Custom Counter Tops, Inc. has produced thousands of counter tops since 1986. Spared by the Great Fire of 1909, it occupies a warehouse dating back to 1899. At the time, it was served by a railroad spur running down the center of Hogan Street, between Myrtle Avenue and downtown’s Jefferson Street.

  1. Dignity U Wear/Duval Market

Established in April 2000, Dignity U Wear specializes in soliciting, warehousing and distributing brand new clothing nationally, at no cost to recipients. During the early 20th century, this site was occupied by the Duval Market. Eventually replaced by the Jacksonville Farmers Market, its vendors included….

  1. Southern Express Company

In 1907, this West Adams Street building near Myrtle Avenue, was completed for the Southern Express Company. It served as a stable to house its horse-drawn wagons and livestock being utilized to carry passengers and freight to and from the train station.

  1. Brick Church Cemetery

In 1862, the first Confederate officer to be killed in action in Florida took place in the Battle of Brick Church. Brick Church was located near the present day Honeymoon Yard intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Church Street. In addition to the church, a 19th century cemetery was located adjacent to it on the west side of Myrtle Avenue between Church and Adams Streets. Between 1947 and 1952, this collection of warehouses and commercial buildings were developed on the old cemetery site.

  1. Engine 15 Brewing Company

The Engine 15 Brewing Company operates in warehouses once utilized by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company near the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Beaver Streets. Prior to Pittsburgh Plate Glass, businesses here included the Flynn-Harris-Bullard Company (naval stores and wholesale grocers), Indiana Flour Company, Gorman Supply Company (plumbing supplies), and All State Pipe Supply Company. The largest warehouse, which allowed railcars to enter inside, was designed by H.J. Klutho in 1936.

  1. USNR

USNR’s hardwood lumber dry kilns represent an accumulation of knowledge and experience dating back to the 19th century when Lafayette Moore started manufacturing dry kilns near Honeymoon Yard. At the time, this section of Myrtle Avenue and the S-Line was lined with planing mills and sawmills. Today USNR still manufactures dry kilns in the district in buildings dating back to 1914.

  1. S-Line Urban Greenway

In 1886, in order to connect the F&J to the Florida, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, the Jacksonville Belt Railroad was constructed between Springfield and Honeymoon Yard. Over the years, it became known as the S-Line. At Honeymoon Yard, it served several manufacturers and wholesalers including Winn & Lovett Grocery Company, Florida Machine & Foundry, Jacksonville Gas Company, Security Mills and the Moore Dry Kiln Company. Except for a small portion between Honeymoon Yard and Florida Machine & Foundry, the S-Line was abandoned by CSX during the 1980s. In the early 2000s, the remaining section was removed for the reconstruction of the Beaver Street viaduct. In 2008, 4.8-miles of the abandoned railroad became Jacksonville’s first dedicated urban bike path.

  1. Myrtle Avenue & Beaver Street Business District

Like the stretch of Myrtle Avenue in Campbell Hill, Myrtle Avenue north of Beaver Street developed into a walkable commercial district during the early 20th century. During Honeymoon Yard’s early 20th century heyday, its storefronts were filled with restaurants and shops catering to the large nearby workforce and surrounding dense residential neighborhoods. Prior to 1936, this section of Honeymoon Yard was served by streetcar lines on Beaver Street, Myrtle Avenue and Kings Road.

  1. Big D Building Center

Now called the Big D Building Center was established by DeWitt C. Dawkins as the Dawkins Building Supply Company in 1921. In 1929, it relocated to its present site at Myrtle Avenue and Beaver Street. The two story Big D building hugging the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Beaver Streets was originally constructed as retail storefronts in 1909.

  1. Graham-Johns Paper Company

During the early 20th century, an adjacent property was the location of the Purity Ice Cream & Dairy Company. Purity opened in 1917 and the Graham-Johns Paper Company eventually took over the location. Today, the Graham-Johns warehouse is used by the Big D building center as well.

  1. Flowers Baking Company

There’s a little history in ruins. This image captures the remnants of a brick warehouse and S-Line rail siding on Wilcox Street. The brick wall is all that remains of the old Flowers Baking Company bakery at 825 Myrtle Avenue. Flowers operated their Jacksonville bakery here before building a larger facility on West 30th Street in 1965.