Located ten miles northwest of downtown Jacksonville, Dinsmore is a small community where Captain C.W. Hilliard once operated a large sawmill during the late 19th century.
Named for a man who came from the North and sold real estate there, the Dinsmore area was once clustered with plantations that used enslaved labor to operate a shingle mill, produce cotton and turpentine.
Henry Plant’s Savannah, Florida & Western Railroad (now CSX) arrived in 1881, linking Dinsmore and Jacksonville with the north. A second railroad, the Atlantic, Valdosta and Western Railway (now Norfolk Southern), was completed nearby in 1899.
In 1900, Hilliard established a large saw mill at Dinsmore. In addition, a lumber railroad was constructed to transport forest products from Western Nassau County to Dinsmore, where lumber was then shipped to Jacksonville by boat down the Trout River.
Prior to 1910, saw mills and lumber mills served as Dinsmore’s chief industries. After timber was depleted, Dinsmore turned to dairy farming. At its height, there were more than fifteen dairies in and around Dinsmore, including the G.A. Perret Dairy and the Dinsmore Dairy Company.
Founded in 1910, the G.A. Perret Dairy became one of the largest dairies in the county and the largest in retail sales. Established by V.C. Johnson, a personal friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dinsmore Dairy Company was known for its Guernsey Cows. “Johnson’s baby milk” was advertised as the cleanest milk for infants, with the lowest bacteria count. In 1959, as a result of its owners being prominent white supporters of civil rights in Jacksonville, the Dinsmore Dairy was forced out of its retail business by the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens’ Councils.
Other agricultural industries associated with Dinsmore’s past include chicken farms, duck farms and Chinese farms. Dinsmore’s Chinese farms produced Chinese vegetables that were then shipped to Chicago, New York and Canada. Today, there are no dairies or Chinese farms in Dinsmore. However, the community continues to retain its rural sense of place and character.
*Old Kings Road also runs through Dinsmore. This road was built before the Revolutionary War by the British. It ran from St Augustine northwards well into Georgia. *
Traveling west down Sycamore Street.
A residence located on Civic Club Drive.
Dinsmore Park is home to baseball and softball fields, a picnic area, and a community building.
Built in 1953, the Dinsmore Elementary School was also known as Public School Number 45.
The Dinsmore United Methodist Church building was completed in 1957. In 2019, the congregation was formally closed.
The intersection of Macklin and Iowa Avenue.
The Dinsmore Playground is located between Iowa Avenue and the historic Old Kings Road.
The intersection of Macklin Street and Old Kings Road. 10704 Old Kings Road (left) was built in 1926.
10728 Old Kings Road was built in 1941.
The Dinsmore Cemetery dates back to the late 19th century.