Left: The Jacksonville Municipal Electric Light Plant. The historic electric plant was demolished in 2007. Right: An early image taken at Eppinger & Russell. Images courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.
In the early 20th century, the St. Johns River Terminal Company completed a railroad along the north side of Longbranch to serve heavy industry located on the east side of the neighborhood along the St. Johns River. The Eppinger & Russell Company was one of the earliest industries served by this railroad spur. Here in 1909, Eppinger & Russell opened a large creosoting works facility to treat wood with preservatives in order to produce telephone poles, railroad ties, piles and similar products. In 1910, the Jacksonville Municipal Electric Light Plant was built north of Eppinger & Russell in the vicinity of East 30th Street. This plant was called the Talleyrand Generation Station until the 1960s when it was renamed for J. Dillion Kennedy, a former City Commissioner who was instrumental in growing what is now the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA).
Left: A Municipal Docks warehouse. Right: The National Container pulp mill. Images courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.
Just south of Eppinger & Russell, the municipal docks were constructed in 1916. Virtually a port within a port, the docks could berth nine ocean vessels at a time. With transit warehouses, dockside and depressed (indoor) railroad tracks, and open storage space, the docks were capable of receiving and loading almost any type of bulk and general cargoes. To serve the municipal docks, the Municipal Dock Railway was built along Longbranch’s south border to connect the docks with mainline railroads at Springfield Yard. Over the years, the municipal docks have grown to become JAXPORT’s Talleyrand Marine Terminal and the Municipal Dock Railway now operates as the Talleyrand Terminal Railroad (TTR),a short line terminal railroad run by Rail Link, Inc.
The Talleyrand Terminal Railroad at Buckman Street. JAXPORT’s Talleyrand Marine Terminal can be seen in the distant background.
Three years later, just north of JEA’s electric plant, the American Agricultural Company’s Talleyrand phosphate works was completed. 19 years later, the phosphate works was retrofitted into a pulp mill for the National Container Corporation. This mill operated under various names, including Owens-Illinois and Alton Box, until its closure after the merger of Jefferson Smurfit and Stone Container in 1998. During its time in operation, the mill was a major culprit known for producing the rancid smell that once blanketed the city.
13 years after its closure, the abandoned pulp mill site was converted into the Keystone Jacksonville Terminal. The approximately 110-acre tract on the St. Johns River, which will eventually employ 200, receives imported coal, petroleum Coke and other bulk materials which is supplied to Keystone’s customers by truck, rail or barge.