Marietta’s History

Traveling west on Old Plank Road.

Marietta is a community eight miles west of downtown Jacksonville with a rich history. From the 1820s until the Civil War, the Marietta area was the site of Isaiah Hart’s 2,000-acre Paradise Plantation. Here as many as 50-enslaved worked the land and raised cattle.

Hart began his career as a marauder who kidnapped and sold enslaved and free African Americans. Later he put these ill-gotten profits into real estate, becoming one of the First Coast’s biggest landholders by the 1820s. In 1822 he carved the initial blocks of the City of Jacksonville out of his considerable holdings on the St. Johns River.

By 1856, the Marietta was called “Harts.” A year before Hart’s death, the Florida, Atlantic & Gulf Central Railroad built a railroad line through the area, connecting Jacksonville to Alligator Town (now Lake City). This railroad played a vital role in the development of Camp Finegan. Named for General Joseph Finegan, who led the Confederacy to a victory at Olustee, the camp was built by famed Confederate military engineer Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.

Camp Finegan was the longest continually occupied Confederate camp and staging area in the Jacksonville region. At the camp, the railroad provided the Confederate army with the ability to load cannons onto railcars and deploy them into Jacksonville to fire at passing ships in the St. Johns River.

However, in February 1864, led by Colonel Guy Henry, Union forces overwhelmed the camp’s 450 soldiers. Its name was changed to Camp Shaw, and then used as a site to enlist and train former enslaved. The 54th Massachusetts, the subject of the 1989 movie “Glory,” were among the United States Colored Troops (USCT) stationed at the camp was the 54th Massachusetts, the subject of the 1989 movie “Glory”.

Bulls Bay Highway near Thomas Jefferson Park.

Following the Civil War Marietta was an unincorporated community known for its thriving dairy industry. Prior to World War II, the core of the community was largely confined within a two or three block radius of the intersection of West Beaver Street and Cahoon Road. Significant growth took place during the late 1940s and 1950s as Duval County’s population rapidly expanded outside of Jacksonville’s municipal limits. A large tract north of the railroad was developed into the Dantzler Lumber & Export Company’s wood treating plant during this period.

In 1960, Marietta’s north-south roadway grid was negatively impacted by the construction of Interstate 10. During the early 1970s, the community’s east-west roadway network was severed by the construction of Interstate 295. Since that time, Marietta has largely maintained its sense of place, despite being a short distance from Jacksonville’s bustling urban core.

Marietta Today

Traveling south on Bulls Bay Highway.

Named for Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the U.S., Thomas Jefferson Park is a 24.7-acre park located at 301 Bulls Bay Highway.

*Adjacent to the park, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School (Public School Number 48) was completed in 1927. The school originally opened as the Marietta School with first through seventh grades. *

The Leroy D. Clemons Senior Center at 55 Jackson Avenue was completed in 1960.

The former New Hope Missionary Baptist Church building at 217 Mccargo Street. The structure was built in 1958.

Also known as Brunson Cemetery, the Marietta Cemetery is a historic African American burial ground located near the end of McCargo Street North.

Kloud Nine at 142 McCargo Street.

8019 Driggers Street is a restaurant and nightclub that was built 1988.

Saint Mary Freewill Baptist Church at 8073 Arizona Street was built in 1968.

Owned by RR Concourse Realty, LLC, the Marietta Square Shopping Center at 8299 West Beaver Street was built in 1991.

The Dantzler Lumber & Export Company is a major employer in Marietta. Dantzler was founded in 1865 in Moss Point, Mississippi by Lorenzo Dantzler. The wood treating plant covers nearly 20 acres of land.

Intersection of West Beaver Street and Cahoon Road is the historic commercial center of Marietta. The oldest retail storefronts date back to 1937.

The Marietta Feed & Seed at 8051 West Beaver Street.