Old Ortega Photo Tour
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004, the Old Ortega Historic District is a 450-acre neighborhood consisting of dwellings mainly constructed between 1909 and 1953.
In 1909, the Ortega Company, founded by John N. C. Stockton and Charles C. Bettes, began development of the Ortega subdivision, a streetcar suburb designed by the prominent architect Henry J. Klutho. Klutho designed the community to include four circular parks named after New World explorers.
Situated on a heavily wood peninsula at the confluence of the St. Johns and Ortega rivers, Klutho created housing tracts that took advantage of the unusual terrain and land shapes.
To entice residents, the Ortega Company promised free water until 1911 and no taxes until 1912 as homesite purchasing incentives.
The Streetcar ran on Park Avenue (present day Baltic Street) between Grand and Corinthian Avenues.
Ortega Village’s Oxford Place is one of only 25 flat iron-shaped buildings in the country. It was built by Marsh and Saxelbye in 1924 and was designed to look like an English Village in the Tudor style.
Between 1910 and 1930, Jacksonville’s population exploded from 57,699 to 129,549. This surge in growth would have a lasting impact on several sparsely development communities along the Ortega streetcar line, including Ortega.
During the Florida Land Boom, Ortega emerged as a popular destination for Tudor and Mediterranean Revival style residences.
This residence at 2815 Grand Avenue is believed to have been inhabited by George “Machine Gun” Kelly in 1933. Legend has it that before his apprehension, Kelly eluded police by traveling around the country. In 1933 a reclusive couple that fit the Kelly’s description rented this house and abruptly departed two hours before a middle-of-the-night police raid.
St. Marks Episcopal Church was established by a small group of worshipers on Ortega Point in 1914. The current church building was dedicated in September 1942.