Now recognized as a part of San Marco, Fletcher Park is a historic community developed to support the military after the United States entered into World War I on April 6, 1917. Due to the building of ships to transport troops overseas being a major government priority, Downtown Jacksonville’s Merrill-Stevens shipbuilding company was awarded large contracts to assist in the war effort. To meet those needs, Merrill-Stevens developed a South Jacksonville shipyard along Atlantic Boulevard, just east of Kings Avenue.

The dredging of the Merrill-Stevens South Jacksonville shipyard for World War I. (Florida State Archives)

By 1918, a critical housing shortage for the shipyard’s workers had emerged. To address the issue, the US Shipping Board authorized the construction of a $750,000 housing project on a 48-acre tract of land between Hendricks Avenue and Kings Avenue. Named Fletcher Park, in honor of Senator Duncan U. Fletcher, Architects H.J. Klutho, Mark & Sheftall, and Mellen Greenley developed the necessary plans quickly, leading to the April 1919 completion of the development’s 158 houses, paved streets, streetcar line, sewers, lights, gas, water, concrete sidewalks, and parks.

A 1951 Sanborn map overlayed over a 2013 aerial of where Times Square used to exist.

By the time the community was annexed into Jacksonville in 1933, a commercial district called Times Square had developed around the streetcar’s terminus at the intersection of Atlantic Boulevard and Kings Avenue. By 1950, Times Square had grown along Kings Avenue, stretching two blocks from Landon Avenue to Olevia, and two blocks along Atlantic Boulevard, between Fulton Place and Truman Avenue. However, its days as a part of the Jacksonville landscape swiftly came to an end with much of the commercial district being razed by 1960 for the construction of Interstate 95.

While not much is left of Times Square, Fletcher Park retains most of its World War I era housing, charm, scale and character, making it a unique historic setting within the city today.

Photographs of Fletcher Park

Fletcher Park was named in honor of Senator Duncan U. Fletcher (1859-1936). A two term Jacksonville mayor, Senator Fletcher was the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Florida’s history.

Fletcher Park was designed by local architect H.J. Klutho.

Fletcher Park was built between July 1918 and April 1919.

The U.S. Shipping Board funded the development of Fletcher Park for $750,000.

Fletcher Park’s contractor, W.P. Richardson, described the development as “a model town”.

Fletcher Park is characterized by one and two story bungalows, featuring architectural designs that are unique to Jacksonville.

By April 1919, 158 residences had been completed in Fletcher Park.