Sherwood Forest History
Located in Northwest Jacksonville, just south of the Trout River, Sherwood Forest is a large neighborhood named after a royal forest in Nottinghamshire, England, famous for its historic association with the legend of Robin Hood. While the area was platted as early as 1910, the Sherwood Forest neighborhood was largely developed during the mid 1950s and 1960s. During the 1960s and 1970s, the urban renewal of Sugar Hill, Hansontown, and LaVilla dramatically changed the demographic makeup of the Sherwood Forest neighborhood.
Emboldened by the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the local Black community in search of better housing flocked to Sherwood Forest, only to see the majority of white residents flee the neighborhood. Today, Sherwood Forest survives as a mid-century Black community featuring ranch-style, cinder-block homes on streets named after characters and places associated with Robin Hood stories. Thus, in this side of town, you’ll find streets going by the names of Castle, Devonshire, Foxboro, Donnybrook and Locksley.
Sherwood Forest’s streets come with whimsical names after characters and places associated with Robin Hood stories. Thus, in this side of town, you’ll find streets going by the names of Norfolk, Castle, Devonshire, Foxboro, Donnybrook and Locksley.
The residential fabric of Sherwood Forest is dominated by American Ranch Style architecture. The Ranch was arguably one of the most long-lived and quintessential home styles of the mid 20th century.
Ranch-style houses (also American ranch, California ranch, rambler or rancher) is a uniquely American domestic architectural style. First built in the 1920s, the ranch style was extremely popular in the United States during the 1940s to 1970s, as new suburbs were built for the Greatest Generation and later the Silent Generation. The style was exported to other nations and so is found in other countries.
The style is often associated with tract housing built during this period, particularly in the western United States, which experienced a population explosion during this period, with a corresponding demand for housing.
The ranch house is noted for its long, close-to-the-ground profile, and minimal use of exterior and interior decoration. The houses fuse modernist ideas and styles with notions of the American Western period working ranches to create a very informal and casual living style. Their popularity waned in the late 20th century as neo-eclectic house styles, a return to using historical and traditional decoration, became popular. However, in recent years, interest in ranch house designs has been increasing.
Preservationist movements have begun in some ranch house neighborhoods, as well as renewed interest in the style from a younger generation who did not grow up in ranch-style houses. This renewed interest in the ranch house style has been compared to that which other house styles such as the bungalow and Queen Anne experienced in the 20th century, initial dominance of the market, replacement as the desired housing style, decay and disinterest coupled with many teardowns, then renewed interest and gentrification of the surviving homes.
Indian Creek is a tributary of the Trout River that travels through the heart of the Sherwood Forest community.