Leon Cheek Residence

2263 River Boulevard

Date: 1928-29
Architect: Roy Benjamin
Builder: Charles J. Davis, Jr.

During the 1920’s, revivals of European architectural styles were common. Among the popular English derivatives, the Tudor Revival style with its distinctive half-timbering was most often used for residences. Jacobethan Revival was another style borrowed from the English, and its monumental appearance made it well suited for educational and ecclesiastical buildings (see RA-59 and WJ-6). It was often adapted to residential structures as well, however, and this house is Jacksonville’s foremost example of this style. Typical of the Jacobethan Revival, a rich formality is created by the contrast of the dark brick and the white masonry trim that frames every opening of this building. White limestone and cast-stone trim can also be seen in the balustrades, quoins, and various linear bands. This style also shows some of the trappings common with the Tudor Revival style, such as massive polygonal chimneys, a slate roof, leaded glass windows, and Tudor style arches over windows and doors. The most prominent feature of the main facade is the 3 ½-story tower with a crenelated parapet, which contributes to the castle-like quality of this house. Two other noteworthy features are the ornamental iron fence surrounding the residence and the elaborate oriel window above the front entrance. The dramatic scale and riverfront siting make this one of Jacksonville’s most significant mansions. It was built in 1928-1929 at a cost of over $100,000 for Leon Cheek, head of the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company, which later became the Maxwell House Coffee Company. The remnants of Cheek’s huge private boat dock can still be seen in the river in front of the house.


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