Rochester House

2107 River Boulevard

Date: ca. 1868

First known as the “Rochester House,” this three-story Second Empire style building was constructed soon after Miles Price began to sell lots in Brooklyn in 1868. Originally located near the present site of the Florida Publishing Company, the building was a guest hotel. It was described in 1875: “This house . . . is in the suburb of Brooklyn . . . facilities are afforded for boating and fishing. The house will comfortably accommodate from 30 to 40 guests.” The property came under the ownership of Isaac H. Jameson for $1,500 in February of 1868. Isaac Jameson opened the Rochester House, also called the River House, which was named in honor of his hometown, Rochester, New York. Guests at the Rochester House came from throughout the northern states. One noted guest was Mary Todd Lincoln, the widow of President Abraham Lincoln, who stayed there Dec. 1874 to March 1875. By 1885 the house was owned by Frederick M. Robinson, a well-known machinery manufacturer. Esgate’s Jacksonville: The Metropolis of Florida provides a drawing of the Robinson residence and this narrative: “A large and spacious villa, with airy balconies suggestive of cool and comfort on a warm summer day, faces the river and commands a fine view of that noble waterway and the surrounding country. The grounds are prettily laid out in walks and a fine grove of orange trees lends its dark foliage and golden fruit to the beauty of the scene. A flight of stairs leads down the terraced lawn to the river, which is the common rendezvous of people of leisure who seek pleasure or health in Florida’s metropolis.” In 1911, the building was moved on a barge up the St. Johns River to its present site. Unfortunately, the two-tiered veranda has been enclosed and some of the dormers have been altered. The building’s wooden quoins, bracketed eaves, and mansard roof present an anachronistic contrast with the modern residence next door. This displaced visitor from another century is now used as apartments. It is the only remaining hotel building from Jacksonville’s great tourist era in the 1870s and 1880s.


Become a member to begin receiving our regular newsletter with upcoming events, road closures and important neighborhood update. You don’t have to live in our neighborhood to support our work!