William J. Kelly Residence / Riverdale Inn

1521 Riverside Avenue

Date: ca. 1901-1905

During the early 1900’s, this section of Riverside Avenue was known as “The Row” because of its numerous mansions. Between Margaret Street and Edison Avenue, over fifty of these large-scale homes lined Riverside Avenue, making it one of Jacksonville’s scenic highlights. Unfortunately, all of these mansions have now been demolished except for two this one and the home at 1541 Riverside Avenue. This house is a striking blend of the Shingle style and the Queen Anne style. Its roof and the walls are almost entirely covered with shingles, including the main porch posts and the arch over the porch entrance. A portion of the veranda lies under the upper stories of a projecting bay, a typical feature of the Shingle style. However, the profusion of gables, balconies, bay windows, latticed window muntins, and scrolled wood trim are traits of the Queen Anne style. The original owner of the house was William J. Kelly, first listed in the City Directory in 1905. He was vice president of Naval Stores Export Company. “Naval stores” was the name given to the turpentine and resin business, which was one of Jacksonville’s largest industries at that time. Kelly and the other turpentine magnates were jokingly known as “the Gum Bunch.” The original garage behind the house is also noteworthy, with a rare double-jerkinhead cross-gable roof. It is now one of the premiere bed-and-breakfasts in Jacksonville.


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