Historic Parks

Riverside Park

753 Riverside Ave.

Basketball Court


The city’s second oldest Jacksonville Park (Hemming Park is the oldest), the 11.4 acres Riverside Park is located at 753 Park St.

The history of this Park began in 1869, due to the clamor to build more parks as Riverside became more populated. The property contained two lakes that were spring-fed and home to numerous waterfowl. However, development of the Park did not begin until years later when the land was donated to the city. The original 14-acre Riverside Park was set aside by Forbes and Cheney, and was cleared and landscaped in 1894. The area included the construction of several artificial lakes, with the entire area fenced in to keep out roaming cattle.

After 1890, a carriage lane and walking paths were created, stone bridges were constructed, and ornamentals were planted, including camphor trees. By 1907, Riverside Park was one of the prettiest parks in the southern U.S. with picture postcards capturing the beauty.

Tennis courts and a bandstand were built, attracting even more people to the Park’s natural features. When Margaret Street was laid out, it cut off the southwest corner of the Park, and the north side of the property was used by Interstate 95, reducing the parcel to its current 11.4 acres. A city-owned brick storage warehouse was constructed on the Park property along College Street in 1940, which is no longer used. A camellia garden was planted in 1967 by the Jacksonville Men’s Garden Club.

The Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) group, founded in the mid-1970s, made numerous park improvements over the years, and when high winds uprooted and toppled 52 trees in 1997, city employees and RAP volunteers worked together to restore the park. Amenities include a basketball court, playground, bike racks, spring-fed lake, and the adjacent John Gorrie Dog Park.


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