After the Civil War, the name “Arlington” first appeared as a small development called Arlington Bluff (now Clifton) in 1873. The area considered as Arlington today has far surpassed anyone’s imagination. The “Old Arlington” historic area is bounded by Atlantic Boulevard on the south, Mill Creek and Hartsfield Roads on the east and the St. Johns River on the north and west. Before the Mathews Bridge opened in 1953 it was considered remote from Jacksonville and South Jacksonville and its early residents depended on family run enterprises such as mills, shipyards, turpentine stills (and moonshine), ferry services, farms and dairies for employment and small, family-owned stores for most of their food and supplies.
The first family industry was a water-powered mill on Strawberry Creek where Arlington Road now crosses. It opened in 1820 and remained open until about 1870. It originally belonged to the Richard family and later to John Sammis. It was unique to northeast Florida and was a combination sawmill, gristmill and cotton gin. Richard also had a brickyard nearby. Ships were built from the lumber at the head of Pottsburg Creek.
After the Civil War the old plantation lands were divided up and sold for development, and several small communities sprang to life along the river, the main source of transportation. Some of the communities were Chaseville, Floral Bluff, Gilmore, and Arlington Bluff, later known as Matthews and then Clifton. All had a general store and a post office well before 1900, and often the storeowner was also the Postmaster. Chaseville also had a boat building enterprise started by Samuel Chase, hence the name, Chaseville. The inland community of Egleston was also platted in 1888 near Lake Lucina.
An event that briefly opened Arlington up to the world was the J M & P Railroad, which opened in 1888, and ran from a dock near what is now Jones College, diagonally through the community with a Railroad Station in Egleston. This was also a family business started by Alexander Wallace, who sold a sawmill in Jacksonville to fund his new enterprise. He opened a hotel on the ocean at Mayport called the Burnside and reportedly paid cash for everything. The railroad became known as the “Cash Road.” Arlington benefited greatly with an active hotel in Egleston. Mr. Wallace unfortunately died shortly after its opening and by 1895 the train became history.
Atlantic Boulevard, originally known as Pablo Road, was opened in 1910, and a few years later a bridge, of sorts, was built over Arlington River, and a road was opened from Atlantic Boulevard to the point originally known as Reddie Point or Chaseville Point. The road became known as Chaseville Road, and in 1959 it became University Boulevard. Arlington Road, which runs from Atlantic Boulevard across the old Mill Dam at Strawberry Creek and then west to the river, was named by proclamation in 1912. Thus the “Crossroads” were formed where these roads intersected and by 1930 it was the “Town Center” of Arlington.
Before the crossroads the town center was located at the foot of Arlington Road, which was connected by ferry service to the foot of Beaver Street ca 1912. There were several family businesses documented in the 1924 Arlington History located at the ferry landing: Bradshaw’s Store, which was also the first Arlington Post Office, Oliver Frieseke also had a general store, and his father before him had one at Floral Bluff. Hayes Ice Cream, Olson’s Shipyard, and Seaboard Dredging run by Mr. Loennecke were on the riverfront on either side of the ferry landing. Both families were originally located at Dames Point where many of the early Arlington families came from, and most all of them had marine oriented backgrounds. Mr. Phillips had a turpentine still just south of Olson’s, which also supported quite a few families. The Ferry service made all this possible, and was also a family-owned business started by the Alderman Realty Company, but soon purchased by Mr. Anson Macy, whose family helped operate and maintain the vessels.
It seems that many of the early settlers were part of extended families, including my own, which settled in Arlington in 1912-14. They were involved in the Alderman Realty Co., Red Bay Ranch and Dairy (now Tree Hill) and Johnson and Son Dredging. In later years the dairy became Lone Star Stables. The Nolan family moved their dairy from the west side of Jacksonville to Atlantic Boulevard ca. 1923, and opened the Nolan’s Alpine Dairy, which stayed open for many years. There were several other Arlington families that had smaller dairies including the Colcords, the Jaques and the Johnsons.
Another family enterprise was Norman Laboratories, who took over The Eagle Film Studios, a silent film company on Arlington Road, and made silent films utilizing a cast of black actors for many years. This compound still exists today and is being restored as a historic monument. Mrs. Norman converted the film studio into a dance studio in the early thirties, and was very successful for many years.
This month we are going to focus on a family-owned business that was located at the southeast corner of the crossroads known as “Haines Grocery” that opened ca. 1930, and closed in 1956. This family was also originally from Dames Point, and kin to other Arlington families. We are fortunate to have programmed for our August speaker, Emily Ruth Haines Surowiec, who grew up in the store. Joan Jaques Vinson, who also grew up in Arlington, has furnished her memories of Haines Grocery.
Russell Charles Macy 8/24/1928 - 4/7/2012
MACY, Russell C, passed on April 7, 2012 in Tampa, FL. He was born in Arlington, Fl. in 1928 to Louis and Martha Macy. Russ was a man of strong faith who attended Oak Grove UM Church for 47 years, taught Sunday School, as well as serving as Deacon. He participated in mission trips to Belize to help build a church/school for a small village. Russ worked for Gulf Oil Corp. for 17 yrs. before building a successful business in air conditioning with his sons. He was also a talented cabinet maker and taught drafting at Tampa Bay Tech’s night school program for many years. Russ loved his family, his lakefront home and crossword puzzles. He is predeceased by his brothers, Anson and Louis Macy, his sister, Thelma Fulkerson, and his granddaughter, Larsen Hunt. He is survived by his devoted wife of 62 years, Sarah E. Macy, and his sister Myra Stevens. His children, Ken, Mark, Susan Hunt and Martin (Rusty) are grateful and blessed to have grown up in a stable, loving home. “Dedaddy” will be greatly missed by his 13 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. Memorial services will be held at 6:30pm, April 20, at Oak Grove United Methodist Church, 2707 W. Waters Ave., Tampa, Fl. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to “The Aidric Hunt Assistance Fund” at any Bank of America.
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Arlington history retold in new booklet 03/14/98
Ferry Rides Again