BEACH BOULEVARD AND PART OF DOWNTOWN JACKSONVILLE BEACH

MID-1950S

jaxbeach (110K)

Photo Orientation: The left is south; the right is north; the foreground is east; and the background is west (towards Jacksonville). The San Pablo River/Intra-coastal Waterway is visible in the background. Avenues run east to west and are numbered consecutively (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc) and marked North or South. Beach Boulevard (seen angling from east to west) and Pablo Avenue the next street north of Beach Boulevard also run east to west. Streets run north to south and are also numbered consecutively and designated as North or South. Beach Boulevard divided north and south Jacksonville Beach.

 The beaches are on a long barrier island and the western boundary of that island was the San Pablo River which was part of the Intra-coastal Waterway. Slightly to the west of the San Pablo River was San Pablo Road, an artery which ran from Beach Boulevard north to Atlantic Boulevard. The Isle of Palms, with its canals, had been built in the 1950s west of the river and south of Beach Boulevard and was a portent of the development to come south but San Pablo Road was virtually deserted. Most of the houses that were there were very small even by 1950s standards.  From San Pablo Road to Southside Estates, there was so little development that the speed limit was 65. On Atlantic Boulevard, there wasnít much between Mayport Road and Arlington. 

    Going west down Beach Boulevard from the beach, one drove under an overpass. ovrpasscard (102K)overpass (13K)  

On the north side was the American Red Cross Lifeguard Station, seen in this old postcard (which shows the Coaster Bath House and the pier in the background. In this cloudy, February, 2003 photo, the overpass is gone as well as the bandshell which stood where the Quality Suites now is.      At # 120  Beach Blvd. were the Dale Court Apartments.    

    After crossing First Street, there was a park on the north side between  First N. and Second Street N. The Community Center, site of many dances and with a small library and meeting rooms, was on the north side between Second St. N. and Third St. N.  On the south side at 126 Beach Blvd. was Townsend Hawkes Realtors-Builders. The Ocean Air Motel was at 208 Beach Blvd. At the intersection of Beach and Third Street,  there were three gas stations. On the SW corner was the ice house with a  Shell Station just south of it. Campbell's Gulf Station held down the SE corner while the Jax Beach Texaco held down the NW corner. At #311 was the Acheson Beauty Shop and at #317 was Dagmar [Groz] School of Dancing. Across the street at #318 was a Standard Oil service station.  At 4th St., there was an A&W Root Beer stand at #408 a Phillips 66 station at #428. The Surf Maid was in the next block with another service station next to it.  More gas stations  lined Beach. Beach Bowl, on the south side, was opened in the summer of 1959. Michael's SUNOCO Station was at 528 Beach Blvd. in 1955. The Charcoal Pit was on Beach. At 12th St. S., one turned south to go to baseball fields where Little Leagues games were played in the mid-1950s.  One also turned south to get to the drive-in movie. On the north side was Thor Chevrolet (Pratt Chevrolet before 1959?). At Penman Road, there was the Travelrite Motel and the Warren Smith cemetery. On the south side of Beach just down Penman Road was the Shore Gas Company at #48, the Tharp-Stapp Lumber Company at #98, and on to #101 and the municipal stadium, where the Jacksonville Beach Seabirds Class D baseball team which existed 1952-1954. Further west, just before the drawbridge crossing the Waterway/San Pablo River, was the Beach Marine Service on the northeast side. For several years, there was a large, derelict boat (a steamer) half in the water. At 1712 Beach Boulevard was the Homestead Restaurant. Crossing the Waterway, the Isle of Palms development was built on the southwest side. Further west was San Pablo Road which connected Beach and  Atlantic Boulevards.  

    Most business were clustered in Jacksonville Beach north of Beach Boulevard as the mid-1950s photo shows. Beach Boulevard cuts diagonally across the photo. Arnotís Bakery, on the corner of 1st Street North and Pablo Avenue, is in the left foreground a block from the beach. One can almost see its sign. Next to Arnot's to the west was Van H. Priest 5 & 10. On the north side of Pablo were Stewart's Drug Store, Bamboo Bar, Chao Hardware, and the bank.

The Boardwalk (even though the walkway was concrete) ran north from Pablo Avenue along the oceanfront. The Coaster block between First Street North and the ocean and  Pablo and 1st Avenue (left foreground) contained Howard's Restaurant, Coaster Park (amusement rides; the small roller coaster had replaced a very large one), Coaster Bath House, another Howard's Restaurant, Beach Kiddie Land, [Hatfield's] Beach Shooting Gallery and The Hitching Post restaurant.  Across N. 1st Avenue was Pee Wee's Bar. In the 200 block was Perkins Bath House and Perkins Motel-Court. Wimpy Sutton was raised there; his grandmother owned it. Heading north were Bud's Cat and Mouse ball game and Bud's Fruit Juice Bar, the Cup & Saucer Restaurant, and the Playland Arcade in the Martin Williams building.  Across the street was the Griffin Amusement Park. Next was a Tastee Freeze and then Maybelle's Gifts. Then the pier.  At #412 was Tropical Gifts.  Guess Your Weight, Dave's Beer Garden, Danny's Gift Shop, Pridmore Salt Water Taffy, the White House furnished rooms, and an amusement park . Buddy's Bar was between 4th and 5th. The Sandpiper Hotel with its very cold pool occupied the 600 block.  Along the ocean front was the 7 Seas Drive In. It was hard hit by Hurricane Dora.

 


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