Room 205 St James Building
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Published by the
ARLINGTON COMMUNITY CLUB
December 5, 1924
Compiled and written by
F. W. BRUCE
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Strawberry Creek Bridge. Site of ancient saw mill.
ARLINGTON is situated on the east side of the St. Johns River,
one mile distant from Jacksonville, with the river lying between. From
the Arlington ferry landing the land rises in a gradual slope to fifty
feet above the river one and one half mile away. The natural drainage
of Arlington is excellent, little or no stagnant swamps to cause malaria
or breed noxious insects. The running streams are swift flowing with
clear water, fit for household purposes without treatment, while the
purest possible water for all use is found at a depth of about 60 feet
and obtained by driven wells.
ARLINGTON is within the limits of the oldest part of Florida
settled by civilized people. It is believed that landings were made on
the ocean shore only ten miles away, before any others on the east
coast of Florida.
THE SETTLEMENT of this part of the state was most romantic.
First, the French came, who started a colony at and above the mouth
of the "River May" (now called the St. Johns River). They were
exterminated soon after by Spaniards who settled along the river as
far up as what is now known as Lake George.
About the middle of the 1 8th century, Florida was taken from
Spain by the English during one of the general European wars and
held for twenty years then was ceeded back to Spain in exchange for
some of the West India Islands. Spain sold Florida to the United
States in 1819, but the change of flags did not take place until 1821.
Florida is the only state in our country where anything like white
slavery ever existed and then in defiance of law. It was brought about
by settling a large number of Mediteranean people along the east
coast as far south as New Smyrna, under a concession to an English
Subject by the Spanish Government, which people, though nomially
colonists were held in bondage until about 1780 and then liberated
while temporarily held by the English. Many of these former bonds-
men together with their English and Spanish masters have defendants
on the East Coast of Florida today and some of them within the
limits of Arlington.
At an early date the St. Johns River was lined with plantations
and orange groves for many miles above its mouth. These suffered
the vicisitudes of many wars, both savage and civilized and some of
the oldest buildings show battle scars, while relics of different kinds
of warfare are frequently unearthed.
In early slavery times the St. Johns River was a favorite point
for the debarkation of Africans and a ship yard was maintained on
Arlington River for building slave and pirate ships. Near by, on what
is now known as Mill or Strawberry Creek, there existed from earliest
time, a water power, saw and grist mill, contributing their products to
the above mentioned persuits.
This is believed to be the first and is certainly one of the very
few water power mills ever built in Florida. The old dam was dam-
aged by a flood soon after the civil war and never repaired but relics
of the old mills remain and the dam is utilized as a causeway across the
Strawberry Creek bottom on one of the principal roads.
Home on Arlington River
An interesting history of Arlington could be extended to a great
length but it would probably be inconsistent in a little descriptive book
on modern Arlington.
The topography of Arlington is, for Florida, unusually broken
which contributes to its scenic effect, the deep valley bottom, con-
taining swift flowing creeks, bordered by dense semi-tropical growth
add great beauty. Much of the area is in original forest consisting of
giant oaks, magnolia, bay, pine and palm, all beautiful either in combi-
nation or separately. The river shore is most picturesque, it being a
series of steep bluffs and gently ascending slopes, capable of develop-
ment for commercial purposes or for residences and adaptable for
either palace or cottage.
Home at Floral Bluff
Nothing or anything can be said of the soil different from that of
the rest of Florida, and might be described as spotted. There is some
that will grow anything in profusion that the climate will allow and
all will grow something. It is well adapted to oranges, and at one time
the river banks were lined for miles above and below Arlington with
groves which bore plentifully and of finest flavor but the winters are
some times too cold and frequently many are killed as in 1895 they
nearly all were, since which time that industry has been largely aban-
doned though there are yet some very handsome groves in this vicinity
but mostly of a hardier variety of Satsumas and Tangarines. Most
other temperate and semi-temparate fruits do well and all kinds of
vegetables can find soil adapted to them. Both winter and summer
gardens are cultivated advantageously with a near by ready market.
The climate is delightful. The thermometer seldom goes above
90 in summer and in winter it freezes only at infrequent intervals,
perhaps going two or three times as low as 30. Only once in forty
years has there been snow. Without doubt the temperature is influenc-
ed to a great extent by the proximity of the ocean which is only ten
miles east and the river in contact on the west. (see accompanying
map). It is believed there is no more cold than is required for good
health. Both the cold of winter and heat of summer are tempered
by almost continuous breezes.
The rains are fairly well distributed through the year and will
average about 55 inches. During summer electric storms are frequent
but nothing in severity compared to what they are in some of the more
mountainous sections of the country. Hurricanes and destructive
storms are nearly unknown, due probably to the configuration of the
coast lines of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Few storms
cross the Florida peninsular at latitude 30'-20'.
During a residence of
S forty years the writer has
seen but two storms of mark-
ed intensity and none that
I might be termed destructive,
SAin this locality.
Of course the sun is hot
..... in summer as it must always
be in countries where it is
nearly vertical, but in the
shade comfort can always be
In the pioneer period of
I" t .. s i early Spanish times there
Shi were a few occupants on se-
lected areas, conveyed by the
panish Government to fav-
4 ored ones by grants, one of
which was the RICHARD
MILL GRANT, on which
Arlington is largely situated
together with some other
grants in near proximity.
During the plantation period,
View along the Gilmore Road there was an ever increasing
number of large plantations
up to the Civil War, devoted to the raising of cotton, cane and corn,
worked exclusively by slave labor, but this period ended by the free-
ing of slaves and was followed by several dormant years and until the'
beginning of the orange culture.
Orange production was the principal industry for several years
but was practically ended by the freeze in 1895, though since then
it has somewhat revived.
In the early seventies people began to settle in attractive spots
to make homes, mostly maintaining their own boats as a means of
transportation to Jacksonville, this was inconvenient and did not con-
duce to rapid settlement.
About 1873 a church colony was established at what was called
Arlington Bluff, but it was a sectarian resort for only one denomina-
tion with the promoters in New Jersey and due to its exclusiveness it
ended as such organizations usually do.
Looking East from near ferry.
A little later another church colony was started at Egleston, it
also failed probably from similar causes together with its extreme civic
About the same time a settlement was begun at Floral Bluff and
all were welcome regardless of creed or wealth and as the motor boat
begun to be considered a feasable and reliable means of communication
that community grew and is now a prosperous village though consider-
ed in the same community as Arlington.
The principal impetus that caused Arlington to grow to the
prosperous condition which we residents are pleased to think it enjoys
Eastern Shore Womans Club and Free Library
now, was the organization of the Alderman Realty Company, their
purchase of the Richard Mill Grant and sub-division of it into building
sites and inducing home builders to live thereon. The Company was
organized in 1913 when not a house existed on the area of their
purchase of 1 100 acres but up to date there has been many score built
and equal progress has been made -on adjacent sub-divisions, all of
which, however, we consider as belonging to the same community.
Among the activities of the Alderman Realty Company was the
establishment of a ferry with Jacksonville which affords a sure and
convenient fifteen minute service across the river.
Bridge near Gilmore
There never has been an "Arlington Boom" nor has it ever been
advertised except to a slight extent when the site was first surveyed.
Whoever lives here now or ever lived here has done so from
unbiased choice, the only appeal being the physical advantages of
accessibility and healthful location. Dissatisfied or discontented people
are not desired for they do not make good citizens and the owners
of vacant property have refused to sell to such.
The most advance in the upbuilding of this locality has taken
place within the last five years, all by steady and unsolicited growth.
The comparatively rapid advance has been caused primarily by the
ferry passing out of the hands of the original company into the control
of an individual, at present, The Arlington Ferry and Land Company
of which A. C. Macy is General Manager.
The facilities consists of ferry landings at the foot of'Beaver Street
in Jacksonville and St. Johns Street in Arlington. Two ferry boats
capable of loading eight automobiles at a time, each, and making a
fifteen minute schedule. The river crossing is one and one fourth
miles, and during the pleasant summer evenings affords a delightful
Several good hard surfaced roads have been constructed. One
connecting the ferry landing with the noted Atlantic Beach Highway
about three miles distant and running at right angles to the river.
Another running parallel to the river crossing the first named road one
half mile therefrom and extending from the Atlantic Beach Highway
on the south to Chaseville on the north, a distance of about 'four miles.
This road is called the Chaseville Road and from it branches a road
Arlington Community House
to the village of Floral Bluff, about one half mile, and another branch
about two miles long due east to Gilmore which is a picturesque,
scattered village on the banks of the St. Johns River shaded by gigan-
tic live oaks, with nearby fruit orchards, fields and gardens. The
arboreal beauty of this section can not be surpassed any where.
An up to date school house was built in 1921 that cost $40,000.
It was partly paid for by Duval County and partly by a bonded school
Cherokee Avenue, Egleston
Purebred dairy stock, two miles from Ferry.
district and has a present enrollment of over 300 pupils and seven
teachers. The school embraces eight grades and the district is about
eight miles north and south by six from east to west.
There is one Episcopal church situated on the Atlantic Beach
Highway and a church of the Methodist denomination, though it is
called the Arlington Community Church and includes among its atten-
dants those of all beliefs. The pastor of this church is the active and
efficient Scout Master and his excellent Corps of Boy Scouts is a credit
to the community having done much to elevate the morals and refine-
ment of the young people.
Of clubs there are several, mostly for the advancement of the
interests of Arlington. The Boosters Club, of Floral Bluff. A Social
Club at South Arlington. The Ayean Brotherhood of Arlington. The
Vista San Juan with members from all sections. The Eastern Shore
Womans Club and Free Library, with a library for free circulation of
about 2000 volumes which'has been a big factor in elevating and
inspiring the mentality of our people.
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As seen from Arlington across the river, the largest
Naval Stores yard in the world. Ship at dock loading
Last to be mentioned is the Arlington Community Club which
functions almost exclusively as a civic Club and works for the better-
ment and advancement of all worthy projects of a public nature, in
all sections of Arlington Community. It is believed that none of the
Orange Grove at South Arlington.
roads would have been built, the school district organized and the
school house made possible, several bridges constructed and others
made safe or the public order maintained without the efforts of the
Farm Cane grinding and boiling place.
Arlington Community Club. Its membership is drawn from the entire
area of the community, is by election after report of investigating
committee and is subject to expulsion for misdemeanor. Its ethics are
based on patriotism, morality and civic harmony and its members
obligated thereto, for the violation of which members have been
Just before this Country entered the World War, an organization
became operative as a Vigilance Club for the suppression of disloyalty
and lawlessness, which was most effective. Later the Vigilantes were
organized into the East Coast Guards, to be a body always subject to
call for the enforcement of good order, sale of War Bonds, suppression
of riots and to furnish immediately a body of men of some training
to fill most any gap in an emergaricy. After the end of the war, there
being no longer need for such an organization it was re-formed into
the present Arlington Community Club, operating under state charter.
As a club it is believed to be unique.
It is a municipal government without election or authority, a
court without jurisdiction, an intelligence bureau, a promoter of pro-
jects, and a monitor of morals and good behavior, but the discussion
of politics and religion are strictly prohibited. No question arrises
having a bearing on the welfare of the community but what is discussed
and placed before the appropriate committee for report and accom-
plishment if worthy, whether it be a school house, an extended mail
service or the fixing of roads.
It works well, is no public tax and we want no other government
as long as we have our present orderly community.
Entrance to the grounds of an Arlington home.
There are but few industries. A list of those of a mechanical
nature includes: The Seaboard Dredging Company's repair shops
and dock. J. Oleson and Son, boat builders and marine railways.
Morrell, boat builder at Floral Bluff. Bennetts Saw and Planing Mill
on Arlington River. J. J. Philips turpentine still near Arlington Ferry.
There are several small dairy farms, chicken farms and some
truck growing but the larger part of the people have employment in
The opportunities for farming are as good as in most any part of
Florida but the residents seem to believe that occupation in Jackson-
ville is more lucrative.
The people of every country and every state are represented in
Arlington but all are intensely American, believe in the constitution
with all it guarantees and local control consistent therewith.
The average citizen replying to the question of why he chose
Arlington for a residence, will reply, that he does not like life in a
city but desires the proximity of an up to date town with the freedom
of country life. We want more thinking the same way. We believe
there is not a more law abiding or intelligent community in the state,
then why hamper ourselves with a complicated government when
elevation of intelligence and moral principal will give better results
than a drastic, expensive and arbitrary city government? We are with-
in about two miles of the County Court House, which is nearer the
source of legal control than most towns or communities.
Our County Officers are faithful, competent and zealous and life
under County control is good enough for us.
The welfare of Arlington depends on the prosperity of Jackson-
ville, and Arlington is an asset to Jacksonville as well, as all hinter-
lands are an asset to their metropolis. A prosperous hermit city can-
JACKSONVILLE OUR METROPOLIS
The writer has watched the growth and progress of Jacksonville
since 1869 when it had less than 4000 inhabitants, with no exports
except a little lumber and limited amount of imports for near by
distribution. At this time Jacksonville requires many railroads, steamer
lines and independent ships to care for her commerce to all parts of
the world. Her harbor facilities are surpassed by few American. ports
and whereas in 69 there was but seven feet of water on St. Johns Bar,
there is now over thirty feet at mean low water and ships of that draft
can be taken to Jacksonville. This is in every respect an up to date
city with as good water, electric, police and fire service as is to be found
in any city of the country. The 125,000 citizens of Jacksonville came
from every country and every state and are of the best of those
countries, every one a believer in their city, its future and are truly
Ready for the round-up.
Americans, have a Chamber of Commerce of 4000 members and every
one a worker.
Jacksonville may not be pleased with this outside boosting but
it is introduced to show the advantage of our near by proximity.
ADVANTAGES OF ARLINGTON
The area considered with the environment of Arlington is en-
closed in boundaries about six miles square or from the Atlantic
Beach Highway, south, to the St. Johns River on the north and con-
tains sites well adapted to homes of all classes or for business purposes.
It is the most picturesque and beautiful part of Duval County.
It is accessible to Jacksonville just across the river by ferry, or by
Under the spreading oaks and hanging moss.
road and bridge via South Jacksonville and to one of the most cele-
brated beaches in the country, only 1 2 miles away by as good a road
as can be found anywhere and has the advantage of being in immediate
contact with a large city.
The source of water supply is artesion, absolutely healthful, pala-
table and the quantity unlimited. Electricity will soon be available
for all purposes furnished by the celebrated city plant of Jacksonville.
There are unlimited locations well adapted to industrial or com-
mercial purposes whenever there is a demand for them. It is not ex-
pected that the water front will be extensively used for-business until
that of Jacksonville has been fully occupied, but when that time comes
it will be available and as suitable as any of the river shore, besides
having good advantages peculiarly its own.
The facilities for household convenience are, for a rural commun-
ity, exceptional. There are six stores, variously distributed, all dealing
in groceries, two of them being general merchandise and one, general
merchandise and wholesale. Also there is ample garage service.
If you wish to live in Florida then investigate Arlington for your
self, for it would be a reflection on your intelligence to expect you to
take the say so of any one, especially of those prejudiced in its favor
as we are.
We want more good citizens, those willing to help further in the
uplift that shall make Arlington as nearly ideal as it is possible for
human endeavor to do it.
What has been said, has not been with a view to commercializing
the advantages of Arlington but to enhance our opportunities for social,
mental and moral improvement, but it is no more than fair to say to
those who may become citizens and possibly investors, that we believe
the chance for profitable investment is as good as in any section of the
state, and perhaps better, for this section has never been exploited.
Land that could have been bought for a few dollars an acre,
within two miles of our post office, ten years ago, can now be sold for
several hundred, and in some cases has been sold for several thousand.
Inquiry is very active and many sales have been made within the last
few months, and many houses are in course of erection. We do not
wish to encourage speculation but desire investors with a view to stable
values and those who, will become permanent residents.
We have no agents for the promotion of Arlington but would
refer prospective investors or citizens to correspond or confer with
the following representative citizens.
WM. BRADSHAW, Post Master and Merchant.
A. C. MACY, Gen. Manager, Arlington Ferry and Land Co.
E. S. CRAVEN, President, Arlington Community Club.
J. H. B. SCHEUYEAULE, Real Estate.
W. E. DAVIS, Real Estate and Merchant.
JOHNSON & ENGE, Real Estate and Builders.
(Address) Arlington, Florida.
Any or all of the above can be found by inquiry at the ferry
landing or at the Post Office, and their residences are near by.
WHILE IN FLORIDA VISIT OUR PLANT
J. Olson and Son
Boat Building and Marine Railway
Yacht Work a Specialty
Phones: County 9403-County 8605
Just across the River from Jacksonville
Capacity of Ways ranging from 50 to 500 tons.
Gas Engine Work a Specialty.
If in need of repairs, see us or call.
FIRST CLASS S WORK
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Arlington Ferry and
Boat every Thirty Minutes.
Sunday and holidays, fifteen minute schedule.
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; Oliver Frieseke
I Wholesale and Retail Groceries, Hay, Grain and Feed.
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CASA GRANDE Villa Sites and other circumjacent property
J. H. B. Scheuyeaule
PAUL K. REID, Proprietor
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F. Bruce Johnson Joseph Enge
JOHNSON & ENGE
BUILDERS OF PERMANENT HOMES
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General Merchant and Post Master
BANK OF SOUTH JACKSONVILLE
State, County and City Depository.
We aspire to the fullest confidence of the entire
community and wish to lead in the financial
transactions of Arlington.
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FLORAL BLUFF CHASEVILLE
On the Picturesque St. Johns River
Offers excellent investment opportunities. Its strategic
location, right in the path of progress between Jacksonville (The
Gate Way City) and Jacksonville's wonderful Beaches.
If you are planning to have an ideal home in Florida,
see Arlington and adjacent properties. If you care to make an
investment that will pay quick dividends, Arlington offers you a
splendid opportunity. Liberal Terms. Write,
316-18 Dyal-Upchurch Bldg.
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Geo. W. Parkhill,
DREDGING AND CONTRACTING
Inlet and Jetty
River and Harbor Improvements
Home Office: 204 East Bay Street
Ship Yard and Shops
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