Stop 17-Buffalo Solider Home

The next stop is the Buffalo Soldier Home in Brooklyn. Halfway through the Civil War, in March 1863, black Union soldiers occupied Confederate Jacksonville for nearly three weeks. Perhaps one of those United States Colored Troops first called the heart pine cottage at 328 Chelsea Street home. Though former slaves and black Union soldiers first settled this western part of Brooklyn in the 1860s and ’70s, no records indicate the original owner of the small wooden house. In February 1864, black soldiers manned a Union stockade defending Jacksonville from the Confederacy. It was located in the marshes of what’s now inner-city LaVilla and down to Brooklyn, where Camp Foster stood near today’s Jackson and Magnolia streets, just a couple blocks from this home that’s now considered by some the Last Buffalo Soldier’s House.

As the Union occupation of Confederate towns like Jacksonville ended and the Reconstruction Era began, Confederate veteran Miles Price divided this former plantation into lots and sold them to former slaves and black Union soldiers. No one knows why he named the area Brooklyn. 328 Chelsea might be the last “hall-and-parlor” cottage in Jacksonville. Hall-and-parlor houses, called so to denote order from the street, “porch-parlor-hall-and-bedrooms,” took root in the Southern countryside. Though rarely found in cities, this style fit Brooklyn, which was considered countryside in the 1870s. Efforts are being considered for preserving this home into a museum in the future. Head to the next stop and press play.

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