Much of the land that is now Southside was owned and operated by a couple of local dairy farmers dating back to the 1800’s. In the 1970’s, the University of North Florida opened its doors and began to put the area on the map. The Mayo Clinic campus opened in the 1980’s bringing jobs and medical tourism to the area. When the St. Johns Town Center opened in the early 2000’s, the area was transformed into a popular place to shop, eat, work and live.
1. Brackridge Park
Address: 8650 Newton Rd Jacksonville, FL 32216
Duval County purchased the land for the park in 1954 from the Skinner Family, who by 1905 had accumulated 30,000 to 40,000 acres on the Southside. Initially a soil borrow pit and then a sanitary landfill, the property was developed and opened as a park in 1974.
2. University of North Florida
Address: 1 UNF Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32224
The University’s campus was first established in 1969 when 1,000 acres between Downtown Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach were set aside for development of the University. Construction on classrooms and buildings began in 1971, and UNF opened its doors to 2,027 juniors in the fall of 1972.
3. The Orange T-Rex
Address: 10150 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32246
Leftover from the 1970’s Goony MiniGolf Course, this large concrete dino has stood tall since the early 1970’s. The T-Rex is the last remaining artifact from the era. In 2007, UNF’s building and construction management students gave the orange beast a makeover. To this day, the T-Rex can be seen from Beach Blvd and at night, its eyes glow red.
4. Mayo Clinic
Address: 4500 San Pablo Rd S, Jacksonville, FL 32224
In 1986 Mayo Clinic brought 40 medical and surgical specialties to North Florida. Their development in the 1980’s has led to the growth of Jacksonville’s Medical Tourism industry. Jacksonville's Davis family originally donated the 400 acres of Southside land – just west of San Pablo Road to the Mayo Clinic.
5. St. Johns Town Center
Address: 4663 River City Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32246
The land that is now home to the St. Johns Town Center was once private land owned by the Skinner family. This land was used by the family as hunting grounds and cattle-grazing territory. Through the development of the mega shopping center, the cattle history remains. There is still a cattle tunnel that leads the from the westside of the town center under J Turner Butler Blvd. Every shop and dining experience you can think of is at the St. Johns Town Center.