Nestled on the southern bank of the St. John’s River, the St. Nicholas area of Jacksonville, Florida is a residential area with tree-lined boulevards, schools, parks, and small businesses. Its origin as the site of a Spanish Fort gives it a unique position in the history of Jacksonville.
The center of the village is now located where Atlantic and Beach Boulevard intersect just east of I-95. Fort St. Nicholas, constructed in 1783, was located adjacent to Kings Road. This afforded access to a ferry which crossed the river to the British settlement of Cow Ford, now known as Jacksonville. The Spanish offered protection to the missionaries and settlers of the area. The fort is no longer standing, but a hard-to-locate marker beside Atlantic Avenue indicates its position along the river.
History and architectural buffs can find the homes of the descendants of the two original families who settled in the area. Spanish land grants were secured by the Bagley and Hogan families, who originally owned several hundred acres. These homes can be found at the foot of Palmer Terrace. One in particular was constructed in Tudor Revival style and dates back to the last century. Another displays typical Queen Anne style. Palmer Terrace ends with a park, offering a beautiful river view.
Nearby is the Historical St. Nicholas Cemetery, with grave markers of early residents dating back to the 1800s. St. Nicholas Train Station Park, situated on the south side of Atlantic Avenue, is the home of the St. Nicholas Train station building, a remnant of the now-abandoned Florida East Coast rail line.
Visitors will be rewarded with the opportunity to discover many unique pieces of historic Jacksonville, which St. Nicholas residents have lovingly preserved.