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From Nuts to Babyboomers

Source of image: Booklet for the 5th Annual Southeastern Air Show and Exposition, Jacksonville, April 1950

SPACE FOR NEW FAMILIES — Hard to believe, but the oldest baby boomers are now in their mid sixties. The boom first began in 1946, one year after World War II. Many of the ex-service men got married and started families. Where to house them? Suburbs mushroomed across America, and Jacksonville proved no exception. Aimed at veterans, this 1950 ad touted new homes at Lake Forest Hills. The North Jacksonville subdivision is located north of the intersection of Edgewood Avenue and Lem Turner Road.

Lake Forest Hills was once a place for nuts — or, in other words, it used to be a pecan grove. During the 1800s, the road’s namesake, Lem Turner, operated a ferry across the Trout River. He also owned a farm in the area of today’s Lake Forest Hills. In about 1900, Turner’s holdings change hands. Part of them became a pecan plantation owned by a man named Simmons, according to Jacksonville history buff C. H. Taylor.

After World War II, some of the nut trees gave way to the homes of Lake Forest Hills. The complete cash requirement for a dwelling was only $50, or about $350 in current currency. The houses started at $7,300, or less than $52,000 today — not bad!

The model homes at Lake Forest Hills contained two and three bedrooms. According to the ad, the new residences boasted these advantages:

  • Masonry Construction
  • Insulated Attic
  • Steel Casement Windows
  • Tiled Window Sills
  • Tiled bath
  • Vestibule Entrance with Coat Closet
  • Double Sliding Closet Doors
  • Crosley Metal Kitchen
  • Linen Closet with Double Sliding Doors
  • Enclosed Storage Space or Laundry Room
  • Automatic Hot Water Heater
  • Large Lots Near Ribault River
  • Color Schemes to Suit
  • Landscaping

NEW CLASSROOMS — So many people moved into the general area that Lake Forest Elementary School opened in early 1950. It contained ten classrooms and a cafeteria, but future plans included the construction of an auditorium and two additional classrooms. The facility featured the then-new design of exterior walkways providing access to all of the structure’s rooms. A former teacher at the Northeast Springfield School, Glenn E. Johnson, was to serve as acting principal.

written by Glenn Emery

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