The rise and fall of a streetcar suburb: Lackawanna

McDuff Street in Lackawanna circa 1957
McDuff Street in Lackawanna circa 1957 (Modern Cities)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Lackawanna is historic streetcar suburb on Jacksonville’s Westside that largely developed as a result of railroad growth and investment in the area, dating back to the days of the Florida Central Railroad.

The railroad was once owned by notorious carpetbagger George William Swepson, a swindler notable for his involvement in the 1868 North Carolina railroad bonds scandal.

The railroad line ran between Jacksonville and Quincy when it was acquired by Sir Edward Reed in 1882 and renamed the Florida Central and Western Railroad.

Additional acquisitions added to Reed’s railroad empire, resulting in the line being rebranded as the Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad in 1888.

While Lackawanna may not be seen as ritzy as nearby Riverside/Avondale or up-and-coming like its neighbor Murray Hill, it’s about as authentic as Jacksonville can get.

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