Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
First Coast

Confederate Park Has One Of Jacksonville’s Most Prominent Civil War Monuments

"A tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy" greets visitors to Jacksonville's Confederate Park on Sunday, June 14, 2020.
Bill Bortzfield
/
WJCT News
"A tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy" greets visitors to Jacksonville's Confederate Park on Sunday, June 14, 2020.

One of Jacksonville’s oldest and most historic parks will likely soon look different as Mayor Lenny Curry has vowed the city will take down Confederate monuments around Jacksonville.

Confederate Park, which serves as the entrance to Springfield, just north of Downtown, started life as Dignan Park in 1907, according to Visit Jacksonville. It was named after a chairman of the city’s Board of City Works.

But it would soon become known for paying homage to the Confederacy.

The United Confederate Veterans chose Jacksonville as the site for their annual reunion in 1914, and the park as the site for a monument honoring the Women of the Southland, according to MetroJacksonville.com. Five months after the reunion of an estimated 8,000 former Confederate soldiers, the city renamed the park, and the monument was erected the next year.

The Confederate Monument at Confederate Park is pictured in this postcard from approximately 1930.
Credit State Library & Archives of Florida
The Confederate Monument at Confederate Park is pictured in this postcard from approximately 1930.

The monument is arguably the centerpiece of the park today. Completed in 1915, it was commissioned by the Florida Division of United Confederate Veterans.

Its plaque is dedicated “In Memory of the Women of our Southland 1861-1865” and greets visitors with the following inscription:

Let this mute but eloquent structure speak to generations to come, of a generation of the past.
Let it repeat perpetually the imperishable story of our women of the 60’s. Those noble women who sacrificed their all upon their country’s alter.
Unto their memory the Florida Division of United Confederate Veterans Affectionately dedicate this monument.

pc1381.jpg
Credit State Library & Archives of Florida
The Confederate Park lake shore path is illustrated in this 1923 postcard.

Today the park is showing its age. On Sunday there were some cracked sidewalks, an overflowing pond and an entryway that looked in need of repair with decaying statues.

The entrance from Main Street to Confederate Park.
Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
The entrance from Main Street to Confederate Park.

The city purchased the twenty acres between Main and Liberty streets to connect the grounds of Springfield Park – now Klutho Park – and the Waterworks to create a continuous greenway located at 956 Hubbard St., according to Florida State College at Jacksonville.

PC12525.jpg
Credit State Library & Archives of Florida
A view of Hogans Creek at Confederate Park in this postcard from approximately 1930.

In 2017, there was an earlier failed movement to take down Confederate monuments in Jacksonville. At the time, former Florida Times-Union columnist Ron Littlepage suggested turning Confederate Park into a history park – warts and all.

Nothing came of the suggestion, but as Mayor Curry directs city crews to remove Confederate monuments, it would appear Confederate Park’s future is due for a fresh discussion.

20200614_190002.jpg
Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
A photo of the "In Memory of the Women of our Southland 1861-1865" statue in Confederate Park taken on Sunday, June 14, 2020.

Additional Historic Images Of Jacksonville's Confederate Park

pc6173.jpg
Credit State Library & Archives of Florida
PC14975.jpg
Credit State Library & Archives of Florida

pr05282.jpg
Credit State Library & Archives of Florida
pr05282_0.jpg
Credit State Library & Archives of Florida
20200614_185946_0.jpg
Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
"A tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy" plaque and statue is pictured Sunday, June 14, 2020.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.