It’s fitting that one of Jacksonville’s most beautiful parks is named for one of its most talented architects.
Henry J. Klutho Park sits along Hogans Creek in Springfield, near the border between the historic neighborhood and downtown Jacksonville. It spans over 18 acres.
The park began its life at the turn of the 20th century, under the name Springfield Park. From 1914 to 1925, it served as the original home to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens before they moved on to their current North Jacksonville location. A giraffe sculpture was recently added as a memorial to the zoo’s original site.
It was also home to the city’s first community swimming pool.
A few years after the zoo left, the park was redesigned as part of a larger effort to revamp land surrounding Hogans Creek. Much of the design was done by Henry J. Klutho – under his guidance, the park was given a Venetian-influenced revamp.
Klutho is best known as the man who designed many of downtown Jacksonville’s most iconic historic buildings in the aftermath of the Fire of 1901. His significance to the city can’t be overstated – he designed dozens of downtown structures that still stand to this day, and set the tone for future development in the city’s urban core.
In addition to his work downtown, Klutho also designed several buildings in Springfield. This included multiple residential buildings as well as his own house, which is located on 9th St. and was designated as a historical landmark in 1978.
In 1984, twenty years after his death, the city renamed the park in honor of Klutho and his immense contributions to the city.
In recent years, some elements of the park have entered disrepair. Klutho’s gazebo is showing its age, and the softball field is currently far from playing shape. The areas underneath the viaducts crossing Hogans Creek are often used as shelter by those with nowhere else to go.
However, the unique addition of a disc golf course has provided new life to the park, and it still offers some of the best views in Jacksonville. It has plenty of vast, open space for laying out, relaxing, and enjoying the views.
Klutho Park is undoubtedly one of Jacksonville’s most beautiful parks. Here are some of our favorite shots of the park and its amenities.