During the early 1900s, few Jacksonville architecture firms were in higher demand than Marsh & Saxelbye.
The creative team of William M. Marsh, a Jax native, and Harold F. Saxelbye, a native of England who also worked in New York, designed a massive collection of buildings throughout Jacksonville over a span of more than twenty years. In some sense, they inherited the throne of great local architecture from Henry J. Klutho.
Their work was featured in both the urban core and the city’s suburbs, which at the time were mostly separate municipalities. They were critical in defining the residential styles of Riverside, Avondale, San Jose, and more. Many of their buildings still stand today, though some have evolved past their original purpose. Over three dozen Marsh & Saxelbye designs are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There’s a good chance you’ve admired a Marsh & Saxelbye-designed building before without even realizing it. To highlight and honor their work, we’ve compiled a small collection of the best buildings designed by the firm – all of one of which are still standing.
The Karpeles Manuscript Library building at 101 W. 1st Street in Springfield was originally a Marsh & Saxelbye design commissioned by the First Church of Christ, Scientist.
The church, founded in 1897, moved into its new building in 1921. It utilized the Classical Revival-style building for its services for several decades before disbanding in the 1990s.
The church sold its building to David Karpeles, a manuscript collector who had already founded multiple manuscript museums throughout the country. Karpeles opened a new manuscript library in the building, where it has operated ever since. Aside from the addition of signage for the museum, very little about the building’s exterior design has been modified.
While the building itself is not individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s considered a contributing property to the Springfield Historic District.