Dancy Terrace or Reddell Street between 9th and 10th, Main and Hubbard Streets, Springfield, Jacksonville, Florida
DancyT Bungalows -- Brief Description|
[The following is based upon my Mother's description of 2117 DancyT, the house where she and her family lived in the 1920s and 1930s; also on one of the west row houses which I walked through in fall 2003 and my May 2007 visit to the model home on renovation site. I have not actually been inside all the houses.]
Built in 1911, within 2 years of the building of the first Bungalow Court in Pasadena, CA by Sylvaneous Marsten*, Dancy Terrace or Redell Street as it was sometimes called was one of the earliest Bungalow Courts built in North America and certainly one of the largest. DancyT (my short-term), was constructed in the parallel bar formation, which preceded the later U-shaped courts of the late 19-teens and 1920s. There were 2 rows of 12 houses running south to north between 9th and 10th Streets in the first block east of Main Street. The rows face each other across a median sidewalkway (instead of a street) with small lawns on either side.
Perhaps in an attempt to make the common area seem more garden and less lawn, the sidewalk way has today been broken at intervals by square shaped walk arounds inside of which plants will grow. Where this occurs the front yard of the corresponding unit has been shortened.
At first glance the houses looked nearly alike -- detached 1-story wood frame vernacular painted white. However, in the design of the court as a whole the houses had alternating front porch columns and front porch roof styles. the houses directly opposite each other had reverse floor plans.
The crawlspace underneath the house, now blocked up, was originally covered with lattice board and used for storage. My Grandmother kept all the old loose boards she found in the neighborhood there in case she needed to make something. My Mom and her sister used some of those boards to build their playhouse in the side yard. Percy Leon, Jr., Mom's younger brother and his friends used to stash rocks under some of the houses so that when chased by boys from the next block, they would have a ready-to-hand supply of amunition.
The small attic was available as well for storage. My Grandfather kept his payment things there. As an attorney during the Depression years some of his clients could only pay him in trade. Much later on I read Shakespeare, Plato, James and Poe at 12 because a trunk full of books someone had "paid" him.
Each house had a front porch which ran the width of the house, and each had a small front yard area where grass, plants, shrubs grew. There was a sycamore tree in every yard but only 3 of those sycamores were left when I first saw DancyT. Now there are palm trees in each yard. Today the houses are being painted various colors. Perhaps in this time of too many passwords and UserIDs this will make it easier for some folks to find where they live.
Lanes or driveways continue to run south to north directly behind each row of houses at DancyT providing a back exit but there was no provision for car parking originally. Of course not everyone who lived at DancyT in the early years had a car and the Main Street Trolley was only a block away and ran from Bay Street downtown to 8th and Main just a block south of the T. More recently City Code was changed to allow diagonal parking at either end on 9th and 10th streets.
A side porch was initially exterior to the house though attached to it and was enclosed with lattice board. This porch has long since been absorbed into the houses and today serves as a utility/storage room but in it's early incarnation it served well as the play vacation bible school and on wash day the scene for sorting clothes which were washed in the side yard.
Each unit at DancyT originally had 2 bedrooms on one side of the house with a livingroom (with fireplace) and separate dining room on the other. The front bedroom, with two windows overlooking the side yard and 1 larger window overlooking the front porch, could be accessed both via the living room AND the 2nd middle bedroom. The second bedroom was accessed via the front bedroom and a door to the back hallway which ran the width of the house. Today, the 2 bedrooms are completely separate, one accessed via the livingroom and the other via the back hallway. Also today
Also accessed from the back hallway and across from the middle bedroom was a smaller room, the kitchen. Today this back room serves as a small third bedroom or den. At some point in the past the kitchen was moved to the back wall of the dining room area where it is today. Also off the back hall were a closet, and bathroom and the doorway to the "back" porch (which was really a side porch) leading to a side yard which separated the houses.
A small attic served as storage area.
Most of the houses seem to have changed little through the years except that the brick base has been removed from the front porch columns on alternate houses.
Here is a rough layout of the complex as a whole:
Here is a sketch of the layout of the interior (not to scale):
Notes: DancyT was built in 1911, the same year as the Florence Apartments at one time known as the Florida Hotel, were built on the northeast corner of 8th and Main Streets. The architect for the Florence Court Apartments was none other than Henry Klutho who also built the "Klutho" Apartments across Main Street, his own prairie style residence on Main which he later moved to 9th West and his film studios in the first block west at 9th and Main.
Until about 1922, Dancy Terrace is listed as "Dancy's Terrace" in the Jacksonville City Directories. I am curious to know who "Dancy" was. The builder or landowner. There is also a Dancy Street near where we lived in Murray Hill on the west side of Jacksonville. Interesting.
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