Park History


Hemming Park, a 1.5-acre public square in the center of the city, is Jacksonville’s first and oldest park and the site of many significant historic events.  Land for the public square – identified in Isaiah Hart’s original plans for Jacksonville – was sold to the city in 1866 by Hart’s heirs, for a price of $10. The park became the cultural and social center of the city, and for over a century it was the heart of downtown, the hub of commerce, and the public meeting place for citizens from all walks of life.

Watch this video to learn more about Hemming Park’s storied past:


Timeline of Hemming Park events:

1866   Heirs of Isaiah Hart sell the park to the City of Jacksonville for $10. The park is known as City Park.

1869   The St. James Hotel is constructed across the street and the park is renamed St. James Park.

1899   Civil War veteran Charles C. Hemming donates a confederate monument to the park. The park is renamed Hemming Park.

1901   The Great Fire of 1901 burns and destroys most of Jacksonville’s urban core. The Charles C. Hemming monument is the lone structure left standing in the park.

1977   Hemming Park undergoes a transformation into a plaza. Bricks and pavers are introduced, covering the lawn and natural landscape. The park is then named Hemming Plaza.

2014   Friends of Hemming Park is awarded a contract to manage the plaza using placemaking, events, programs and new amenities to revitalize the public space. The plaza is renamed Hemming Park to reflect the aspiration to introduce more green space and encourage a greener, friendlier, more natural atmosphere.

2020   Mayor Lenny Curry orders the confederate statue removed from Hemming Park “as the start of a commitment to everyone in our city that we will find a way to respect each other and thrive.”

Hemming Park contains a variety of historical landmarks and monuments, including the Charles Edward Bennett Statue, a John F. Kennedy Memorial, the Great Fire of 1901 Plaque and the Axe Handle Saturday plaque.

Come visit us in Hemming Park to learn more about our history and see what the future has in store!

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