Historic Markers Across Florida

The Jacksonville, Mayport and Pablo Railroad

Marker ID:  
Location: near the intersection of Arington Rd and Marcheck St., Jacksonville, FL
County: Duval
Coordinates: N 30° 20.007    W 081° 36.108
  30.33345    -81.6018
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMJKWR


On the morning of May 17, 1888, residents in the wooded communities of Old Arlington woke up to the new sounds of a chugging steam engine and the rattle of railroad cars. It was on that day the Jacksonville, Mayport and Pablo Railroad and Navigation Company - the "J.M.&P. Railroad" - began twice daily service from Arlington to Mayport and the beaches areas. The railway was chartered in 1886 by Alexander Wallace, a native of Scotland who owned a successful lumber mill in east Jacksonville and believed Mayport had the potential to become the shipping port for all of northeast Florida. As a destination point for passengers, Wallace also built the Burnside Hotel on the ocean where Hanna Park is now located.

The opening of the railroad provided the people of Jacksonville and the Arlington communities with convenient access to the beaches. Passengers from Jacksonville were brought by the steamer Kate Spencer to a dock on the St. Johns River, near where the Mathews Bridge is now located, to board the train for their ride to the beach. Stops were made in Eggleston (a station at the south end of Paine Street which was complete with a waiting room), Verona, Gilmore, Cosmo, Idlewild, and Mt. Pleasant, small communities lying near and east of Arlington. Unfortunately, Wallace died unexpectedly in 1889 and his hotel burned down soon afterward. His widow sold the railroad in 1892. The new owners extended the track across the Arlington River in the Clifton area to South Jacksonville, ultimately providing 28 miles of railway to the ocean.

The rail service closed in 1895, but for a while handcars were used on the track to deliver the mail. The rails were taken up in 1900 and reportedly shipped to Cuba. The roadbed became known as the tram road and served as a footpath between the small communities. Today, much of the eastern portion of the rail bed has been incorporated into the Wonderwood Expressway.

Old Arlington Inc.