Hemming Park is the physical heart of Jacksonville. It is the city’s focal point for art, community and culture. Every first Wednesday the site hosts Art Walk.
Founded by Isaiah Hart in 1857, it was originally known as “City Park” because of its centralized location. Later it was called “St. James Park,” renamed for the world-class hotel that was located on the northern boundary of the park.
In 1899 the city renamed the park once again to Hemming Park in honor of Charles Hemming. He donated the Confederate Monument which stands firm in the middle of the park, which is the middle of the city. There is some historical significance here. The symbolism speaks volumes to the thoughts and attitudes of Jacksonvillians after the Civil War.
The monument survived the Great Fire in 1901, a fantastic feat considering that nearly 150 city blocks were engulfed in flames that lasted for hours.