OLD ARLINGTON: Jacksonville University

A Beacon in Arlington

Jacksonville University has been an essential part of the Arlington neighborhood since the late 1940’s when it relocated to Arlington along the St. Johns River. Jacksonville University was founded in 1934 in downtown Jacksonville as a junior college offering night classes. It quickly became a four-year, co-ed institution and moved to its present location in Arlington. JU continues to attract new students through a new football/lacrosse stadium, improved academic spaces and research laboratories, the new College of Health Science building, new campus dining options, and an essential addition to campus, the River House.

In the future, students can enjoy the newly constructed $12 million Dolphin Residence Hall, a 277-bed housing development that is part of JU’s pledge to redevelop Arlington in partnership with the city. Just off of University Boulevard, Dolphin Residence Hall will include areas for games and activities, laundry facilities, offices, classrooms, study areas, and a multipurpose room. In addition, JU recently bought 40 acres of riverfront property south of the campus as part of its efforts to expand and to help redevelop in Arlington. It is working with the city on area improvement plans.

The River House

The Jacksonville University River House, popularly nicknamed the River House Pub, was built in 1964 as the President’s home. It is now the unofficial hangout spot for Jacksonville University. The River House officially reopened their doors last semester, after a lengthy remodel to make it into a gathering place.

JU-River-HouseThe River House has something for everyone. If you want to hold special events or meetings, they have a banquet room immediately through the two front double doors. Looking for a quiet place to a hold meeting or study session? Then you have your pick of the two conference rooms in the back. They also have a nice sitting area with a fireplace off to the side of the banquet room, which opens into an outdoor deck.

You will find the River House Pub on the right, down the steps, which open up into a sit-down, pub-style restaurant with high chairs, table tops and wine and beer on tap. It’s the details that make the River House Pub special, such as using a six pack beer carton to hold condiments and napkins or the mirror that reflects the St. John’s River. The Pub has an open patio with lights hanging from the trees at night to give it a special glow. If that doesn’t do it for you, the view of the city skyline and the St. Johns River will.

The scenery is not the only thing that will keep you coming to the River House Pub. The atmosphere gives off a friendly vibe between staff and customers. The service is fast, and the food is fresh and hot. I tried the spicy Sriracha chicken wings with steak cut fries. Now, if you like spicy and wings, then these Sriracha wings are perfect for you. My mouth was burning so much I douched them in blue cheese, and they were awesome.

If I haven’t sold you on the River House Pub yet, then you will be glad to know they have four flat screen TV’s, open mic nights, trivia, musical performances, college football Saturdays and NFL Sundays, which get pretty crowded.

This semester their non-pub hours are Sun-Thurs 10am-1am; Fri & Sat 10am-2am. Their pub hours are Mon-Sat 12pm-12am & Sunday 4pm-12am. If you have questions you can call 256-7050.

About Shannon Blankinship

Shannon Blankinship is the Outreach Director for St. Johns Riverkeeper and contributes regularly via the “On The River” column building awareness for the many issues that impact the St. Johns River. Shannon received her B.S. from Purdue University in Natural Resources Economics and Policy and her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville. She is currently an elected official in Duval County serving on the Soil and Water Conservation District. She is a board member for the local nonprofit The Girls Gone Green and regularly contributes articles affecting animals and health. She is a Springfield resident and works to promote all things great in the urban core neighborhoods.

april, 2022