Kingsley Plantation, Jacksonville

Kingsley Plantation is the site of a former estate in Jacksonville, Florida, that was named for an early owner, Zephaniah Kingsley, who spent 25 years there. It is located at the northern tip of Fort George Island at Fort George Inlet, and is part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve managed by the U.S. National Park Service.The plantation was originally 1,000acre, most of which has been taken over by forest; the structures and grounds of the park now comprise approximately 60acre. Evidence of Pre-Columbian Timucua life is on the island, as are the remains of a Spanish mission named San Juan del Puerto. Under British rule in 1765, a plantation was established that cycled through several owners while Florida was transferred back to Spain and then the United States. The longest span of ownership was under Kingsley and his family, a polygamous and multiracial household controlled by and resistant to the issues of race and slavery.Free blacks and several private owners lived at the plantation until it was transferred to the State of Florida in 1955. It was acquired by the National Park Service in 1991. The most prominent features of Kingsley Plantation are the owner's house—a structure of architectural significance built probably between 1797 and 1798 that is cited as being the oldest surviving plantation house in the state—and an attached kitchen house, barn, and remains of 25 anthropologically valuable slave cabins that endured beyond the U.S. Civil War . The foundations of the house, kitchen, barn and the slave quarters were constructed of cement tabby, making them notably durable. Archeological evidence found in and around the slave cabins has given researchers insight into African traditions among slaves who had recently arrived in North America.
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Kingsley Plantation Reviews
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  • My husband and I recently visited Kingsley Plantation and thoroughly enjoyed it. The history of the plantation is very interesting and the employees are more than willing to share many stories with yo...  more »
  • Located to the northeast of Jacksonville, about 30 min via I-295 N and FL 105/A1, is the beautiful historic farmhouse on the banks of Mud River whose facilities are very well preserved. To access the farm has to take the dirt road that cuts through the woods of the Fort George Island Cultural State Park, right in the middle of the environmental preservation region known as Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. Admission is free and is open from 9 to 17 hours, daily. Recommend!
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  • As a local tour guide I had the pleasure of bringing a group to Kingsley Plantation today. Michelle was a park ranger and she was absolutely fabulous with her details and history knowledge. The weathe...  more »
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  • What a great piece of history! I loved it. Beautiful grounds. The workers had us separate cotton from the seeds, not easy... Slave work expectations were listed, wow. Amazing how much work they did daily. I never knew about tabby as a building material. Takes 3 hours to do it 100%.
  • Beautiful beautiful place. Very informative. Be wary of the 2 mile dirt road entrance. Also bring bug spray!
  • Beautiful area filled with decades of history. Workers were very kind and played their roles well. Will go again!
  • The main house was closed and only available to reserved tours during the weekends. If you are interested in local history, this is a must see.
  • Historical site. Interesting audio tour. Friendly park Rangers. Junior Ranger program kept kids engaged with story.

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Where to stay in Jacksonville

Accommodations are spread out across Jacksonville and mainly consist of large hotels. For a more scenic stay, consider a hotel on the riverfront or the coast. Beachside accommodations provide the added benefit of being in a much quieter and slower-paced part of the city, but you are farther away from the majority of the city's cultural attractions. If you are planning a longer stay, consider a vacation rental with a kitchen to help ease food costs. These rentals are frequently located in residential neighborhoods.
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