Kingsley Plantation, Jacksonville

4.5
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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  • This was a more of a self guided tour as the NPS Range(s) only work weekends. One gets a sense of what life on a plantation was like as slaves one to two centuries ago. Living quarters, work sheds, et...  more »
  • The old plantation farm and buildings are on site. There is a garden, bookstore behind the house, signs with explanations, and a barn. All near a river. Part of the Timucuan Ecological Preserve, a nat...  more »
  • Love the history of this place. People don't realize that Florida's Plantation experience was different since this was Spanish territory. It's a great story and historic gem. Wish property was more in...  more »
Google
  • Absolutely wonderful home tour with the very knowledgeable Park Ranger Tim Donald. Incredibly interesting learning more about Free blacks and Spanish Florida as well as the manufacture of Indigo. The plantation and slave homes are in very good shape for the age and coastal region. There are tall Palmettos on the property that were planted by Anta Kingsley and her daughter Sarah. The water here was the bluest I've seen in northeast Florida. The drive in and out to the tip of St George Island is an opportunity to gaze upon Florida without human influence. Stunning nature surrounds you. Well worth the drive and free admission. Be sure to call a few days ahead to reserve your spot on the home tour which fills up quickly as they only allow ten people per tour and the tours are only held on Saturday and Sunday at 11 and 3, to preserve the home. Great for kids that can calmly listen to storytellers. Highly recommend.
  • Wonderful hidden gem. Found it by accident as it's not well posted. See a beautifully preserved slave plantation. Spent a wonderful afternoon wandering the grounds with the free audio guide and came away with a much better understanding of the implications of slavery. Do take the time to visit this hidden gem. It's a two mile drive down a narrow lane but well worth it!
  • Took my family here last weekend and had a blast. My daughter loved running around the plantation and it was beautiful by the water. The staff were excellent, and we enjoyed learning about the special kind of cotton they grew here. Need to come back when it’s warmer and walk around more.
  • Very interesting self guided historical site. Needs more information on plaques seems it could use more donations for improving area.we visited on a quiet cold afternoon. There was a couple there with their photographer shooting what it appeared to be engagement photos. Other than that we were alone .
  • The plantation house is the oldest in the state. The walking tour with a park ranger was very interesting. The original house had separate bedrooms with no doors to the main living room. The slaves that worked the plantation could plant their own crops and sell them to make money. Spanish law allowed a slave to buy his freedom at half price.
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