Kingsley Plantation

kingsley_plantation

The Kingsley Plantation house, constructed in 1898 is the oldest planter’s residence still standing in Florida. You can visit the grounds and buildings on Ranger guided tours. The Kingsley Plantation house is located just 20 minutes south of Amelia Island in northeast Florida. It’s a scenic route from Amelia Island along Heckscher Drive through Big and Little Talbot Islands then onto Fort George Island. Once you make the turn off Heckscher, the unpaved road leading into the plantation cuts through 2 miles of thick, native maritime forest.

 

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many people made Florida their home. Some sought to make their fortunes by obtaining land and establishing plantations. Others were forced to come to Florida to work on said plantations, their labor providing wealth to the people who owned them. Some of the enslaved would later become free landowners during a dangerous time of shifting alliances and policies. All these people played a pivotal role in the history of Kingsley Plantation.

 

During Florida’s plantation period (1763-1865), Fort George Island was owned by many planters. The site name comes from one of those owners, Zephaniah Kingsley. The Kingsley’s called the plantation home from 1814 to 1837. Zephaniah Kingsley moved to Fort George Island in 1814. He brought a wife and three children. With an enslaved work force of about 60, the Fort George plantation produced Sea Island cotton, citrus, sugar can, and corn. Kingsley continued acquiring land in north Florida and eventually possessed more than 32,000 acres, including our major plantation complexes and more than 200 slaves.

 

The Kingsley Plantation is open seven days a week, from 9:00am to 5:00pm, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The plantation is free admission. You can explore the grounds at Kingsley Plantation, which includes the slave quarters, barn, waterfront, plantation house, kitchen house, and interpretive garden. The main plantation house is closed for structural work during the week, but weekly tours are available Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00am and 3:00pm. House Tours are limited to 12 people by reservation only. For more information or to make a reservation for a tour, call 904.251.3537.

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