Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville FloridaFlorida . Road Trip Stops . Washington DC
Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville Florida
My son and I visited here on our first road trip to Washington DC. The Kingsley Plantation was the third stop scheduled on our Roadtrippers itinerary. It was the first place that was actually open for us to visit since we left so early.
Here’s the thing about plantations… they are absolutely beautiful in a natural kind of way. The open fields, the beaches, the trees, the older buildings are all of the things that I enjoy seeing at plantations.
That said, I’m fully aware of the violence and mistreatment that was slavery. I do not condone slavery and it hurts my heart that people were ever purchased, forced to work, and mistreated/abused by others.
We don’t visit plantations to celebrate their violent histories. I visit them to learn and remember our history and to see the beauty of our natural resources. My son is a history buff and I enjoy showing him how people lived back then. What life was like all around, not just for the privileged.
I believe this was both of our first visit to a plantation.
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About the Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville Florida
Florida’s plantation period lasted from 1763 – 1865. During that time, Fort George Island had many owners. One of them was Zephaniah Kingsley. He lived on the Kingsley Plantation for 25 years, from 1814-1837 after it was built in 1797 or 1798.
When Zephaniah moved to the island, he brought his wife and three children. They had a fourth child while living here. He had purchased his wife as a slave from West Africa. She assisted with management of the plantation and was able to acquire her own land and slaves when Zephaniah freed her in 1811.
The Kingsley Plantation produced Sea island cotton, citrus, sugar cane, and corn with the work of about 60 slaves. This was one of four major plantation complexes owned by Zephaniah as part of about 32,000 acres and 200 slaves that he owned during his lifetime throughout Florida.
The Kingsley Plantation is free to visit and sits at 11676 Palmetto Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida 32226. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but is open from 9am – 5pm all other days. The plantation’s 60 acres are now managed by the National Park Service. It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places on September 29, 1970.
Second Visit to the Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville Florida
We visited the Kingsley Plantation again with my bestie on our way to Savannah in February of 2020. She had not been here before so it was a great place to stop and stretch our legs after a couple hours of driving. We had a good time learning what it was like back then.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the peacocks the second time we visited. My son and I were told the peacocks actually lived at a neighboring property but sometimes wandered over to the plantation. Bestie loves peacocks so it would’ve been cool for them to be there this visit.
We did get to see one at a house that we passed when we were leaving. It was a bit far away from the car so we couldn’t see it well. But we could see that it was an absolutely beautiful bird.
We have a love for what we call “murder roads” which are small, one or two lane roads surrounded by nothing but trees seemingly out in the middle of nowhere. You are on one of these murder roads driving in to get to the plantation. We stopped in a few places to get pictures where there was a clearing in the trees.
This was easily one of the best free stops I’ve ever visited. For me, it’s a humbling experience seeing how plantations were run and how workers lived back then. You get to see how property’s used to be without the overcrowdedness of today’s subdivisions.
It’s nice to get outside and take in the fresh air and natural resources that you can’t really get with city living.
I’d highly recommend this stop. Have you been there? I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Please drop a few lines in the comments box below and let me know how your visit went.
In the meantime, safe travels!
Written by Kris M.
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