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Orange Park

Orange Park is a suburb of Jacksonville and is located adjacent to the southern limits of the city. The area known as Greater Orange Park encompasses the unincorporated communities of Fleming Island, Ridgewood, Doctors Inlet, Orange Park South,Lakeside, and Bellair-Meadowbrook Terrace.

Orange Park is located inside the Clay County School District and is home to three public elementary schools and two public junior high schools and, lastly, 3 high schools.

Orange Park in the late 18th century was known simply as Laurel Grove. The name Laurel Grove comes from Sarah and William Pengree who received a land grant from the Spanish governor. Laurel Grove was sold to Zephaniah Kingsley of the Kingsley Plantation upon William’s death. Zephaniah developed Laurel Grove into a model farming plantation for over 10 years. In 1813 General Matthews invaded East Florida triggering the Patriots Rebellion. After Mathews left East Florida Zephaniah’s wife Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley burned down Laurel Grove to keep it out of Patriots hands.

The Town of Orange Park was founded in 1877 by the Florida Winter Home and Improvement Company. Following the Civil War, the company purchased several thousand acres of the McIntosh plantation at Laurel Grove, for the purpose of creating a southern retreat and small farming community. The property was subdivided into building lots and small farm tracts where the present street system was laid out including Kingsley Avenue and Plainfield Avenue. The town was incorporated in 1879 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. In January 1880 Ulysses S. Grant and Philip Sheridan visited Orange Park. A large hotel was constructed at Kingsley Avenue along with a 1,200-foot pier. In 1895 the fruit-growing industry was destroyed in the Great Freeze of 1895.

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