Fleming Island | Green Cove Springs | Keystone Heights | Middleburg | Orange Park | Penney Farms
Duval County | St. Johns County | Find a location
Clay County is a diverse mixture of suburban and rural areas spread over 592 square miles nestled along the banks of the St. Johns River. The county is located within close proximity to Jacksonville and is business friendly.
2000 Census, up from 4,700 in 1990.
There are many older homes in Green Cove, which is the county seat, but new development is also springing up. Magnolia Point, a golf and country club off of U.S. Highway 17, is home to 450 families and is zoned for about 1,000.
Recreational opportunities also abound. Spring Park, a beautiful layout along the St. Johns River next to City Hall and a new City Hall under construction, features playground equipment, picnic facilities, gazebo, spring-fed pool and a 500-foot city pier with 12 boat slips. There are also many community-wide events.
Paradise is what many people call the small picturesque community of Keystone Heights at the southern tip of Clay County amid numerous sandbottomed lakes.
Keystone was settled by Pennsylvanians drawn to these numerous lakes in the early 1920s. The town's name was derived from Pennsylvania's nickname - the Keystone State - and for the area's unusual hilly terrain.
Today, Keystone Heights is a small, peaceful, family-oriented town, with most businesses family-owned. Many residents belong to civic and social organizations such as the Federated Women's Club, Rotary Club, Lions Club and Kiwanis Club.
There are numerous recreational opportunities, including a beach with bathhouses and shaded picnic tables, public boat ramps, lighted tennis courts, nature trails and the Keystone Golf and Country Club.
Twenty-five years ago, dirt roads were common, you rarely saw a street sign and most residents came to Middleburg looking for a way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Now, most - if not all - of that has changed.
As Jacksonville and Northeast Florida continue to grow, home buyers looking for larger home sites or a simpler, less-rushed way of life are rediscovering Middleburg, southwest of Orange Park.
Spurred by new water and septic lines coming into the community, a great deal of commercial building has occurred, including new fast-food restaurants and retail outlets. This has led to increased property values and has made Middleburg more appealing to commuters.
Again, the excellent reputation of the Clay County public schools helps make Middleburg even more attractive.
The town of Orange Park stretches along the western bank of the St. Johns River, which is the nation's longest north-flowing river and Florida's largest. Once known as Laurel Grove after the name of the old Kingsley Plantation, the area now known as Orange Park was incorporated into Clay County in 1877.
Developers from Massachusetts enticed relocaters into the area by planting orange groves. People flocked to the area not only for Florida's amiable climate, but for the orange crops, a valuable commodity. The orange groves died out in harsh freezes in the mid-1890s, but a strong community flourishes in their place. Orange Park is now Clay County's largest city, with about 10,000 residents.
Orange Park sits on a high and dry area featuring beautiful oak trees and splendid vistas along the St. Johns River. Convenient to Interstates 10, 95 and 295, many residents have chosen Orange Park to live and raise their families, but work elsewhere.
Wells Road has been dubbed "Restaurant Row" for all of its dining options. Jacksonville International Airport, downtown Jacksonville and the Beaches are also all within a 45-minute drive.
Another big draw to Orange Park is Clay County's top-rated school system. The area also has many recreational activities.
Because of its proximity to the St. Johns River, there are many private and public docks and marinas. Orange Park also boasts a 9-mile jogging and mountain biking trail, which winds parallel with U.S. Highway 17, and a newly built 1.5-mile concrete riverwalk along the St. Johns River. The Orange Park Kennel Club (greyhound track) has been in Orange Park since the 1930s.
The town's name is, indeed, from department store icon J.C. Penney, who, in 1923, founded an experimental farming community where destitute farmers could live and work until they rebuilt their lives.
Next to his "Penney Farms", 8 miles west of Green Cove Springs, he built 196 apartment units. The Memorial Home Community became a retirement home for ministers and gospel workers and their wives and was dedicated in 1926 in memory of Penney's father, a minister, and his mother.
Today, Penney Farms is a self-sufficient town of about 710 people (with a median age of 79 years), 475 of which live in Memorial Home Community, now a historic district.
Copyright © 2005, Grahamsells.com All rights reserved.