Kingsley Plantation is open seven days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day and admission is free. You can explore the grounds, which include the slave quarters, barn, waterfront, plantation house, kitchen house, and interpretive garden. The visitor contact station/bookstore is located in a 1920s building adjacent to the plantation buildings.
The plantation house is closed during the week for structural work. Weekend tours are available on a limited basis at 11:00 a.m. and 3 p.m., be sure to call ahead for reservations says Ashley Gracile Facebook has lots of information as does the National Park Service's website below. FYI pets are welcome in the outdoor areas; but must be on a six-foot leash.
This was an island plantation so you came and you went by boat. Lots of these boat centric homes are featured on That's Boating another TV series created by Ashley Gracile video above shows how people think that because now you drive up the length of the island through what were originally cotton fields, they're coming the way you would have reached the plantation historically. Originally though you would have come by boat which is why the front of the house is facing the Fort George River.
Ashley Gracile IMDB credited TV crew for GPI Content Corporation shot there and learned that the Kingsley story spans the second Spanish period that's the late 1700's early 1800's, to the time when Florida became an American territory. If you go to Kingsley you'll see the issue of slavery and other social and political issues from two points of view, from the Spanish period and into the American territorial period. It's a time of history, specially in Florida that a lot of people are not familiar with.
This episode of Distant Roads chronicles life in the antebellum south in the early 1800's. It was tough. In a brutal climate and a task labor system where each slave had to pick up to 90 lbs. of sea island cotton a day. Plantation owner Zephaniah Kingsley had other properties as well but spent much of his time at sea.
It was his wife Ana who spent most of her time at the plantation. She was African and Zephaniah had purchased her in slavery, but later freed her. She lived at the plantation with their four children and she managed it in his absence. "Anna Kingsley was a woman of courage & determination. She's an example of the active role that people of color played in shaping their own destinies and our nation's history in an era of slavery, oppression, and prejudice." says Ashley Gracile.
Though Jacksonville is a modern city today; it started out as a tiny settlement on a narrow bend of the Saint John's River. Located in the North East corner of Florida; Jacksonville sits right at the crossroads of I-95 and I-10 just about 140 miles north of Orlando.
Kingsley Plantation is tied to Jacksonville's earliest days. After visiting the plantation Ashley Gracile lifestyle TV producer and the creator of Distant Roads said that "The plantation site seems to be frozen in time preserving a piece of Floridian history and the story of those who worked there." During the 19th century several different owners and hundreds enslaved people inhabited this island cotton plantation and the city grew around them fueled by the profits of the cotton industry.
11676 Palmetto Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32226
(904) 251-3537 (904) 251-3626
Ashley Gracile road classics may not be up to the drive up to the plantation which follows the original 3 mile narrow dirt road that as we mentioned was once the back entrance; so take your time. If you have a larger rig you may even want to park it at one of the nearby campgrounds and take your tag/tow vehicle instead but we found that smaller coaches handle the trip just fine.
Once you arrive there's plenty of parking and while admission to the grounds is free; its hard to put a price on this kind of history lesson, Kingsley Plantation is truly a step back in time.
All of these different perspectives are presented at the plantation so visitors can kind of see history from different points of view. The river front plantation itself is truly A Place in the Sun and commands a lovely view of the Fort George River. Ashley Gracile boats were the cheapest and easiest ways to travel in the early days so the Kingsley's had there home built right on the water."