Harvest Day is a special annual event (free admission), held each autumn at Kingsley Plantation, part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. Visit this National Park on October 12, 2019 to experience a day filled with demonstrations of activities that would have taken place at the plantation in a former era. According to the National Park Service, the Kingsley Plantation house, constructed in 1798, “is the oldest planter’s residence still standing in Florida.”
October 12, 2019 Event
The plantation grounds will be filled with reenactors, including some who will fire vintage muskets. Harvest Day event hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on October 12th. Crops grown at the plantation included sea island cotton and indigo (for making blue dye), two cash crops of the plantation era.
Watch Living History Activities
Watch cooking, spinning and weaving, tabby making, musket demonstrations, and the harvest of sea island cotton and indigo. There’s an interpretive history garden on the grounds where samples of these crops are grown.
“These interactive demonstrations are a great way for families to learn together. We invite families to help with tasks such as cotton ginning, and producing indigo dye.”Park Superintendent, Chris Hughes
Beautiful Waterfront Views
The plantation has the main house itself (c. 1798) located waterfront on the Fort George River, plus adjacent kitchen house c. 1814, and a large barn. Roam the plantation grounds that include the ruins of 23 tabby slave cabins, circa 1814 (of the 32 that had once existed). Wander along the riverbank and walk upon the Kingsley dock. The property’s setting along the river offers an amazing panoramic waterfront vista.
Who Were The Kingsleys?
The plantation bears the name of a planter and slave trader, Zephaniah Kingsley, who married one of his slaves and set her free. Anna Kingsley was an African woman who became a plantation manager and business woman. She was an intriguing individual of the plantation era.
The Kingsley property provides a glimpse of plantation life of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
“The slave cabins are registered on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the most intact examples of the plantation system in Florida. . . perhaps the most graphic evidence of slave living quarters and daily life experiences in the state.”National Park Service
Fort George Island
Kingsley Plantation is located a bit south of Amelia Island, on Fort George Island. It’s about a 25-minute drive from Amelia’s south end bridge via Heckscher Drive. Take this scenic route through Big and Little Talbot Islands, then onto Fort George Island. When approaching the park, Kingsley visitors will drive along Palmetto Avenue through densely wooded area. However, at one time, most of Fort George Island (1,000 acres) had been cultivated for crops. The formerly cleared fields used for agriculture in the plantation era have grown back to forest.
For GPS or Google maps, Kingsley Plantation’s address is 11676 Palmetto Avenue, Jacksonville, FL. For further information about the event, call 904-251-3537. More info about the plantation is available at the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve website.