Orange Park is a town in Clay County, Florida, United States, and a suburb of Jacksonville. The population was 8,412 at the 2010 census. The name "Orange Park" is additionally applied to a wider area of northern Clay County outside the town limits, covering such communities as Fleming Island, Lakeside, and Bellair-Meadowbrook Terrace.
The town's name reflects the hope of its founders for a fruit-growing industry, but their crops were destroyed in the Great Freeze of 1894–95. Despite recovery elsewhere, the crops never came back to Orange Park.
|Orange Park, Florida|
Location in Clay County and the state of Florida
Orange Park in the late 18th century was known simply asLaurel 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 subsidivied 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. A large hotel was constructed at Kingsley Avenue along with a 1200 foot pier. In 1895 the fruit growing industry was destroyed in the Great Freeze of 1895.
Orange Park is located in the northeast corner of Clay County on the St. Johns River at (30.168569, -81.708479). Orange Park is a suburb of Jacksonvilleand 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.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.3 square miles (13.7 km2), of which 3.6 square miles (9.4 km2) is land and 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2) of it, or 31.71%, is water.
Orange Park Elementary School, built in 1927, continues to operate a few blocks from the river. It is adjacent to Moose Haven which sits directly on the River Road Historic District, a stretch of road dotted with century old trees parallel to the Saint Johns River and where many locals come to jog or promenade in the afternoon. A few meters away is Club Continental, previously called Mira Rio. Mira Rio or River Watch in Spanish was the winter palazzo of Caleb Johnson, son of the founder of the Palmolive Soap Company, now the billion-dollar Colgate-Palmolive company.
Many households are either affiliated with the military, with the presence of NAS Jacksonville less than 6 miles (10 km) away, or are in the medical field.
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. An additional ten public elementary schools, two public junior high schools, and three public high schools are located outside the town limits. Orange Park is also home to several private schools and to Fortis College, a for-profit two-year college. The St. Johns River Community College has an Orange Park campus for a two-year or four-year college degree.
Orange Park High School is the closest public high school, located 1 mile (2 km) west of the town limits. Oakleaf High School is the second closest public high school, located about 2 miles south-west of town limits. Ridgeview High School is the third closest, located about 3 miles south of town limits.