Orange Park
Clay County, Florida
St. Johns River
Early Land Grants
This was the site of Laurel Grove a Spanish land grant to William and Rebecca Pengree. The land was sold to
Zephaniah Kingsley on November 26, 1803. The plantation was damaged in the first Seminole Indian War and was sold
to John Houston McIntosh in 1817. Kingsley moved to Fort George island.

Florida Winter Home and Improvement Company
In 1876 Washington G. Benedict bought 9,000 acres. Orange Park was founded in 1877 by the Florida Winter Home
and Improvement Company created by Washington G. Benedict. The owners and trustees predominantly from Boston,
Massachusetts. This was the year that the Post Office was opened. In 1879 following a local referendum, the town was
incorporated by a Special Act of the Florida Legislature.

Founding the Town
The town was incorporated in 1879 by a special act of the Florida Legislature.

Visitors in 1880 included former President Ulysses S. Grant and General Phil Sheridan.

In 1885 the town had the Park View Hotel, three stores, cottages and a public school.

American Missionary Association Orange Park Normal School
The fruit growing industry was destroyed in the freeze of 1895. That same year the American Missionary Association
opened a school at Orange Park called the Orange Park Normal School. It was for African Americans. Rev. George B.
Hurd was the principal. The school was for grades 1-12 and consisted of a school building, dining hall, laundry, church
workshop and two dormitories. The church was destroyed by fire on April 26, 1912.

                                                                          
Where to Stay 1912
Cottage Inn
, Mrs. A. L. Evans; capacity, 20; rates - per day, $2.00; per week, special.

The Twin Cottage, Miss Van Emburg; capacity, 25; rates - per day. $2.00 per week, special

In the 1920s "Hotel Marion" was sold to the Loyal Order of the Moose. The order was creating a retirement community in
Orange Park.

Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center
Orange Park was the home of the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, one of ten regional centers for primate
research. The Orange Park center, established in 1930 by psychologist Robert Yerkes and Yale University and the
Rockefeller Foundation, was the first laboratory in the United States for the study of non-human primates.
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St. Johns River
Azaleana Manor
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
http://floridamemory.com/items/show/160319
1884 Orange Park Map
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/143924
Plantation church
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
http://floridamemory.com/items/show/6509
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/31104
The Hotel Marion was also known as the Martin Hotel, the Park View Hotel, and Sparhawk Motel.