Northeast Florida Heritage and History

Northeast Florida heritage and history is unique and will be on your mind as you drive the beautiful beaches and old towns.  In addition to tourism, the area also has a solid industrial base and a lot of insurance company jobs.

Northeast Florida History

Jacksonville is sometimes known as "The Hartford of The South" because so many insurance companies are headquartered here.  This diverse economy means that tourism is not the only game in town.

Northeast Florida is divided from Georgia by the St. Marys River. There are 7 counties in northeast Florida. The western counties are rural, but the region is crowned by Jacksonville, one of Florida's major cities.

Jacksonville is called by some the "Capitol of South Georgia" because so many of its residents come from the pineywoods farms and towns around Waycross, Baxley, Valdosta and other south Georgia communities.  The resulting Northeast Florida heritage is southern.  Jacksonville, for example, has a Confederate Park and many memorials around town to the "Lost Cause".

Fernandina Beach is on the north end of Amelia Island. This town is the northernmost in Florida. It was booming long before Jacksonville was even on the map.  Senator David Yulee built a railroad from Fernandina Beach to Cedar Key. This was years before Henry Flager extended his railroad down the east coast changing St. Augustine history forever.

Fernandina and St. Marys across the river in Georgia each have thriving shrimping industries.   Like the Floribama beaches, Fernandina Beach is also known as the "redneck riviera" for the multitudes of vacationing south Georgians. Summer is the tourist season in north Florida.

Amelia Island is one of the large barrier islands along the coast known as the Golden Isles. Cumberland Island and Jekyll Island to the north are in Georgia. They are part of this chain of isles noted for their beautiful beaches and forested sand dunes.  State Road A1A is the main travel route from north to south on Amelia Island. You will get to take the car ferry from Ft. George Island across the St. Johns River to the fishing village of Mayport.

Amelia Island is unique in Florida history.  It is the only place in the United States to have been under 8 different flags: French, Spanish, British, American Patriots, Green Cross of Florida, Mexican, Confederate and United States.  Northeast Florida heritage includes touches of many of these cultures.

Amelia Island Plantation is a beautiful resort and residential community. It was one of the first modern developments to be designed in harmony with nature. Like many innovative projects, the original developer went broke.

The annual Florida-Georgia football game is played in Jacksonville each year. It was picked because it is about halfway between Athens, Georgia, and Gainesville, Florida.  It is one of the most important pageants in Florida history.

Jacksonville offers some locational neutrality. University of Florida and University of Georgia fans get very emotional about their teams. It's like the Civil War: cousins against cousins.  The annual gathering of the fans for this event is known as "the world's largest outdoor cocktail party".

Gator and Bulldog fans still use this moniker even though alcohol has been banned from the stadium itself in recent years.  Once you're in the stadium it's hard to tell which Cracker fan is who without the school colors.

Gators wear orange and blue, Dawgs wear red and black.

No trip to Northeast Florida is complete without a visit to St. Augustine. America's oldest continually occupied city, it is an unbelievable mixture of past and present.  In one sense, it is as Southern as any small north Florida town. It has always been the center of commerce for the little farms in St. Johns, Flagler, and southern Duval Counties.

On the other hand, it is loaded with an eclectic combination of gaudy tourist attractions standing side by side with authentic old Spanish structures nearly 450 years old.  It is a unique place. I first visited it in 1960 while on weekend liberty from my ship in Jacksonville. I stayed in a small boarding house.  That same boarding house is still there in 2009, but now it's a trendy bed and breakfast.  The thing about Northeast Florida heritage is that although it changes, it stays the same in many respects.

Northeast Florida Heritage Sites

Here are the 141 Northeast Florida heritage sites listed in the 7 counties of the region.  The County Seat is also listed.  Here's a neat trick for you:  highlight any of the sites below, then right click and it will take you to the site's webpage on the internet.

BAKER: Macclenny

  1. Emily Taber Public Library
  2. Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

CLAY: Green Cove Springs

  1. Clay County Historical and Railroad Museum
  2. Green Cove Springs Historic District
  3. Memorial Home Community Historic District
  4. Middleburg Historic District
  5. Middleburg Historical Museum
  6. Middleburg United Methodist Church
  7. Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
  8. Neighborhood Service Center
  9. Orange Park Elementary
  10. River Road Historic District
  11. St. Margaret's Episcopal Church and Cemetery
  12. St. Mary Church
  13. Winterbourne on the St. John's

DUVAL: Jacksonville

  1. Amelia Island State Park
  2. Atlantic National Bank Annex
  3. Avondale Historic District
  4. Beaches Area Historical Society and Pablo Historical Park
  5. Bethel Baptist Institutional Church
  6. Big Talbot Island State Park
  7. Buckman and Ulmer Building
  8. Casa Marina Hotel and Restaurant
  9. Centennial Hall at Edward Waters College
  10. Church of the Immaculate Conception
  11. City Hall - St. James Building
  12. Dyal-Upchurch Building
  13. El Modelo Block
  14. Elks Club Building
  15. Florida Baptist Building
  16. Florida Public Defenders' Office
  17. Florida Theatre
  18. Fort Caroline National Memorial
  19. Fort George Island Cultural State Park
  20. G. Howard Bryan Museum of Southern History
  21. Jacksonville Maritime Museum Society, Inc.
  22. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
  23. Kingsley Plantation
  24. Lewis Mausoleum
  25. Little Talbot Island State Park
  26. Maple Leaf
  27. Masonic Temple
  28. Morocco Temple
  29. Mount Zion AME Church
  30. Museum of City Fire of 1901
  31. Museum of Science and History
  32. Nassau Sound Fishing Pier State Park
  33. Plaza Hotel
  34. Ribault Clubhouse
  35. Riverside Baptist Church
  36. Riverside Historic District
  37. S. Atlantic Investment Corporation Building
  38. San Jose Estates Gatehouse
  39. Scenic and Historic A1A Scenic Highway
  40. Sojourner Truth Library Museum
  41. Springfield Historic District
  42. St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
  43. St. John's Lighthouse
  44. The Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum
  45. The Walter Jones Store and Museum
  46. Theatre Jacksonville
  47. Thomas V. Porter House
  48. Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
  49. Title & Trust Co. of Fl. Building
  50. Village Store
  51. Woman's Club of Jacksonville
  52. Yellow Bluff Fort
  53. Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park
  54. Young Men's Hebrew Association

FLAGLER: Bunnell

  1. A1A Ocean Shore Scenic Highway
  2. A1A River to Sea Trail Scenic Highway
  3. Bulow Plantation Ruins
  4. Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park
  5. Florida Agricultural Museum
  6. Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach
  7. Marine Studios
  8. Princess Place Preserve
  9. Scenic and Historic A1A Scenic Highway
  10. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

NASSAU: Fernandina Beach

  1. Amelia Island Museum of History
  2. American Beach Historic District
  3. Fernandina Beach Historic District
  4. Fort Clinch
  5. Fort Clinch State Park
  6. Merrick Simmons House
  7. Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church
  8. Old Town of Fernandina Historic Site

PUTNAM: Palatka

  1. Bostwick Community Center
  2. Bronson Mulholland House
  3. Crescent City Historic District
  4. Interlachen Hall
  5. Melrose Historic District
  6. Melrose Woman's Club
  7. Mount Royal
  8. Palatka Main Street
  9. Palatka North Historic District
  10. Palatka Ravine Gardens Historic District
  11. Palatka South Historic District
  12. Palatka's Historic Union Depot
  13. Putnam Historic Museum
  14. Ravine Gardens State Park
  15. St. Marks Episcopal Church
  16. Welaka Maritime Museum

ST. JOHNS: St. Augustine

  1. Abbott Tract Historic District
  2. Anastasia State Park
  3. Bridge of Lions
  4. Castillo De San Marcos National Monument
  5. Cathedral of St. Augustine
  6. Colonial Spanish Quarter
  7. Faver-Dykes State Park
  8. Fort Matanzas National Monument
  9. Government House
  10. Grace United Methodist Church
  11. Guana River State Park
  12. Lightner Museum
  13. Lincolnville Historic District
  14. Llambias House
  15. Markland House
  16. Model Land Company Historic District
  17. Museum of Weapons and Early American History
  18. Old Jail Museum
  19. Oldest House Museum
  20. Pena-Peck House
  21. Ponce de Leon Hall
  22. Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House
  23. Sanchez Powder House Site
  24. Scenic and Historic A1A Scenic Highway
  25. Second Fort Mose Site
  26. Segui/ Kirby Smith House
  27. Shell Bluff Landing
  28. Solla-Carcaba Cigar Factory
  29. Spanish Coquina Quarries
  30. St. Augustine Alligator Farm Historic District
  31. St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum
  32. St. Augustine Town Plan Historic District
  33. St. Photios Greek Shrine
  34. Villa Zorayda
  35. Walker House
  36. World Golf Hall of Fame
  37. Xavier Lopez House
  38. Ximenez-Fatio House

Much of the information in our website has been published in a series of Amazon Kindle books for each of Florida's eight geographical regions.

Florida Backroads Travel, a separate Kindle book, covers all of the regions of the state in one volume.

All books can be read on a computer, tablet, Kindle and most smart phones.

Click on the book cover for free previews of these books at Amazon.com.

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