Orange Park, Florida

Coordinates: 30°10′7″N 81°42′31″W / 30.16861°N 81.70861°W / 30.16861; -81.70861
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Orange Park, Florida
Top, left to right: Town Hall, Club Continental, Orange Park Mall, Best Bet, Doctors Lake, the Buckman Bridge viewed from Orange Park
Top, left to right: Town Hall, Club Continental, Orange Park Mall, Best Bet, Doctors Lake, the Buckman Bridge viewed from Orange Park
Location in Clay County and the state of Florida
Location in Clay County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 30°10′7″N 81°42′31″W / 30.16861°N 81.70861°W / 30.16861; -81.70861
Country United States
State Florida
County Clay
Orange Park1877
 • MayorRandy Anderson
 • Town ManagerSarah Campbell
 • Total5.32 sq mi (13.78 km2)
 • Land3.64 sq mi (9.42 km2)
 • Water1.68 sq mi (4.36 km2)
13 ft (4 m)
 • Total9,089
 • Density2,498.35/sq mi (964.51/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code904
FIPS code12-52125[2]
GNIS feature ID0288219[3]

Orange Park is a town in Clay County, Florida, United States. It is a suburb of Jacksonville, in neighboring Duval County. The population was 8,412 at the 2010 census.[4] 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, Bellair-Meadowbrook Terrace and Oakleaf Plantation.

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 1894–1895. Despite recovery elsewhere, the crops never came back to Orange Park.


Orange Park sign in the 1890s.

Orange Park in the late 18th century was known simply as Laurel 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.[5]

The Town of Orange Park was founded, in 1877, by the Florida Winter Home and Improvement Company. After the Civil War, the company bought 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 divided into building lots and small farm tracts, division that involved laying out the present street system, including Kingsley Avenue and Plainfield Avenue. The town was incorporated in 1879 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. In January 1880, Ulysses S. Grant and Philip Sheridan visited Orange Park.[6] A large hotel was built at Kingsley Avenue along with a 1,200-foot pier.[5] In 1895, the local fruit-growing industry was destroyed in the Great Freeze of 1895.[7]

In October, 1891, the Orange Park Normal & Industrial School was opened. The school was founded by the American Missionary Association and allowed for both black and white students to attend, the only unsegragated school in Florida at the time. However, by the end of 1913, the school was closed due to Jim Crow laws.[8]

In 1930, Robert Yerkes, with the support of Yale University, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Carnegie Foundation, established a research station in Orange Park to study primate biology and behavior. Originally called the Yale Laboratories for Primate Biology, it was renamed the Yerkes Laboratory of Primate Biology after Yerkes retired in 1941. In 1956, ownership of the laboratory was transferred to Emory University. The laboratory became the Yerkes National Primate Research Center; it was moved to the Emory University campus in Georgia in 1965.[9][10]


Orange Park is in the northeast corner of Clay County, on the St. Johns River, at 30°10′7″N 81°42′31″W / 30.16861°N 81.70861°W / 30.16861; -81.70861 (30.168569, –81.708479).[11] Orange Park is a suburb of Jacksonville which borders it to the north. 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) (31.71%) is water.[4]

Orange Park Elementary School, built in 1927, continues to operate a few blocks from the river. It is near Moose Haven, in the River Road Historic District, a stretch of road parallel to the Saint Johns River and dotted with century-old trees, where many locals come to walk and jog in the afternoon. About a quarter of a mile away is Club Continental, previously called Mira Rio. Mira Rio, whose name was Spanish for "River Watch", 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 affiliated with the military; NAS Jacksonville is less than 6 miles (10 km) away. Many others are in the medical field.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 8,412 people, a 7.4% decline from 2000; there were 3,464 households, and 2,215 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,331.1 inhabitants per square mile (900.0/km2). There were 3,648 housing units at an average density of 936.4 per square mile (361.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 75.9% White, 14.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 3.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.3% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.8% of the population. In addition, mirroring Jacksonville, the town has one of the highest percentage of Filipino Americans in the state of Florida.

There were 3,464 households, out of which 23.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.0% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.1% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 34.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 21.0% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 21.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $47,631, and the median income for a family was $58,093. Males had a median income of $36,590 versus $26,846 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,087. About 4.6% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.8% of those under age 18, 17.1% of those age 65 or over.


Orange Park is in the Clay County School District and has three public elementary schools, two public junior high schools, and three public high schools. Another ten public elementary schools, two public junior high schools, and three public high schools are outside the town limits.[13] Orange Park also has several private schools. Fortis College, a for-profit two-year college is in Orange Park, as is a campus of St. Johns River State College.

Orange Park High School is the closest public high school, 1 mile (2 km) west of the town limits. Oakleaf High School is the second closest public high school, about two miles southwest of the town limits. Ridgeview High School is the third, about three miles south of the town limits.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Orange Park town, Florida". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Brief History of the Town of Orange Park". Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  6. ^ "Orange Park". Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  7. ^ "Orange Park". Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  8. ^ Richardson, Joe M. (April 1986). ""The Nest of Vile Fanatics": William N. Sheats and the Orange Park School". The Florida Historical Quarterly. 64 (4): 393, 406. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
  9. ^ Patton, Charlie (July 3, 2009). "Rumors still abound about Orange Park's 'Monkey Farm'". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  10. ^ "Yerkes National Primate Research Center History". Emory. 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "Schools details". Archived from the original on May 26, 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2011.

External links[edit]