Historic Markers Across Florida

Fort George Island

Marker ID: FLHM F-271
Location: off S.R. A1A, State Cultural Site.
County: Duval
Coordinates: N 30° 25.679    W 081° 25.526
  30.42798333    -81.42543333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM7N2X


Side 1
The Ft. George Island presents a cross-section of the Florida story. This Island was called Alicamani by the Timucuan Indians who were living here when French explorer Jean Ribault landed nearby at the mouth of the St. John´s river in 1562. The French were soon driven from the area by the Spanish who established an Indian mission called "San Juan del Puerto" here before 1600. Later the island became known as "San Juan". The mission was destroyed by the British during South Carolina Governor James Moore´s 1702 raid into Spanish Florida. In 1736, another invading Britisher. Georgia founder and Governor James Oglethorpe, built a fort on this island. He named both island and fort "St. George". From 1763 to 1783, when Florida was a British possession, plantations began to flourish on Ft. George Island. During the 2d Spanish period (1783-1821), three American planters in secession owned the island: Don Juan McQueen, John Houstoun McIntosh, and Zephaniah Kingsley. Two tabby and wood plantation houses dating from that period are still standing on Ft. George Island, along with the ruins of several tabby slave dwellings. These buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Side 2:
Shortly after the Civil War, Ft. George Island was acquired by John F. Rollins of New Hampshire. He remodeled the Kingsley Plantation main house and called his new Florida residence the "Homestead". As postmaster, Rollins had the area´s post office removed to nearby Batten Island to take advantage of the river traffic on the St. John´s. Although Ft. George Island could be reached only by boat, it became a popular tourist resort during the 1880´s. There were new year-round residents as well. The construction in 1881 of St. George´s Episcopal Church signified the growth of the islands population. But by about 1890, the extension of the railroad along Florida´s east coast combined with a yellow fever epidemic and destructive fire to end the tourist era on St. George Island. Later, during the Florida "Boom" of the 1920´s, the island experienced new prosperity. Two fashionable clubs opened there and a road -Hecksher Drive- built by New York millionaire August Hecksher brought the automobile to the island. After World War II part of Ft. George Island became a state park, and tourists once again were attracted to this historic island.

Sponsored by: The Jacksonville Historical Society with the Department of State - 1976


City: Fort George Island, FL