Town Hall in Orange Park
Orange Park Town Hall

Part of the area of Orange Park was once known as Laurel Grove. It was the home of Sarah and William Pengree, a land grant given to them by the King of Spain. When William died, the property was sold to Zephaniah Kingsley. He developed it into a model farming plantation and things went smmoothly for the next ten years. Then came the 1813 Patriot's Rebellion, an abortive attempt by American forces to take Florida from Spain. However, they did do extensive damage to private property and personal reputations in north Florida and their kidnapping of Kingsley led to Kingsley's wife Anna burning the place to the ground in order to keep the property out of "patriot" hands. She also gathered up all of Kingsley's slaves and moved them to Cuba to prevent the "patriots" from stealing them and selling them in slave markets in Georgia and the Carolina's.

In 1877 the Florida Winter Home and Improvement Company founded Orange Park on land they had acquired to develop a southern retreat and farming village. Florida incorporated the settlement in 1879 and the future looked good. Then came the Great Freeze in 1895 that wiped out the citrus crop. And it never recovered.

Orange Park Mall entrance
Orange Park Mall