• Sunrise over the Fort George River in the Timucuan Preserve.

    Timucuan

    Ecological & Historic Preserve Florida

15th Kingsley Heritage Celebration

KHC Storyteller
Storytellers will present at this year's celebration.
NPS Photo

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News Release Date: January 30, 2013
Contact: Emily Palmer, 904.251.3537

The Timucuan Preserve is approaching an important milestone.The preserve was established on February 16, 1988 with the goal of protecting the critical wetlands and cultural legacy of Northeast Florida.In 2013, we celebrate 25 years of connecting people to this rich landscape.This special occasion coincides with another of the park's most loved traditions, the Kingsley Heritage Celebration.To mark these two events the National Park Service invites the public to the 15th Annual Kingsley Heritage Celebration the last two Saturdays in February.

Visitors will be able to celebrate in many ways. Gospel choirs will help us rejoice in the rich cultural legacy of the
plantation period. A Gullah storyteller will regale young and old with tales of Gullah folklore. A living timeline will
transport visitors through the entire history of Fort George Island. A Kids' Corner will provide families with nature crafts and activities sure to bring a smile.

"The preservation of the ecology and history of this region for the last 25 years is an impressive milestone.It seems only fitting that we rejoice in this landmark achievement with the community that has helped to protect these treasures," remarked Preserve Superintendent Barbara Goodman.

Surrounded by ancient live oaks and stately palms, Kingsley Plantation overlooks the Fort George River on Fort George Island in the Timucuan Preserve. The rich and diverse history of the plantation includes the story of wealthy English planter Zephaniah Kingsley and
his wife Anna Madgigine Jai, who was born in Senegal and purchased by Kingsley as a slave. The history also includes the stories of the men, women, and children who struggled to survive enslavement, in an era when wealth was sometimes measured in human property.

Kingsley Plantation, is a unit of the National Park Service's Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Jacksonville. Zephaniah Kingsley owned and operated a 1,000-acre plantation on the island during the first half of the nineteenth century. In addition to the
scheduled events, visitors may also visit the grounds that include the original plantation house, kitchen house, barn, and the remains of 25 tabby slave cabins.The Plantation house is itself Florida's oldest standing (1798) plantation era structure.The grounds offer perhaps the most graphic evidence of slave living quarters and daily life experiences in the state, if not the South.

Located off Heckscher Drive/A1A one-half mile north of the St. Johns River ferry landing, Kingsley Plantation is open daily, at no charge, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.


Saturday, February 16:

1:30 p.m. -R.S.V.P., the Ritz Sound and Vocal Performers bring together youth ages 12-18 to discover the power of singing, learning and playing music together. Through concerts and frequent community performances, the Ritz Sound and Vocal Performers serve as ambassadors for the Ritz Theatre and Museum and the City of Jacksonville.They use voice and music as a tool for youth development, social healing and community building.

2:30 p.m. - Gullah Storyteller Carolyn "Jabulile" White- Ms. White is a grass-roots, Gullah storyteller and historian. Born and raised on the sea islands of Charleston, South Carolina, she learned the art of storytelling from her parents and grandparents. "Jabulile" thought it only natural that she should share these stories not only with the people in her community, but the world. She speaks
fluent Gullah, an island dialect, when telling her stories. She tells her stories with humor, giving the audience a true insight and understanding of the customs and culture of the Gullah People.

Kids' Corner: Throughout the day, park staff will present children's activities celebrating the anniversary. Get your photo taken with a ranger and decorate a frame to show it off.Make a nature rubbing, decorate a rag doll, or participate in one of the ranger guided kid's games.

Saturday, February 23:

10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. - Fort George Island, home to Kingsley Plantation holds a long and varied history. This event enables visitors to explore that history as the timeline of Ft. George Island life. Living history demonstrations scattered throughout the 1,000 acre island will portray milestones from the past. From the Timucuan Indians, to the flappers of the roaring twenties and everyone in between, this event promises something for everyone.

Park rangers and volunteers in period costumes will demonstrate various tasks involved in the operation of a large plantation. Demonstrations will include cooking, spinning, weaving, dyeing with indigo, and gardening. Beyond the plantation time period, kids will be able to write with quill and ink and learn about the Spanish Mission San Juan del Puerto. Visitors can join in on a game of cricket, a popular sport in the 1800's.

At the Ribault Club, a ranger will recount the experiences of the Ribault Club's groundskeeper in the 1920's.Short vignettes will describe the founding of the historic St. George Episcopal Church. The Timucuan Preserve has partnered with the Fort George Cultural State Park and the Historic St. George Episcopal Church to bring this event to the public

Did You Know?

Plantation house at Kingsley Plantation

The planter's house at Kingsley Plantation, a unit of the Timucuan Preserve, is the oldest plantation house still standing in Florida. More...