National Register Travel Itinerary--Georgia-Florida


19) Old Town Fernandina Historic District

The late 19th and early 20th century wood frame buildings of the Old Town Fernandina Historic District on the northern tip of Amelia Island belie the Spanish origins of the town. The northern end of the island has been occupied by Europeans since the 17th century. In 1696 the site was the location of a Spanish mission and fort, and the British occupied the island in the 18th century. Following the Revolution, Spain regained control of the area and by 1811 officially established the "Town of Fernandina" named in honor of King Ferdinand VII of Spain. Fernandina was the last town established by Spain in North America and was intended to stop U.S. territorial expansion. Fort San Carlos was constructed in 1816 to protect Spanish interests in Northern Florida. In the following years Fernandina was captured and recaptured by a succession of renegades and privateers. U.S. troops occupied the town until 1821 when Florida was ceded to the U. S. However, Fernandina failed to thrive. The construction of Fort Clinch in 1847 led to the abandonment of Fort San Carlos. In 1853 the town site was moved further south, due to the construction of a railroad line and subsequent tourism boom. The original town plan and regular street grid planned by the Spanish remain.

Georgia Map

Old Town Fernandina Historic District is located just north of the present city of Fernandina Beach off North 14th Street. The boundaries of the Old Town Fernandina Historic District are Marine, Towngate, Garden, and Ladies Street.

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