Suburban Jacksonville: Fleming Island

August 18, 2010 21 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville takes a tour through one of Northeast Florida's booming suburbs: Fleming Island.

About Fleming Island

Fleming Island is an unincorporated community in Clay County, Florida. It is located 15 miles southwest of Jacksonville, on the western side of the St. Johns River, off US 17. Fleming Island's zip code became 32003 in 2004 separating it from Orange Park. It is primarily a bedroom community of nearby Jacksonville.,_Florida

Whitey and Ann Ham opened Whitey's Fish Camp in 1963 while Whitey was employed in the U.S. Navy.  The original fish camp consisted of a tackle shop with nine bar stools, a toaster oven, soft drinks, beer, & sandwiches.

In 1969, they converted an old storage room into a dining room and remodeled another room, that housed bait tanks, into a full kitchen.  In 1970, 16 sites were added for mobile homes, and 10 years later they changed the camp ground to accommodate up to 44 RV's.

In 1988 the "new" Whitey's Fish Camp & Restaurant was built complete with a full service bar, kitchen, dining room, and outside deck.

On March 30, 2002, an electrical fire destroyed the kitchen and entire inside dining area.  The restaurant was re-opened for business in February, 2003.  The Year of the re-opening marked Whitey's 4oth year in business!

We enjoyed telling you a little about the history of Whitey's Fish Camp, we hope to see you soon!

The Crossings at Fleming Island

The Crossings at Fleming Island is a massive 2,600-acre project that includes the 2,500 home Eagle Harbor on the north side of County Road 220 and commercial development on the south side of the highway.

Eagle Harbor

County Road 220

Since development began in 1992, County Road 220 has become the centralized retail epicenter of Fleming Island.  Major retailers along County Road 220 include Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Kohl's and Lowe's.

Fleming Island Plantation

Approved in 1998, this 2,129-acre development with room for 3,790 homes, has fueled the suburbanation of Fleming Island.  While automobile oriented development has fared well, the development's centerpiece, a town center featuring retail shops and tree lined sidewalks along narrow streets, has not.  Centex Homes, Fleming Island Plantation's original developer, fled the Jacksonville market in 2008.

With the "Live-Work-Play" design philosophy, the community provides all the elements of a traditional all-inclusive hometown setting. It offers a wealth of recreation choices right outside its front door.

Designed in an “Old Florida” architectural style, The Village Square is a 250,000 square foot, open promenade of stores, lunchtime eateries, cozy restaurants and offices for doctors, dentists and other professional services. Set on the largest lake in the community, the Village Square also includes a gazebo on the lakefront for community concerts and events.

This is a lifestyle with something for everyone! Bike to the pool or up to Domenics for pizza. The new state of the art YMCA is inside the community. New library and "A" rated schools are a walk or a bike ride away. It's amazing to see, hundreds of students riding bikes and walking to school everyday. It's like a Norman Rockwell village.

Fleming Island's Carmike 12 opened its doors to moviegoers in March 2009.

Village Square

Village Square was supposed to feature nearly 300,000 square feet of retail that would be developed over a 15-year period.  With three years to go to get to that magical 15-year mark, a vibrant atmosphere for shoppers who can walk or ride their bikes seems far out of reach.

As a part of Fleming Island Plantation's approval, Centex Homes spent $8 million on improvements to U.S. 17 to help mitigate the development's traffic impact.  In addition, three school sites were donated to the Clay County School Board for 30-acre elementary school, a 40-acre junior high school and a 60-acre high school.  Additional donations included 150 acres for public parks and land for a county government annex, library and post office.

Random Fleming Island

St. Margaret's is the oldest Episcopal Church in Clay County, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is widely known by readers of Eugenia Price's novel Margaret's Story. Construction of the church began in 1875, and the first service -- Margaret Seton Fleming 's funeral -- was held in 1878.

The church, which was originally built by the Flemings as a plantation chapel for use by the family as well as Fleming Island residents and visitors, is considered a fine example of gothic architecture. The picturesque chapel is adorned with beautiful stained glass windows, including one of Bishop Edwin Weed, who consecrated the chapel in 1894.
Source: Members show off old church For 10th time, church open to history buffs
The Florida Times-Union - Saturday, April 12, 1997

A fire station to serve the growing and sprawling suburban population.

Fleming Island is located in Clay County, just south of Orange Park along U.S. Highway 17.

Article by Ennis Davis