Orange Park, Florida

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Orange Park is a town and suburb of Jacksonville in Clay County, Florida, USA. The population was 9,081 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2004 estimates, the town had grown to 9,243. Technically there are well over 100,000 residents with Orange Park listed as their address, for it is used for all residents living in Fleming Island, Lakeside, and Bellair-Meadowbrook Terrace, making it one of the largest suburbs of Jacksonville.

The name reflects the hope of its founders for a fruit-growing industry, but their crops were destroyed in the Great Freeze of 1894-95. Despite recovery elsewhere, the crops never came back to Orange Park.

Television station WJXX is licensed to Orange Park.

Contents

History

Founded in 1877 by the Florida Winter Home and Improvement Company. Following the Civil War, the company purchased several thousand acres of the McIntosh plantation at Laurel Grove, for the purpose of creating a southern retreat and small farming community. The town was incorporated in 1879 by a special act of the Florida Legislature.

Orange Park is a suburb of Jacksonville and is located geographically a few miles south of the city.

Orange Park was the home of the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, one of ten regional centers for primate research. The Orange Park center, established in 1930 by psychologist Robert Yerkes and Yale University, was the first laboratory in the United States for the study of non-human primates. In 1956, Emory University took over operation of the Center. In 1965, the center was relocated to the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2002, the Center was renamed the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, though officially the "Regional" name still applies.

Lynyrd Skynyrd vocalist Ronnie Van Zant was buried at Jacksonville Memorial Gardens in Orange Park in 1977, but his remains were relocated to an undisclosed location after vandals broke into his tomb and the tomb of bandmate Steve Gaines on June 29, 2000. Van Zant's casket was pulled out and spilled on the ground. The bag containing Gaines' ashes was torn open and some spilled into the grass. Their mausoleums remain as memorials for fans to visit.

Geography

Orange Park is located on the St. Johns River at 30°10′7″N 81°42′31″W / 30.16861°N 81.70861°W / 30.16861; -81.70861 (30.168569, -81.708479)[3].

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