GREEN COVE SPRINGS
Green Cove Springs is a city located along the west bank of the historic St. Johns River and since 1871 has served as the County Seat of Government for Clay County, Florida.
The city’s name originates from the three physical characteristics. “Green” refers to the perennially green vegetation characterized by its tree scape and foliage. “Cove” refers to a bend in the St. Johns River creating a safe area for mooring of boats during inclement weather periods. “Springs” refers to the natural spring (one of 600 in Florida), originating from the “Floridan Aquifer” with an estimated flow rate of approximately 2,200 gallons per minute. The spring water flows into the west side of the municipal swimming pool and then flows out the east side forming a stream eventually emptying into the St. Johns River.
The medicinal qualities of the spring and its location along the St. Johns River served as major contributors to the community’s development as a prominent attraction and destination for tourists during the 19th Century.
During the late 1880’s, the town experienced great prosperity as evidenced by the large number and quality of hotels constructed near the spring and surrounding area. The medicinal qualities of the spring and tropical climate of the area during the winter months made Green Cove Springs a popular vacation destination. Tourists and visitors journeyed along the St. Johns River from Jacksonville by Riverboats. The accommodations of these hotels were comparable to famous hotels in cities like Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia.
Green Cove Springs had the first “Trolley System” in the state providing transportation for commodities, residents and visitors with their luggage from the riverbank piers to the various lodging accommodations in the city. The prominence of the community as a winter style resort changed when Henry Flagler constructed his railroad allowing northern visitors to vacation in destinations further south in more tropical areas like Palm Beach and Miami.
It was also the home of “Gustafson's Farm”, owned, and operated by Frank and Agnes Gustafson. The dairy operations moved to a 10,000-acre location just south of the city and continued to grow earning it recognition as one of the largest privately owned dairies in the Southeastern part of the United States.
Green Cove Springs
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