Last updated: 4/26/2018
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Clay County is located in northeast Florida, and it was created in 1858, with its territory drawn from a 604-square-mile slice of Duval County wedged on Clay’s northern boundary. Other counties adjacent to Clay include St. Johns to the east, Putnam to the south, and Bradford to the west. One striking feature of Clay County is St. Johns River which traverses nearly all of the county’s territory.
This county was named in honor of Henry Clay, a prominent 19th century Kentucky statesman who was elected U.S. senator and at one time appointed as U.S. state secretary.
New Branding Efforts
Clay’s county seat is Green Cove Springs, while Lakeside is its largest community. Interestingly, 17 other counties in the U.S. are also named Clay. This possible source of confusion is being vigorously addressed as this county adopted in 2017 a new logo and seal incorporating the tagline “Small cities. Big passions.”
Through this branding, Clay not only seeks to stress the differences among its various communities and municipalities. The county, through this branding exercise, also hopes to attract new residents. It seeks to do so via the endearing aspects of Clay’s logo and seal emphasizing the county’s natural attractions, principally its unspoiled lakes and waterways.
Almost forty-six square miles of Clay County is accounted for by rivers and lakes, thus providing various recreational opportunities for water sports, such as fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and sailing. One of the best places to go for these activities is Camp Chowenwaw Park on the banks of Black Creek, which is also a popular area for camping and bird-watching.
Another superb choice is Moccasin Slough Park which offers more nature-based leisure activities, such as biking and hiking on its boardwalk and trails.
For an “Old Florida” experience, Green Cove Springs offers its natural mineral spring at Spring Park that has been drawing visitors since the 1800s. This city is also home to the Clay County Historical & Railroad Museum and the Military Museum of North Florida.
Festivals and Events
The Clay County Fairgrounds, which hosts festivals and special events year round, is also located in this county seat. Some of the events held here include the annual Northeast Florida Scottish Games & Festival and the blue ribbon Clay County Agricultural Fair, in addition to rodeos, equestrian meets, and craft shows
Clay County, which is home to about 200,000 residents, doesn’t rely on its tourist attractions, as it has a diversified economy. Besides the tourism sector, the county’s key employers include the healthcare industry, as well as manufacturing and distribution.
Major Industry Players
The manufacturing and distribution companies in the county include Alternate Energy Technologies LLC, the largest U.S. solar thermal manufacturer. Clay has likewise drawn to its fold Vac-Con Inc., a world leader in supplying sewer-cleaning trucks, vacuum trucks and hydro-excavation trucks. U.S. Lumber, which is the leading distributor of specialty building materials in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Folks hunting for homes in Clay County are likely to be mesmerized by the wide variety of residential properties available to them. Some of the most attractive though could be found in the six golf communities in the county. The leading choice among these prime developments is
Eagle Harbor, which the Northeast Florida Planning and Zoning Council named as the “Best Planned Community” in the region, a solid testimonial to the stature of Clay County as a destination for discriminating home buyers.