Clay County has a rich military history that dates back to the early 1700s and continues through WWII.
During WWII Clay County had more major military bases than any other county in Florida. Most of the history and the locations have long been forgotten. It is the mission of the Military Museum of North Florida to bring back this history; not only to the residents of Clay County, but also to the many visitors to our county. This military trail highlights only a few of the major military installations and some of the significant skirmishes throughout our history. Some of the sites are still visible, others are not; however, all make an interesting journey through our scenic county.
Fort Heileman– The site of the fort was located near the present day Main Street Boat Ramp in Middleburg, one mile down Main Street from State Road 21.
Halsey Plantation– The Skirmish of Halsey’s Plantation took place near present day Lake Asbury near the intersection of CR 218 and Henley Road.
Maple Leaf– The Maple Leaf was recovered in five feet of muck on the bottom of the St Johns River. Over 3,000 artifacts were recovered.
NAS Lee Field– The old base is located on both sides of State Road 16, one mile east of U.S. Highway 17 and is the site of the Military Museum of North Florida where visitors can walk in the shadows of WWII fighter pilots and heroes
Fort San Francisco De Pupo– The fort no longer exists today but its former location was near Bayard Point along the St. Johns River a few miles south of the Shand’s Bridge (S.R. 16).
Keystone AAF Base– The site of the Keystone Army Airbase is now the Keystone Heights Municipal Airport, which is located at the end of Airport Road, off of State Road 100, 4.2 miles west of State Road 21.
Camp Blanding– The main entrance is located on State Road 16, one half mile west of County Road 215, near the community of Kingsley Lake.