About Our Historical Society

Preserving the heritage of Clay County, Florida through the collection, preservation, and display of artifacts and historical material by maintaining a museum and conducting activities that promote an awareness of our heritage. The Historical Museum is located in the Annex of the Historic Clay County Courthouse near the Red Caboose at 915 Walnut Street, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043

Vintage Clothing

About Our Historical Society

The Clay County Historical Society exists to promote the history, culture, preservation, and appreciation of Clay County, Florida.

The Clay County Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Educational Organization. Our Historical Society collects, preserves, and promotes the history of Clay County, Florida.  Our collections are donated, loaned, or purchased and held in trust for the use and education of the public.  They are primarily composed of exhibits, photographs, maps, legal documents, and memorabilia of days gone by.

Since 1966

More about our Historical Society

The Clay County Historical Society was founded in 1966 by a group of local people interested in preserving the history of Clay County.  Through their efforts, an interesting and still growing collection of artifacts and documents has been assembled.

The current museum was opened in the 1890 Courthouse Annex in 1975. It contains many exhibits depicting the everyday way of life in Clay County during the past century.  There is a Country Store, an early kitchen, a bank vault, a real printing press, and many other unique items of historical interest.

The Railroad Collection was added in 1992. It was assembled by Bud Hess during his lifetime, purchased from his widow, and brought across the river to Green Cove Springs.  It includes a caboose, train station, (originally from Elkton, FL), crossing gate and signals, lanterns, and hundreds of other items.

The Clay County Historical Society also appreciates your interest in the other facilities at our location in the Clay County Historical Triangle:

The 1890 Historic Courthouse, home of Teen Court.

The 1894 Haunted Jail and home of the Clay County Archives and Research Center.

The Bicentennial Time Capsule

The Veterans Memorial Monument

Who Are We?

A Little More About Our Historical Society

Elected Officers

Clay County Historical Society 2024

President – Steve Griffith

Vice President – John Bowles

Secretary – Monica Padgett

Treasurer – Pat Sickles Garlinghouse


General Meetings are free and open to the public.

As always, the Clay County Historical Society welcomes visitors and new members. The Museum is open every Sunday from 2 until 5 p.m. and for tours of larger groups upon request.

More about our Historical Society, We are Located in Green Cove Springs, Florida

Green Cove Springs is a city in Clay County, Florida, United States, and the county seat. The current population of Green Cove Springs, Florida is 10,362 based on our projections of the latest 2022 US Census estimates. The city is named after the portion of the St. Johns River upon which it is built.

Green Cove Springs was one of the first mineral springs to catch on as a vacation destination for the wealthy but unwell. In 1853 a superintendent from a New York asylum for the mentally ill, Dr. Nathan Benedict, moved to Florida and established a hotel at nearby Magnolia Springs. The water emerging from underground at this location smelled strongly of sulfur, which had been infused into the water during its time beneath the surface. The odor might have been a bit strong, but Dr. Benedict advertised the springs as one of the healthiest places in Florida for invalids to regain their vitality.

The Civil War put a damper on Benedict’s business, and he decided to sell the place shortly after the war’s end. The new owners expanded the hotel in 1872 and began building cottages along the St. Johns River. Several more hotels, including the Union, St. Clair, and Clarendon hotels, opened to visitors. Guests at these resorts enjoyed fine dining and lavishly decorated rooms, in addition to the waters of the nearby springs. Brochures recommended taking the water by mouth and by bathing for “Neuralgia, Nervous Prostration, Rheumatism, Liver and Kidney Complaints.”

In an article, “It’ll Cure What Ails Ya!”

Published November 11, 2014, by Florida Memory

Blade Sharpening Wheel
Ornate Bank Safe
Pot Belly Stove

Get in Touch

REGULAR HOURS: Open 2 – 5 PM Sundays except for Holidays

Please remember that we are staffed by volunteers.

In addition to regular hours please call to schedule tours.

Phone (904) 284-9644

Get Our Newsletter


Mail To: Clay County Historical Society

915 Walnut Street

Green Cove Springs, Florida 32043

Location: Clay County Historical Society

915 Walnut Street

(in the Historic Courthouse Annex)

Green Cove Springs, Florida 32043


The Clay County Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Educational Organization