The first inhabitants of this area were the Timucuan Indians and there is evidence that they were here as long ago as 2000 B.C. Known as the "Isle of Eight Flags", Amelia Island has had the following flags flown over it since 1562: France, Spain, Great Britain, Spain (again), the Patriots of Amelia Island, the Green Cross of Florida, Mexico, the Confederate States of America and the United States. In 1736, James Oglethorpe gave the island its name in honor of the daughter of King George II, Princess Amelia. In more recent times, Fernandina Beach is credited with being the birthplace of the modern commercial shrimping industry beginning early in the 20th century.
The development of our extensive resort and residential community has always had preservation of the island’s natural wonders as its number one priority. We’ve protected the beautiful environment and preserved the splendor of the Atlantic Ocean, the serene marsh and the unbelievable tree canopy that we are blessed with at Amelia Island Plantation. Man cannot recreate this gift of nature. It is our responsibility to guard and maintain it and we are pleased to be a part of that.
Our unique development heritage
In 1970, the Sea Pines Company of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, acquired approximately 2,000 acres of uplands and well over 1,000 acres of tidal marshes on Amelia Island from the Union Carbide Corporation. Union Carbide originally purchased the land for the purpose of strip mining titanium. The most spectacular portion of the land was the southern end of the island which consisted of over 1,600 acres of forested upland surrounded by 4 miles of ocean beach and 1,000 acres of tidal wetlands. Located 25 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville, the site provided an ideal location for a world-class residential and resort community. In acquiring this property of exceptional beauty and fragile character, the Sea Pines Company set out for itself the ambitious goal of developing and operating a residential resort community that was in harmony with nature.
A team of outstanding naturalists with direct experience in environmental conditions of northeast Florida compiled detailed studies on climate, topography, geology, hydrology, soils, vegetation and wildlife of Amelia Island, which were then translated to interpretive maps. This process yielded a unique master plan with a commitment to balancing development while preserving the natural beauty of the island. This process also yielded significant conservation approaches that are now industry standards in practice and legislation. These processes, revolutionary at the time, have now become an industry standard.
In 1972 the master plan was unveiled. This plan wove roads, commercial areas, homesites, recreational areas, and meeting facilities into the natural environment of the massive sand dunes, ancient live oak forests, extensive marshes and the beautiful beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions for Amelia Island Plantation were incorporated and placed on the properties. These Covenants and Restrictions established an Architectural Review Board to review and approve all additional alterations or changes. Since its inception, the original master plan and its guiding principles have endured.
The plan preserved more than 50% of the original property, not counting the tidal marshes in conservation zones, preservations and greenbelts. Originally permitted for over 6,000 units, or 4.7 units to an acre, the Amelia Island Plantation will be built out at a density of about 1.6 residential units to an acre.
The high demand for beach and ocean views was balanced against the need to maintain stability and quality of the fragile dune system. The result was generally limiting development to the secondary dune. The primary dune and dune trough was preserved for storm protection and recreational uses. This resulted in a self-imposed construction setback line that was based on ecological data such as tidal data studied in 1970. This has been particularly important in establishing one of the trademarks for the Plantation.
Over time, the Architectural Review Board has encouraged architectural designs that blend with the natural environment and are compatible with adjacent structures in terms of form, massing, scaling and other areas. The impact of each residence on individual trees is scrutinized by the Architectural Review Board to minimize the loss of valuable trees and natural plants. Natural plants are encouraged in all landscape treatments.
A Commitment to Carry on the Past
Our company's vision and our beliefs keep us committed to what Amelia Island Plantation was meant to be. Our vision to be a premier total resort committed to making people happy is the same vision that Charles Fraser and the Sea Pines Company had in the early ‘70s.
Our beliefs are dominated by a regard for the natural environment; at Amelia Island, we believe the quality of our friendliness and care is reflected in the quality of the natural environment. These beliefs and others have enabled us to maintain the Amelia Island Plantation the way it was meant to be.
Before his death, Charles Fraser visited Amelia many times and one of the biggest compliments he paid to us was that of all of his communities, Amelia Island Plantation was more like what he meant it to be than any of the others.
Amelia Island Plantation Real Estate, the company's real estate department, is the main real estate force on the Plantation and lists and sells 75 to 85% of all the homes, villas and homesites sold. Omni Hotels & Resorts manages the resort operations of our 1,350-acre community, 36 holes of golf, 23 tennis courts, the Health & Fitness Center, nine restaurants, over 50,000 square feet of meeting space, a 249-room Omni Resort and approximately 350 condominiums on our rental market through the Villas of Amelia Island Plantation, miles of wooded bike and walking trails, 3.5 miles of beautiful oceanfront. The care and attention we give to every square foot of Amelia Island Plantation makes it a wonderful place to live, work and play.