Arlington is a large neighborhood that forms a significant portion of Duval County. Originally formed as a distinct settlement across the St. John’s River from Jacksonville, Arlington has the unique distinction of being one of the first areas in the United States visited by Europeans. Although it can trace its first roots back to the 1500s, Arlington remained largely uninhabited until the mid-19th century, when the Mathews Bridge created a direct link to the rest of Jacksonville.
A number of different attractions can be found in Arlington, including the Fort Caroline National Memorial. Fort Caroline was the first French colony established in the United States, but the original settlement was destroyed in the years that have passed since its original establishment in 1564. The Fort Caroline National Memorial was created in 1953. The memorial features a life-size replica of the fort that once stood in the area.
The memorial sits in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, a 46,000-acre site that provides countless recreational opportunities for visitors and locals alike. The preserve offers hiking trails, swimming holes, and boating areas for the public. The preserve is also the site of the Kingsley Plantation, which is the last remaining plantation house in the State of Florida. Furthermore, the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens sits nearby.
Residents in Arlington have a number of shopping and entertainment options open to them. The Regency Square Mall is one prominent example. Featuring 170 different stores, the mall has been an integral part of the community since its establishment in 1967. After a long period of decline, the mall was recognized as a key redevelopment area in the Arlington Vision Plan of 2010. Redevelopment efforts have begun to bring the mall back to its former glory. Arlington is also home to the Alhambra Theatre and Dining, the nation’s oldest, continually-operating dinner theatre.
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