|Founded||December 29, 1824|
|Named for||Duchy of Nassau|
|• Total||726 sq mi (1,880 km2)|
|• Land||649 sq mi (1,680 km2)|
|• Water||77 sq mi (200 km2) 10.6%|
|• Density||127/sq mi (49/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Nassau County is the northeasternmost county of the U.S. state of Florida. According to the July 2022 United States Census analysis, the county's population was 97,899.
The designated county seat is Fernandina Beach. Nassau County is a constituent of the Jacksonville metropolitan area, which accommodates around 1.68 million inhabitants as of the year 2022. The county is situated in Northeast Florida with a land area of 726 square miles (1,880 km2). The county's population has surged by more than 40,000 residents since the year 2000, driven by factors such as Nassau's nearness to downtown Jacksonville, the emergence of fresh residential projects, agricultural output, prominent tourist destinations, and a broadening tax foundation through the influx of novel industrial and business enterprises to the county. Nassau County is also a favored residential destination for military personnel stationed at bases in the adjacent Duval County, Florida (Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Station Mayport) and Camden County, Georgia (Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay).
See also: Duchy of Nassau
Nassau County was created in 1824 from Duval County. It was named for the Duchy of Nassau in Germany.
The ancestral and core coat of arms of Nassau
Coat of Arms for Nassau
The Battle of Alligator Bridge took place in Nassau County around Callahan on June 30, 1778, and was the only major engagement in an unsuccessful campaign to conquer British East Florida during the American Revolutionary War.
In 1817, the short-lived Republic of the Floridas was established on Amelia Island. It was one of several attempts to wrestle Florida from Spanish control into the growing United States.
The primary entity overseeing environmental and agricultural matters is the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, which maintains close collaboration with various other regional agencies.
Nassau County operates under the administration of the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners, comprising five members. These commissioners are elected by the voters to serve four-year terms, with the election cycle structured such that either three or two commissioners are subject to election every two years. The following individuals constitute the Nassau County Commissioners:
|John Martin (Vice-Chairman)||2020–2024|
|A.M. "Hupp" Huppman||2022-2026|
|Klynt Farmer (Chairman)||2020–2024|
|Headquarters||Fernandina Beach, Florida|
|Nassau County, Florida|
Main article: Port of Fernandina
The Ocean Highway & Port Authority (OHPA) functions as an autonomous governmental organization within Nassau County, Florida, responsible for the ownership and management of the seaport infrastructure at the Port of Fernandina. OHPA was founded in 1941 by the Florida Legislature. The current Executive Director of OHPA is David Kaufman.
The Port of Fernandina operates as a terminal for handling various commodities, including pulp and paper, steel exports, machinery, automotive components, chemicals, beverages, building materials, and food items. The port's container lines facilitate shipping routes to destinations such as Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Aruba, Curaçao, and Bermuda. Notably, in 2020, the port was awarded a substantial grant exceeding one million dollars from the United States Department of Transportation to initiate a barge service.
The Nassau County Sheriff's Office offers essential services to the residents of Nassau County. It bears the responsibility of upholding both the provisions of the Florida Constitution and the laws and statutes of the state of Florida, ensuring the protection, security, and welfare of its populace. This commitment is fulfilled by furnishing law enforcement solutions, managing operations at the Nassau County Jail and Detention Center, and ensuring court security. The central operational hub of the Nassau County Sheriff's Office is situated in Yulee. As of 2023[update] the Sheriff is Bill Leeper.
The Nassau County Courthouse in Fernandina Beach stands as a historic edifice, characterized by its two-story construction of red brick, dating back to its erection in 1891.
Located in Yulee, the Robert M. Foster Justice Center was established in 2004 to complement the historical Nassau County Courthouse site. Spanning an extensive 111,000 square feet, this facility was realized at a construction cost surpassing $20 million.
Similar to a significant portion of the southern Atlantic region in the United States, Nassau County experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen classification Cfa). This entails moderate conditions in the winter months and warm, humid conditions throughout the summer. Precipitation patterns show a concentration of rainfall during the warmer months spanning from May to September, whereas the drier period falls between November and April. Owing to Nassau County's proximity to the coast and its lower latitude, frigid temperatures are infrequent, resulting in typically temperate and sunlit winters.
|Climate data for Nassau County, Florida|
|Average high °F (°C)||63.0
|Daily mean °F (°C)||53.8
|Average low °F (°C)||44.5
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.42
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||9.1||8.4||8.4||5.9||6.0||11.5||11.9||12.5||11.8||8.1||7.3||8.2||109.1|
|Source: NOAA (1981–2010 Normals)|
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 726 square miles (1,880 km2), of which 649 square miles (1,680 km2) is land and 77 square miles (200 km2) (10.6%) is water. The city of Fernandina Beach is on Amelia Island, the county's one inhabited island. Fernandina Beach municipality extends across the Intracoastal Waterway along A1A to Yulee.
There are 12 distinct topographical zones in Nassau County. Most of these zones run in narrow bands stretching from north to south, although this is less true as one approaches the Atlantic coast.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Race||Pop 2010||Pop 2020||% 2010||% 2020|
|Black or African American (NH)||4,581||4,945||6.25%||5.47%|
|Native American or Alaska Native (NH)||248||222||0.34%||0.25%|
|Pacific Islander (NH)||46||52||0.06%||0.06%|
|Some Other Race (NH)||98||293||0.13%||0.32%|
|Hispanic or Latino||2,380||4,449||3.25%||4.92%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 90,352 people, 33,475 households, and 24,357 families residing in the county.
As of the census of 2000, there were 57,663 people, 21,980 households, and 16,528 families residing in the county. The population density was 34/km2 (88/sq mi). There were 25,917 housing units at an average density of 15/km2 (40/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 90.0% White, 7.7% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.5% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. 1.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
According to the 2000 Census, the largest European ancestry groups in Nassau County were: English (36.2%), Irish (13.6%) and German (11.7%).
There were 21,980 households, out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.2% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.80% were non-families. 20.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 25.0% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.8 males.
As of 2021, the median income for a household in the county was $64,943. The per capita income for the county was $36,553. About 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line.
Nassau County boasts a diverse economy that encompasses various sectors, ranging from agricultural activities predominantly in the form of tree farms situated in the western and central regions, to a range of endeavors closer to Amelia Island. A significant portion of the tree farming land is under the ownership of Rayonier, a notable local employer and proprietor of a substantial pulp mill located in Fernandina Beach. Historical focal points of the local economy have encompassed tree farming, trucking, and pulp production. Nonetheless, notable expansion is underway in the peripheral small towns of the rural western vicinity, and the demand for residential construction remains robust. Fernandina Beach has established itself as a hub for professional fields like real estate, legal services, and healthcare. Additionally, it stands as the nearest city to two upscale resorts: the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Amelia Island Plantation.
In the central county region, an exclusive property named White Oak Conservation was once privately owned by an affluent family who operated the area as a private zoo, featuring exotic animals such as giraffes and large albino felines. The resort has welcomed several public figures, including former President Bill Clinton, who have chosen the destination for leisurely getaways.
Nassau County has several outdoor festivals and events. The county is home to two world-class golf courses: The Golf Club at North Hampton was designed in part by Arnold Palmer, and is over 7,000 acres (2,800 ha), has 18 holes and a 72 par. and the Amelia National Golf & Country Club, designed by Tom Fazio which has 18 holes and a 72 par.
The Nassau County Economic Development Board, which represents all of Nassau County as a desirable place to relocate a business or to expand a business. In November 2017 it was announced that the University of Florida will be building two health and fitness facilities. In January 2018 the large energy company Florida Public Utilities announced that they will be relocating to Yulee and will be building a new 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2) corporate headquarters.
In 2017 Rayonier completed building a new corporate headquarters in Yulee. Rayonier also plans to develop a 24,000-acre (9,700 ha) pine forest in Yulee into a community complete with housing, offices, medical facilities, shopping centers, light industrial facilities and schools. The development, starting with 4,200 acres (1,700 ha) and is called Wildlight. Rayonier is also working with Nassau County to develop the Wildlight Elementary School at a cost of $26 million which is scheduled to open for the start of the 2017–2018 academic year with 600 students.
Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport, a general aviation airport and former military airbase that is also now used at times by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Air National Guard and is in Amelia Island three nautical miles (5.6 km) south of the central business district of Fernandina Beach. It is designated as a reliever airport for Jacksonville International Airport.
Hilliard is the location of a significant facility operated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), serving as an Air Traffic Control Center that effectively coordinates the majority of commercial and civilian air traffic spanning the southeastern United States. This FAA center holds a pivotal role in Hilliard's workforce, employing a substantial number of individuals, including numerous retired FAA personnel who have chosen Nassau County as their residence.
Within the county, the Florida Welcome Center serves as a designated "tourist information house," conveniently positioned near the Florida/Georgia state line along I-95. This center offers incoming visitors an array of informative resources pertaining to travel, roadways, sports, climate, lodging, urban centers, outdoor activities, and attractions. As a tribute to Florida's historical citrus industry, which has played a substantial role in the state's economy, every guest is welcomed with a complimentary cup of Florida citrus juice, either orange or grapefruit.
According to the Nassau County website as of June 2019, the top employers in the county are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees in 2019|
|1||Nassau County School District||1,598|
|2||The Omni Amelia Island Resort||1,200|
|3||Nassau County Government||672|
|4||The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island||700|
|5||Federal Aviation Administration||550|
|7||Baptist Medical Center Nassau||420|
|8||Rayonier Advanced Materials||300|
|9||Care Centers of Nassau||250|
Nassau County Public School District operates public schools. Its schools are below:
Middle-senior high schools:
The Betty Cook Center, situated in Nassau County near Yulee, serves as a campus of Florida State College at Jacksonville, a constituent of the Florida College System. This state college holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, enabling it to confer both associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees.
The Nassau County Public Library encompasses a network of 5 branches.
A significant overhaul of the Fernandina Beach branch was successfully executed in 2015, culminating in a grand reopening of the branch in April 2016. This extensive revitalization initiative doubled the library's size to an approximate area of 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2). This modernization effort aligned the building, which was originally inaugurated in 1976, with Nassau County's current codes, in accordance with the long-range plan for 2013–2017 devised by the Nassau County Public Library. Furthermore, a resolution was jointly established between the City of Fernandina Beach and Nassau County, delineating ownership of the Library facility and outlining Library operations.
Notably, the Fernandina Beach branch serves as the repository for over one thousand titles belonging to the Amelia Island Genealogical Society. These materials are made accessible to the public for utilization within the library's premises.
Nassau County boasts three distinct newspapers. Among them, the prominent Fernandina Beach News-Leader holds the title of the largest. This publication is under the ownership of Community Newspapers Incorporated, a media enterprise helmed by Tom Wood and Dink NeSmith. Another noteworthy publication, the Nassau County Record, also falls within the ownership purview of Community Newspapers Incorporated. Both of these periodicals are accessible to the public through subscription or newsstands.
Concurrently, The Westside Journal functions as an independent newspaper, its publication overseen by Florida Sun Printing. This particular newspaper is distributed for free via mail and typically showcases contributed content from various sources.
There is only one known statue of a Jewish Confederate leader. It depicts David Levy Yulee, an industrialist, plantation owner and Confederate senator from Florida, and it shows him sitting on a bench.