The former Lee Field Naval Air Station, now Reynolds
Industrial Park, comprised about 1,560 acres on the west side of the St. Johns
River in Clay County Florida. The Navy
began acquiring the property in 1940 and used it until the early 1960s. During World War II, the Navy and Marines
used it to train pilots. Following the
war, the Navy used it to deactivate ships.
The deactivation process involved maintaining and preserving the ships
to prevent deterioration during inactive periods. This provided a large reserve
fleet of ships that could be easily reactivated on short notice. Eleven piers
were constructed to provide permanent berthing facilities for the reserve
fleet. The military also constructed
runways, hangers, utility systems, fuel storage tanks, office buildings,
barracks, mess halls and family housing.
When the Navy no
longer needed the Lee Field property and facilities, it was declared excess in
1963 and deeded to the City of Green Cove
Springs who sold it in 1965 to Mr. J. Louis Reynolds.