"When Florida was ceded to the United States, there was but one road of any consequence in the Territory. That called the King's Road..."
- anonymous, around 1822
When Governor James Grant arrived in the newly acquired British colony of East Florida in 1764, he found it devoid of settlers. To increase both the population and commerce with the 13 colonies to the north, he commanded that a road be built from his provincial capital of St. Augustine to Ft. Barrington, Georgia.
From 1766 to 1775, a handful of early surveyors, engineers, and builders battled swamps, malarial mosquitoes, and roving bandits to construct the first graded road in the region. Up to 16 feet wide in places, traversing numerous rivers and streams, the 126-mile King's Road would serve as the area's primary artery for land communication until the 20th century.
The British colonial governor believed fervently in the need for a road, but had no funds to build it. He contributed 20 guineas (about $170.00 in modern currency) of his own money, inspiring other contributions that totaled 25 times that amount.
The road was constructed of native limestone, lime rock, and pine. Maintenance was performed by local citizens who were required to devote time to its upkeep.
In addition to expanding commerce and communication, the King's Road facilitated the movement of troops and played a key role in the British colony's defense against American attacks during the Revolutionary War.