Strickland’s Landing swimming area was closed in 2002

In 1992, Anne Sponholtz of The Times-Union met Frow Strickland on the shore of Lake Kingsley, where he had grown up and had long operated a swimming area that bore the family name.

He was then 80 years old and was talking about the rules that made Strickland Landing what it was (no alcohol for one, no string bikini for the other). Customers, he said, want it that way: “They’re looking for decency in a family-oriented, church-oriented environment. That’s who we are.”

He also noted the growing crowds the area was attracting, with booming growth all around it, about 8 miles southwest of Middleburg.

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The owner of Strickland's Landing, Frow Strickland, in 1992. It was not uncommon for him to give first-time visitors a glimpse of his rules, which he saw being strictly enforced.

Kingsley, which Frow hailed as a “great lake” (“It’s 144 feet deep and round like a silver dollar,” he said), once had two popular swimming and recreation areas, Strickland’s Landing and New Kingsley Beach. (Camp Blanding takes up much of the lake shore.)

The Times Union’s Sandy Strickland (no relation to the lake family) wrote wonderfully about it in a 2016 story.

“Where orange groves once thrived and Indians fished with bows and arrows, you could slide down giant slides, jump off platforms, play video games and grill hamburgers.

“Kingsley Lake was a mecca for swimmers who preferred cool spring water to salty beach waves,” she wrote, noting church groups, youth groups, campers, families and teenagers who flocked there during the summer months.

” Both [swimming areas] you can slide, dive, tube and fish. Ah, the slides. Could it be that Bob Hope’s legendary ski nose served as a model? Most swimmers were eager to get out of the blue-green water for another run down the slide. But sometimes they found their bravado dampened by the time they reached the top and had to be encouraged to go, go, go.”

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Strickland’s Landing closed in 2002 after Frow’s death at age 90, eventually making way for a gated residential community.

New Kingsley Beach, with a large dance hall and outdoor pavilion for live country music, also closed that year. It then reopened under a different name but closed permanently in 2006.