The history of Quinta de S. Francisco begins with Jaime de Magalhães Lima, an important writer, politician and intellectual of the late 19th and early 20th century, which was born and lived in Aveiro. In 1896 he inherits the Quinta do Vale do Soão (in Eixo) but renames it as Quinta de S. Francisco due to the inspiration and devotion to Saint Francis of Assis
More than a simple name change, Jaime de Magalhães Lima, with a great spirit of innovation, profoundly transforms the Quinta de S. Francisco into a unique space where nature and spirituality coexist harmoniously and where the eucalyptus will play a central role. In this space builds a house inspired by Franciscan principles and a chapel dedicated to the patron saint, both considered monuments of municipal interest.
Between 1902 and 1906, Jaime de Magalhães Lima planted about 80 species of eucalyptus, making these place one of the largest eucalyptus arboretum outside Australia. This intellectual goes even further, by carrying out numerous experiments on the aptitude, usages and economic profitability of the different species planted. Jaime de Magalhães Lima maintained his passion for nature and eucalyptus until the end of his life, having died in 1936 in his natural refuge.
The legacy of Quinta de S. Francisco was preserved by his daughter and grandchildren until 1982, at which time the Empresa de Celulose e Papel de Portugal, S.A. - Portucel (currently called The Navigator Company) acquires the property, with the purpose of protecting the valuable patrimony and installing a scientific research centre.
Between 1984 and 1987, under the supervision of Eng. Dantas Barreto new arboretums of eucalyptus and gymnosperms were planted, enriching even further the legacy of Jaime de Magalhães Lima. Since 1996, RAIZ - Forest and Paper Research Institute has been developing scientific work on forestry and technological areas.
Recently Quinta de S. Francisco has undergone an extensive renovation, with the planting of new arboretums, the opening of new trails and construction of several structures, which improve its accessibility and disclosure to the public.