ABOUT ORMOND BEACH:
It is a city in Volusia County, Florida. The population was 38,137 at the 2010 census. Ormond Beach is the northern neighbor of Daytona Beach and is home to Tomoka State Park. Quiet quaint beaches with natural sand dunes and the opportunities to see a dolphin or whale are common. Ormond Beach is located at the north end of the Daytona Beach area. Ormond Beach was once home to oil industry multi-millionaire, John D. Rockefeller and railroad magnate, Henry Flagler, as well as the early automotive pioneers who tested their inventions on the hard-packed beach.
Today, Ormond Beach is known as the “Birthplace of Speed” and celebrates its racing heritage with annual events that reenact the early days of racing on the beach. Visitors to the area can enjoy a tour through the Casements, the former winter home of John D. Rockefeller, canoeing, fishing and viewing a vast array of wildlife at the Tomoka State Park. The area also boasts several beachfront and riverfront parks. Visitors seeking a quieter part of the beach can find it in the Ormond Beach area. In fact, beach driving is not allowed at the northern end of Ormond Beach.
City of Ormond Beach http://www.ormondbeach.org/
Ormond Beach Chamber http://www.ormondchamber.com/
Ormond Beach Historical Society http://www.ormondhistory.org/
Ormond Beach was once within the domain of the Timucuan Indians. Their local fortified village was called Nocoroco, believed to have been located at the site of Tomoka State Park. But war and disease would decimate the tribe. The city is named for James Ormond I, an Anglo-Irish-Scotch sea captain commissioned by King Ferdinand VII of Spain to bring Franciscan settlers to this part of Florida. Ormond had served Britain and Spain in the Napoleonic Wars as a ship captain, and was rewarded for his services to Spain by King Ferdinand VII. Ormond later worked for the Scottish Indian trade company of Panton, Leslie & Company, and his armed brig was called the Somerset. In 1821, Florida was acquired from Spain by the United States, but hostilities during the Second Seminole War delayed settlement until after 1842. In 1875, the city was founded as New Britain by inhabitants from New Britain, Connecticut, but would be incorporated in 1880 as Ormond for its early plantation owner.
With its hard, white beach, Ormond became popular for the wealthy seeking relief from northern winters during the Floridian boom in tourism after the Civil War. The St. Johns & Halifax Railroad arrived in 1886, and the first bridge across the Halifax River was built in 1887. John Anderson and James Downing Price opened the Ormond Hotel on January 1, 1888. Henry Flagler bought the hotel in 1890 and expanded it to accommodate 600 guests. It would be one in a series of Gilded Age hotels catering to passengers aboard his Florida East Coast Railway, which had purchased the St. Johns & Halifax Railroad. Once a well-known landmark which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, the hotel was razed in 1992.
One of Flagler’s guests at the Ormond Hotel was his former business partner at the Standard Oil Company. John D. Rockefeller arrived in 1914, and after four seasons at the hotel bought an estate called The Casements. It would be Rockefeller’s winter home during the latter part of his life. Sold by his heirs in 1939, it was purchased by the city in 1973 and now serves as a cultural center; it is the community’s best-known historical structure.
Beginning in 1902, some of the first automobile races were held on the compacted sand from Ormond south to Daytona Beach. Pioneers in the industry, including Ransom Olds and Alexander Winton, tested their inventions. The American Automobile Association brought timing equipment in 1903, and the area acquired the nickname “The Birthplace of Speed.” Lee Bible, in the record-breaking, but fatal, White Triplex, was less fortunate. Driving on the beach is still permitted on some stretches. The city was renamed Ormond Beach in 1949.