ABOUT ORMOND BEACH, FLORIDA
HISTORY of ORMOND BEACH
Florida experienced a boom in tourism after the Civil War. With its hard, white beach, Ormond became popular for the wealthy seeking relief from northern winters. The St. Johns & Halifax Railroad arrived in 1886, and the first bridge across the Halifax River was created 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 its 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 would be renamed Ormond Beach in 1949.
ORMOND BEACH, THE BIRTHPLACE OF SPEED
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.