Ormond Beach was at one time inside the domain of the Timucuan Indians. Ormond Beach was often visited by Timacuan Indians, but they never actually inhabited until around the year 1643 after Quakers were blown off path to the New England area came on shore. settling in a small village on the Atlantic shore. Early friendships with neighboring tribes were prosperous, however, in 1704 a Timacuan leader, Oseanoha, led a raid of the village slaying most of the people. In 1708 the Spanish inhabited the area and set claim until British control started. The town was called for James Ormond I, an Irish-Scottish sea captain hired by King Ferdinand VII of Spain to bring Franciscan villagers to this area of Florida. Ormond had helped Britain and Spain in the Napoleonic Wars as a ship leader, and was praised for his services to Spain by King Ferdinand VII. Ormond later worked for the Scottish Indian trade co. of Panton, Leslie & Company, and his weaponized brig was named the Somerset. After going back to Spanish control, in 1821, Florida was taken from Spain by the United States, but enemies during the Second Seminole War slowed settlement until after 1842. In 1875, the city was started as New Britain by villagers from New Britain, Connecticut, but would be incorporated in 1880 as Ormond beach for its early plantation owner.
With its solid, white beach, Ormond beach became notorious for the wealthy looking for relief from northern cold during the Floridian boom in tourism following the Civil War. The St. Johns & Halifax Railroad came in 1886, and the 1st bridge across the Halifax River was created in 1887. John Anderson and James Downing Price started the Ormond Beach Hotel on January 1, 1888. Henry Flagler purchased the hotel in 1890 and built it to accommodate 600 guests. It would be one in a series of Gilded Age hotels taking care of travelers aboard his Florida East Coast Railway, which had bought the St. Johns & Halifax Railroad. Once a well-known area 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 Beach Hotel was his former business friend at the Standard Oil Company, John D. Rockefeller. He landed in 1914 and after four years at the hotel purchased an estate called The Casements, that became Rockefeller’s winter house during the latter part of his life. liquidated by his heirs in 1939, it was bought by the Ormond Beach city in 1973 and now has become a cultural center. It is the community’s well-known historical building.
Starting in 1902, some of the 1st automobile races were held on the hard sand from Ormond Beach south to Daytona Beach. The first in the industry, including Ransom Olds and Alexander Winton, tested their inventions. The American Automobile Association carried timing equipment in 1903 and the area gained the nickname “The Birthplace of Speed.” In 1907 Glenn Curtiss set a world record of 136.36 miles per hour, on a 40 horse power (30 kW) 269 cu in (4,410 cc) Curtiss V-8 motorcycle. Lee Bible, in the breaking, but deadly, White Triplex, was less fortunate. Automobiles on the beach is still allowed on some stretches.
The city was given the name Ormond Beach in 1949.
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