History Happened Here

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Edgewater

Volusia County

Year Founded: 1865Founded by: Dr. John Milton HawksPreviously known as: Hawks Park, Town of Edgewater

History

The community that became the City of Edgewater began in 1865, when Dr. John Milton Hawks purchased the Geronimo Alvarez Grant consisting of 500 acres. The purchase price was $1.00 an acre.
The home of Edgewater’s founder, Dr. J. M. Hawks, is located just north of the present City Hall. The tallest part of the house is the original dwelling.
The Bayview House was a hotel located on the northwest corner of East Ocean Avenue. Many of the visitors who stayed here came by steamboat.
The Strand, now known as Riverside Drive, was an Indian Trail used by the Timuquan Indians many years before the white settlers came to this beautiful place. Menard-May Park is 4-1/2 acres of land donated to the City of Edgewater as a Historical Site. This area has been a community meeting place for over 100 years; it was first a wharf where the people came to the town by steamboat.
In the early 1900’s, the Leeming family lived in this house at the southwest corner of East Knapp Avenue. Later when the Lembeck family lived here, a ship’s bell hung in one of the sprawling oaks.
As the town began to grow, commerce increased. The Korona, a sternwheeler operated by Captain Cone from Canaveral, is loaded with dried saw palmetto berries used to make medicine called Sanmetto. The business belonged to the H.P. Wilkinson family. The boat was loaded at a dock situated at the end of New Hampshire Avenue.
The free-flowing sulphur well at the east end of Park Avenue was a gathering place for the community and still stands today. Families came from New Smyrna Beach to fill their water jugs from the well.
The “Long Dock” in front of the Bayview House name was used for the area many years after the dock was gone. The “Long Dock” extended out to the old river channel on the east side of the river before the channel was relocated.
The settlers who came put in citrus groves (oranges, lemons and limes). They raised poultry and honey bees, planted vegetable gardens, fished, crabbed, put in oyster beds, hunted, and became a growing, working community. So many of the early settlements in Florida failed but Hawks Park grew and prospered; only its name has changed. It became the Town of Edgewater in 1925 and was incorporated as the City of Edgewater in 1951.
The Park and Pier area, now George R. Kennedy Park, was filled in when a new river channel was dredged in the 1950’s. Edgewater City Hall, built in 1959, also housed the Police Department. The Community Center was started by men in the town and completed by the Volunteer Fire Department. The Fire Department was located in this building.
In 2009, City Hall and the Community Center were renovated to present conditions. At the same time, the recently completed new Fire Station 55 was being designed and built which is the prelude

Story of City's Founding

Dr. John Milton hawks, a New England physician and surgeon purchased 500 acres of the Geronimo Alvarez Grant in 1865, by 1871 he settled on that property and built a house. He had the land surveyed and a town mapped out. The 493 lots were 100 x 200 feet and the streets were 50 feet wide. Early maps show 130 acres of orange groves and the Bayview House, a hotel, were visitors boarded and socialized. Dr. Hawks was determined this colonly would thrive and named the town Hawks Park after himself and interested investors from the New England States. They began advertising as a "New England Village on the East Coast of Florida". An advertisement from 1870 in New England Newspapers read "This is a beautiful place on the Eatern waterfront"

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