History Happened Here

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Neptune Beach

Duval County

Year Founded: 1931


The city takes its name from King Neptune, King of the Sea. Neptune Beach had its true beginning on August 11, 1931 when, after obtaining permission from the Florida Legislature, an election was held to detach the city from the City of Jacksonville Beach. Out of the 145 votes cast, there were 113 for and 32 against. (See City of Atlantic Beach “history” for more details.) The first mayor was O.O. McCollum, who served until July 1941. The Florida East Coast Railway played an important part in the development of the area, as it traversed the entire length of Neptune Beach. In a letter dated July 17, 1972 to the mayor and Council, Dan Wheeler, Jr., of Miami, Florida, stated that his family had a cottage on the property, which is now the Sea Turtle Inn. His father commuted to and from Jacksonville by train but still had a considerable distance to walk upon returning home. He contacted a friend who worked for the railroad who informed him that, if a station were erected, the train would have to stop there. So, Mr. Wheeler, Sr., at his own expense, built a little station and named it “Neptune.” A great deal of change came to the entire beach area upon inception of the Naval Air Station at Mayport. This brought in many families of the personnel assigned to the base, many of whom elected to remain here after their tour of duty was over. A new charter, enacted June 30, 1953, changed the status of the “Town” of Neptune Beach to the “City” of Neptune Beach.

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