History Happened Here

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Ormond Beach

Volusia County

Year Founded: 1804Founded by: Captain James OrmondPreviously known as: New Britain

History

The City of Ormond Beach is located on the Silver Bluff Terrace, an ancient ocean bottom that was formed during the last Glacial Age–approximately 20,000 years ago.

At the end of the Seven Years War in Europe, Spain ceded Florida to the British in exchange for Cuba. It was not until Florida became a British colony that pioneer settlers come to the area. The British government gave many land grants to its subjects, including 20,000 acres to Richard Oswald in 1766. Mount Oswald was a rice and indigo plantation encompassing what is now Tomoka State Park.

When the British left in 1785, the plantations fell into ruin and did not flourish again until the Spanish land grants of the early 1800’s.

The city that is now Ormond Beach dates from the period immediately following the Civil War. J. Andrew Bostrom, a former Union soldier born in Sweden, settled land on the peninsula, as did John Anderson, who emigrated to Florida from Maine. Concentrated settlement on the mainland began in 1873 with the establishment of New Britain, founded by a small community of Corbin Lock Company employees from New Britain, Connecticut, intent on making their living from citrus cultivation. In 1875, New Britain was subdivided into blocks and lots, with the original plat containing 11 streets. Of the 11 streets, seven retain their original names, with four located in present downtown Ormond Beach. During the elections for incorporation, the town name was changed to Ormond, in honor of a descendent of the Ormond family. The town was legally incorporated on April 22, 1880, and adopted the banana tree as the town emblem.

A look at Ormond’s history would not be complete without mentioning one of the most famous residents, John D. Rockefeller, who believed he would live to be 100 years old. Determined to accomplish this, he sent his employees to find the most pollution-free place to spend his winters in retirement. They chose Ormond. After staying at the Ormond Hotel four winter seasons, Rockefeller purchased his winter cottage “The Casements.”

Ormond became the location of some of the first automobile races in the United States and is still known today as the “Birthplace of Speed.” Following World War I, the character of Florida tourism changed, and Ormond declined in importance as a winter resort and tourist mecca, becoming a more traditional residential community.

Since 1970, the City’s population increased from approximately 14,000 to the present population estimated at 40,000, which has resulted from a combination of real growth and annexations. During the 1990’s, residential development and the City’s commercial and retail center expanded westward beyond Interstate 95 as the size of the City grew to approximately 35.8 square miles with a tax base of almost $2.5 billion. Of the 16 municipalities in Volusia County, Ormond Beach is presently the fourth most populated city with the second lowest tax rate and is recognized regionally for its exceptional quality of life and rich

Story of City's Founding

In 1804, Spain offered grants of land to English colonists living in the Bahamas. Among those accepting was Captain James Ormond, who acquired a 1,684-acre tract of land near the confluence of the Tomoka and Halifax Rivers, which became a cotton and indigo plantation. James and George Anderson, also benefactors of these Spanish land grants, came to Ormond and settled the area that had been Mount Oswald.

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