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Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Halifax River and the Ponce deLeon Inlet, the Town of Ponce Inlet in Volusia County is just ten miles south of Daytona Beach, yet a world away. It is a quiet residential haven with just over 3,000 residents. Evidence of our areas first inhabitants, the Timucuan Indians, can be found at the Green Mound State Archaeological Site. This ancient Indian midden is located at the heart of the 40-acre Ponce Preserve, the last strand of undeveloped ocean-to-river land in the County, which will be preserved for generations to come.
In the 1800s, residents included members of the Pons and Pacetti families, who were granted 175 acres at the Inlet in 1803. In the mid-1800s, ten acres of this land grant were sold to the United States government for construction of a new lighthouse. With the coming of the lighthouse workers, an addition was constructed on the Pacetti Boarding House, which still stands today. General Orville Babcock, the engineer in charge of the Lighthouse construction, has been credited with naming the area Ponce Park.
Today, the Ponce deLeon Light Station, a National Historic Landmark, is run by the non-profit Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Association. The Lighthouse and grounds serve as a museum and are open to the public.
The 1880s marked the arrival of both the Hasty and Stone families. By the 1880s, Nathaniel and Elizabeth Hasty ran a small trading post and post office on Front Street. Franklin Stone arrived in 1886 and stayed to work at the LaPonce Hotel. He later became the Postmaster at Ponce Park. Stone family descendants still live in Ponce Inlet today.
During the late 1800s, Ponce Park proved to be fertile fishing grounds. Two old fishing camp buildings, one from the 1880s and one from the 1920s, have been restored and now serve at the Ponce Inlet Historical Museum at 143 Beach Street. The Museum is open to the public free of charge. Both the estuary and ocean continue to provide Ponce Inlet with thriving sport fishing, often with record catches. Whether you enjoy sport fishing or just enjoy eating the catch, Ponce Inlet provides the opportunity.
After the National Association of Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) was formed in 1948, sanctioned automobile racing took place on the infamous 4.1 mile beach race course in Ponce Inlet until 1958, when stock car racing moved to the new Daytona International Speedway. Sanctioned motorcycle racing continued on the course until 1960. Monuments at the original north and south turns of beach racing mark these local historic landmark sites.
The Town Charter was approved in 1963, and Ponce Inlet has since grown from a rural fishing village to the small town it is today: a town that welcomes visitors to our historic Lighthouse, town Museum, our quiet sandy beaches, parks, and the Marine Science Center, a rehabilitation center for injured sea turtles and birds.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the locals met and began formulating their request of the legislature for a Charter forming the Town of Ponce Inlet. On August 20, 1963, an election was held and the Town Charter was approved by 83% of those voting. Upon the certification of the election, the Town of Ponce Inlet became a reality. The Town has grown in population, yet still retains its small town charm.
Name: North Turn of Beach Racing
Location: 4513 S. Atlantic Avenue
Historical Significance: North turn of the original beach race course
Name: South Turn of Beach Racing
Location: Atlantic Avenue and Beach Street
Historical Significance: South turn of the original beach race course
Name: Hasty Cemetery
Location: Beach Street and 4884 Front Street
Historical Significance: Burial grounds of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Hasty and Cocoa Bill
Name: Pacetti Cemetery
Location: 4930 Sailfish Drive
Historical Significance: Burial grounds of Pons and Pacetti family members
Name: Ponce deLeon Inlet Light Station
Location: 4931 S. Peninsula Drive
Historical Significance: A National Historic Landmark since 1998
Name: Green Mound State Archaeological Site
Location: 4401 S. Peninsula Drive
Historical Significance: One of the largest Indian middens in the nation
Name: Ponce Inlet Historical Museum
Location: 143 Beach Street
Historical Significance: Buildings date back to the 1880s and 1920s and have been restored to their original state.