New Smyrna Beach Historical Trail
1....Print this file.
2....At its end, click on "rules" to see a copy of the trail rules, print it, and then click where indicated at the end of the 3-page rules and patch order form to get back to the list of Florida trails.
3....If you want a hand-drawn map showing the locations of all of the sites, send a self-adressed stamped envelope to Steve Rajtar, 1614 Bimini Dr., Orlando, FL 32806.
4....Hike the trail and order whatever patches you like (optional).
WARNING - This trail may pass through one or more neighborhoods which, although full of history, may now be unsafe for individuals on foot, or which may make you feel unsafe there. Hikers have been approached by individuals who have asked for handouts or who have inquired (not always in a friendly manner) why the hikers are in their neighborhood. Drugs and other inappropriate items have been found by hikers in some neighborhoods. It is suggested that you drive the hike routes first to see if you will feel comfortable walking them and, if you don't think it's a good place for you walk, you might want to consider (1) traveling with a large group, (2) doing the route on bicycles, or (3) choosing another hike route. The degree of comfort will vary with the individual and with the time and season of the hike, so you need to make the determination using your best judgment. If you hike the trail, you accept all risks involved.
This was previously the site of the rambling Victorian home of Daniel Perkins Smith, built in 1885. The front door had come from a Jacksonville church. Smith served as Volusia County's tax collector for almost 50 years and was an agent for the Blue Springs, Orange City and Atlantic Railway. The home was torn down in 1966, the year the post office opened here. The post office building later became the local newspaper office.
In the 1920s, this was known as the Swoope Building. It was later the home of Sun Discount Pharmacy.
In the early 1900s, the two-story Silvers & Tanner store featured dry goods and notions.
Because of overcrowding, classes were moved from the first school into the two-story Pitzer Building located here in 1885.
The first bank in New Smyrna Beach opened in 1906 at the corner of Canal St. and Riverside Dr. with W.P. Wilkinson as its president. It moved here in 1917, and ten years later built a $100,000 building on the same site.
The Bank of New Smyrna, previously known as the Port Orange State Bank, opened in January of 1936. It was located here during the 1950s. Later, this became the home of the city's Utilities Commission.
Scottish-born entrepreneur Dr. Andrew Turnbull had served as the British consul at Smyrna in Asia Minor, where he married a Greek girl. By 1766, he felt that Florida, with a climate similar to that of the Mediterranean, would be suitable of natives of that area, especially Greek refugees from Turkish tyranny.
Turnbull formed a partnership with Sir William Duncan and they received three grants of 20,000 acres each. Turnbull picked out what he thought was good land on what was then called the Hillsborough River bordering on a jungle for many years known as "Turnbull's Hammock". The area was named "New Smyrna" by Turnbull after his wife's home in Asia Minor.
He used indentured servants, mostly from the island of Minorca, to raise indigo for the making of dye. The colonists were to work for from five to seven years, at the end of which they would receive their freedom plus land. He had intended to use about 500 black slaves for the heavier tasks, but their ship sank in the Florida Keys. The other seven ships arrived in the summer of 1768 with 1403 colonists, with 148 dying along the way. The first indigo was exported in 1771.
The canal dug for Turnbull was covered in 1925. It ran under what is now the north sidewalk, with a bridge just east of today's Chamber of Commerce Building. Turnbull had traveled throughout the Mediterranean and was impressed by the Egyptian practice of irrigation with canals.
In addition to the main plantation, Turnbull himself had a private plantation located 4.8 miles to the north, on the south shore of Turnbull Bay. The overseer of the plantations, Mr. Watson, had a home just north of where US 1 now passes over Murray Creek.
The first public school in Volusia County was built here in 1872 for $42. Its first teacher was Delia Stowe of Massachusetts, who taught spelling, history, arithmetic, geography, needlework and farming. Here now is the former post office building, erected in the 1920s. It now houses the Museum of History.
In 1895, the town council moved its meetings from Raulerson Hall to the second floor of the Smith Block, located here. In 1906, the building was used for the post office and a bank. This was later the site of the Southern Bell Telephone Company.
The Turnbull plantation had a Catholic Church located here, built of brick and dedicated to St. Peter. By 1772, it was in use with an altar with a metal crucifix and two statues, one of St. Peter and one of St. Anthony.
In 1885-87, Ora Carpenter built the first portion of the Ocean House, a hotel popular with hunters, fishermen, and wealthy yachtsmen. It was bought by Capt. F.W. Sams, who added a three-story addition. It had its own lighting plant, ice house and water works.
The present courthouse annex on this site was built in 1964 by Jensen Construction Co., Inc., based on a design by William A. Faust.
Turnbull's plantation failed because of mismanagement and disease, and the Minorcans rebelled. On July 17, 1777, Gov. Patrick Tonyn ordered full freedom for all of the colonists, with permission to settle in St. Augustine. They were led north along King's Road by Francisco Pellicer, who had been the head carpenter of the plantation. The last to leave was Father Pedro Camps, who departed on November 9, 1777.
When the colonists left, the only people left were Turnbull and his family, the overseers, and black slaves. In December of 1777, they were raided by about 40 Indians. Turnbull moved to South Carolina in 1781 to once again practice medicine, turning New Smyrna into a ghost town.
These ruins, showing the foundation of a building with dimensions of about 40 x 80 feet, may have been Turnbull's two-story stone house. This is also the previous site of an Indian mound and Ais Indian village of Caparaca in the early 1600s. Excavations show that the mound area was first occupied in about 500 A.D.
Some also believe that there was a Spanish fort located here in the 1500s. The foundation is heavier than was usually used for a residence and resembles those of other Spanish forts along the coast.
When the Spanish regained control of Florida in 1783, they encouraged colonization. One who settled here was Episcopal minister Dr. Ambrose Hull of Wallingford, Connecticut, who obtained 2,600 acres in 1801, including 1,120 acres along the riverfront from Yacht Club Island to the airport. He started a sugar and cotton plantation.
Hull built a two-story stone house at approximately this location, perhaps using the old Turnbull foundation. It was destroyed by radical "patriots" during the War of 1812 and the Hulls moved to St. Augustine. In 1830, the land and ruins were acquired by Thomas Stamps of South Carolina, but his plantation was burned during the Seminole War in 1835.
In 1854, the property was purchased by John Dwight Sheldon and his wife, Jane Sheldon, who first settled along the river in 1843. In 1859, they completed a two-story 40-room hotel here, one of the largest south of St. Augustine. On July 9 and 11, 1863, it was shelled and badly damaged by the Union steamer "Oleander".
It was rebult largely of driftwood collected along the beach in 1867 by the Sheldons and contained the post office, port collector's office, newspaper shoe shop and general store of Dolph Sheldon and M.L. Childs. It was torn down in about 1896.
The first bridge to the barrier island opened in 1894. The prior bridge at this location was replaced by one in 1953 by a new one at a cost of $875,000.
This was the community of Coronado Beach, founded in about 1885 and incorporated in 1925. When New Smyrna annexed it in 1946, it provided the "Beach" in the new name, New Smyrna Beach.
Located about three blocks east of here was the Atlantic House, a popular three-story wood frame social center which burned down during World War I. At the site was also located the popular Casino, a popular eating and drinking establishment destroyed by a storm on October 3, 1947.
When the bridge was built, S.H. Barber was its tender and he lived in a little two-story riverside house. In 1910, he and John Vrooman jacked it up to be the second and third stories and built a new first story.
After Fred Tyson bought it in 1936, it was expanded to its present size. It became a youth hostel in the 1970s and was nicknamed "The Gray Ghost". It is constructed mostly of 100-year-old brick.
Douglas Dummett was a white orange grower who married a woman from a socially prominent family, but after she deserted him he moved here and built his home on an Indian mound. He called it Mt. Pleasant, and it provided refuge for settlers fleeing the Indian attack on the Dunham mansion across the river in 1835. The Indians attemped to burn Dummett's house, also, but were unsuccessful.
Douglas married Anna, a young black slave, and had a black son, Charles, who died while hunting at age 16 in April of 1860. Some believed that he committed suicide out of shame for having black blood. He was buried where he fell on the vast Dummett land, but as it was being developed later it wound up in the middle of this street.
To leave the grave undisturbed, Canova Dr. was built around the gravesite. Canova Dr. is named after the brother of entertainer Judy Canova, a former landowner here.
In 1835, a French schooner wrecked halfway between Cape Canaveral and New Smyrna, and the eight to ten survivors began their walk to St. Augustine, the normal practice for shipwreck victims on the east coast. At Mosquito Inlet, they built a raft and camped here for the night to have a more favorable tide for the crossing. Attracted by their campfire, Indians came and killed the entire party.
In the early 1900s, this was the site of Maj. Abercrombie's residence. This home of New Smyrna Lodge 149 F.& A.M. was built in 1927.
In the early 1900s, G.R. Pitzer had a home here. He owned the New Smyrna Cash Store, selling groceries, stationery and candy.
This was the home in the early 1900s of C.L. Dohn, who ran a livery stable on the corner of Faulkner and Canal Sts. It was built in about 1883 with a Frame Vernacular style and columned two-story front.
This home was built in 1883 and has been converted to a bed and breakfast.
This was the home of J.M. Van Hook in 1906.
In the early 1900s, this was Mr. Walt's residence.
A building located here started as the New Smyrna Free Library, a gift from Washington E. Connor and Jeanette Thurber Connor on October 1, 1901. It was donated to the city on May 9, 1924, and later became the home of the Garden Club.
This 26-room hotel was built in 1906 by James and Clyde Pennell. The three-story lobby provided cross-ventilation to the guest rooms. Steam heat and gas were supplemented by in-room plumbing added in 1917.
The Union Church was the home of a number of congregations until they built their separate church buildings. One was the First Baptist Church, which organized in 1905. In 1929, the congregation built its own brick sanctuary.
This church was organized in December of 1875 by Rev. C.G. Selleck as a Church of Christ. In 1879, it was incorporated as a Congregational Church and built a sanctuary here. It was combined with the First Presbyterian Church from 1948 to 1953 as the Federated Church.
This section of roadway was a part of the Dixie Highway, which was the dream of Carl Fisher of Indianapolis. He had made his fortune in the new auto industry, and wanted to build a highway from Chicago to Miami. When news got out, many communities formed associations to lobby for inclusion on the route.
The Dixie Highway Association met in Chattanooga and chose a route passing through Tallahassee and Jacksonville, and proceeding south along the east coast. Frenzied lobbying also produced an inland route passing through Gainesville, Ocala, Winter Park, Orlando, Kissimmee, Bartow and Arcadia, rejoining the coastal route at Palm Beach.
In 1915, Fisher led an auto cavalcade from the Midwest to Miami, popularizing auto trips to Florida. The Dixie Highway was officially open for traffic in October of 1925 from the Canadian border at the northern tip of Michigan to Miami.
This area became populated with blacks after the Civil War. Many had gardens and farms and fished and crabbed in the river.
A small wooden church with a seating capacity of 80 was built in 1899 as Sacred Heart Church on Faulkner St. It served as a mission outpost from St. Peter's Church in DeLand for a small group of white Roman Catholics. In 1956, the congregation built a new church here and moved its old building further into the black community to be used as a house of worship for black Roman Catholics. This building later became the home of the Crown of Life Church of God in Christ.
This church was organized in 1885 by Rev. Richard Singleton. The sanctuary was rebuilt in 1949 by Rev. J.W. Walker.
This church was organized in 1932 by Rev. L.E. Sellers. The sanctuary was rebuilt in 1972 by Rev. J.B. Webb.
This was the former Sacred Heart Church, moved here in 1956 when the white congregation no longer needed it. It was renamed the St. Rita Mission, replacing a chapel of the same name located in an old boarding house located near the two-story Madonna House, which housed the Sisters of the Christian Doctrine and their kindergarten and day care center.
During the 1960s, St. Rita's and Sacred Heart merged to form an integrated church, and the old building located here became an annex for a child care project. Later, it was turned into a Black Heritage Museum.
This church was organized in July of 1941 by Rev. W.M. Roberts.
A one-story wood frame building was erected here in 1910 to house classes for black students. Previously, classes were held in two houses owned by Leroy Chisholm, and he was instrumental in raising funds for the construction of the school building. When it opened, it held grades one through six, and was expanded to grades seven and eight with funds raised by Clara Wallace.
Chisholm became the supervisor of Chisholm Academy, as it was called. Between 1935 and 1942, it was called Chisholm High School, and another school of the same name opened in 1954 on Ronnoc Ln. Its students transferred to New Smyrna Beach Senior High School when it opened in 1969. The building later became the Alonzo "Babe" James Youth Center.
This street was formerly named Cottonshed Ave., named for the buildings in which cotton was stored awaiting shipment by boat.
A steam sugar and saw mill were built here in 1830, and in 1835 were destroyed by Indians. During the Seminole Wars, soldiers were stationed here. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 12, 1970.
One root of this church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, began in 1885 and held services in the Union Church, then built its own on Canal St. The other, the Methodist Episcopal Church, North, was organized in 1887 and had a church at 315 Faulkner St. The two factions merged.
This site was purchased in 1912 for $900 and a new church was soon erected.
By 1777, the Turnbull settlement had two large and one small store, a windmill, a horse-powered mill, Dr. Turnbull's house, and 145 other houses. In the central area about 0.4 miles west of here were also warehouses, storage sheds, a jail, craft shops, a garrison, a powder magazine, and buildings for single men.
One of Turnbull's first public works was a wharf, constructed here in 1768 of two-foot blocks of coquina set into the shelly bank.
This marks the southern end of the King's Road, started in 1632 by the Spanish and completed in 1771 by the British. From here, the road headed north to Turnbull's palace, then turned west and eventually north to St. Augustine. Running due west from here was a road that led to the sugar mill and swamp.
During the Civil War, this area was used by blockade runners who brought in supplies for the Confederates from the Bahamas. On March 22, 1862, this was the site of a skirmish between Confederate soldiers and sailors from the Union steamers "Henry Andrew" and "Penguin". Two Union officers and six crewmen were killed.
Dr. Benjamin Fox, the first physician in New Smyrna, lived here in the early 1900s.
This structure, with a wraparound porch and central fireplace, was built with a modified Victorian style in 1906. It is now a bed and breakfast.
There is no evidence of the walls or other buildings of the fort, but occasionally an artifact is found buried in the yards of the homes now sitting on this site.
Building of the fort began between February and April of 1836. It was called Fort Mosquito, Fort Hernandez, and Fort New Smyrna. Part of the ruins of the Dunham mansion were incorporated into the construction of the fort.
The fort was abandoned starting on October 26, 1853. The last supplies were gone by 1855. The site is now occupied by a house built in 1909.
Mary Dunham built a stately stone mansion here with six large columns in the front. It was the residence of Judge David R. Dunham in the early 1830s.
On December 28, 1835, Chief Philip and a party of Uchee Indians and about 100 blacks set the house on fire. As they danced around the flames, a keg of gunpowder in the basement exploded.
In 1893, a store was built here by W.P. Shryock, who sold general merchandise, staples and fancy groceries, stoves, ranges, hardware, and other goods. During construction, many relics were found from the Dunham occupation of the site. An extensive dock stretched into the river from the front of the store.
The first railroad to reach New Smyrna was the BSOCA, officially named the Blue Springs, Orange City and Atlantic Railway, but referred to as "Built Strictly On Credit and Air". Its tracks ran down Lytle Ave. to the depot located here.
In 1891, a second railroad connection reached New Smyrna Beach. The Florida East Coast Railroad established a locomotive repair shop and roundhouse here in 1926.
In 1906, R.J. Skipper had the only soda water stand in town, located in his drug store here. Next door to the north was L.C. Chisholm's Barber Shop.
A Guide to National Register Sites in Florida, (Florida Department of State 1984)
African Americans in Florida, by Maxine D. Jones and Kevin M. McCarthy (Pineapple Press, Inc. 1993)
Bicentennial Pictorial History of Volusia County, by Henry B. Watson (The News-Journal Corporation 1976)
Black Florida, by Kevin M. McCarthy (Hippocrene Books 1995)
Centennial History of Volusia County, Florida 1854-1954, by Ianthe Bond Hebel (College Publishing Company 1955)
Florida Bed & Breakfast Guide, by Valerie C. Bondy (Queen of Hearts Publications 1995)
Florida Historical Markers & Sites, by Floyd E. Boone (Gulf Publishing Company 1988)
Florida: The Long Frontier, by Marjory Stoneman Douglas (Harper & Row 1967)
Florida's History Through Its Places: Properties in the National Register of Historic Places, by Morton D. Winsberg (Florida State University 1988)
Florida's Past: People and Events That Shaped the State, by Gene M. Burnett (Pineapple Press 1988)
Guide to Florida's Historic Architecture, (University of Florida Press 1989)
Guide to the Small and Historic Lodgings of Florida, by Herbert L. Hiller (Pineapple Press, Inc. 1991)
The Heritage of First United Methodist Church, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, by Edna Massey Conely (UMC Print Shop 1978)
History of New Smyrna, by Gary Luther (1987)
History of Volusia County, Florida, by Pleasant Daniel Gold (The E.O. Painter Printing Co. 1927)
Hopes, Dreams, & Promises: A History of Volusia County, Florida, by Michael G. Schene (News-Journal Corporation 1976)
The King's Road to Florida: The Stagecoach Route, by Charles W. Bockelman (1975)
Minorcans in Florida: Their History and Heritage, by Jane Quinn (Mission Press 1975)
The Minorcans of Florida: Their History, Language and Culture, by Philip D. Rasico (Luthers 1990)
The New History of Florida, by Michael Gannon (University Press of Florida 1996)
New Smyrna: An Eighteenth Century Greek Odyssey, by E.P. Panagopoulos (University of Florida Press 1966)
New Smyrna, Florida In the Civil War, by Zelia Wilson Sweett (Volusia County Historical Commission 1963)
Six Columns and Fort New Smyrna, by Charles W. Bockelman (E.O. Painter Printing Co. 1985)
True Natives: The Prehistory of Volusia County, by Dana Ste. Claire (Hall Publishing Company 1992)
Wish You Were Here: A Grand Tour of Early Florida Via Old Post Cards, by Hampton Dunn (Byron Kennedy and Company 1981)
Click here for a copy of the trail rules.