pictured is the cupola of the old ormond hotel in fortunato park in downtown ormond beach ocean side. john anderson and james dowing price built a hotel on this site in 1888. in 1890 the railroad tycoon henry flagler bought and expanded the hotel. until it's demolition in 1992 the ormond hotel was the largest wooden structure in the united states. the cupola has a small museum and is open on wednesdays, saturday, and sundays.
the casements is a 19 th century mansion located on SR 40 across the street from fortunato park. john d. rockefeller bought this mansion in 1918. today the casements is a cultural center and is open for tours. the casements is listed on the national register of historic places. see the attached web site for more information.
One day we drove down to Port Orange just south of Daytona. After we revisited Seven Seas Marina, we went over to the Sugar Mill Gardens. When I went to their website later, I found that the gardens are officially re-opening after the hurricane on January 21st. But the gate was open, and the sign said they were open, so we went in. There's no admission charge - it is run by volunteers - although they ask for a donation.
The Gardens are open from 8:00 AM to 6:00PM seven days a week.
We were greeted by a big marmalade cat, and walked around and looked at the plantings. They have native plants in groups - a group of palm, butterfly plants, etc., and they also have plants for sale (not that we need any of those). This was the site of the Dunlawton plantation, which was destroyed during the Seminole Wars in 1836. A lot of the sugar mill machinery is still there, and during the Civil War soldiers made salt here. Now this machinery is in a covered enclosure.
In the 50s someone tried to make a tourist attraction called Bongoland out of it, and since some archeology found some dinosaur bones, he put up life sized sculptures of the giant sloth (photo 5), Triceretops etc. The idea was a bit ahead of its time (theme parks weren't really big yet), so the project fell through, but the dinos are still there. They even have dinosaur murals (school child style) inside the rest rooms.
We had a nice wander around until about 2:40 following the self guiding tour signs (although for some reason we missed the actual plantation foundations), and then we left and drove back up to Ormond
I always try to see lighthouses whenever I can, so on the trip up to Ormond Beach, we stopped by the Ponce de Leon lighthouse. I wanted to see it because this is also one of the most complete light station museums in the nation.
We got to Ponce (which is a village, AND an inlet AND a lighthouse), and parked - then we realized that the entrance to the lighthouse was a little ways away. We started to walk over, but I thought that it was a National Monument/Historic place, and so Bob went back to get the car, thinking we could get it with the Golden Age Pass which I had left in the car.
Well it turns out that the lighthouse belongs to the county and is a Historic Landmark, but not administered by the NPS. So it was $5 admission for each of us (no discount for seniors) and $1 for a stamp for my passport.
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Last admission one hour before closing
The lighthouse is the tallest one in FL and is 175 feet tall. It is the second tallest brick lighthouse in the U.S. It replaced a 45 ft old-style brick tower. The name of the inlet that it guards was originally Mosquito Inlet. This was accurate but not good for development, so in 1927 the name was changed to Ponce de Leon Inlet.
The extensive lighthouse museum includes 3 original keeper's houses, pump house, and oil house. The original 1st order Fresnel lens (1887-1933) and Cape Canaveral's original 1st order Fresnel lens (1860) are on display.
It was still raining a little, so I didn't want to risk my digital camera. I only took some film pictures in addition to the digital ones that I took inside out of the rain. We didn't climb the lighthouse, but we had a good time visiting the various exhibits and walking around the grounds
I decided it would be good to drive up to St. Augustine and meet our friend Norm of the M/V Bandersnatch. There were some things I wanted to do on the way up, specifically to visit Fort Matanzas (and get a stamp in my passport book).
So we had a late breakfast set off about 11:30. We got to Matanzas about 1300. Bob was astonished at how small the fort was and absolutely refused to go over there in the boat and look at it. The people coming back on the boat looked really cold. We saw the video tape and got the passport stamped, but the nature trail was closed for the month of January for them to work on it.
The ranger who was running the boat trip (which is on the half hour and is free- and admission to the fort is free too) said they had a fire in the fireplace out in the fort. Although it was small it looked interesting. You can't go ashore at the fort except from the NPS boat on the ranger led tour. I don't know if we could dinghy to their dock and then take their boat over or not.
Apparently the history of the name (which means slaughter) was because the French established Ft. Caroline on the St. Johns River, and the Spanish thought that was a threat. The French (who were not only French but (gasp) Protestants) mounted an expedition to attack St. Augustine and came down south of the city to come in this inlet and attack through the 'back door' instead of coming directly in the inlet. However their boats were destroyed in a storm (probably a hurricane) and the Spanish found them here trying to march north to St. Augustine, and after the French surrendered, the Spanish killed them all except a few who said they were Catholic and some artisans that they wanted their skills at the fort.
On the internet, I found that Deland had an NAS museum which had WW II planes and memorabilia - it wasn't in the AAA book, but it looked like something Bob would be interested in. So we drove to Deland.
It turned out that the museum was in 2 parts due to hurricane damage. There was a small building on Biscayne which had been a chief's quarters and a hanger building at the airport. The roof on the small building started to leak in the hurricanes, and they took everything over to the hanger, and were just bringing it back. We went over to the hanger, and it was jam packed with stuff, including some experimental and Koren war planes.
There was an old man there (probably was a ex-chief) who talked about all the things in the building to us and pointed stuff out.
Then we headed for the Deland House Museum. Deland was named for Henry Deland who was a baking powder manufacturer from upstate NY. He never lived in the house (it was built by his attorney). Deland offered anyone who would come down and farm that if their crops failed in the first two years for any reason, he'd make their losses good.
And then of course there was a freeze, and making good on his promise left him without enough money to fund the Deland Academy which he had started. So his friend Stetson (who had made his fortune making Stetson hats) took over the school which is now Stetson University.
He (Stetson) used the building to house some of the school staff, and the house was later bought and substantially modified around 1900 by a professor. So the house is not the same as when it was built in 1886, and it isn't furnished with original furniture. It was very interesting though. We got a nice tour from a docent, and made a donation of $3.
We got a brochure for a walking tour of the historic district downtown, but it was rainy so we didn't do all of it, although I did go and take some pictures, and we saw the.Apollo Theatre which is being restored.
We wanted to go on a tour of the property and not just look at the outside. When we got there about 11:30, the lady at the reception desk told us that the lady who gives the tours was just finishing one up and we could go on the next one.
The Casements was built by a minister who named it because of the many casement windows. It was opposite the Ormond Hotel where John D. Rockefeller usually stayed - taking a whole floor for himself and staff. One day he found out that another person who also had a similar amount of floor space and people was paying less than he was. When he asked why, the answer was that he was the richest man in the world and he could afford it. Bad Answer.
So in 1918, he bought The Casements, and he stayed there every winter, reading the paper in the morning and playing 8 holes of golf in the afternoon. His wife and children (except for John D Jr. and one of his sons) never came down with him, they stayed in NY. He died in that house in 1937.
After his death, they took photos of all the rooms for estate tax purposes, and those photographs still exist. The house does not have original furniture except for one room where they have documentation that the furniture there was actually in the house. Most of the wood was chopped up and burned by hippies who invaded the house. When the city bought the house, it was in horrible shape. (There are photos of that too) It is being used by the city for meetings etc while it is being restored.
The Casements is open from 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; and from 8:30 a.m. - noon, Saturday.
Guided tours are available from 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; and from 10 - 11:30 a.m., Saturday.
Although we couldn't go to the Museum, we could walk through the 2.5 acre gardens which were built on what was once a sand dune. The gardens were pretty, and I saw a big fresh water turtle sunning himself in one of the ponds, but I liked the gardens in Port Orange better. These were just gardens - no history or instructional signs. I think there were some I. pseudacorus, but I couldn't be sure as it was just buds and spent blooms.
The gardens are free and are open sunrise to sunset. There were five ponds that are home to numerous turtles, frogs and fish. There were also some historic buildings in the park - one building inthe garden at the parking lot which said it was the Emmons Cottage c 1885 of which we could arrange to take a tour, but it didn't look like it was more than two rooms and small rooms at that, so I don't know how many people could be accommodated, or what a tour could possibly involve
The gardens were designed by Belgian-trained Chicago landscape architect, Henry Stockman in the 1940s. It is often used as a site for weddings
Aquatic plants such as water lilies and water lettuces offer food, shade and natural cleansing within the ponds. Look for marginal bog plants such as papyrus, bananas, ginger lilies and wild flowers, which flourish near the three ponds that were formed by natural depressions.
Unfortunately when we were here, the museum was closed in order for them to set up an exhibition entitled "Florida Icons" The museum website says:
The Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens was founded in 1946 by Ormond Beach residents as a living monument to creative freedom and equality of all persons, and to commemorate the service of World War I & II veterans who fought valiantly for that ideal.
The work of prominent Florida, regional and national artists is featured in shows throughout the year...
* The Museum is open weekdays from 10 AM – 4 PM and weekends from noon – 4 PM
* Parking is available free of charge along both sides of Halifax Drive and in the public parking lot located on the south end of the Museum and Garden grounds.
* Admission to the Ormond Memorial Art Museum is free of charge, although a $2 per person donation is gratefully accepted.
dix hall is located on north beach street in downtowm ormond beach on the mainland. this historic home was the site of the incorporation of the town of ormond in 1880. dix hall is listed on the national register of historic places and is a private residence.