was once within the domain of the Timucuan Indians
. Their local fortified village was called Nocoroco, believed to have been located at the site of Tomoka State Park
. But war
would decimate the tribe. The city is named for James Ormond I, an Anglo-Irish-Scotch sea captain commissioned by King Ferdinand VII of Spain
to bring Franciscan
settlers to this part of Florida. Ormond had served Britain
and Spain in the Napoleonic Wars
as a ship captain, and was rewarded for his services to Spain by King Ferdinand VII. Ormond later worked for the Scottish Indian trade
company of Panton, Leslie & Company
, and his armed brig was called the Somerset. In 1821, Florida was acquired from Spain by the United States, but hostilities during the Second Seminole War
delayed settlement until after 1842. In 1875, the city was founded as New Britain by inhabitants from New Britain, Connecticut
, but would be incorporated in 1880 as Ormond for its early plantation owner.
With its hard, white beach, Ormond became popular for the wealthy seeking relief from northern winters during the Floridian boom in tourism after the American Civil War
. The St. Johns & Halifax Railroad arrived in 1886, and the first bridge across the Halifax River
was created in 1887. John Anderson and James Downing Price opened the Ormond Hotel
on January 1, 1888. Henry Flagler
bought the hotel in 1890 and expanded it to accommodate 600 guests. It would be one in a series of Gilded Age
hotels catering to passengers aboard his Florida East Coast Railway
, which had purchased the St. Johns & Halifax Railroad. Once a well-known landmark
which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
in 1980, the hotel was razed in 1992.
One of Flagler's guests at the Ormond Hotel was his former business partner at the Standard Oil Company
. John D. Rockefeller
arrived in 1914, and after four seasons at the hotel bought an estate called The Casements
. It would be Rockefeller's winter home during the latter part of his life. Sold by his heirs in 1939, it was purchased by the city in 1973, and now serves as a cultural center; it is the community's best-known historical structure.
Beginning in 1902, some of the first automobile
races were held on the compacted sand from Ormond south to Daytona Beach
. Pioneers in the industry, including Ransom Olds
and Alexander Winton
, tested their inventions. The American Automobile Association
brought timing equipment in 1903, and the area acquired the nickname "The Birthplace of Speed." Lee Bible
in the record-breaking, but fatal, White Triplex
was less fortunate. Driving on the beach is still permitted on some stretches. The city would be renamed Ormond Beach in 1949.