Just down the road from Daytona Beach is New Smyrna Beach, a seaside town with a rich history. This year, the town is celebrating its 250th anniversary, which will culminate with a weekend event at the New Smyrna Beach Museum of History on June 16, 2018. The museum will be aglow with activity and will host a wide variety of exhibits, local history displays and interactive areas featuring the area’s rich past.
WHAT: 250th Anniversary of New Smyrna Beach
WHEN: June 16, 2018, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Old Fort Park, 120 Julia Street, New Smyrna Beach
The local history runs deep. Read on for just a few of its highlights.
LOCAL HISTORY AT A GLANCE:
- Approximately 10,000 years before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans inhabit the area. They first live on a nomadic basis, and later form more sedentary camps and villages.
- Dr. Andrew Turnbull, a Scottish physician and entrepreneur, is granted land from the British Crown in return for colonization efforts. In 1768, he attempts to establish a colony with 1,225 immigrants on the coastal plantations at New Smyrna. The group begins farm production with crops such as corn, indigo, rice, hemp and cotton.
- In 1777, the colonists flee the area because they are plagued by disease and conflict with the Native Americans.
- The Spanish reclaim the region from the British in 1784, but have a hard time maintaining control because the land is so vast and wild.
- The United States acquires the colony from Spain in 1819 and establishes the Territory of Florida in 1821.
- From 1835 to 1842, the Second Seminole War rages in the area, and many of the plantations are attacked and destroyed by raiding parties. Few settlers returned to the area, even after the United States Army set up a military base in New Smyrna Beach in 1837.
- In 1887, with a population of 150, the Town of New Smyrna was incorporated.
- Henry Flagler begins constructing the Florida East Coast Railway in 1892, prompting development of the area's economy.
- Like many other Florida communities, the town blossoms with much development during the Florida land boom of the mid-1920s.
- In 2018, the town celebrates 250 years — and still remains popular for fishing, commercial business and tourism.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
At the 250th anniversary celebration, you can expect to learn all about the Native Americans who once lived here, the Minorcan colonists who settled here, prominent figure and founder Andrew Turnbull, and the Greek labor force he launched locally. And, get in-depth insight into the roles the area played in the Civil War, World War II and the Vietnam War, as well as its relationship to the Daughters of the American Revolution and the establishment of the Canaveral National Seashore.
Attractions will include:
- Live historic portrayals
- Seminole Indian dancers
- Greek dancers
- Bus tours to historic sites throughout the city
- Interactive archaeology activities for kids, as well as archaeological information on the Turnbull Settlement era
- Displays and information on the historic Turnbull Settlement with representatives from the Minorcan Cultural Society, the Turnbull Clan Association of the United States and the Greek Hellenic Society
- Civil War living-history displays
- Vietnam veterans commemorative display
- Florida East Coast Railway exhibit
Come stroll through the area’s unique history and celebrate 250 years of New Smyrna Beach. The entire Daytona Beach area has a number of historical sites and cultural excursions that are just ready and waiting for you to discover. Start planning your trip today!