Jacksonville Beach is a city on the Atlantic coast of Duval County, east of Jacksonville, Florida, United States. It is part of the Jacksonville Beaches communities, together withMayport, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Ponte Vedra Beach. When the city of Jacksonville consolidated with Duval County in 1968, Jacksonville Beach, together with Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Baldwin, voted to retain their own municipal governments. The population was 21,362 at the 2010 census.
|Jacksonville Beach, Florida|
Location in Duval County and the state of Florida
Like most of northeast Florida, the Jacksonville Beach area was originally inhabited by the Timucua peoples. Though the Jacksonville Beaches region was one of the first parts of what is now the continental United States to see settlement during the period of European colonization, the area of Jacksonville Beach itself was not settled until the 19th century.
In the late 19th century, developers began to see the potential in Duval County's oceanfront as a resort. In 1883 a group of investors formed the Jacksonville and Atlantic Railroad with the intention of developing a resort community that would be connected to Jacksonville by rail. The first settlers were William Edward Scull, a civil engineer and surveyor, and his wife Eleanor Kennedy Scull. They lived in a tent two blocks east of Pablo Historical Park. A second tent was the general store and post office. On August 22, 1884, Mrs. Scull was appointed postmaster. Mail was dispatched by horse and buggy up the beach to Mayport, and from there to Jacksonville by steamer. The Sculls built the first house in 1884 on their tent site. The settlement was named Ruby for their first daughter. On May 13, 1886, the town was renamed Pablo Beach after the San Pablo River. In 1885, the San Pablo Diego Beach Land Co. sold town lots ranging from $50 to $100 each along with 5 to 10 acres (2.0 to 4.0 ha) lots from $10 to $20 per acre within 3 miles (4.8 km) of the new seaside resort "Pablo Beach".In September 1892, work on the wagon road to Pablo Beach (Atlantic Boulevard) was begun. The first resort hotel called the Murray Hall Hotel was established in mid 1886 but on August 7, 1890 it was destroyed in a fire. By 1900 the railway company began to have financial difficulties and Henry Flagler took over as part of his Florida East Coast Railway. In late 1900 the railway was changed to standard gauge and was extended to Mayport.
The Spanish–American War broke out in 1898. The 3rd Nebraska arrived July 22, 1898, for training and embarkation. They encamped at Pablo Beach. They were led by three-time presidential candidate,William Jennings Bryan.After flooding in the camp at Pablo Beach the 3rd Nebraska moved to downtown Jacksonville.
The amusement park phase of Jacksonville Beach began in 1905 with The Pavilion which was later expanded and called Little Coney Island. It was a popular tourist attraction that had such entertainment as a dance floor, swim room, bowling alley, and roller skate rinks. An issue with contracting and constant weathering of its wooden structure aged Little Coney Island causing it to be torn down in 1925. On June 15, 1925, the name Pablo Beach was changed to Jacksonville Beach. The Shad's Pier was created in 1922 by Charles Shad and with help by Martin Williams. Around the same time W. H. Adams, Sr. created the Ocean View Pavilion amusement park on the former site of the Murray Hall Hotel. Adams wanted to create a larger roller coaster than the one at Little Coney Island. His vision resulted in a 93-feet high coaster. The location of the coaster by the beach made it vulnerable to damage and was eventually deemed unsafe. The coaster was then deconstructed to a smaller coaster. The deconstruction of the larger coaster hurt business at the amusement park. By 1949 the Ocean View Pavilion was in decline and then a fire destroyed it a few years later. The only amusement park in Jacksonville Beach today is Adventure Landing. The boardwalk declined in the 1950s due to the crackdown on gambling and games of chance. Driving on the beach was prohibited in 1979.
Pablo Beach made aviation history on February 24, 1921, Lt. Wm. DeVoe Coney, in a transcontinental flight from San Diego, California, landed at Pablo Beach, having made the flight in 22 hours and 17 minutes, beating the old record, set two years earlier, by 3 hours and 32 minutes.Coney's record was soon eclipsed on September 5, 1922, by Jimmy Doolittle piloting a De Havilland DH-4 biplane from Pablo Beach to San Diego in an elapsed time of 21 hours and 19 minutes.
In 1968 most residents of Duval County voted to approve consolidation between the county and the City of Jacksonville. Jacksonville Beach, together with Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and the Westside community of Baldwin voted to retain their own municipal governments. As such they are not part of the City of Jacksonville, but receive county-level services from Jacksonville, and vote for Jacksonville's mayor and City Council.