Ponte Vedra Beach is an unincorporated seaside community in St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Located eighteen miles (29 km) southeast of downtown Jacksonville and 26 miles (42 km) north of St. Augustine, it is part of theJacksonville Beaches area.
Ponte Vedra Beach is an upper-income tourist resort area best known for its association with golf and is home to thePGA Tour and The Players Championship, played at the TPC at Sawgrass, as well as the ATP Tour.
|Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Ponte Vedra, Florida
Location in St. Johns County and the state of Florida
What is now north Florida was visited several times by European explorers in the 16th century, but there is little evidence for them coming to Ponte Vedra Beach specifically. It may have been sighted by Juan Ponce de Leónduring his voyage to Florida in 1513, but as his precise landfall is unknown, this claim can be made by many communities on the east coast of Florida.
The area remained sparsely populated through the late 19th century, even as other seaside communities began to develop to the north. In 1914 minerals were discovered, and a community known as Mineral Citygrew up around the mining operations there. Titanium (ilmenite) extraction was significant, as well as that of zircon and rutile. These minerals were recovered from beach sands by a private commercial firm called National Lead Company, directed by Henry Holland Buckman and George A. Pritchard. During World War Ititanium was a component of poison gas, and therefore a strategic mineral.
After the war, mineral demand dropped, so the National Lead Company changed its focus to building a resort community. The name of the community was changed to Ponte Vedra, apparently after the city of Pontevedra,Galicia, (Spain). The actual reason is unknown, but there was a rumor that one of the developers read a newspaper article that erroneously claimed Christopher Columbus was born there.