The Ormond Beach Historical Society hopes to preserve the history of the original New Britain colony as developers look to transform it into an extension of downtown.
In a time where new development and the future of the city is on everyone's minds, the Ormond Beach Historical Society asking everyone to look back.
This 10th-annual Tour of Homes focuses on the history of New Britan, an area where restorers like Bill Jones are looking to renovate and expand in the next five years. While OBHS Board of Directors member Joyce Benedict is all for improving the town, she and the rest of the society are worried the city's history is in danger of being forgotten.
"History is disappearing so fast in our town," she said. "We want to protect our history"
"It's important for children to know where all this came from," Past OBHS President Diana Simmons said. "Our stories from the past need to be told."
Stories like The Dix House, an 18th-century home where in settlers from the original New Britan Colony came together in 1880 to create a charter for their new town, and renamed Ormond, in honor of the Ormond family who had an early plantation nearby. The house was also home to one of the first marriages in the community in 1879.
The home was intended to be remodeled into a bed and breakfast in 2007, but city residents rejected the idea out of fear of the traffic it would bring. The home was purchased by Chobee and Becky Ebbets who are working to preserve its history. They even have a copy of the handwritten minutes from the meeting where the founding fathers drew their own seal to make it an official document.
"It's really one of the most famous homes in the county," said Chobee Ebbets, an attorney at Ebbets Law. "It remained pretty much untouched for about 100 years."
Though it was rebuilt in 2007 for a commercial business, Chobee Ebbets have used the additional rooms and large kitchen to their advantage by turning the property into a family compound for he and wife, his mother-in-law, his son, his stepson and his fiancee and even a few grandkids.
"We love history, and we're very happy to live here," he said. In terms of the fear of preservation when redevelopment takes place, Chobee Ebbets said he's not afraid of men with good intentions — like his client, Bill Jones — will do.
"Look at Rose Villa," Chobee Ebbets said. "He'll never get his money back from that, but he restored it to its magnificence. I know he's not going to knock down anything with historic value. So I'm not afraid of the development on these streets."
A look into the past
Ten homes from the late 18th- and early 19th-century in the original New Britan neighborhood will be featured on this year's Tour of Homes. The entire route is 1.2 miles and a limited number of shuttle buses will be available. The restrooms at the Anderson-Price Building will be open. Stops include:
- The Anderson-Price Memorial Building, 1916
- Veranda Salon, the 1870s
- Pilgrims Rest Baptist Church, 1865
- Rose Villa Restaurant, the early 1900s
- Ormond Yacht Club, 1910
- The Martin Home, the early 1920s
- Cartwright/Needham Home, the early 1900s
- Rodriguez Home, 1928
- McNary Home, 1885
- The Dix House, 1978
The event is held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec., 10. Cost is $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event. Call 677-7005 for tickets.