The first public library in Ormond Beach was in a room in the Anderson-Price building until the Ormond Beach Regional Library opened on South Beach Street in 1969.
The tire-worn path of a driveway that winds under the live oaks to Clauda Stanton Green’s house sets the stage for the stories to come about Ormond Beach in the 1800 and 1900s. Visitors who take the drive, which brings to mind Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken,” find themselves back in time as they arrive at a modest home, with hummingbirds flitting at a feeder, a large chocolate Labrador named Bella who greets visitors with gusto, and a garden filled with flowers.
Green, who was born on North Ridgewood Drive in Ormond Beach in 1933, has a memory people half her age would envy, and one the Ormond Beach Historical Society is thankful for.
Edith Folke Stanton was Ormond Beach’s first librarian and Green's grandmother. The Anderson-Price building was built and referred to as the “VIA” in 1916, specifically to provide Ormond Beach with a public library.
The VIA was the Village Improvement Association, an organization of women who wanted to serve their community.
“I spent my summers with her in the library reading every book I could get a hold of,” Green said. “Some of them I understood and some I didn’t.”
The library occupied one room to the right of the entrance to the building. Today the room is a parlor and restroom.
“The left side (of the entryway) was locked and never opened,” Green recalled. “I suppose they used it for some kind of meetings and didn’t want people wandering in there. The VIA used the room with the stage.”
The women of the VIA, which included Mrs. Borden of the Borden Milk Company family, raised the money to build the library. The Bordens’ were winter residents and had a house on Beach Street.
The library also served as a community gathering place. Green said people came to talk to Stanton as much as to get a book. Stanton made a point to know every book in the library.
Stanton was also a writer. She wrote for the Daytona paper at the time and the Jacksonville Times, as well as a few short stories. Her subjects ranged from a history of plantations to “The House That Jack Built,” a story about Green’s husband Jack building their first home out of bridge timbers.
Green said her grandmother was a crossword puzzle aficionado and won $200 in a crossword contest.
Family keepsakes fill her home and Green said her family, “didn’t throw anything out, but handed everything down.”
The keepsakes included leather-bound journals written by her cousin Fannie Jamison in 1905 about a winter trip to Stanton (then Folke’s) Ormond Beach home. The elegant handwriting is accompanied by photos, and descriptions of places that can still be seen today in the area. This book is sold by the historical society at the MacDonald House.
A second set of journals, written by Stanton about events from when she arrived in Ormond Beach with her Uncle and cousins in 1887 (she was 12 years old) is expected to be published in the next few months.
The original journals have been donated to the historical society by Green and will be on display once the MacDonald house repairs have been completed.
While Green wouldn’t divulge the contents of the upcoming book, she did reveal that her grandmother was at the opening of the Hotel Ormond and danced with John Anderson. Stanton also attended Rollins College and was the editor of the Sandspur, the college newspaper.
The stories are vivid and leave you wanting more, but ask Green for details and you are likely to be told “read the book.”