I learned that there is always something to be learned about Ormond Beach.
The last time I remember going on a field trip, I was a chaperone. On Saturday, April 8, I didn’t have to count heads or keep track of anyone; I just sat back on the DOTS charter bus and soaked up the history of Ormond Beach with the rest of my Ormond Leadership Class XIV.
Our day trip is an excellent way for anyone to spend a few hours to learn about their city or show visitors what Ormond Beach is really about.
It all began at Fire Station 92 on Nova Road where Fire Chief Bob Mandarino showed us where he works. He answered questions and I learned that there are some lights where the emergency vehicles can change the lights green in their direction so they can respond faster.
There are four stations within Ormond Beach city limits, though fire stations in neighboring jurisdictions work together. They are numbered in the order they were built.
Chief Mandarino is a former skateboard champion and is in the Florida Skateboard Hall of Fame.
Andy Romano Park
Moving on, we head east to the beach and Andy Romano Park. The 4-acre beachfront park not only has beach access and its own parking, it has a splash pad, playgrounds and a concession stand. The splash pad was struck by lightning the week before but no worries, repairs have been made.
The original guest cottages
Just north of the Ormond Heritage Condominiums, where Hotel Ormond once stood, are houses that were used for folks visiting who didn’t want to stay at the hotel. Ormond Beach Historical Society member Joyce Benedict donned her purple hat, and like a mother duck had us following her down Orchard Street.
Some of the highlights were a palm log cabin built in 1905, and the Nathan Cobb house that was built in 1896 from wood salvaged from the Nathan Cobb, a three-masted schooner that sank off the coast of Ormond Beach. Parts of the ship are still buried beneath the sand. The schooner's wooden name plate, with "Nathan F. Cobb" engraved into it, hangs over the fireplace.
Places of interest we just passed by
As we headed west across the Granada Bridge the Yacht Club can be seen in the Intracoastal, just north of the bridge. The nonprofit membership club was built in 1910 by some of Ormond Beach’s founding fathers. Despite being a wooden structure, with the exception of the dock, hurricanes have left it standing.
Three Chimneys and Pilgrim’s Rest
Benedict pointed out the Three Chimneys, nestled into the woods next to the Lohman Funeral Home, on Granada Boulevard. The Three Chimneys is said to be the oldest successful British sugar plantation and sugar mill in the United States. Most people probably drive right past it without ever knowing it is there.
Pilgrim’s Rest is a cemetery on Granada and the final resting place for several Confederate soldiers.
We arrived at the Nova Community Center and Park as children were finishing up an Easter Egg Hunt and ballplayers were preparing to take to the fields.
Our travels took us west on U.S. 1 to the Ormond Sports Complex. Part of the Ormond
Airport land, it includes softball, baseball, and soccer fields. The Seabreeze JV Sandcrabs football games are played here. There is also a colorful playground that is designed to be user-friendly for children with autism.
The Fairchild Oak on North Beach Street was our last stop, and an opportunity to have a group photo taken.
If you haven’t taken a historical tour, I encourage you to do so, whether you have lived here 2 months or 20 years.