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  • The History of Speed in Ormond Beach The History of Speed in Ormond Beach

    ORMOND BEACH, Fla. - In 1903, the smooth, hard-packed sands of Ormond Beach became a proving ground for automobile inventors and drivers. These first speed tournaments in the US earned Ormond thetitle “Birthplace of Speed.”

    Records set here during speed trial tournaments for much of the next eight years would be the first significant marks recorded outside of Europe. Motorcycle and automobile owners and racers brought vehicles that used gasoline, steam and electric engines. They came from France, Germany, and England as well as from across the United States.

    The Ormond Garage, the first gasoline alley before Indianapolis Speedway, was built in 1905 by Henry Flagler, owner of the Ormond Hotel, to accommodate participating race cars during the beach races. The Ormond Garage would house the drivers and mechanics during the speed time trials.Owners and manufacturers stayed, of course, at Flagler’s Ormond Hotel.

    Tragically, the Ormond Garage caught fire and burned to the ground in 1976, destroying one of autohistory’s most important landmarks as well as antique cars owned by local residents who used theGarage as a museum. Sadly, all that remains is a historic marker, in front of SunTrust Bank, built on its ashes on East Granada Boulevard.

    Racing on Ormond Beach started in 1902. But the city’s famous connection with racing began in 1903when the Winton Bullet won a Challenge Cup against the Olds Pirate by two-tenths of a second. American records were set that year, and the world took notice.

    The very next year, world records were set during the 1904 speed tournaments, including one for motorcycles that lasted for seven years — 67.36 mph set by Glenn H. Curtiss on his two-cylindermotorcycle. Though poorly organized, the event was a huge success, according to Dick Punnett’s book,Racing on the Rim.

    Incredibly, the flying mile world record was broken three different times by three different drivers in a 30- minute period that same year. The standing record of 92.31 mph was broken by Louis Ross in his steam- powered racer, the famous Wogglebug, at 94.73 mph.

    Five minutes later that record was broken by Arthur Macdonald in his Napier with a speed of 104.65 mph. The final—but unofficial—world record for the mile race went to H. L. Bowden, who drove his Mercedes at109.76 mph to break the previously set record. That final time was later disallowed because Bowden’s carweighed more than 1,000-kg, a limit set by the Automobile Club de France.

    The Stanley legacy that led to Ormond Beach’s longest-lasting automobile land speed record began in 1897. That year, twin brothers F.E. and F.O. Stanley from Massachusetts built their first steam car. By the turn of the century, their Stanley-Locomobile car was selling better than gas powered cars. The Stanleyscompetitive nature drove them to demonstrate their car’s speed and durability.

    With impressive wins and near-wins behind them by late 1905, F.E. Stanley designed, built and tested the Stanley Rocket, the most aerodynamic racer of the day. In January of 1906, the Rocket was brought to Ormond Beach to participate in the annual speed tournament.

    Pictured: The Ormond Garage in 1905, with Louis Ross in his steam-powered "Wogglebug" No. 4 and other racers.

    Parks, Scenic Loop & Trails Parks, Scenic Loop & Trails


    Ames Park

    195 South Beach Street
    Ormond Beach, FL 32174
    (386) 676-3216
    Gardens, seating, boat launch, fishing pier, restrooms and is great for weddings or photos


    Andy Romano Beachfront Park

    839 S. Atlantic Avenue
    Ormond Beach, FL 32176
    Gazebo/Pavilion, Outdoor Grill, Parking, Picnic Area, Playground, and Restrooms


    Bailey Riverbridge Gardens

    1 N. Beach Street
    (386) 676-3216
    Dock/Pier, Fishing, Parking, and Walk/Jog Bike Path


    Birthplace of Speed Park

    21 Ocean Shore Blvd
    Ormond Beach, FL 32176
    (386) 676-3250
    picnic shelter and tables, grills, boardwalk, deck, seating, restrooms, and outdoor shower


    Central Park

    601 Fleming Avenue
    701 Hammock Lane
    Ormond Beach, FL 32174
    (386) 676-3250
    Picnic shelter and tables, grills, restrooms, physical fitness trail and playground.


    Fortunato Park

    2 John Anderson Drive
    Ormond Beach, FL 32176
    (386) 676-3216
    Northeast corner of the Granada Bridge
    Boat ramp, tables, picnic areas, playground, restrooms, fishing pier.


    Magic Forest and Nova Community Center

    440 North Nova Road
    Ormond Beach, FL 32174
    (386) 676-3252
    Playgrounds, picnic areas, pavilion, racquetball, basketball, and tennis courts.


    Memorial Gardens Park

    78 East Granada Boulevard
    Ormond Beach, FL 32176
    (386) 676-3216
    Gazebo, picnic benches, beautiful foliage, excellent for weddings or gatherings.


    Riviera Park

    901 South Beach Street
    Ormond Beach, FL 32174
    (386) 676-3250
    Picnic tables and benches, grill, dock/pier, gazebo, fishing, walk/jog path and playground.


    Rockefeller Gardens Park

    26 Riverside Drive
    Ormond Beach, FL 32176
    (386) 676-3216
    fishing, parking, walk/jog/bike path, Beautiful scenic gardens and vistas.


    Sanchez Park

    329 Sanchez Avenue
    Ormond Beach, FL 32174
    (386) 676-3250
    Gazebo/Pavilion, outdoor grill, parking, playground, restrooms, walk/jog/bike path, fishing and boat launch.


    County and State Parks


    Bicentennial Park- County Park

    1850 Ocean Shore Blvd
    Ormond Beach, FL 32176
    (386) 736-5953
    Baseball Fields, Basketball, Community Center/Meeting Room, Dock/Pier, Fishing, Gazebo/Pavilion, Outdoor Tennis, Parking, Picnic Area, Playground, Restrooms, and Walk/Jog Bike Path


    Highbridge Park- Volusia County

    39 Highbridge Road
    Ormond Beach, FL 32176
    Boardwalk, boat ramps, fishing dock, canoeing, picnic area, outdoor grill, parking and restrooms.


    Tom Renick Park

    1565 Ocean Shore Blvd
    Ormond Beach, FL 32176
    (386) 257-6000, ext. 5953
    Fishing, Gazebo, Parking, Picnic Area, Playground, and Restrooms


    Tomoka State Park- State of Florida

    2099 North Beach Street
    Ormond Beach, FL 32174
    (386) 676-4050
    Boat Ramp, Camping, Canoe/Non-Motor Boats, Dock/Pier, Fishing, Gazebo/Pavilion, Outdoor Grill, Parking, Picnic Area, Playground, Restrooms, and Walk/Jog Bike Path


    Scenic Loop & Trails

    Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail (OSLT) is a 30+ mile double loop of roadways traversing some of the most beautiful and diverse natural scenery remaining in all of northeast Florida.  There is ready access to the Atlantic Ocean, North Peninsula, Tomoka and Bulow Creek State Parks as well as numerous city and county parks.   The roadway view includes unobstructed vistas of two rivers, creeks and marshes, barrier island dunes and beach, and historic dwellings. Visitors seeking a cultural and/or historic experience will find museums and historic public buildings and private homes along the corridor, in Tomoka State Park and in locations a few blocks off the designated roadways.  Recreational opportunities abound with numerous parks and trails offering boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, bicycling, beach walking and much more.  Vast expanses of water and natural Florida scrub vegetation create beautiful scenic vistas waiting to be photographed.  Northern right whales and humpback whales can be seen offshore during migration seasons.  Dolphins are a common sight.  Loggerhead, green and leatherback turtles use the sandy beaches along A1A for nesting.

    Click here to visit the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail website.

    City of Ormond Beach Map City of Ormond Beach Map