8 Facts You Didn't Know About Our Beaches!

August 26, 2015 34 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Downtown isn't the only neighborhood in town that's interesting. Here's eight facts about the beaches that you probably didn't already know.

1. Mineral City

Unknown to most, Ponte Vedra Beach was once a place of heavy industry. The posh community was referred to as Mineral City in the early 1900s, due to titanium, zircon and rutile being recovered and extracted from the sand in its beaches in significant amounts. Mineral City therefore acted almost exclusively as mining grounds for quite some time. This business was profitable due to World War I. Titanium was an extremely important mineral at this time, as it was used in poison gases. Other minerals in the area were used to make metal for weapons.

The mill of Buckman and Prichard, Inc. in Mineral City. Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/126342#sthash.q9DrKkaw.dpuf

The mining efforts here were largely under control of popular mayor Walter Phillips, who worked alongside Henry Holland Buckman (the Buckman Bridge's namesake) and George Pritchard, for Buckman and Pritchard Inc. In 1921, Buckman and Pritchard's mining rights were sold to the National Lead Company.
After the war however, mineral demand dropped significantly, causing the National Lead Company to change its business focus to building a resort community named after the Spanish city of Pontevedra, Galicia. They brought in the Telfair Stockton Company to help them begin their real estate developing. Their focus was on resort-style communities, with golf courses and dog parks. There developments included Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in 1928.

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