Elements of Urbanism: Daytona Beach

February 16, 2009 9 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

A look at the urban environment of Jacksonville's coastal neighbor to the south: Daytona Beach.

Tale of the Tape:

Daytona Beach Population 2007: 64,370 (City); 500,413 (Metro) - (incorporated in 1876)

Jacksonville Pop. 2007: 805,605 (City); 1,300,823 (Metro) - (incorporated in 1832)

City population 1950: Jacksonville (204,517); Daytona Beach (30,187)

Metropolitan Area Growth rate (2000-2007)

Daytona Beach: +12.87%
Jacksonville: +15.86%

Urban Area Population (2000 census)

Daytona Beach: 255,353 (ranked 124 nationwide)
Jacksonville: 882,295 (ranked 43 nationwide)


Urban Area Population Density (2000 census)

Daytona Beach: 2,248.6
Jacksonville: 2,149.2


City Population Growth from 2000 to 2007

Daytona Beach: +230
Jacksonville: +69,988


Convention Center Exhibition Space:

Daytona Beach: Ocean Center (1985, reonvated and expanded in 2008 for $76 million) - 94,695 square feet.
Jacksonville: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center (1986) - 78,500 square feet


Tallest Building:

Peck Plaza image by adamlmassey at www.webshots.com

Daytona Beach: Peck Plaza - 29 floors
Jacksonville: Bank of America Tower - 42 floors


Downtown-Based Fortune 500 companies:

Daytona Beach: zero (0)
Jacksonville: CSX (261), Fidelity National Financial (435), Fidelity National Information Services (481)


Urban infill obstacles:

Daytona Beach: a large number of surface parking lots and suburban development disconnects downtown from the rest of the city.
Jacksonville: State & Union Streets cut off Downtown Jacksonville from Springfield.


Downtown Nightlife:

Daytona Beach: Nightlife scene dominated by beach area (Main Street, Atlantic Avenue, Ocean Walk)
Jacksonville: East Bay Street, located between Main Street and Liberty Street.  This four block stretch is home to four bars and clubs.


Common Downtown Albatross:

Surface Parking Lots - Both city's downtowns have too many. 


City Walkability Ranking (According to Walkscore.com)

Daytona Beach: (not ranked because population was not large enough to make the top 40 list)
Jacksonville: 40 out of 40 - dead last)


Who's Downtown is more walkable?

Daytona Beach: ?? out of 100, according to walkscore.com
Jacksonville: 88 out of 100, according to walkscore.com


Downtown Daytona Beach

Unlike most downtown districts, Downtown Daytona Beach has developed in a linear pattern along Beach Street and the Halifax River. This district was the downtown for the City of Daytona prior to the 1926 merger.


Main Street

Main Street is the beachside business district.  Now a part of Daytona Beach, this district was the downtown area for the City of Seabreeze, and later Goodall, prior to its merger with Daytona in 1926. 

Here in the Halifax area, we had Daytona (just Daytona back then, no Beach) on the mainland, and Seabreeze across the river on the peninsula.

Everyone got along fine until a woman by the name of Helen Wilmans-Post began practicing and promoting what, in the latter part of the 19th century, became known as the “Mental Science Movement” or the control of mind over matter.

A pioneer metaphysician, Mrs. Wilmans-Post became wealthy not only by “healing hundreds of patients of all manner of ailments and diseases,” but also by teaching thousands of students the way to “heal, energize, upbuild and emancipate themselves,” long distance - via the United States mail to be exact.

The first Mental Science convention was held in 1899 in Seattle, Wash. A year later, a second convention was held in Seabreeze, Fla. The flood of mail entering and leaving the Seabreeze post office, located on present day Main Street, so overwhelmed the tiny facility that the United States government issued a transfer to a new location on Ocean Boulevard (now known as Seabreeze Boulevard).

This set off violent reactions: The Main Street-end of Seabreeze separated and named itself Goodall, and bitter animosity raged between the two factions until the old “die-hards” passed on.  In 1925, the three communities - Daytona, Seabreeze and Goodall - were consolidated into a single city, the city of Daytona Beach.



Unique Daytona Beach

- The separate towns of Daytona, Seabreeze and Goodall merged as "Daytona Beach" in 1926.

- William France created NASCAR and the Daytona International Speedway in 1959.

- Over 8 million visitors came to the Daytona Beach area in 2004.

- Notable inhabitants include Bill France, Vince Carter, Mary McLeod Bethune, T.K. Wetherell and Ransom Eli Olds.


Atlantic Avenue and the Beach

Image by Spencerconnection at www.flickr.com 


Image by Thunderbunny at www.flickr.com 


Image by Spencerconnection at www.flickr.com 

Article by Ennis Davis