Amelia Island, Florida: A geographic study of recreation development


Material Information

Amelia Island, Florida: A geographic study of recreation development
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xvii, 323 l. : ill., 2 folded maps (in pocket) ; 28 cm.
Cutler, Richard Oscar, 1930-
University of Florida
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Subjects / Keywords:
Outdoor recreation -- Florida -- Amelia Island   ( lcsh )
Recreation areas -- Florida -- Amelia Island   ( lcsh )
Regional planning -- Florida -- Amelia Island   ( lcsh )
Outdoor recreation   ( fast )
Recreation areas   ( fast )
Regional planning   ( fast )
Florida -- Amelia Island   ( fast )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: leaves 318-323.
General Note:
Manuscript copy.
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Resource Identifier:
oclc - 01812365
lcc - GV191.42.F6 C87 1980
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Full Text





August, 1965

Copyright by
Richard Oscar Cutler


The author wishes to thank Professor James R. Anderson, Chairman,

without whose patient and penetrating advice this work would never have

been completed; the author's wife, Kay, who remained so patient and

understanding through the seemingly endless years of preparation; and

the members of the supervisory committee, Professors Raymond E. Crist,

Clark L. Cross, John R. Dunkle, and Lyle McAlister.

The author also wishes to acknowledge the aid and support so

willingly accorded by the people of Amelia Island during the five years

of preparation, only a few of whom can be mentioned in the limited

space available: Mr. Gilbert Becker and Mr. Carl Gillen, Supervisors

of Fort Clinch State Park, who provided such enthusiastic help for the

slow search through the visitor records; Mrs. J. M. Bartels of the

General Duncan Lamont Clinch Historical Society of Amelia Island; Mrs.

Ruth Brown of the Fernandina Beach Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Jim Beard,

City Engineer; Mr. Newton Roberts of Union Carbide and Carbon, Incor-

porated; Mr. Eddie McKendree, Nassau County Tax Assessor; Mr. Joseph

Schofield, Superintendent of the Buccaneer Trail Association; Mrs.

Gerry Sheffield, of the Fernandina Beach News-Leader; and the many,

many others who provided their time and knowledge for this study. Miss

Eleanor Fairchild, typist, deserves credit for the frustrating job of

translating the field notes into a finished work; and Mr. Charles

Nissly for his invaluable technical assistance in completing the final





ACKNOWLEDGENTS . . . . . . . .. . . . . iii

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . ...... . . . ii

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS . . . . . . . . ... . . xii



The Need . . . . . . . . . . . 1

The Outdoor Recreation Resources Review

Commission conclusions . ............ 1

The need for research ...... . . . ... 3

The background development .. . . . 5

The Literature . ... .. . . . . . 19

The Problem . . . . . . . . . 27

The objectives . . . . . .. . . . 29

The methodology .. . . . ........ . ... 32


The Region and the Island . . . . . . . . 39

The Buccaneer Trail . . . . . . . ... 41

Amelia Island . . . . . . .. . . 46

Sand and Water . . . . . . . . . . 59

Beach formation . . . . . . . . . .. 59

Amelia Island beaches . . . . . . . . 62



The Climate . . . . . . . . . . . 69

Normal conditions ................... 70

Hurricanes . . . . . ...... . 77

The Romantic Past . . .......... ......... 82

Three major eras . . . . . ... . . 82

The eight flags theme ............... 89


Introduction . . . . ... . .. . . 95

Public Resources . . . . . . .. . . 99

Fort Clinch State Park .... . ...... .... 99

The Buccaneer Trail .................. 139

Municipal facilities . . . .. .. . 141

License counts ..... . . ... . 148

The Use of Private Facilities . . . . . 150

The Fletcher Avenue beaches .. . . . . .150

American Beach . . . . . . ... .. 167

The Economic Impact . . . . . ....... 172


External Factors Influencing Development . . . . 178

Statewide tourism in relation to Amelia Island . . 178

The anticipated demand for recreational

opportunities . . . . . ..... . 192

Areas similar to Amelia Island . . . . . . 203



Internal Factors Influencing Development . . . . 226

Industry . . . . . . .. . 226

Beach Erosion . . . . . . . . . . 237

Promotion and development . . .. . 253


Conclusions . . . . . ... . . .. 259

Visitors and tourists ................. 259

Residential growth .................. 260

Recommendations . . . . . . . . . 262

APPENDICES . . . . . .. . . . . . . 271

BIBLIOGRAPHY ................... ....... 318

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . .. . . . . 32X




1. Actual and Estimated Population, Per Capita Disposable

Income, Length of Paid Vacations, and Automobile

Passenger-Miles Travel in the United States 1960,

1976, and 2000 . . . . . . . . .. 3

2. Selected Climatic Statistics for Summer and Winter

1958-1962 . . . . . . . . .. . .. 74

3. Annual Number of Hurricanes Affecting the Florida-

Georgia Coast 1886-1958 . . . . . . ..... 80

4. Number of Hurricanes in Florida by Months 1886-1950 . .. 81

5. Summary of Flort Clinch State Park Campers, July and

August, 1958, and July, 1959, through August, 1963 . 106

6. Buccaneer Trail Special Count for April 8-30, 1961 . 144

7. Buccaneer Trail: Written Inquiries Received during June,

July, and August, 1961 . . . . . . . . .. 146

8. Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course Usage (Nine-Hole

Rounds), May, 1957, through August, 1964 ....... . 1 47

9. License Plate Counts at Atlantic Avenue Beach Parking

Lots, Fernandina Beach, Florida . . . . . .. 149

10. Building and Lot Ownership for Eight Subdivisions,

Fernandina Beach, Florida, 1960 . . . . . .. 154

11. Residential Units per Building along Fletcher Avenue,

Fernandina Beach, Florida, 1964 . . . . .. 158



12. Per Cent of Possible Occupancy in a Selected Motel

on Fletcher Avenue, Fernandina Beach, Florida,

1964 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159

13. Number of Residential Units Available along Fletcher

Avenue, Fernandina Beach, Florida, 1964 . . . 160

14. Number of Residential Unit-Night Occupancies along

Fletcher Avenue, Fernandina Beach, Florida, 1964 . .. 161

15. Percentage of Residential Unit-Night Occupancies along

Fletcher Avenue, Fernandina Beach, Florida, 1964 . .. 164

16. Number of User-Nights along Fletcher Avenue, Fernandina

Beach, Florida, 1964 .... . . . . . . .. 165

17. State of Origin for Selected Beach Cottage and Apartment

Renters along Fletcher Avenue, Fernandina Beach,

Florida, 1964 . . . . . . . . . 166

18. American Beach Lot Ownership, Amelia Island, Florida,

1959 . . . . . . . . . . . . 168

19. Ownership of Lots with Buildings, American Beach, Amelia

Island, Florida, 1959 . . . . . . . . 169

20. Automobile License Count at American Beach, Amelia Island,

Florida, 3:00 to 4:00 P.M., September 3, 1962 . . . 170

21. Summary of the Estimated Number of User-Days on Amelia

Island Beaches, 1964 . . . . . . . ... .174

22. Summary of the Estimated Expenditures on Amelia Island

Beaches, 1964 . . . . . . . .... ..... 175



23. Number of People per Tourist Group Entering Florida in

1963 by All Modes of Transportation . . . . . 183

24. Number of People per Tourist Group Entering Florida in

1963 by Automobile . . . . . . . .... ... 184

25. Home State of Tourists Entering Florida, by Automobile,

1958-1961 (in Per Cent of Yearly Total) . . . . . 185

26. The Ten Primary States for Out-of-State Visitors:

Florida (1961) and Fort Clinch Camping Groups

(July, 1959, through August, 1963) . . . . . .. 187

27. Accommodations Planned by Incoming Florida Automobile

Tourists in Percentages of All Respondents, 1958

through 1961 . . . . . . . . ... ..... 189

28. Incoming Florida Tourists' Anticipated Recreation, 1958

through 1961 . . .. . . . . . . . . 190

29. Estimated Number of Florida Tourists, Expenditures, and

Length of Stay, 1959 through 1963 . . . . .... 193

30. What Florida People Want Most in the Way of Additional

Outdoor Recreation Opportunities . . . . . . 200

31. Traffic Flow into Florida at Check Points, 1962 and 1963 202

32. Number of Visitors to the Castillo de San Marcos National

Monument, January, 1956, through July, 1964 . . . 208

33. Number of Visitors to Fort Matanzas National Monument,

January, 1956, through July, 1964 . . . . . . 209



34. Estimates of Future Visitor Attendance for the Castillo

de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments,

1964-1973 . . . . . .... . . .... ... 210

35. Number of Visitors to Little Talbot Island State Park,

July, 1962, through July, 1964 . . . . . . . 214

36. Number of Visitors to the Fort George Island Historic

Memorials, September 8, 1963, through July, 1964 . .. 216

37. Number of Visitors to Fort Frederica National Monument,

January, 1962, through August, 1964 . . .. ... 219

38. Number of Visitors to Fort Pulaski National Monument and to

Cockspur Island, January, 1958, through August, 1964 .. 221

39. Estimates of the Future Visitor Attendance for the Castillo

de San Marcos, Fort Matanzas, Fort Frederica and Fort

Pulaski National Monuments, 1961 through 1972 . . .. 225

40. Expenditures of the Container Corporation of America and

Rayonier, Incorporated, on Amelia Island in 1963 . .. 229

41. Summary of Amelia Island Beach Erosion Control Benefits . 250

42. Climatic Summary of Fernandina Beach, Florida . . . 280

43. Number of Visitors to Fort Clinch State Park, July, 1962,

through August, 1963 . . . . . . . . . 282

44. Sample Form for Fort Clinch State Park Campers' Receipts

Tabulation . . . . . . . . ... ...... .285

45. State of Origin of Fort Clinch State Park Campers, July,

1959, through August, 1963 . . . . . . ... 287



46. Buccaneer Trail Traffic Count, March, 1951 through

August, 1963 ..................... 302

47. Origin of Tourists to Fernandina, Florida, December 31,

1879, through November 21, 1885 . . . . ... .316

48. Origin of Tourists to Fort Clinch State Park, Fernandina

Beach, Florida, January, 1944, through April 20, 1949 317




1. Location of Study Region . . . . . . . . . 42

2. Map of Fernandina Beach, Florida . . . . . . .

3. Map of Amelia City, Florida . . . . . . . . *

4. Amelia Island . . . . . . . . ... ..... 48

5. Marine Welcome Station on the Intracoastal Waterway,

Fernandina Beach, Florida . . . . . . ... 51

6. Beach Automobile Access Points . . . . . ... 55

7. Egan's Cottage on North Beach . . . . . . . 61

8. Blowout at 630 North Fletcher . . . . . . . 61

9. Bud Holt's Fishing Pier, South Fletcher Avenue ...... 65

10. Foam on Fernandina Beach. View to North from Atlantic

Avenue Beach Ramp . . . . . . . .... . 65

11. Climatic Summary of Fernandina Beach, Florida . . .. 71

12. Brochure Advertising the Buccaneer Trail . . . ... 84

13. The Chamber of Commerce Offices in the Keystone Hotel . 85

14. Marker Depicting the Plaza, Oldtown, View to the West . 85

15. The Plaza, Oldtown, View to the Northwest . . . ... 86

16. Map of Oldtown, 1811-12 . . . . . . . .... .86

17. House Purchased by the Duncan L. Clinch Historical Society

for a Museum . . . . . . . .... .... .87

18. Depot Donated by the Seaboard Airline Railway as a Museum 87

19. Marker Depicting Defeat of Spanish Forces, 1817 . . . 88



20. Number of Visitors to Fort Clinch State Park, November,

1961, through August, 1963 . .. . . . .... .101

21. Per Cent of Fort Clinch State Park Camping Groups Annual

Totals Arriving in June, July, and August, 1960, through

1962 .. .. ......... .... . .. . . . 108

22. Number of Fort Clinch State Park Camping Groups, July and

August, 1958, and July, 1959, through August, 1963 . 109

23. Fort Clinch State Park Camping Groups Monthly Totals by

Year, 1958 through 1963 . . . . . . . .. 110

24. Per Cent of Fort Clinch State Park Group Camping Days

Annual Totals Arriving in June, July, and August, 1960,

through 1962 . . . . . . . .... .... 111

25. Number of Fort Clinch State Park Group Camping Days, July

and August, 1958, and July, 1959, through August, 1963 113

26. Mean Length of Stay for Fort Clinch State Park Camping

Groups, July and August, 1958, and July, 1959, through

August, 1963 . . . ..... . . . . . . 4

27. Per Cent of Fort Clinch State Park Campers Annual Totals

Arriving in June, July, and August, 1960, through

1962 . . .. . . . . . . . . 115

28. Number of Fort Clinch State Park Campers, July and August,

1958, and July, 1959, through August, 1963 . . . .. 116

29. Mean Number of Fort Clinch State Park Campers per Group,

July and August, 1958, and July, 1959, through August,

1963 . .. .. ...... .. . ... . . ... 119



30. Number of Fort Clinch State Park Camping Groups by Size

of Group and by Month, July and August, 1958, and

July, 1959, through August, 1963 . . . . .... .120

31. Per Cent of Fort Clinch State Park Camper-Days Annual

Totals Arriving in June, July, and August, 1960,

through 1962 . . . . . . . .... ...... 126

32. Number of Fort Clinch State Park Camper-Days, July and

August, 1958, and July, 1959, through August, 1963 . 127

33. Fort Clinch State Park Camper Days Monthly Totals by

Year, 1958 through 1963 ... . . . . . ... .128

34. Point of Origin of Camper Groups from Leading States,

July, 1959, through August, 1963 . . . . .... .133

35. Point of Origin of Fort Clinch State Park Camping Groups

by State, July, 1959, through August, 1963 . . ... 134

36. Number of Fort Clinch State Park Camping Groups from

Florida and Georgia, July, 1959, through August,

1963 . . . . . . . . . ........ .135

37. Number of Fort Clinch State Park Camping Groups from New

York and Ohio, July, 1959, through August, 1963 . . 136

38. Number of Fort Clinch State Park Camping Groups Arriving

in July from Florida, Georgia, New York, and Ohio,

1959 through 1963 . . . . . . . .... . 137

39. Fort Clinch State Park Special Visitor Count, Week of

July 15-21, 1963 . . . . . . . . ... .. 138



40. Copy of Part of Brochure Advertising the Buccaneer Trail .. 142

41. Buccaneer Trail January and July Monthly Totals by Year,

1951 through 1961 . . . . . . . ... .. 143

42. Location of Summer Rentals as Advertised through the

Chamber of Commerce and Others, Fernandina Beach,

Florida, 1964 . . . . . . . . . . 151

43. Location of Summer Residential Units along Fletcher Avenue,

Fernandina Beach, Florida, 1964 . . . . ... 156

44. Estimated Number of Tourists Entering Florida by Year,

1927 through 1963 ...... . . . . .... . 180

45. Estimated Number of Tourists Entering Florida by Month,

July, 1959, through August, 1963 . . . . . .. 182

46. Distribution of the Florida Tourist Dollar, 1963 . . . 194

47. Florida Population Growth by Years, 1840 through 1960,

and Projections to the Years 1976 and 2000 . . . . 196

48. Florida Urban-Rural Population as a Percentage of Total

Population, 1860 through 1960 . . . . . . . 198

49. Population Growth of the Jacksonville, Florida, Central

City and Metropolitan Area, 1900 through 1960 ... . 198

50. Number of Visitors to Florida State Parks, 1950 through

1964. . . . . . . . .... . . . 199

51. Number of Motorboats Registered in Florida, 1960-1964 . 199

52. Monthly Distribution of Florida Outdoor Recreation Use-

Pressure, 1961 . . . . . . . . .. .. . 200



53. Location of Selected Historical Sites near Amelia

Island, Florida . . . . . . . . .. .... 204

54. Map of the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and

Area, St. Augustine, Florida . . . . . . . 207

55. Copy of Map of Little Talbot Island State Park Brochure . 213

56. Map of Fort Frederica National Monument . . . ... 217

57. Map of Fort Pulaski National Monument . . . . . 220

58. Copy of "Facts of Interest" Sheet for the Container Cor-

poration of America and Rayonier, Incorporated, Fer-

nandina Beach, Florida, 1963 .... . . . . . 228

59. Land Held by Union Carbide and Carbon, Incorporated, on

Amelia Island, Florida, 1961 . . . . . . .. . 234

60. Map of St. Mary's Entrance, 1769 . . . . . . .. 239

61. Map Showing Old Shorelines along Northern Amelia Island,

Florida, 1843 through 1960 . . . . . . ... .240

62. Hurricane Damage to the Strathmore Hotel, South Beach,

Amelia Island, Florida, 1898 . . . . . .... .242

63. Beach Erosion Damage to South Fletcher Avenue, Fernandina

Beach, Florida, 1964 . . . . . . . ... 242

64. Summary of Damage from Hurricane Dora in Nassau County,

Florida, 1964 . . . . . . . .. .. . .244

65. Description of Hurricane Dora, Amelia Island, Florida,

1964 . . . . . . . . ... . . ... . 245

66. Beach Erosion Damage at 730 North Fletcher Avenue, Fernan-

dina Beach, Florida, 1964, Viewed from the Northwest . 246



67. Beach Erosion Damage at 730 North Fletcher Avenue, Fernan-

dina Beach, Florida, 1964, Viewed from the Southeast . 246

68. Beach Erosion Damage at 836 North Fletcher Avenue, Fernan-

dina Beach, Florida, 1964 . .. .. . . .. . 247

69. Beach Erosion Damage at 982 South Fletcher Avenue, Fernan-

dina Beach, Florida, 1964 . . . . . . . . 247

70. Ocean Street after the 1944 Hurricane, Fernandina Beach,

Florida . . . . . . . . ... . . .. 248

71. ,The North Beach Automobile Ramp after Hurricane Dora,

Fernandina Beach, Florida, .1964 . . . . . . 248

*Located in pocket on page 3ZL4





At the beginning of the second half of the twentieth century there

was a growing awareness among government officials and others of a rapid-

ly developing need for outdoor recreation among our increasingly urban-

ized and expanding population. It was already apparent that our

traditional unlimited expanses of "natural resources" were being hard-

pressed from many competing potential users under the canopy of

"multiple use" of land resources. In the summer of 1958, Congress

authorized an Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (hereafter

referred to as ORRRC) to make an intensive nationwide study of outdoor

recreation at all levels, public and private, in order to determine the

future demand and needs for outdoor recreation, the resources available,

and the policies and programs necessary to meet these demands (Outdoor

Recreation for America, Appendix A, pp. 191-94. Hereafter referred to

as ORFA, 1962).


The major report of this Commission was published in 1962 and con-

tained some startling figures on the problem. One major conclusion was

that outdoor recreation is now a major part of modern life, and that the

demand for it will triple by the year 2000 (ORFA, 1962, p. 47). Only part

of this rise in demand will be a direct result of population increase.


Other major factors which were considered included the per capita dispos-

able income, the rising amount of leisure time, and the effects of more

and better highways.

Population estimates were made for individual states, regions, and

for the entire country, and showed a total U. S. population change from

179,000,000 in 1960, to 350,000,000 in 2000, a rise of 95 percent (OFA,

1962, p. 47). Three out of every four of these Americans will be living

in metropolitan areas, which is where the outdoor recreational needs are

the greatest and the resources for satisfying these needs are the least

(ORFA, 1962, p. 3).

A second major factor in the rising demand is that of personal in-

come, or rather of "disposable" personal income which may be used for

other than the necessities of life. The per capita disposable income

will double by the year 2000 (Table I). When this factor is combined

with the projected doubling of the population, it means that there will

be four times as much income available in the country with which to pur-

chase non-necessities, largely recreational in nature, by the year 2000.

The leisure-time available is another dominating factor in the

use of outdoor recreation. According to the estimates, the number of

weeks of paid vacation will double by the year 2000 (Table I). Combin-

ing this factor with the rise in population and the availability of

disposable income for purchases of vacation travel, and considering the

present rapid development of highways throughout the nation, one is

given an indication of the fantastic growth of tourism in the coming



Table 1 summarizes the major factors in the rising demand for out-

door recreation.


IN THE UNITED STATES 1960, 1976, AND 2000*

Popula- Per capita dis- Paid vacations Automobile pas-
Year tion posable income (in weeks) senger-miles
(millions) (constant dollars) (in billions)

1960 179 $1,970 2.0 670

1976 230 2,900 2.8 1,400

2000 350 4,100 3.9 2,800

*After: Outdoor Recreation for America, A Report to the Presi-
dent and to the Congress by the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review
Commission, January, 1962, Washington, D. C. Table 21, page 220, and
Table 26, page 222.


The ORRRC Report concludes with a chapter outlining the pressing

need for research directed toward the concept of outdoor recreation, in

order to provide a base for wise management and policy decisions for our

increasingly hard-pressed natural resources (ORFA, 1962, Ch. 14, pp. 183-

87). Their statement that ". . no other activity involving so many

people and so basic a part of our life has received less attention from

qualified investigators . ." (ORFA, 1962, p. 183) is well-illustrated

in their study report surveying the literature (ORRRC, 1962, #27, Lit:

A Survey).


Much of the work to date has been in the nature of data collection

and in local problem-solving as, for instance, Waugh's studies of the

"tourist markets" as a saleable commodity (Waugh, 1956, pp. 286-88),

while very little has been done in the formation of value judgments. It

is much easier, of course, to compile statistics or to describe operating

procedures than it is to isolate and to define the intangible values

accrued from the vacation or the activity itself. Such value judgments

may be beyond the normally accepted limits of this field, and may proper-

ly belong in the fields of the behavioral sciences.

This problem of the value to assign to an intangible experience

has led to a number of methods establishing a dollar value. Two of the

most common methods include the placing of a dollar value for each visit

to an area, and that of measuring the recreational use against alternate

uses, i.e., an industrial use. Both methods are incomplete and subject

to great error of interpretation. The first method rests on an almost

unmeasurable value judgment by numerous visitors and the investigator,

while in the second method it is often tacitly assumed that the two (or

more) uses are mutually exclusive and incompatible. It may well be that

the different methods of research are themselves more incompatible than

are the activities that they measure and that a thorough study of an

area should of necessity consist of more than one research method. It is

not necessary for one method to embrace the entire field of study.

Not only will most studies probably use more than a single method

or research technique, but the field of "outdoor recreation" itself em-

braces parts of many fields of study. Much of the work to date has


been of a peripheral nature to outdoor recreation by conservationists,

governmental agencies, economists, and health-oriented groups. The ORRRC

aptly sums up the situation as follows:

The investigation and understanding of outdoor recreation ex-
tend far beyond the realm of any one specialized field. Much of
the research yielding important insights might not at first ap-
pear to be "recreation research," since it is carried out by
economists, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists,
demographers, psychologists, land-use specialists, and geograph-
ers, to mention only a few. Yet there is ample evidence that the
types of research carried out by these and other disciplines
could greatly increase knowledge of outdoor recreation and its
values. Unfortunately, the analysis and interpretation of the
research in these fields have only rarely been related to
recreation. Thus, there is much factual material already avail-
able for recreation research if placed in the proper context
(ORFA 1962, p. 187).


Development prior to the Second World War. Outdoor recreation

was not a problem to the early settlers of the country any more than it

is a problem to underdeveloped countries at the present. As long as the

pioneer attitude of an unlimited, free and somewhat hostile natural en-

vironment within immediate or easy reach of every man, woman and child

persisted, and the typical American lived in a small town, recreation

in the outdoors was a natural and an unremarked part of living. A land

of farmers has little need to search for this type of relaxation, al-

though other types of recreation have been actively sought in the past

despite the disapproval of a large segment of the population (i.e., the

Puritan New England settlements). Probably the first recreational


legislation in the country was instituted in the New England colonies,

and the village commons constituted some of the first parks in the


The nineteenth century witnessed the development of the concept of

outdoor recreation in the national consciousness. This century was de-

voted to the settlement of new areas and to the rise of cities, mainly

along the eastern seaboard. By the middle of the century, New York had

over half a million inhabitants and had recognized that there was a need

for a rural setting within the city itself. During the decade of 1850 to

1860, Central Park was established, an organizational board developed,

and the Park was landscaped for the sole purpose of outdoor recreation in

a natural setting. This pioneer effort was the model for city parks in

many other cities, and by the twentieth century, a county park had been

developed in New Jersey (Brockman, 1959, p. 57).

A widespread interest in outdoor sports developed during the last

quarter of the nineteenth century. For example, professional baseball

was instituted in 1869, intercollegiate field events were begun in 1874,

and the first modern Olympic Games with American representation was held

in 1896. Bicycling, archery, riflery, and yachting were popular activi-

ties during this period. Such highly organized sports as baseball,

football, tennis and golf were playing to large groups of spectators by

the end of the century (Ibid., 1959).

The Federal government entered the picture long before this, how-

ever. In 1864, while still engrossed in the Civil War, Congress set

aside the magnificent Yosemite Valley for the State of California


". .. to hold the lands for public use, resort and recreation .. ."

(Ise, 1961, p. 53) largely in order to protect one particular scenic at-

traction, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia (Sequoia gigantea). Con-

siderable public interest was developed in later years for the preserva-

tion of these and other similar groves, and was of considerable help in

spreading the concept of conservation across the country.

The first national park was established in 1872 when Yellowstone

National Park was authorized by act of Congress as a ". . public park

or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people" (Ibid.,

1961, p. 15). This concept set the pattern for subsequent national

parks. A similar development had taken place in reserving forest pre-

serves. A Division of Forestry was begun in 1881, and ten years later

the Yellowstone Forest Park Reservation was set up with the purpose of

protecting and preserving the timber. Other uses were allowed if they

did not abridge or interfere with this primary purpose .(ORRRC, 1962,

#27, pp. 103-04).

The first quarter of the twentieth century witnessed a rapid de-

velopment in the concept of outdoor recreation. The succession of

Theodore Roosevelt to the Presidency was, of course, a significant de-

velopment for the concept of the "outdoors" type of life in the increas-

ingly urbanized American landscape.

In 1906 an important law was passed, the Act for the Preservation

of American Antiquities, providing for the establishment of National

Monuments for the preservation of historic landmarks, historic or pre-

historic structures or other objects of historical or scientific


interest. This act allowed a number of interesting areas to be set aside

as national monuments until such a time that they could become national

parks, such as Carlsbad Caverns, Grand Canyon, Olympic, Zion and Bryce

(Brockman, 1959, p. 63).

The National Park Service was formed in 1916 to coordinate and

supervise the growing number of National Parks, which had been generally

managed by the U. S. Army. Under the energetic superintendent Mather,

the National Conference on State Parks was formed in 1921 to provide a

permanent forum for the exchange of ideas and discussions on the State

and Federal roles in outdoor recreation.

The U. S. Forest Service was at first concerned only with the

preservation and development of the timber resources, but the concept of

multiple use of national forests was forming during the first decade of

the century. One landmark for the concept of multiple use in conserva-

tion was the White House Conference in 1908, at which President Theodore

Roosevelt met with the governors of the states and other interested

officials to discuss the problems of vanishing natural resources

(Proceedings of a Conference of Governors in the White House 1909).

A subsequent National Conservation Commission prepared the first

inventory of the national natural resources, but the Commission was

dissolved when the country entered the First World War (Highsmith,

et al., 1962, p. 20).

It was during this period that the concept of multiple use of

forest lands began to form. Multiple use follows the concept of the


greatest good for the greatest number, and recognizes that there may be

a variety of uses for a particular area or class of land resources

(ORRRC, 1962, #17, p. 1). Some of these uses may be exclusive, such as

a road, while others may be broadly inclusive, such as selective

cutting of the forests which will still leave large sections of wild-

life habitat. Recreational uses are implicit in this concept, which

was finally written into law for the Forest Service in 1960.

At the turn of the century the automobile began its rise to a

dominant position in the economy. There were two million automobiles

in the country by 1914, nine million by 1921, eighteen million by 1926

(Doell, 1954, p. 59), and nearly sixty million in 1959, with this to

more than triple within the next forty years (ORRRC, 1962, #23, p. 89).

The construction of highways proceeded at an accelerated rate and has

culminated in the development of the modern interstate system. The

Federal-aid Highway Act of 1956, for instance, requires from 2.5 to 3

million additional acres for road construction and improvement by 1975

(U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1958, p. 476). This road construc-

tion is bringing all sections of the country within easy travel

distance of the major population centers.

A number of outdoor groups were organized during the early

years of the century. During the first decade, the Boy Scouts, the

Girl Scouts, the Camp Fire Girls, the National Association of Boys'

Clubs, and the forerunner of the National Recreation Association were

formed (Doell, 1954, p. 59).


During the second quarter of the century the great depression had

a major effect on the conservation movement. Local and state govern-

ments, and most private citizens, had only very limited funds to spend

for recreation, so the simple free outdoors activities became even more

popular. The Federal government, however, engaged in a considerable

amount of activity which was at least partially recreational in nature.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Works Progress Administration

(WPA), and the Public Works Administration (PWA) constructed a consider-

able number of trails, roads, buildings, et cetera, on public lands. The

National Park system expanded with the addition of Shenandoah, Mammoth

Cave, Olympic, Isle Royale, and Kings Canyon. The National Forests were

extended by purchase from private owners, and the labor from the New

Deal agencies was used for improvement. A number of water impoundments

were constructed, with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) epitomizing

the multiple-use principle (Clawson, et al.,1960, pp. 146-47).

Development since the Second World War. During the Second

World War most recreational developments were curtailed or maintained

at status only, but in the years following that conflict there has

been a significant change in the Federal government's attitude toward

outdoor recreation. The Flood Control Act of 1954, for example, put

recreation on an equal standing with other conservation measures by

directing that all such projects be open to the public without any

charge (ORRRC, 1962, #27, p. 118). Within the following twenty years

the multiple-use concept was firmly entrenched in all Federal agencies


concerned with conservation, and the Federal role is without doubt the

dominant single modern force in conservation and related outdoor recrea-

tion. These policies are determined by a number of Federal agencies.

The United States Department of the Interior handles the largest

part of the conservation needs. Among its many bureaus, the most im-

portant for outdoor recreation would be the National Park Service.

Others of notable importance would include the Geological Survey, the

Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the newly

created Bureau of Outdoor Recreation.

As of January 1, 1960, the National Park Service administered

nearly twenty-five million acres of land spread among one hundred and

eighty-three different areas and seven hundred and eighty units (Ise,

1961, p. 2). These one hundred and eighty-three areas include Parks

(national, historical, military, memorial, battlefield, and capital),

Monuments, Memorials, Cemeteries, Sites, Areas, and Parkways.* In 1955

these facilities had some 55 million visits, with an annual rate of

growth of 8 percent (Clawson, et aL, 1960, p. 168).

The United States Department of Agriculture administers the

nation's forests through its Forest Service. Of the nearly two hundred

million acres of forest land in the United States, nearly 85 percent, or

165,000,000 acres, are administered by the Forest Service. The policy

of this Service toward recreation as a multiple-use factor is revealed

by the remarks made at a national meeting in 1960:

*See maps "Eastern United States," February, 1962, and "Western
United States," January, 1961, by the National Park Service, the United
States Department of the Interior, for sale by the United States Govern-
ment Printing Office, Washington 25, D.C.


Insofar as the national forests are concerned, we are talk-
ing about 81 million visits or 95 million man-days of
recreation use in 1959. This . is 4 times what it was in
1946 and we have good reasons to expect over 600 million visits
in 2000 . . This large recreation use must be considered as
part and parcel of national forests multiple-use management.
On lands where recreation resources are the predominant public
value they will receive priority . (Sieker, 1960, p. 4).

The Army Corps of Engineers of the United States Department of

Defense is responsible for the construction of numerous water impound-

ments and navigational improvements, both coastal and inland. The

recreational uses of these constructions had lohg been considered to be

a by-product, but there has been a very rapid increase in their recrea-

tional use since they were opened to the public under the 1944 Flood

Control Act. In 1960 the projects of the Corps of Engineers had 109

million visitor-days (and another 65 million visitor-days at TVA and

at Bureau of Reclamation projects) (ORFA, 1962, p. 179).

These are by no means the only Federal agencies interested in

recreation, but a complete description would be a study in itself.

Some others worthy of mention will help to show the trend of modern

Federal policy toward recreation. These are summarized by the United

States Department of Commerce (Recreation and Tourism Developed Through

Federal Programs, 1965).

1. The Bureau of Reclamation is primarily interested in the

control and development of waters in the dry western states. Its ex-

perience with water impoundments is similar to that of the Corps of



2. The Bureau of Land Management administers 465 million acres of

land, mostly in Alaska and in the west. This land has generally been

maintained in a comparatively natural state and has been used by sports-

men. Land near population centers is now being sold or leased to states

and local governments, some 181,000 acres having been transferred by


3. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is not directly interested in

recreation, but its policies encourage the investment by states and pri-

vate organizations in outdoor recreation.

4. The Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS)

provides information and loans for the development of wildlife habitat

and resource-based recreational areas, under the terms of the Food and

Agricultural Act of 1962 and the 1963 Cropland Conversion Program.

5. The Soil Conservation Service (SCS) provides technical assis-

tance and cost-sharing procedures to individuals and organizations in

its protection of watersheds.

6. The Farmers Home Administration (FHA) may make loans to low-

income farmers and rural associations, primarily to provide supplemen-

tary sources of income.

7. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has been particularly

active in providing loans for motels and motor courts, and such user-

oriented activities as ski resorts.

8. The Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA) will include

recreational uses within its overall programs of urban planning, public

works planning, et cetera.


9. Area Redevelopment Administration (ARA) will make loans in

those areas of the country suffering from underemployment. Approximately

one-fourth of their loans went into projects to stimulate employment in

recreation and tourism.

The role of the Federal government has thus been changed from that

of official dispenser of public lands during the early days to that of

protector of public resources in the late nineteenth century. Through

the enthusiastic writings and activities of the naturalists of the period,

this attitude gradually merged with and became part of the conservation

movement. Such public figures as Theodore Roosevelt were of prime im-

portance in the development of the conservation theme.

In the twentieth century it became apparent that it would be

necessary for the Federal government to do more than merely "conserve"

the natural resources. An expanding interest in the outdoors, an ex-

panding urban population with its consequent isolation from nature, and

a fantastically expanding transportation system put demands upon the

nation's resources which could not be met under the traditional methods

of conservation, and the multiple-use concept arose. The implementation

of this active concept in place of the earlier rather passive concept

required the institution of numerous Federal agencies and the legisla-

tion to support them.

The expansion of leisure time, disposable income, personal trans-

portation on the highways, and increased urban population in the second

half of the century brought the need for public outdoor recreation to a


position of major importance. Two important developments which reflect

this post-war change were the authorization of the Outdoor Recreation Re-

sources Review Commission in 1958 and its logical result, the Land and

Water Conservation Fund Act of 1964. This act provided the administra-

tion for Federal agency coordination and matching grants to the several

states for their own local development of recreational potential.

New York was the first state to set aside large sections of land

for state use. In the late nineteenth century the State of New York for-

bid the sale of state lands in the Adirondacks region, and the state

constitution of 1894 stated that this area should remain in a natural

state, or in effect to remain public park. Niagara Falls was made a

public area during this period. New York's interest in recreation and

tourism has continued to the present and has made it one of the country's

leading tourist-attracting states. For example, in 1960 New York

floated a bond issue for $75,000,000, which was to be used for both

state projects and for loans to local areas on a matching basis. Two

years later an additional $25,000,000 bond issue was approved for land

acquisition, to be paid from state park fees (Florida Outdoor Recrea-

tion Program, 1964, p. 42).

California entered the conservation and recreational field with

the acceptance, and later the return, of Yosemite Valley. The develop-

ment of tourism and outdoor recreation has been a vital factor in this

growing state, now the largest in population in the country (California

will have an estimated 41 million population in 2000, according to the

ORRRC projections). A bond issue of $150,000,000 was presented to the


voters of the state and approved in the 1964 general elections. Eighty-

five million dollars were earmarked for the acquisition of new parks,

$20,000,000 for the development of new parks, $5,000,000 for wildlife

refuges, and $40,000,000 for grants to localities (Ibid., 1964).

Pennsylvania voted a bond issue of $70,000,000 for conservation and

recreation projects in 1963, and Ohio authorized an issue with $25,000,000

earmarked for recreational land acquisition and development, to be paid

for from a cent-a-pack cigarette tax (Ibid., 1964).

Florida has long been interested in tourism and the development

of a recreational potential based largely on a mild winter climate and

extensive bathing beaches. By 1963, more than 14 million tourists were

spending two and a half billion dollars annually in the state (1963

Florida Tourist Study, Table 6, p. 8). At the same time, Florida's rate

of population increase is one of the two highest in the country (both

Florida and Arizona will triple in population by the year 2000, accord-

ing to the ORRRC projections). The Recreation Department of the Florida

Development Commission has been making detailed tourist studies since

1956, and five years later the "Governor's Committee on Recreational

Development" was organized to coordinate and evaluate the state's needs

in outdoor recreation. Their 1963 report, Florida Outdoor Recreation -

At the Crossroads inventories the state's recreational resources and

recommended that an immediate water and land acquisition program should

be instituted immediately.


As a result of this study, Florida passed an Outdoor Recreation

and Conservation law in 1963. A 1964 report from the Florida Outdoor

Recreational Development Council summarizes this series of acts (Florida

Outdoor Recreation Program--the First Year, 1964, pp. 2-5).

1. The Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Act provided for the

establishment of an Outdoor Recreational Development Council and its

planning branch, the Outdoor Recreational Planning Committee. The lat-

ter would consist of the superintendents of the various state agencies

concerned with the utilization of the outdoors for recreation, as for

instance the Florida Board of Parks. A Land Management Division was

established, under the guidance of the Council, with the responsibility

of acquiring, maintaining and managing the necessary outdoor lands,

water areas and resources, and to lease these lands to the appropriate

agencies. A Land Acquisition Trust Fund was established with bonding

powers to finance the projects.

2. The Bond Referendum Act, authorizing the issuance of revenue

bonds for land acquisition, was approved by the voters in the November

5th, 1963, elections. Another act, the Boat Registration Revenue Act,

provided that surplus revenue from the registration of motorboats would

be transferred to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. An Internal Improve-

ment Funds act provided for a similar transfer of funds from the sale or

lease of State property, under certain conditions. A 5 percent whole-

sale tax imposed on outdoor recreational and sports equipment is to be

deposited in the Fund also.


3. A landmark in recreational development was passage of the

Landowner Liability Act limiting landowner liability when land is made

available for the public use. Any owner or leasee who makes land or

water areas available for public recreational use without charge is

freed from the responsibility of keeping the area safe or to give warning

of hazardous conditions. This progressive law, assuming reasonable care

on the part of the users, should encourage landowners to permit use of

large areas of land and timber which now have "Posted: No Trespassing"


In the spring of 1964, hearings were held in ten different parts

of the state in order to hear proposals and needs on the local level.

All county, municipal and private groups with an interest in outdoor

recreation and conservation were invited to attend, and publication

through the news media invited all other interested persons. This local

view of the needs was published in abstract form as the Public Hearings

on Florida Outdoor Recreation Needs (see Appendix A).



The earliest writings on outdoor recreation in this country were

essays on the enjoyment of nature after the manner of Thoreau. During

the late 1900's the voice of the crusading naturalist-conservationist

was heard decrying the loss or impending loss of irreplaceable natural

beauties. However, these writings were more of a literary nature than

of an actual study of the problem.

With the beginning of the multiple-use concept in the early period

of this century, it became apparent that the extent and quality of our

natural resources were inadequately inventoried, and some of the first

studies of importance were of this nature. The Federal agencies mainly

concerned with recreation, i.e., the National Park Service and the

Forest Service, were and still are in the best position to make such a

survey. The 1934 report on land planning by the National Park Service

is an example of an excellent and thorough survey by that agency

(Recreational Use of Land in the United States, Part XI, 1938), and

consisted of two hundred and eighty folio-sized pages and a number of

full-color, foldout maps. The primary aim was ". . to set forth the

facts, analyses, and the recommended lines of action . ." (Ibid.,

Preface, p. iii). A review of the contents will illustrate the width

of coverage.


The report was divided into five sections and the appendices.

Section I sets forth the problem of the most effective way to use recre-

ational lands, a summary of the findings, and recommended Federal action.

Section II, "Recreational Resources and Human Requirements," dis-

cussed the recreational needs, natural conditions, historic sites, compe-

titors and the economic aspects. Section III inventoried contemporary

uses of recreational land from the local to the Federal levels. Section

IV discussed developmental programs at all levels, and Section V dis-

cussed the educational opportunities.

The appendices include a considerable amount of material, in

graphic, tabular, and prose form. These appendices give details on

size, number of miles of roads and trails, et cetera, for each area ad-

ministered by the National Park Service and the Forest Service, as well

as other agencies. Another appendix discusses the status of archaeology

and illegal excavations in the United States, while a companion appendix

gives details on all archaeological and historical sites administered by

the Service. A most interesting appendix contains samples of the ques-

tionnaires used in various studies within the public areas.

The significance of this study lies in its thoroughness and in

its wide approach to the problem of outdoor recreation as a major land use.

The National Park Service has been interested in recreation from its

beginning, of course, but not on such a comprehensive scale. A very

thorough study of Park administration and policies is contained in Our

National Park Policy by Ise (Ise, 1961). He discusses a few of the pre-

World War I parks, notably Yellowstone and Yosemite, and the importance


of the Antiquities Act, before entering his very thorough year-by-year

discussion of the administrations. The author had written a similar

analysis on the Forest Service in 1920 (Ise, 1920). The 1961 study

(by an historian and amateur conservationist) was supported by the non-

profit Resources for the Future, Inc.

Comparatively little of importance was written by geographers

during this period. McMurry lists six pre-1940 studies on recreation

by geographers (James and Jones, 1954, pp. 256-57), and two of these

four were printed in other than geographical journals. Three of these

studies were centered on the state of Michigan, where there had been

considerable interest in reclamation of cut-over lands.

The post-World War II period, especially since 1950, has seen

the production of a number of well-researched studies on outdoor rec-

reation in its widest sense. It was necessary, of course, to maintain

reliable inventories or statistics for proper planning, and Marion

Clawson of the Resources for the Future, Inc., was foremost with his

1958 Statistics on Outdoor Recreation. (Clawson, 1958) This excel-

lent compilation lists a fairly complete summary of vital statistics

for the national, state and local parks, the national forests and

wildlife refuges, the TVA system, reservoirs, outdoor, activities and

sales of equipment, as well as careful words of advice on the use and

misuse of statistics. This latter phase was followed the next year

by his analysis of measurement techniques, Methods of Measuring the

Demand for and Value of Outdoor Recreation (Clawson, 1959).


The following year this prolific writer, along with two fellow research-

ers, published their fine Land for the Future, (Clawson, et al 1960)

in which recreation was treated as one of the multiple uses to which our

land is put. The urban, agricultural, forestry, and grazing uses were

covered in the same detail as was the recreational use, which was put

into its proper perspective in American life.

The report of the Outdoor Recreational Resources Review Commission

in 1962 has been mentioned earlier but little has been said of the

coverage of this report. In all, it consisted of twenty-seven separate

reports on various phases of the investigation, plus the summary

already mentioned (ORFA, 1962). It is difficult to summarize the

breadth and depth of this combined study. The twenty-seven separate

sub-studies include, among those of particular importance to this

study, reports on shoreline resources (Number 4), statistical analysis

of user satisfaction (Number 5), the multiple-use concept as employed

among the different Federal agencies (Number 17), factors affecting

demand (Number 20), trends in American living (Number 22), demographic

and economic projects to the years 1976 and 2000 (Number 23), prospec-

tive demand for recreation (Number 26), and a survey of the literature

(Number 27). The choice of these particular sub-studies by no means

is meant to detract from the others, but a complete listing and

description would be beyond this report.


The ORRRC Study Report 27, Outdoor Recreation Literature: A

Survey is of particular interest for its discussion of the literature

available in the Library of Congress. The Library staff made a search

through their card files in order to ascertain the available literature

on outdoor recreation and to categorize it under useful headings.

Potentially useful titles were found under a wide range of

classifications. Under "Recreation," approximately one out of ten

titles appeared to refer to outdoor recreation (ORRRC, 1962, Study Re-

port 27, p. 2). One of the more useful general categories was found by

using specific areas dealing with resources which are not strictly

recreational, as for instance state forests and reservoirs, or state

public lands. This survey found it most convenient to divide the liter-

ature into two parts, that of the resources themselves, and that con-

cerning the users. Under the category of Users, sub-headings included

such items as studies on the recreational activities, economic and

social characteristics, tourism and travel, population, growth factors,

leisure, et cetera.

Probably the major significance of this survey lies not in the

particular works which it mentions, for there were many interesting

titles which were not mentioned, but rather in the method and breadth

of approach. The first twenty-six pages of text are concerned with the

techniques of the title search itself, and a careful perusal of these

pages will save the serious researcher much time and will lead him to

studies which may not otherwise be apparent.


The summary of the ORRRC studies, Outdoor Recreation for

*America, (ORFA, 1962) is one of the more important and significant

tstudies in the field. Some conclusions as to the coming need for outdoor

recreation have been mentioned in the first few pages of this study, but

these conclusions are only a small part of the report, and comprise the

first part, "The Facts." The second part, "Recommendations," includes

chapters discussing policy guidelines at several levels of management,

both governmental and private.

Some of the more outstanding recommendations from Part II should

be mentioned. The first recommendation (Chapter 6) is for the manage-

ment classification of outdoor recreation areas into six categories

ranging from high-density (Class I) to primitive (Class V), thus divid-

ing the resources into areal units with specific recreational

functions. A single administrative unit, of course, could include more

than one category of use under this system.

The second recommendation (Chapter 7) called for the establish-

ment of a Bureau of Outdoor Recreation within the Department of the

Interior. Such a bureau was subsequently established in 1964, and

under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (Public Law 880578) in

September of the same year, an operating budget of $180 million annual-

ly was assured for a number of years. This revenue is basically taken

from users in the form of admission fees, taxes on motorboat fuel, and

surplus sales, and is to be used for matching funds to the states and

for the acquisition of Federal recreational areas. The Bureau is

charged with coordinating the recreational programs of all Federal



agencies (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1965 Supplement, p. 616). Similar

programs were recommended for individual states (ORFA, 1962) as, for

instance, has been done in Florida.

Other recommendations in the ORFA report included a system of

Federal loans or grants, which have been partly instituted by the forma-

tion and financing of the Bureau of.Outdoor Recreation. A separate

chapter was devoted to water (Chapter 13), called "A Key Element." The

recommendations were mainly concerned with public access to water in

lakes, rivers, impoundments, and the ocean, and to control pollution.

One recommendation to preserve certain rivers in their free-flowing

natural condition (ORFA, p. 177) has been met by the formation of the

joint Department of the Interior-Department of Agriculture Wild Rivers

Study Team to consider rivers or portions of rivers which should be

permanently maintained in their natural free-flowing state (Douglas,

1965, pp. 49-80).

An illustrative study of the multiple-use concept of water is

presented by a symposium on land and water use held by the American

Association for the Advancement of Science (Thorne, ed., 1963). The

contributors represented a broad spectrum of earth and biological

sciences and economics and came from universities, governmental agen-

cies, private business, and the Congress. Their interests ranged

from the resource setting (about half the papers) to the discussion

of policies at the local and governmental levels. One chapter dealt

specifically with outdoor recreation (Clawson, 1963, pp. 169-184).


A very thorough analysis of the problem of outdoor recreation by a

forester is presented in the Recreational Use of Wild Lands, an Ameri-

can Forestry series (Brockman, 1959). After a review of the importance

of the state and national park and national forest policies and activi-

ties, the author concludes with an interesting survey of similar

facilities in other countries.

Most of the studies on (outdoor) recreation include at least

some philosophic words on the place and meaning of recreation in modern

American life. One of the more provocative essays exploring the social

significance of the developing leisure and the associated rise in the

demand for recreation is to be found in Green's Recreation, Leisure,

and Politics. (Green, 1964) This essay deals with the sociological

implications of the change in American attitude from that of an essen-

tially frontier society to that of an urbanized industrial society,

with reference to leisure and recreation. It is not enough to investi-

gate the public needs for physical facilities and space for the year

2000, but the emotional and psychological needs at this future time

must also be carefully investigated. The America of 350,000,000

people in the year 2000 will be a very different place from the America

of mid-century with its population of a mere 150,000,000.



Along the southern coast of the United States lies a string of

coastal islands, stretching from Cape Hatteras in the north to Cape

Kennedy in the south. These islands, while being geologically similar

to each other, differ in many ways from the mainland from which they are

separated by swamps and lagoons. These islands contain extensive

stretches of magnificent beach, a mild and sunny climate, and a history

of conflict between opposing idealogies for four centuries. The

islands' present economies are based largely on some form of recrea-

tional use, while the mainland areas are predominantly based on

agriculture or forestry products.

Amelia Island is in the middle of this chain of islands, and is

in many ways typical of them all. It is separated physically and

economically from the mainland. Its beaches are among the finest to be

found in the world. Its climate is mild and sunny, and its history is

long and colorful. Tourism on the beaches is an important business dur-

ing the summer months, but two factories employ the bulk of the working

force throughout the rest of the year. The island has room for expan-

sion, for most of the land area and half the beach presently are idle.

While it is close to a large metropolitan area, it retains its small-

town southern charm.

Amelia Island, like the similar islands to the north and to the

south, contains abundant resources, physical and social, for outdoor

recreation, and, like its sister islands, has generally put these

resources to use in varying degrees. But what is the potential for

development? What will the Island be like in the future years? Is this

"development" something that the people presently living on the Island

want, or is it coming despite their wishes?

Two factors are apparent in a study of this kind and should be

kept in mind throughout. First, while the study is limited to the one

Island, its recreational resources and facilities are only one small

part of a large, extensive and nebulous pattern of similar recreational

resource-areas spread over a large area. This is to say, for instance,

that if potential visitors were to find the beaches to be of no recrea-

tional value in other parts of the South Atlantic coastline, then they

would not find the beaches of Amelia Island to be of interest.

Conversely, if the national demand for beach recreation were to rise,

the demand for Amelia Island's beaches would also rise. Amelia Island

is only one small part of this much larger complex, and is found to be

both in competition with and encouraged by this same system of recrea-

tional patterns. The same comments would hold true of the other

recreational features, such as the Island's state park or its histori-

cal shrines. They do not stand by themselves.

The second factor to be kept in mind is an areal one. Despite

the somewhat different physical setting and economy when compared to

the mainland, Amelia Island is only one part of a much larger area and

will tend to prosper or to decline as does the entire area. The bounda-

ries of this area are, of course, nebulous and almost incapable of

sharp definition, and may perhaps best be described in terms of


functional areas. Physically, the Island is part of the Floridian

plateau. Economically, it is part of the Jacksonville shopping area,

and socially it is part of the extremely vague northeast Florida-south-

east Georgia "region." Historically, there are several periods of the

past to which it may be equated, but generally it would be part of the

south Atlantic coastline from Cape Kennedy to Cape Hatteras.

Thus, both the wider social function and the areal location must

be considered in any microregional study of an island of such small

size which is tied closely to the region around it. However, for prac-

tical purposes the area of study must be sharply delimited and

identified. For this study, the "area" is most easily defined as being

Amelia Island and the immediately adjacent waters, while the surround-

ing "region" will be considered and identified as necessary.


This study is primarily a study of outdoor recreational poten-

tial from a geographic viewpoint, with Amelia Island selected as a

study area. Since it is a geographic study, it is concerned with the

manner in which the land and water resources are being used for outdoor

recreational purposes. The limits of this function must be as carefully

recognized and defined as are the areal limitations, and for much the

same purpose, i.e., that of focusing attention on one particular prob-

lem or situation. The wider applications and implications will be

discussed in the concluding chapter.


The first objective, therefore, is to inventory the resources

available for outdoor recreation. A "resource" is not a static, perma-

nent factor, but is in the mind of the actual or potential user and

ceases to be a resource when it is no longer considered to be one. For

example, the beaches have existed in essentially their present condition

since before the first man came to the Island, but were hardly considered

to be a "resource" by the Indians or the early settlers. Contrast their

view of a barren, waterless and foodless stretch of sand with that of the

modern tourist spending an average of fifteen dollars per day for each

member of his family for the privilege of staying a few days on this

barren, waterless and foodless stretch of sand, and the modern concept

of what constitutes a resource becomes more apparent.

Thus, an inventory of the resources available by definition con-

sists of anything which the users generally consider to be of use for

outdoor recreation. These resources fall into three general categor-

ies, that of the mild weather and climate (as compared to other places),

that of the extensive beaches for bathing and associated activities,

and that of the romantic historical traditions of which the Island is

a part.

The second objective is to evaluate the present use of these

resources that have been isolated by the inventory. The easiest and

most direct method is to count the number of people using a particular

resource at a particular time, and so any records of user intensity

which have been collected in the past are of major interest. Where di-

rect measurements are incomplete or impossible, then indirect measure-


ments must be taken generally by a study of a closely associated activity

or function, or by extension from a sample count.

An evaluation of the Island's recreational resources implies more

than a tabulation of the number of users. Some value must be assigned to

these activities in order to understand their importance to the area or

region as a whole. For this, the most tangible value assignation is the

dollar value based on so many dollars per visit or per user-day.

Intangible values such as intensity of user-satisfaction or emotional

and physical recuperation are outside the nature of this study and how-

ever real and important they may be, they are immeasurable within the

geographic definition of "resource." The dollar value assigned is a

rough indication that these particular people are willing to pay at

least this much money for these particular activities in this particular

area, and so is a lower limit to the economic value of these resources

at present.

Since the Island cannot be considered as an isolated unit either

areally or functionally, a third objective is to evaluate outside factors

which influence or will influence the recreational aspects of the Island.

The size and timing of the state's tourist influx, the location of the

major highways, and the population growth of the nearby Jacksonville

metropolitan area are major determining factors in the future of Amelia

Island. Outside support given to local activities, as for instance to

the local state park or the societies concerned with historical restora-

tion, will have important effects. Activities within the Island which

reach beyond its shores, as for instance the Chamber of Commerce


advertisements and the news media reports of the week-long Fiesta of

Eight Flags, will have a telling effect on the future. Activities of the

State of Florida which encompass the entire state will have a long-term

effect, as for instance the establishment of the Governor's inter-agency

Outdoor Recreational Development Council. The development or non-

development of similar areas along the coast will most certainly be a

critical factor.

The inventory of resources, the analysis of present use of these

resources, and the study of outside determining factors provide a basis

for an evaluation of the potential outdoor recreational development.

Only when the favorable and inhibiting developmental factors are under-

stood and appreciated can intelligent and effective developmental plans

be designed. That there will be future development of some sort is a

basic assumption generally made for an expanding economy like that of

Florida. This development must be directed or controlled if a favorable

economic environment is to be maintained. The definition of what con-

stitutes a favorable environment and the control of the Island's

development is the responsibility of the people themselves. Therefore,

the fourth objective of this study is to provide a basis for an under-

standing of the factors involved in what appears to be the inevitable

growth and development of Amelia Island.


While this study has been primarily a field study on Amelia

Island, it has been augmented by a large amount of material from other

sources. These sources may be grouped for purposes of identification


and evaluation. The following categories are based upon a very general

developmental order for the study. Some of the sources could be

classified under more than one category.

Secondary sources of information

1. The first and most basic general source was Pink's thesis

"Amelia Island" (see bibliography). This thesis, by a former Fernandina

Beach resident, is a general regional geographic study of the Island and

county and is an excellent introduction to the Island. The natural

features of the environment (soils, climate, vegetation, et cetera) are

surveyed, as are the major industries (timber, pulpwood, fisheries).

The extensive section on the history of the Island draws on both pub-

lished documentary sources and on original unpublished material and

interviews with the older residents. This work shows evidence of a

thorough acquaintance with the Island and county and a diligent search

into its economic and historical development.

2. The second most basic general source, from a geographer's

viewpoint, is to be found on the various maps, charts, and aerial

photographs of the area, both recent and old. The major series used

in the study would include:

a. The United States Geological Survey 7.5' Topographic

Survey Series (approximately two and one-half inches per mile). The

two 1958 sheets "Fernandina Beach, Florida and "Amelia City, Florida"

were the main ones used. An older edition of the section immediately

to the south of Amelia Island, "Mayport, Florida (1950) was of some


help on topographic features but the culture is out of date. These two

sheets were quite useful for the location of roads, streets, buildings,

and other cultural features; they were helpful for the location and

identification of the topography, such as shorelines, creeks and eleva-

tions; they were a prime source for the names of cultural and physical

features; they were an aid in the location of cadastral survey lines.

However, there were some discrepancies noted in the field, mainly in

the location of the cadastral survey lines and some streets. One copy

of each sheet has been placed in a pocket at the end of this study, and

should be accepted as the primary source for location and nomenclature.

b. Aerial photography was used to supplement and, in some

cases, to replace the U.S.G.S. maps. Two sets of photographs were used,

one at a scale of eight inches per mile taken in March of 1953, and the

second at a scale of about three inches per mile (1 inch = 1,667 feet)

taken in October of 1960. A mosaic of the 1960 photographs at a scale

of approximately one inch per mile was of use in preparing some of the

maps used in the study. These photographs are commercially available

from the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, United

States Department of Agriculture. Their scale is reasonably accurate

except at the edge of the photographs. Their main value was their

field utility in conjunction with the U.S.G.S. maps for the location

and identification of features which either are not apparent on the

maps, or are not normally visible from the ground. This would include

the location of vegetation (or changes in vegetation), houses, trails,

shoals, et cetera.


c. Nautical charts from the Coast and Geodetic Survey,

United States Department of Commerce, were of value for their extensive

information on coastlines and channel and water depths, and to a lesser

extent for the location of outstanding features on the land, such as the

higher dunes, tall public buildings, et cetera. Unfortunately, Amelia

Island is a dividing line for the U.S.C. & G.S. charts which are

centered on the St. Johns River (Jacksonville, Florida), and Brunswick,

Georgia, so two charts at each scale are necessary in order to show the

entire Island. At the scale of 1/20,000 (approximately three inches

per mile) charts Number 453 and 448, and at the scale of 1/40,000 (about

one and one-half inches per mile) charts Number 577 and 841 were found

to be useful.

d. Various other maps were useful for the study. A sketch

map showing the major property boundaries and owners as of 1953 was

loaned by Mr. George Lovesee, surveyor. The Fort Clinch records produced

a 1947 map (Drawing No. 3.001) showing changes in the shoreline of the

north end of Amelia Island since 1843. The office of the County Tax

assessor and the County Clerk were invaluable for their collection of

maps and drawings of the ownership and boundaries of private, corporate

and public holdings. Mr. Beard, the City Engineer, provided the author

with duplicates of street and planning maps of the city from his files.

3. Several libraries were consulted for other secondary source

material. The University of Florida Library at Gainesville contains a

wide variety of material and has been a major source of books and docu-

ments, especially government reports. Most of the literature cited in


the bibliographywill be found in this library. One of its most interest-

ing features is its sub-library, the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida

History, located in the main building. This library has probably the

finest and most complete collection of books, documents, maps, and other

material relating to Florida history to be found.

Two other libraries consulted for material were the Indiana State

University Library in Terre Haute, and the Indiana University Library in

Bloomington. The latter has an especially fine collection of material

in relation to various phases of recreation, in conjunction with its

School of Health, Recreation, and Physical Education. The Indiana State

University Library was able to secure considerable material through its

Inter-Library Loan services.

4. Other sources included officials and departments at the

local, county, state and Federal levels. The offices of the City Mana-

ger and the City Engineer were the source of material on the City of

Fernandina Beach. The offices of the County Tax Assessor and the

County Clerk provided invaluable service in the slow search through the

public records. The Fernandina Beach Chamber of Commerce provided in-

valuable background information and personal contacts. The Fort Clinch

State Park records were central to the study of tourists, and the

Florida Development Commission provided copies of their own tourist

studies and selected material from their research library. The offices

of the various state and Federal parks mentioned in the body of the re-

port were consulted for material concerning the several parks.

Local businessmen were quite helpful in preparing the estimates on

the number and expenditures of tourists and other matters of interest to

the study. The president of the local historical society was consulted

on phases of the restoration and other society activities. Authorities

in other sections of the state were consulted upon special problems in

geology, climatology, beach erosion, et cetera.

Field research. This study was essentially a field study in

that most of the material was collected on Amelia Island itself over a

period of three years. The field research may be divided into three

categories roughly following the development of the study.

1. The first part of the study consisted of the preparation of

base maps for the description and analysis of the background resources

and the subsequent selection of the pertinent areal factors. This in-

cluded a field survey of the region with maps and aerial photographs to

check the reliability and coverage, and the preparation of a land-use

map for the entire Island which was kept current throughout the study.

Finally, those factors which were pertinent were extracted and presen-

ted in the study as separate maps showing, for instance, the location

of the various beaches and the beach access points.

2. The various tourist counts occupied much of the field work.

The twenty-one thousand camper receipts and other Fort Clinch State

Park records were tabulated both at the Park offices and at the

author's residence over the three-year period. Various spot checks of

the number of people on the beach, or license plate counts on the beach


parking lots, were taken as a basis for later estimation and evaluation

of recreational activities. The house count along Fletcher Avenue was a

house-to-house canvass based upon such factors as the name-sign in

front, the number of mailboxes, "For Rent" signs, interviews with occu-

pants or neighbors, and other signs of permanent or temporary residence

to determine the number of housing units which were rented or were

maintained as permanent residences. All motels were considered to have

one unit as a permanent owner residence and the other units were counted

as rental units.

3. Interviews were used throughout the study where necessary and

possible, with due care given to identify the author and the purposes of

the study and to eliminate bias. Fort Clinch visitors and personnel,

motel and apartment house owners, the local Chamber of Commerce offic-

ials, and selected beach vacationers were interviewed concerning the

vacation habits of the visitors.

The actual study took place over a three-year period during

which time all the methods described were used when expedient and neces-

sary. During the two years in which the study was written, two

extended trips to the Island and the region, and numerous letters of

inquiry and reference to published data were undertaken in order to

fill in gaps in the study. The organization, selection and analysis

of the collected material could be considered to be the last step in

the study.



St. Augustine, Mayport, Nassau Sound, Cumberland Island,

Brunswick; the names found along the stretch of seacoast comprising

northern Florida and southern Georgia bring to mind visions of pirates,

Spanish galleons and French adventurers, a wealth of romance and his-

tory. Certainly, this region has had more than its share of the drama

that makes history books glow with excitement. The casual tourist may

yet today pace the very walls where desperate men made legends come true,

or may bathe in the golden sunshine on the shining sands which spelled a

hoped-for refuge for many a hurricane-wrecked sailor of old. It would

be difficult to traverse the Buccaneer Trail from its inception near

the St. Mary's River through Fernandina Beach and Amelia City, past

Fort George and Ponte Vedra Beach, through the first permanent

European settlement in the new world, without some of the romance of

the legends seeping in.

But is there nothing other than the past here? Is there no future

to give the past its meaning? What of the present and the people who are

living today on these historic shores? What changes have four centuries



In the middle of this stretch of golden sands lies subtropical

Amelia Island, separating the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland. The city


of Fernandina Beach, the county seat, faces the Amelia River to the west

and the Atlantic Ocean two miles to the east. Bridges cross the waters

of Amelia River to the east and of Nassau Sound to the south.

This is an enchanting region to the "outsider" on his first

visit. An easy hour's drive to the west and north would bring one to the

Okefenokee Swamp. To the north lies bridgeless Cumberland Island, almost

uninhabited, with its herds of wild ponies sometimes visible from Amelia

Island. Jacksonville, a bustling "Gate City" for international trade,

lies twenty miles south on a river whose flow reverses with every tide.

On approaching Amelia Island, the traveler passes through miles of al-

most unbroken stands of longleaf pine, much of which has been planted in

even rows by the large pulpwood producers. Between the Island and the

mainland will be long stretches of barren salt flats which were a

series of shallow bays in the geologically-recent past (Martens, 1931,

p. 79), and where fishermen are often seen dragging their nets. The

tourist may even pass with amazement a small sign directing him to a

gold-mining company (Humphreys Gold Corporation, Jacksonville, Florida)

and if he passes this off as another "tourist trap" he will be missing

one of the region's important industries, a space-age industry

producing titanium metal for Cape Kennedy's rockets.

If the hypothetical tourist remains long enough, he will soon

realize that there is a considerable amount of activity in industry,

agriculture, and commerce, but his interest will be drawn above all to

the magnificent opportunities for zestful outdoor activity throughout

the year. For the businessman tourist, the presence of several wood-


products factories will bring to mind the large stands of "useless" woods

which are so carefully protected and harvested, and which in turn excite

the hunter with deer, wild turkey, duck,quail, dove, rabbit and squirrel.

A wide variety of fish will tempt the angler to wet a line in salt water,

tidal flats, or fresh water as he chooses. One may walk miles of beach

with sands as smooth and untrammelled as if men had never been there, at

least since the last high tide. The weather will usually be sunny and

pleasant for these activities.

Indicative of Florida's well-publicized attraction for winter-

weary visitors from the north and midwest, the major highways trend from

north to south. U. S. Routes 1, 301, 23, and 17 are the most heavily-

traveled and they traditionally funnel traffic through Jacksonville to

the northeast Florida beaches. Interstate 95 will soon provide a more

rapid, stop-free coastal artery to heavily populated points on the south-

eastern coast of Florida from northern areas (Figure 1). The limited-

access highway system through Jacksonville has been largely completed

and the time-conscious traveler hardly needs to reduce speed as he

passes over the beautiful St. Johns River, and new four-lane highways

will conduct him quickly to the southern parts of the state. The driver

need only concentrate his attention on his strip of concrete and grass

without looking to either side in order to complete his rapid journey

to his ultimate destination.


However, there are others to whom travel is not an unpleasant

interlude between destinations, but is a pleasure in itself. The

820/ 8810


310 30f 310

,23 \ Cumberland Island
Kings Ferry 'St: Marys

S \ Yulee 1A
Callahan 'JN
So Nassau Sound
/ \I Little Talbot Island

909 |o Jacksonville Beach


S St. Augustine

Fort Matanzas

I A 810


1 inch = 16 miles


Buccaneer Trail has been designed with these more leisurely travelers in

mind, and judging from records kept since its inception it is becoming

increasingly popular. Known as State Route A1A, it connects with two

major north-south routes, U. S. 1-301 at Callahan and U. S. 17 in Yulee,

before leading to the Atlantic Ocean at Amelia Island (Figure 1).

The name of Buccaneer Trail is no accident. The port of

Fernandina was a pirate's haven in the early part of the nineteenth

century, and the place-names of the surrounding area abound with the

heritage of the Spanish, English,and French. For instance, the south-

bound traveler crosses the St. Marys River (Rio Santa Maria) through

either Kings Ferry or Kingsland, reminiscent of the old King's Road

during colonial times, and Nassau Sound vividly brings to mind the his-

toric associations of times past. The pirate theme is widely used on

Amelia Island itself (see page 82).

Continuing to the east along the Buccaneer Trail from Yulee, one

soon leaves the pine flats behind and emerges onto the tidal flats and

bayous so typical of an emerging sandy coastal region. These marshes

consist of several miles of sawgrass and mud and (at high tide) water

with many channels passable to small boats fishing for bottom-feeding

fish such as mullet (lisa). These flats have made efficient protective

moats for the off-shore island inhabitants in times past, but are now

controlled with dredge and causeway. Miles before the Island is

reached, the Rayonier cellulose plant may be seen to the northeast

with its plumes of white smoke outlined against the sky. One then

parallels a swing-out railroad bridge crossing the Intracoastal


Waterway* and may even be stopped (either luckily or unluckily, as the

mood indicates) while the road-bridge opens for passage of a yacht or a

tug pushing a string of barges. The driver is soon on Amelia Island,

and may proceed directly north to the city of Fernandina Beach, or di-

rectly east to follow Route A1A as it passes a few feet from the

Atlantic Ocean or directly south to Nassau Sound and points farther on

along the Buccaneer Trail (Figure 2).

Amelia Island itself is quite similar geologically to many other

near-shore coastal islands and bars to the north and south (U.S. Army

Corps of Engineers, 1960, p. 8). A dozen miles in length, it consists

of low sandy dunes, a city of some six thousand population, a state

park on the northern end, beach homes on part of the Atlantic beach,

and much presently unused oak and pine forest to the south. This same

physical pattern is extended to the north in the form of Cumberland Is-

land, and to the south with Talbot and Little Talbot Islands, each

separated from each other and from the mainland by extensive salt

marches or passes.

Little Talbot Island, seaward from Big Talbot Island, has dunes

ranging to forty feet in height. Both Islands are presently wildlife

preserves, and two fine beach access areas are located on Little Talbot

Island (see page 211). Historic Fort George Island is found to the

southwest on Fort George River, the location of one of the earliest

Spanish settlements under the name of the Island of Alimacani (Lowery,

*The Intracoastal Waterway extends from New York to the Mexican
coast utilizing natural passages and canals, with only brief passages
in the open ocean. It is much used by commercial and pleasure craft.


1959, p. 59). Remains of the Kingsley Plantation, dating from the early

nineteenth century, are still standing and are part of a well-maintained

state park. Rollins Bird and Plant Sanctuary and the Huguenot Memorial

Area occupy large tracts of Fort George Island and Xalvis Island (Wards

Bank) immediately to the south on the St. Johns River.

At this point, the unhurried traveler may continue across the St.

Johns River via a ferry service to Mayport and see Ribault Bay and

Ribault Monument, or he may elect to detour from AIA and take State Route

105 some twenty miles into Jacksonville, passing on the way the Civil War

monument of Yellow Bluffs Fort with its trenches and cannon.

Jacksonville, known as the "Gateway City," is a major distribu-

tion point for much of the Florida and Georgia international trade and

has the attendent commercial, industrial and educational institutions.

This port, some twenty miles from the Atlantic but still very much af-

fected by tides, generally has several international freighters and a

considerable amount of coastal shipping at the docks. In spring and

fall an almost steady stream of private yachts may be seen detouring

from the Intracoastal Waterway through Jacksonville while passing to the

north or south.

However, all is not business for this busy commercial city. An

easy half-hour drive to the east brings the traveler to such municipal-

ities as Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and (remind-

ing one of the very widespread Spanish heritage) Ponte Vedra Beach. All

four are heavily-used, commercialized residential beach areas. If the

traveler wishes he may take a more leisurely detour through Arlington


(site of Jacksonville University) and along the southern bluffs of the

St. Johns River to Fort Caroline National Monument, from which one may

have a magnificent overlook of the river and its waterborne traffic.

Continuing south from Ponte Vedra Beach along the Buccaneer Trail,

the traveler encounters nearly thirty miles of almost uninhabited beach,

with the road often being in view of the ocean and never more than one

sand-dune away. At low tide, a vehicle may be driven for miles along

the beach, and the forty-foot high dunes, capped by low bushes, make

excellent picnicking sites.

This idyllic stretch of sand ends at the new world's oldest old

world settlement, St. Augustine. First visited in 1513 by Ponce de Leon

and settled in 1565 by Pedro Menendez, the Castillo de San Marcos is of

national historical interest and is now under the supervision of the

National Park Service. The city has a multitude of interests represent-

ing the ancient heritage, including a very active Historical Society,

and has been the subject of a very thorough study in depth (Dunkle,

1955). A few miles to the south along the beach lies another associ-

ated National Monument, Fort Matanzas. Marineland, a nationally

famous fishpool where visitors may view the aquatic fauna from windows

below water level, lies a few miles further past Matanzas Inlet.


For convenience in getting an overall view of the land uses on

Amelia Island itself, five general categories of use are significant:

transportation routes, urbanized and residential areas, industrial areas,

recreational areas, and miscellaneous areas. Refer to Figures 2 and 3

(folded in pocket).

Transportation routes. The western and southern highways onto

Amelia Island have already been discussed. On arriving from the west,

the traveler will find three important branches dividing at Five Points

(indicated on Figure 4). Route A1A-200 continues to the north, becoming

Eighth Street as it parallels the city street pattern, and ending at

Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach's main street.

Atlantic Avenue is a broad, well-maintained avenue connecting the

dock and main business section of the western part of the city with the

eastern beaches. The main cross-street (other than Route AIA-200) is

Fourteenth Street, crossing to the north to Oldtown and the new high-

level concrete bridge across Egan's Creek as the most direct entrance

into Fort Clinch. To the south, Fourteenth Street continues as Florida

Route 105A to Five Points.

Near the eastern terminus of Atlantic Avenue is found the main

entrance to Fort Clinch State Park. This drive, meandering and woodsy,

contains the entrance station and main office and has spurs connecting

with the Lodge (near the jetties on the northeast corner of the Island)

and the old Fort Clinch with its museum and supplementary park head-

quarters. The drive continues to the northwest corner of the Island

for the camping, picnicking and boat-launching facilities and joins the

northern end of Fourteenth Street.


Fort Clinch .... ............... ....
I ort A i etties

sland Oldtown Egan s
I lCreek
BeaFeanna Beacch
of America
Atlantic Avenue


..Street ......A.


Fernanodina Beach
Golf Course



....... ........ .... .....r

To the east, Atlantic Avenue ends at the high tide level where a

beach ramp gives access to the well-driven low-tide beaches. Just land-

ward from the storm-cut sea cliffs is the major north-south street,

Fletcher Avenue. Fletcher Avenue extends a mile and a half north of

Atlantic Avenue to the Fort Clinch State Park boundary, with houses on

both sides of the road for about the first mile. To the south of Atlan-

tic Avenue, Fletcher Avenue continues as Route A1A-200 through closely-

spaced beach houses on both sides of the road and joins Alternate A1A,

the second major branch from Five Points, in about two miles. Fletcher

Avenue-ALA continues southward through thinning residential areas and

past the municipal golf course, ending at the city limits. The road

continues as A1A inland to Amelia City where it joins the Old Amelia

Road. Old Amelia Road extends south from Five Points through older

residential areas as a shortcut to A1A. South from Amelia City, AIA

extends south through essentially idle woodland with only one spur of

note, a paved road leading into American Beach. ALA continues south

across the toll bridge at Nassau Sound and onto the wildlife sanctuary

of Big Talbot Island.

A bus line makes two trips a day into Jacksonville but there are

no scheduled rail, air or steamer connections. A number of interna-

tional and coastal freighters avail themselves of the docks at the

Rayonier and the Container Corporation docks, but the only passenger

service is a private converted shrimp boat which operates to and from

the settlement of Dungeness on Cumberland Island. This is not a public


The new Marina and Welcome Station at the foot of Atlantic Avenue

invites visiting or passing yachtsmen to tarry awhile within one block of

the main business center (Figure 5).

Urbanized and residential, as used in the context of this section,

includes all areas used as residential for all or part of the year, the

main business district, small businesses scattered throughout the city,

and associated public areas such as parks and schools which are within

the residential areas and used primarily by the residents, without re-

gard to the official city limits.

The oldest part of town, simply known as Oldtown, overlooks

Egan's Creek and Amelia River. The site of the original Spanish Plaza,

Oldtown is now a rundown section of old sub-standard housing. The loca-

tion, lying near the tidewater Egan's Creek, the fertilizer factory

(with its unbelievably antagonistic odor when operating), and the Con-

tainer Corporation's pulp plant, nevertheless could become a desirable

section if it were restored and the fumes were controlled. Many of the

houses were once quite stately (Figure 17).

The main business section is concentrated on the western one-

half mile of Atlantic Avenue, extending from about Central Park and

the junior high school at llth Street to the docks, and from about the

12th block south (where A1A becomes 8th Street) north to the Container

Corporation. This section is flat, containing mainly older homes (many

now multi-family units), and most of the small businesses and semi-

public facilities such as the churches, city offices and county court

house. Atlantic Avenue has recently been widened and there is some




evidence of a facelifting for "main" street but this section still

retains its old-south charm.

From the southern limits of the above section, in an irregular

pattern south to the airport, is a scattering of older but widespread

housing with few commercial enterprises.

The more modern and better maintained residential section extends

from the junior high school and Central Park to Egan's Creek to the east,

and from Oldtown to the southern irregular limit about one-half mile

south of Atlantic Avenue. The most desirable section is along the five

to fifty foot bluffs overlooking Egan's Creek to the east, and along

the central part of Atlantic Avenue itself. The southern section is an

area of recent medium-cost housing developments.

A separate and distinctive section is encountered along the

beach from Fort Clinch State Park on the north to the golf course in

the south. Generally, it consists of one row of houses on the west,

and a thick, somewhat disorganized ribbon of houses on the east, with

this ribbon becoming somewhat thinner as the high-water line drifts

roadward. This beach section is largely one of summer rental cottages

and apartments (see "The Use of Private Facilities," page 15Q Chapter


South of the airport is the old settlement of Amelia City with

a church, a cemetery, several gasoline-grocery stations, a nursery, a

scattering of houses and a well-known restaurant, the Sandbar, which

is frequented by both automobile and Intracoastal Waterway traffic

which may moor at the private dock.

A separate and distinct residential area is American Beach, a sec-

tion owned originally by the Afro-American Insurance Company and which

has since been largely sold to their employees. This is largely a

summer rental area, there being only three owner-occupied houses listed

on the 1964 Nassau County tax rolls (see "American Beach,"page 167,

Chapter III).

Industry. Just across Egan's Creek to the northwest of Oldtown

lies the Quinn Menhaden Fisheries, Incorporated, a producer of ferti-

lizer from the non-food fish Menhaden (porgy). This factory is not de-

signed to draw visitors, and when the plant is processing a catch and

the wind is from the north to the west, an exceedingly vile and irri-

tating smoke is wafted across the city and beaches causing eyes to

redden, noses to run, and visitors to retreat.

The Container Corporation of America plant lies on the Amelia

River between Oldtown and the main business section, set well back from

residential areas. The Rayonier plant is located on a peninsula to the

south and west of town, well away from residential areas. Both plants

and their surrounding areas are well-maintained, clean and neat, and

visitors are welcomed for conducted tours of the processing plants.

Under certain atmospheric conditions, however, the smoke from these pro-

cessing plants fails to rise and may drift over the residential or beach

areas with a resulting unpleasant odor. Long-time residents barely

notice the smoke, but visitors to the Island are not so innured. For-

tunately, these atmospheric conditions seldom last more than a day or


Recreational features. The major recreational features are those

attracting summer tourists to the beaches. Besides the beaches them-

selves, there is the Fort Clinch State Park and a municipal golf course.

The visitor or resident has some sixteen miles of first rate

beaches available, with all but about two miles accessible to automobile

traffic at low tide. About six miles of beach is paralleled closely by

paved road with access at various points, and at six other places spur

roads lead onto the beach itself (Figure 6).

Fort Clinch State Park contains nearly three miles of these

beaches, with direct access at two points and access with a short walk

at another. Access is gained at the boat ramp in the northwest, but the

beach from this point to the Fort is broken shell, interrupted with

groins, and fronts on the Amelia River and St. Mary's sound rather than

on the ocean. There is only a short walk from the parking area at the

Fort to the jetties, a distance of a mile and a half. The firm, sandy

beach fronts on St. Mary's sound, with the north jetty and Cumberland

Island blocking the predominant littoral drift and waves.

A paved road leads to the Lodge, and a well-maintained sand road

(reinforced periodically with wood chips from the pulp mills) leads

from there to the jetties. This is traditionally a good fishing spot,

both for pedestrians and water-borne fishermen, and may also be

reached from the south by automobile along the beach.

There are few interruptions for an automobile along the thirteen

miles of north-south beach at low tide, and no part of the beach is

impassable. During busy daytime hours traffic is routed around the

Fort Clinch Fort Clinch Jetties

ort Clinch. \ Access (unpaved)
NBoat Ramp

American Beach

POINTSadler Road
Access co

0 B Buccaneer Trail Boat Ramp



p 0000000009%9 ,@go'so

terminus of Atlantic Avenue, which is reserved for bathers and protected

by lifeguards. There are a number of decaying groins and private sea-

walls to be avoided as well as an ocean pier which may be driven under.

From the pier southward to the southern tip, and then northwestward to

the bridge, the beach is uninterrupted but rather soft in places for an


Further access is afforded by a graded sand road branching from

AlA six-tenths of a mile south of the Amelia Road-AlA junction and

running northeastward to the beach. This is apparently a little used

access point, and no provision has been made for parking or descending

the fifteen foot dunes to the beach itself. At American Beach, automo-

bile access is easy and is much used by visitors to this beach area,

who usually remain within a half mile of the access point. One further

point of access is from the toll bridge connecting Amelia Island with

Big Talbot Island, where considerable parking space and a free concrete

boat ramp have been provided by the state road department.

In general, the beach from the southern limit of residential

areas off Fletcher Avenue to American little used, and from

American Beach south to the bridge, the beach is generally deserted.

For those wishing almost complete privacy, the northern shore of Big

Talbot Island, immediately to the south of Nassau Sound, offers high

dunes, forested area, and often a high surf. Further south are to be

found two public beach state parks. Cumberland Island to the north is

privately owned, and uninvited visitors are not encouraged.

A second major recreational feature is the 1,100-acre Fort Clinch

State Park occupying the northern tip of Amelia Island and containing

pentagonal Fort Clinch. The Fort and land, purchased by the state in

1935, received more than one hundred fifty thousand visitors in 1962,

and more than thirty-two thousand camper-days were registered in its

pleasant, water-front woodsy campground.

Most of the reservation is composed of low-lying dunes covered

to the east with oak. A ridge of higher dunes (up to fifty feet) faces

a more recent area of low dunes which is less than one hundred fifty

years of age (see Figure 61,"Old Shorelines;' Chapter IV). The curving

main entrance drive winds through the oak forest immediately to the west

of this high dune ridge, with one spur cutting through to the Lodge and

jetties. This lodge is commonly used by local groups for parties, con-

ventions, et cetera, and has sleeping and cooking facilities. The main

drive continues through the woods to the west and south of the dunes

until it arrives at the camping area and concrete boat launching ramp

facing onto the Amelia River. The camping and picnic area extends

from the water's edge about half a mile into the woods along the north

side of the road. Modern sanitary facilities, electricity, water, and

a small pavilion with refreshments are available. During peak summer

seasons, as many as three hundred families may be encamped, some for

several weeks at a time (see Table 5).

The Fort itself is being restored and some portions are used as

housing for the Park employees. It contains a museum, a reconstructed

draw bridge, numerous subterranean aisles, rooms, dungeons, portholes,

et cetera, and is a popular point of interest. In a traditional building

outside the Fort on the parking lot is a refreshment stand, and picnic

sites are available.

The only other recreational feature of major importance is a

modern eighteen-hole golf course lying just east of the airport and a

short walk from the beach. If the airport were to be expanded the east-

west runway would extend through the fairway, but this does not seem to

be a probability for the near future.

Miscellaneous areas. The rest of the island is essentially idle.

Egan's Creek as far inland as Atlantic Avenue has been proposed for a

residential development with spoils dredged from the creek to raise the

land on both sides, but there has been no construction as yet. South

of Atlantic Avenue and between the residential areas to the west and

the east, Egan's Creek gradually rises and the natural flow has been

improved further with drainage ditches. These have been dug at numer-

ous places on the island by the Mosquito Control Board and have made

the entire island much more liveable after the sun sets in the


The southern half of Amelia Island is generally wooded and idle

with occasional individual houses. The Union Carbide and Carbon Com-

pany owns considerable amounts of this land and plans eventually to

dredge-mine the sands for heavy minerals, mainly titanium ores, accord-

ing to their resident agent, Mr. E. N. Roberts.


The tidewater salt marshes are "dry" only at low tide, impassable

to anything but an airboat, and consist of low saw-grasses. There is no

present use for these flats and extensive filling would preclude con-

struction on the mud base.


The beaches are used by the majority of visitors and residents as

a major form of recreation and may be classed as the most important

single recreational aspect of the Island, as it is with much of Florida

(Table 28). Amelia Island's beaches are well suited to intensive use,

being wide and generally hard enough to support an automobile: it is

not unusual to see several dozen vehicles on the beach at one time

during holidays. Access is easy but not plentiful, and more access

points will be an absolute necessity as beach use is intensified

(Figure 6). Houses and summer cottages are built immediately adjacent

to the beach and are sometimes to be found on the beach itself, the

beach having moved inland under the houses (Figure 7). In places

seawalls or groins have been built to stabilize the sand but have not

been notably successful, many having been washed away during the 1964

hurricane named Dora by the United States Weather Bureau.


Geologically, Amelia Island is similar to the long string of

coastal islands stretching along the southeastern coast of the United

States which are termed offshore bars or barrier beaches. Typically,

this type of island is separated from the mainland by low tidal marshes

and a lagoon, sometimes called a "lake," a "sound" or a "river." The

beach itself is on the seaward side of the bar and is formed primarily

by wave action bringing sand shoreward in low bars until it rises above

the surface and forms an off-shore bar (Martens, 1931, pp. 85-86).

There are sometimes several of these off-shore bars seaward from the

mainland, one after the other, as is to be found at Cape Kennedy. If the

lagoon water level drops, the bar may form part of the mainland with a

shallow inland river where the lagoon had been, as is found to the east

of the St. Johns River (Cooke, 1939, p. 109).

The sand dunes adjacent to the beach are considered here to be

part of the beach. They are generally formed in hillocks roughly par-

allel to the shoreline and range to about forty feet in height. Formed

primarily by loose sand being blown from the beach by storm winds and

stabilized by vegetation, they can also be destroyed by these same winds

if the stabilizing vegetation is destroyed, as, for instance, by pedes-

trian use or home and road construction. The blowout illustrated in

Figure 8 was formed during Hurricane Dora at a pedestrian walkway to the

beach. The so-called "dune ridge" next to the beach itself may also be

destroyed by an encroaching shoreline, or may be left far inland by a

receeding shoreline. The northeastern corner of Amelia Island was

formed in this manner by a receeding shoreline, as indicated on the

map of'Old Shorelines,' Figure 61.

These offshore islands are separated from one another by tidal

passes giving access from the lagoon to the open ocean, and are called






various local names such as "sound," "pass" and "entrance." Where the

tidal range is great and/or there is a significant amount of mainland

drainage into the lagoon, a rapid current can be found during ebb tide

with resultant erosion and formation of seaward bars and shallows

parallel to the current. Hurricanes and other major storms have been

known to open new passes and to close or drastically change old ones.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers sometimes constructs jetties

seaward in order to channel the outflow and thus to keep the pass

scoured out to its maximum depth through natural water flow.


Amelia Island itself is some thirteen miles long (north to south)

by about two miles in width. Typically, the beach is wide, flat, and

generally straight, though curving landward in the center. The entire

island is essentially east of Cumberland Island to the north, and Little

Talbot Island to the south is similarly displaced to the east of Amelia

Island, indicating the predominant east-of-south direction of the

Florida coast. The sand is composed of a fine quartz sand (Martens,

1931, p. 82) which packs into a firm white beach between high and low

water marks where the sand never thoroughly dries out between succes-

sive tides. In places there is markedly more shell content which makes

for soft spots a few feet across, and at the extreme southern end of

the island blue clay may be observed to outcrop. The high tidal range

(six.feet, the highest in Florida, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1960,

p. 6) provides for a wide expanse of flat tidal beach. Although not as

broad as, for example, Daytona Beach, it will still be over three

hundred feet in width at low tide. In places the dune ridge appears to

have formed a wave-cut cliff, but this is probably of a temporary,

short-term nature since the shoreline is continually changing.

The northern end of the island, containing most of the human set-

tlement, is formed on the seaward side by a westward-hooked spit of quite

recent origin (within the past one hundred and fifty years, according to

the map of'"ld Shorelines"' Figure 61) with some of the higher dunes to

be found on the island. Fort Clinch State Park and the largely restored

ruins of the old Fort Clinch itself are located here, overlooking the

St. Mary's Entrance and Cumberland Sound. Immediately to the south and

west of the park is a tidal flat and drainage creek, Egan's Creek

(Clark's Creek on the U.S.C. & G.S. Nautical Chart "Cumberland Sound,"

1:20,000 scale). To the west and the south facing onto the Amelia

River is the main part of the island, which is composed of somewhat

higher dunes than are found on the beach. Along the entire eastern

edge of the island are to be found low dunes, both along the shore it-

self and inland a few yards. The rest of the island (that is, the

western and southern portion) is generally a low plain some ten feet

above sea level and facing into the marshes to the west (Figures 2 and

3). These plains are somewhat older in age than the dunes, having been

formed under water when sea level was twenty-five feet higher than at

present (Cooke, 1939, p. 62).

On a busy summer day there will be several hundred people on the

beach, mainly at the Atlantic Avenue terminus or at American Beach.

With a predominant onshore northeastern wind and no shallow bars or

shoals immediately offshore to interrupt wave action, there is always a

breaking surf. The breakers nearest shore seem to vary from about one

foot through to crest, to about four feet during sustained on-shore

winds or storms. During periods of high surf, there is a corresponding

lessening of numbers of bathers, but intensification of individual

participation. Surf-boarders, for example, prefer the higher waves.

Others use the beaches and waters for a different kind of recrea-

tion. Fishing takes three major forms, that of surf casting, surf

netting, and fishing from a boat. The first two types are best done at

low tide and fishing adherents may be seen congregated at favorite

places at low tide regardless of what time of day or night this period

occurs. The Ocean Pier (Figure 9) and the Jetties are two favorite

spots, and it is rare that there is not a car parked at the latter.

The waters of the Atlantic Ocean along Amelia Island are refresh-

ingly cool in the summers but are cold in the winters. The ocean water

is rarely clear, usually being greenish in color and containing a high

amount of organic matter or "dust," and the bottom is rarely seen at a

depth of more than two feet. With an onshore wind, there is often a

very considerable amount of foam which may be blown into drifts deep

enough to hide a child (Figure 10). No harmful effects have been

noted, though, except for a temporary yellowing of the skin.

The slope of the bottom adjacent to the beach is an important

factor in bathing. If the slope is great, bathing will be restricted

to a very narrow belt and will be somewhat precarious for poor swim-

mers or non-swimmers. On the other hand, if the slope is too gentle,






few bathers will bother to wade out through the breakers to a swimming

depth. Amelia Island is fortunate in that along most of the beach there

is a gentle slope allowing an adult to wade out about one hundred feet

before reaching shoulder depth. The presence of under-surface alternat-

ing bars and deeps will allow, in places, a bather to wade or swim a

hundred yards from shore and find himself in knee-deep water, or even on

"dry" land at low tide (usually near a pass).

Near the base of the jetty is an area of sand accumulation with

the resulting shallows and a wide area of breakers. Little bathing is

in evidence here, but the shallows and rocks of the jetty are favorite

spots for surf fishermen, surf netters, spear-fishermen, clam-diggers,

crab-catchers, and boat fishermen. The waters to the north of the

jetty and along the entire northern shore of the island are of a differ-

ent nature from that to be found along the beach. The water changes

direction four times a day with the tides and forms numerous small eddy

counter-currents, and the beach, although generally composed of quartz

sand, experiences relatively small waves. There is some fishing along

this shore near Fort Clinch where there are rock groins, but there is

no bathing, since the water becomes deep immediately off-shore and the

tidal currents are strong. The waste material from the Rayonier and

the Container Corporation of America plants may often be observed as

a white line of foam separating the surface outflowing waters from the

surface stationary or inflowing waters. The outflow from the mainland

drainage, principally through the St. Mary's River, adds considerably

to the outflow through St. Mary's Entrance. Small whirlpools are

often formed from the junction of these currents but are not dangerous to


The shore is protected with rock groins from Fort Clinch around

the point to Egan's Creek, and the sand is partly replaced with mud.

There is some swimming, waterskiing, and much boat launching from the

concrete boat ramp at the campgrounds in Fort Clinch. This is one of

the few campgrounds in the United States where one may pitch a tent

right on the beach itself. However, the water is "soupy," the current

is fast, the rocks are covered with barnacles, and usually industrial

wastes are present. This may be considered to be part of the lagoon

with consequent slight wave action.

Egan's Creek is a shallow drainage creek for the northcentral

part of the island, and extensive tidal effects are apparent as far as

the Atlantic Avenue dam. There is some non-commercial fishing for

mullet (lisa) in its waters. The shore from here to the south takes on

the character of the salt marsh lagoons mentioned before, being muddy

or sandy-muddy and often marshy. A number of docks and piers have been

constructed from Egan's Creek south to the Rayonier plant and include

those at the end of Atlantic Avenue. The water is always "soupy" and

generally frothy with industrial wastes, though a fairly strong tidal

current provides extensive scouring. The channel is deep (twenty-eight

feet in depth as of July, 1959, according to the U.S.C. & G.C. nautical

chart number 453, "Cumberland Sound,") and is extensively used by local

boaters on the way to fishing off the jetties, by shrimpers, the men-

hadden fleets, Intracoastal Waterway traffic of all kinds, and


international freighters docking at the Rayonier docks. There is no

swimming and no real fishing. The shore of Tiger Island opposite)ranges

from sandy to muddy to marshy, depending partly upon the current

immediately offshore--the more current, the sandier. These islands are

not used for recreation.

From Rayonier, Incorporated south to Nassau Sound the shoreline

is all salt marsh but there are occasional spoils areas rising above the

monotonously flat sawgrass. The Intracoastal Waterway follows a wind-

ing path, partly natural and partly dredged, under the swinging bridges

on Route A1A and the railroad. Generally keeping some distance from the

island proper, the channel swings in a wide loop eastward to form the

bluffs at Amelia City. Here are found several private docks and an

overnight stopping point for Intracoastal Waterway traffic, the Sandbar

Restaurant (page 52). The marshlands then continue south to Nassau

Sound, where the ebb tide is reinforced by the drainage of Nassau

River from inland. At Nassau Sound, the beaches again tend to become

sandy and there is a considerable ebb tide current, but it is not so

pronounced as at the St. Mary's Entrance. There are no habitations

along the sound except for a small fishing camp seaward from the bridge

where it crosses onto Big Talbot Island, and the water is comparatively

clear. The channel is deep enough for fishing boats (a depth of fifteen

to twenty-five feet) but contains many shallow sand bars which are some-

times above water at low tide. One such is Bird Island, a small mound

with stubby shrubs at high tide, and an extensive sand flat at low tide.

The sand is generally of the same high quality for bathing as is found on

the Atlantic beaches.

There have been practically no man-made changes to this area and

hence it is one of the most picturesque areas in this section of Florida.

To the south Big and Little Talbot Islands are preserved as wildlife

refuges and state parks. The State Road Department has created a con-

crete boat launching ramp and parking space next to the northern term-

inus of the bridge, which is very popular. Clammers and fishermen may

often be seen along these shores.


Amelia Island's beaches and waters are mainly a summer attrac-

tion, according to the Fort Clinch camping and visitor receipts (see

Chapter III). In the 1880's and the 1890's the town of Fernandina was a

thriving winter resort, but this industry collapsed with the construc-

tion of railroads to the southern part of the state (Pink, 1949, p. 155).

Summer tourism has been a major business for the island only since World

War II according to Mrs. Ruth Brown of the Fernandina Beach Chamber of


Summer weather is generally hot and muggy with afternoon convec-

tional precipitation. Along the beach there is usually an ameliorating

sea breeze, but this does not necessarily extend across the island.

The typical winter provides cool, clear and windy days with warm after-

noons and cool nights, but drizzling rains and cold snaps may be

expected. Lying on the southeastern edge of an immense continental

land mass, Amelia Island receives the interplay between mid-latitude

continental extremes and subtropical marine moderating influences.

Thus, the potential tourist will be interested in the extremes of

weather rather than the monthly mean. Cold and rain, and to a lesser

extent strong wind, will tend to turn the visitor aside: the mere prob-

ability of this weather will be a deciding factor, even though there are

many pleasant days in between. On the other hand, the probability of

warm or hot weather with cooling sea-breezes will tend to attract visi-

tors from inland, and even the certainty of afternoon thundershowers

will be an insignificant negative factor.


A more detailed look at the "average conditions to be expected at

Amelia Island at any time of the year is shown in Figure 11.* Taking

the months of June, July, and August to represent our arbitrary "summer"

months, it is evident that summer is rather rainy with some seventeen

inches falling out of the yearly average total of fifty inches (but

varying from eighty-three inches in 1905 to twenty-three inches in

1931), or more than one-third of the yearly rain occurring in these

three summer months. This summer rainfall is almost completely caused

by convectional currents forming thunderclouds in the hot afternoons,

but with a high degree of sunshine between showers. However, late

summer is the period for the hurricanes with their light to heavy

drizzles; the September average of eight inches reflects this tendency.

*Complete data are given in Table 42, Appendix B.


Temperature* Precipitation
in m a A in inches**
1000 n0 10"

to Highest

800 8"

Mean I

600 6"
go0o 60

Lowest 4
40 -- - -- .4,"

200 12"

00 0"



*Temperature: Curved lines indicate temperature in degrees
Fahrenheit by month.

**Precipitation: Vertical lines indicate inches of precipita-
tion by month.

After: Climatic Summary of the United States, Section No. 104,
Northern Florida, United States Weather Bureau.

If the effects of hurricanes were eliminated, September's average would

be much lower, probably nearer to the three inches for May.

These same three months have the highest temperatures for the

year, the highest on record for the 1931-1952 period being 1040 in June

(Figure 11). This is not usual, however, for the mean maximum is in the

low nineties, and the mean temperature for the summer averages only 800

in June and 820 in August. As for minimum summer temperatures, only

June will have temperatures as low as 600, while the coolest in July will

be 660. These high temperatures, when coupled with a monthly rainfall of

from five to seven inches, produce some distinctly uncomfortable weather,

but there is generally a comparatively cool and fresh breeze on the

ocean itself.

While the absolute maximum monthly temperatures range from twelve

to twenty degrees above the monthly mean, the absolute minimum monthly

temperatures have considerably more range from the mean. Thus, Figure

11 shows a low of 180 in January while the mean is 570, a range of 390.

The range between mean and absolute maximum for the same month is 270,

indicating occasional cold spells, but with the minimum mean being 480

and the maximum being 840, these cold snaps do not appear to be of long

duration; there will be many warm days along with the cold snaps.

The frost-free period averages three hundred nine days per year

at Fernandina Beach, with the first killing frost of the winter coming

on the average on December 16 (but coming as early as November 20) and

the last killing frost in spring coming on February 10 on the average

(but coming as late as March 20).

Along with the cooler temperatures comes drier weather with typi-

cal northeast breezes and clear, sunny days. The month of November

averages less than two inches of precipitation, and the November-May

mean monthly precipitation is less than three inches per month.

Table 2 presents selected data on the actual weather conditions

encountered in the three summer months and the three winter months for

the years 1958-1962, the period corresponding to the major camping and

tourist statistics which are presented in Chapter III. For each of the

six months, the highest, the lowest, and the mean temperatures are given

for the particular year or winter, along with the corresponding figures

from the twenty-two year summary (Table 42, Appendix B) for comparison

with the normal (United States Department of Commerce, Weather Bureau,


These four years were strikingly cooler than the twenty-two-year

summary would indicate: seventeen of the twenty-four months represented

were below the normal, and only five of the months were above the normal,

and only one month of the latter was in a summer (July, 1962). The high-

est temperature in the four summers never climbed above 990 (July, 1961),

some five degrees below the maximum recorded in the twenty-two-year

summary. On the other hand, the following December (1961) the temper-

ature dropped below the lowest recorded for the twenty-two-year summary.

Despite this very low December temperature, however, the winter

of 1961-1962 recorded the lowest number of degree-days of the four

winters; 1,074, as compared with the 1,114 or 1958-1959, the 1,464 of

1959-1960, and the 1,280 of the 1960-1961 winter. The total number of



Year June July August
Highest Mean Low Highest Mean Low Highest Mean Low

1959 98 80 66 94 81 69 96 82 69
1960 94 78 63 98 82 70 96 81 67
1961 92 77 60 99 81 69 97 80 63
1962 94 80 69 98 83 68 96 81 69
22-year records 104 81 60 103 82 66 102 82 65

December January February
Highest Mean Low Highest Mean Low Highest Mean Low

1958-1959 79 55 32 81 53 22 85 61 32
1959-1960 75 54 23 81 55 25 79 55 31
1960-1961 77 50 25 76 50 23 87 59 33
1961-1962 84 59 21 85 54 22 91 63 32
22-year records 82 58 22 84 57 18 86 58 24

All figures are in degrees Fahrenheit rounded to nearest whole number. Data were taken from
the United States Department of Commerce, Weather Bureau, Annual Climatic Summary, Station Number 8
2944 2, Fernandina Beach, Florida 1958-1962, and the twenty-two year records from the Climatic
Summary of the United States Supplement for 1931 through 1952, Florida.

degree-days must be used with care because they indicate only the average

conditions. For example, the winter of 1959-1960 had the greatest number

of degree days, but the greatest number of degree-days per month is

recorded for December, 1960 and January, 1961 with 456 and 448 degree-

days, respectively. In the first instance (1959-1960), the winter was

uniformly cool, while in the second instance (1960-1961) the winter was

mild but with hard, short-lived cold snaps.

However, much as visitors may deplore cold winters, a cool summer

is greeted with pleasure by some tourists, while a hot summer is wel-

comed by those wishing to increase summer beach usage. All four years

(1959-1962) averaged below the normal temperatures, with the summer of

1961 averaging some seven degrees below and the lowest temperature dur-

ing August being below the twenty-two year record low. Rainfall was not

a critical factor in these temperatures, since two summers which were

very nearly "normal" (1959 and 1962) recorded, in the first instance,

eight inches above normal rainfall, while the coolest summers, 1960 and

1961, recorded two inches below normal and normal rainfall, respective-

ly (United States Department of Commerce, Weather Bureau, 1958-1962).

Complete weather records are not taken at Fernandina Beach, but

nearby localities may be used for an approximation. As a measure of

cloud cover, the number of days with 0.01 inches or more of precipita-

tion in St. Mary's, Georgia, may be used (United States Department of

Commerce, Weather Bureau, p. 18). Out of a total of one hundred and

seven days precipitation, one-third (thirty-eight) occur in the three

summer months, and more than half (fifty-nine) occur in the five


months of May through September. This means that one may expect some

precipitation for two out of every five days in summer, and one out of

every five in winter.

Records for percentage of possible sunshine and relative humidity

have been published for Jacksonville (United States Department of

Commerce, Weather Bureau). The actual sunshine averages 62 percent of

possible sunshine for the year, ranging from 53 percent in December to

73 percent in April. This is slightly above average in summer and some-

what below average during most of winter, but one may expect to find

three days out of five to be sunny at any season. The average relative

humidity at noon varies little from the average 61 percent, although it

may rise to 85 percent in the morning or evening. Thus, the weather is

never uncomfortably dry, but may become muggy during hot weather.

Wind velocity and direction is probably of more importance to

fishermen than to surf bathers. Again going to Jacksonville for data

(United States Department of Commerce, Weather Bureau), it is found

that the average hourly wind velocity is nine miles per hour, coming

generally from the northeast for the six months of September through

February, and coming generally from the southwest for the remainder of

the year. The maximum wind to be encountered will generally be of gale

force (fifty-five to sixty-three miles per hour) from the southwest at

any season of the year, hurricanes excepted.

It is interesting to compare the summer Fernandina Beach-

Jacksonville data with those of an inland city. A large percentage of

the Fernandina Beach summer residents live in Waycross, Georgia, some


sixty-five airline miles to the northwest. Taking the three summer

months of June, July and August, the mean temperature in Waycross in

found to be 810, the mean maximum temperature 920, and the highest tem-

perature on record 1060. 0.01 inch or more of rainfall may be expected

on forty-four summer days, as compared with Fernandina Beach's thirty-

eight days (United States Department of Commerce, Weather Bureau).

Thus, although the three summer months in Waycross have a lower

mean temperature than in Fernandina Beach, the higher figures for mean

maximum and absolute maximum temperature indicate that Waycross is more

subject to summer heat waves. Waycross is also subject to tempera-

tures in the forties and fifties during these months (Fernandina Beach

summer temperatures never drop below 600) giving a range between high-

est and lowest of forty-eight to fifty-eight degrees (compared with

Fernandina Beach's range of thirty-seven to forty-four degrees).

A Waycross resident may expect some summer rainfall on about one of

every two days, while on the coast he may expect some rainfall on

about two out of five days.


Hurricanes are an integral part of the Florida climatic pattern

and, despite popular misconceptions concerning their frequency and

destructive powers, should be considered to be a normal part of the

"climatic scene." Despite their occasional rampages of destruction

and flooding, hurricanes should be no serious detriment to the pursuit

of business and recreation on Amelia Island. They may even provide a

welcome period of windy, cloudy and zestful days for a portion of the


population (mainly school children and surfboarders), and are usually no

more than a nuisance for the rest of the inhabitants. Upon occasion,

however, great care must be taken in order to avoid serious damage or

loss of life, such as in August and September of 1964 when several

disturbances of hurricane or near hurricane force passed quite close to

the island.*

A hurricane is a traveling, self-sustaining low-pressure cyclone

forming in the southern Caribbean during late summer and early fall and

taking a generally eastward-curving path to southeastern United States.

Since it draws on moisture evaporated from the ocean for continued

energy, any extensive travel over continental areas reduces the energy

available and produces a lowering of intensity. During the approach

and passage of a tropical storm (winds from thirty-nine to seventy-four

miles per hour) or a hurricane (winds over seventy-four miles per hour),

there will be a period of from one to two weeks of cool, cloudy and

windy weather, with tremendous amounts of drizzling moisture being

dumped on the areas affected even in the storm center passes to one

side or another.

From 1886 through 1950 (sixty-four years) some eighty-three

tropical storms, fifty-four of hurricane intensity, have struck the

Florida coast (Bunting, et al., 1951, p. 6). By another count there

have been some sixty-nine hurricanes striking the Florida-Georgia

coastal areas in the seventy-two years 1886-1958, as indicated by

*For a description of damage and erosion during this hurricane,
see "Beach Erosion," Chapter IV.


Table 3. Only forty-three of the seasons (or 62 percent), however,

actually recorded any hurricanes. Each season so recorded registered

up to three hurricanes, and averaged some 1.6 per season recording such

a storm. Thus, for any single year, the entire Florida-Georgia coast

would have some four chances out of ten of not receiving a single hur-

ricane, but if a hurricane did come, there would be about the same

chance (four out of ten) that it would be followed by a second or


For the Amelia Island area there were no hurricanes recorded

from 1900 until 1944 (Bunting, et al., 1951, p. 7, Table I) and the

chances of having a hurricane in any given year would be about one in

fifty (Bunting, et aL, 1951, p. 7, Table II).

The "hurricane season" is generally given as extending from

June 15 through November 15. Table 4 indicates that September and

October are the most susceptible months (Bunting, et al., 1951, p. 7,

Table III).



Year Number Year Number
1886 3 1923
1887 1 1924 2
1888 2 1925 1
1889 1 1926 3
1890 1927
1891 1928 2
1892 1929 1
1893 3 1930
1894 2 1931
1895 1 1932 1
1896 3 1933 2
1897 1934
1898 3 1935 3
1899 1 1936 1
1900 1937
1901 1938
1902 1939 1
1903 1 1940 1
1904 1 1941 1
1905 1942
1906 3 1943
1907 1944 1
1908 1945 2
1909 1 1946 1
1910 1 1947 2
1911 2 1948 2
1912 1 1949 1
1913 1950 2
1914 1951
1915 1 1952
1916 3 1953 1
1917 1 1954
1918 1955
1919 1 1956 1
1920 1957
1921 1 1958
From: North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, Technical Paper No. 36,
United States Department of Commerce, Weather Bureau, 1959, p. 9,
Figure 3.




Number Percent

June 2 3.6

July 4 7.3

August 9 17.0

September 20 37.0

October 17 31.5

November 2 3.6

Total 54 100.0

From Bunting, D. C., R. C. Gentry, M. H. Latour, and G. Norton,
Florida Hurricanes of 1950, Bulletin Series No. 45, Vol. V, No. 7,
July, 1951, Florida Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station,
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.



The memories of past days of pirates, buccaneers, and buried

treasure are very much alive in Fernandina Beach today and are being

actively used in promotional work. The fact that an historical tradi-

tion can be developed into a successful recreational resource is

abundantly demonstrated by well-known St. Augustine, Florida. This

historical heritage has been only partly utilized in Fernandina Beach

but appears to be undergoing development. Basically, it may be divided

into three eras: (1) the early Spanish period, centered around the

Plaza and Fort Carlos in Oldtown, (2) the later Spanish period when the

city was a free port and a pirate rendezvous, and (3) the Civil War

period, centered on Fort Clinch.


The Pirate theme is the most intensively used theme at the pre-

sent. Evidence for this may be seen in a number of ways, as, for

instance, the naming of the Buccaneer Trail in 1950. The brochure

advertising the route has a sketch of pirates burying a treasure chest

for the front illustration, pictures of the ferries "The Buccaneer" and

"The Blackbeard," contains a short history of piracy and Fort Clinch

(Figure 12). A brochure-map distributed by the Fernandina Beach-Yulee

Chamber of Commerce contains a pirate motive on the front and advertises

Fernandina Beach as being "The Buccaneer City," and "on the isle of

Eight Flags." This theme is continued on all promotional activities

(Figure 13). The local high school uses the theme of "Pirates" and it


is not unusual for a local business to utilize the pirate theme for a

business name, as for example the "Buccaneer Laundry" or the "Pirate's

Cove" subdivision.

Second in importance to the Pirate theme is the Civil War theme

as centered on Fort Clinch, its museum and relics. Fort Clinch is men-

tioned or pictured on all the Chamber of Commerce brochures, on the

Buccaneer Trail brochures, and by numerous road signs which give dis-

tance to the Fort from as far away as twenty-five miles. Events and

activities at the park are often written up in the local newspaper,

especially the yearly attendance figures. At one time attendance

figures were kept for the Fort and museum, but these features are now

open to any park visitor without charge or record being kept.

The early Spanish period, centered on the Plaza in Oldtown (see

Figures 14, 15 and 16), is at present of interest to only a few. The

local historical society (The General Duncan Lamont Clinch Historical

Society of Amelia Island) is developing and creating interest in the

restoration of Oldtown and Fort San Carlos, which has been the sub-

ject of archaeological investigation by the Florida State University

(Bullen, et al., 1952, pp. 37-64). The society has acquired an old,

stately house overlooking the plaza (Figure 17) and the old Seaboard

Railroad station at the western end of Atlantic Avenue (Figure 18),

which are to be turned into museums to house the very considerable

private collections of pictures, documents and mementos available on

the Island. This society sponsored the Florida State University

archaelogical diggings during the summer of 1964, and has sponsored a