History of New Smyrna Beach
Dr. Andrew Turnbull, a Scottish physician and friend of James Grant, recruited 1,300 settlers from Europe and brought them to New Smyrna in 1768 after receiving a grant of land from Britain. Dr. Andrew Turnbull recruited these settlers mostly from Minorca, an island off of Spain but also recruited from Italy and Greece. His efforts to establish a colony this large were the first of this magnitude in all of North America. Dr. Turnbull’s plans were for these settlers to produce rum and grow indigo, hemp, cotton, rice, corn, and sugarcane.
The colony was unsuccessful in New Smyrna due to Indian raids, insect causing disease, and poor management by Turnbull. About 600 survived this settlement attempt and left in 1777, for St. Augustine where they stayed.
In 1784, the Spanish took the East portion of Florida from the British until the United States in 1819, acquired the area from Spain. In 1821, the United States established the Territory of Florida.
New Smyrna was incorporated in 1887, with a population of 150. New Smyrna’s economy grew tremendously with Henry Flagler bringing the East Coast Railway in 1892. Tourism, Citrus industry, and commercial fishing expanded within the area.
In the 1920’s there was a real estate boom in New Smyrna on and around Canal Street and Faulkner. Today, we have about 800 buildings that remain from New Smyrna’s historic era. The city annexed the beachside community of Coronado beach in 1947 and the city was renamed to “New Smyrna Beach”.
Today New Smyrna Beach is a vibrant beach town that attracts tourists from all over the world and has just over 20,000 permanent residents.