New Smyrna Beach
The area was settled in 1768, when Scottish physician Dr. Andrew Turnbull established the colony of "New Smyrna." The colony occupies a notable place in history by being the single largest attempt by a member of the British Crown at colonization in the New World.
Turnbull transplanted around 1500 settlers, from Minorca, Majorca, Ibiza, Smyrna, Crete, Mani Peninsula, and Sicily, to grow hemp, sugarcane, indigo, and to produce rum.
The colony suffered major losses due to insect-borne diseases and Native American raids; and tensions grew due to mistreatment by Turnbull. Due to these complications, the remaining colonists marched north to St. Augustine along the Old King's Highway, to claim mistreatment by Turnbull to the Governor of Florida in St. Augustine in 1777; then a British protectorate. Soon after, St. Augustine was returned to the Spanish, and Turnbull abandoned his colony for life in Charleston, South Carolina.
The St. Photios National Shrine on St. George Street in St. Augustine, Florida, honors the settlers of New Smyrna, who were the first Greek Orthodox followers in North America. The historical exhibit adjoining the Chapel tells the moving story of their plight in great detail, with accompanying exhibits.
The area was then only sparsely populated due to the frequent raids by Seminole Indians. During the American Civil War in the 1860s the still-standing "Stone Wharf" was shelled by Union gunboats. In 1887, the Town of New Smyrna was incorporated with a population of 150. In 1892, the arrival of Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway lead to an increase in the area's population and a boom in its economy, which was based on tourism, citrus, and commercial fishing industries.
During Prohibition in the 1920s the city and its river islands were popular sites for moonshine stills and hideouts for rumrunners coming in from the Bahamas through Mosquito Inlet, now Ponce de León Inlet. "New Smyrna" became "New Smyrna Beach" in 1947, when the city annexed the seaside community of Coronado Beach. Today, it is a bustling resort town of over 20,000 permanent residents, with over 1,000,000 visitors annually.
Like its Spanish partner to the north, St. Augustine, New Smyrna has stood under four flags: first the British, then the Spanish, then the American flag in 1845, followed by the Confederate Jack, and finally replaced the Stars and Stripes again.
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,668 people, 7,579 households, and 5,464 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,872.6 inhabitants per square mile (722.9/km²). There were 8,235 housing units at an average density of 826.0 per square mile (318.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.35% White, 1.41% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.54% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 1.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.96% of the population.
There were 7,579 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.9% were non-families. 22.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 21.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,852, and the median income for a family was $39,234. Males had a median income of $27,453 versus $21,999 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,017. About 6.4% of families and 9.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.