The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Historic Site provides a rich collection of exhibits that highlight the history and heritage of Florida, specifically Volusia County. Established in 1887, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station stood in the area known as Mosquito Inlet. The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Association has been instrumental in maintaining one of the best preserved, most complete light stations in the nation.
The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest station in Florida at 175 feet high. The Lighthouse’s history includes providing crucial navigation during Florida’s early development. Climb this magnificent tower to view spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and Halifax River.
There are many historic homes located within Volusia County. One of these homes is The Pacetti Boarding House which provided lodging for the lighthouse workers while the station was being built. After the completion of the light station it became known as the Pacetti Hotel-a fishing retreat. It is now being restored and will be a fabulous addition to the lighthouse museum grounds and exhibits in the near future.
Ponce Inlet is located at the most southern end of Daytona Beach. A racetrack for early car and motorcycle racing encompassed the beach and what is now the Atlantic Highway in Ponce. Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is located closest to the South Turn. Film footage of racing along this route can be viewed within one of the exhibits at the museum.
Today Racing’s North Turn Restaurant sits at the North Turn of the track. In the film footage the track can be seen running along the beach and winding around the Atlantic Highway. Stop by after your museum visit to enjoy a cool drink, lunch or dinner on the beach. Within the restaurant you can explore an assortment of racing memorabilia.
Other historic homes in Volusia County include:
Hotchkiss House - a grand three-story Queen Anne Victorian mansion overlooking the Halifax River owned by Eliphalet Hubbell Hotchkiss who was known for marketing the Hotchkiss stapler.
Lilian Place Heritage Center - Built in 1884, this is the oldest residence on the Daytona Beachside with Italianate High Victorian architecture. The 4th story “widow’s walk” has a panoramic view of the river to the ocean.
Mary McLeod Bethune Home - This is the former home of the founder of Bethune-Cookman University. It is a memorial to Mrs. Bethune and the foundation which is dedicated to research, interracial activity, and sponsorship of wider educational opportunities.
The Meyer/Davis House and the Hasty Cottage/Post Office - These buildings are collectively known as The Ponce Inlet Historical Museum which is located at 143 Beach Street. The site contains two ADA accessible historic Florida Cracker-style cottages that have been restored to their original layout.
The Museum is dedicated to education through the preservation and dissemination of the history and cultural heritage of the Town of Ponce Inlet. Hours of operation are from 12:30 pm until 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm on Saturday, volunteer availability permitting. Travel to the end of Beach Street and you will find Down The Hatch Seafood Company, established in 1975. Stop by for a delicious meal overlooking the Halifax River.