Once a visit in life

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Amelia Island, one of the Sea Island chain of barrier islands on the southeastern coast, is one of the most scenic areas of Florida. While it’s an amazing place, it’s somewhat of a hidden gem, so there are many things that most people — even natives — may not know about this beautiful island. Here are 51 things you probably didn’t know about Amelia Island

  • The oldest saloon in Florida is in Amelia Island. It’s still in its original location and rumor has it that during Prohibition, the Palace Saloon was the last bar in the country to close. It sold ice cream during the prohibition years (so it was said…)
  • There is an Indian burial mound on the grounds of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation site, believed to be from the 1670s.
  • There is also a Spanish Mission site that was found in 1985 at the site of Walker’s Landing on the marsh side of the resort.
  • While Orlando is known for its fictional princesses, Amelia Island is named for a real-life princess, Princess Amelia, daughter of King George II. Her major legacy? Having Amelia Island named after her!
  • Amelia Island has been under the control of eight different countries.
  • The French flag was the first flag to fly over Amelia Island. Jean Ribault landed there in 1562 and named the island “Isle de Mar.”
  • Spain then took over the island under the forces of Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565. He renamed the island “Isla de Santa Maria.”
  • James Oglethorpe – the founder of Georgia and a colonial governor – renamed the island “Amelia Island” and negotiated a transfer of the island from Spain to Britain. This was the third flag to fly over the island.
  • But the Spanish weren’t done with the region — during the Revolutionary war, Spain cooperated with colonists against the British. Under the terms of the Second Treaty of Paris, Amelia Island was given back to Spain.
  • One requirement of the agreement was that all British inhabitants had to leave within 18 months or swear allegiance to the Spanish Crown and convert to Catholicism!
  • In 1812, the “Patriots of Amelia Island” seized control of Amelia Island (during the Seminole Wars between Native American and black settlers in Florida and the U.S. Army). They first raised the Patriot flag before replacing it with the United States flag.
  • The Patriot flag and U.S. flag stayed over Amelia Island for only a short time. Spain (AGAIN!) took over the island in 1813.
  • In 1817 a Scottish-born, South American freedom fighter named Gregor MacGregor seized and claimed the island for “the brethren of Mexico, Buenos Aires, New Granada and Venezuela.” The flag was the Green Cross flag of Florida.
  • Spanish soldiers weren’t interested in sitting back and watching a Scottish South American soldier and they forced his withdrawal from the island. While the Spanish forces pushed MacGregor out, they weren’t able to hold the island and the Mexican pirate Luis Aury sailed his ships into the harbor and raised the Mexican flag. Flag number six flew over the island.
  • The seventh flag to fly over the island was again the U.S. flag. The U.S. took control of the territory from Spain in 1821. Unfortunately, the Civil War broke out in 1861 and Amelia Island was under the Confederate States of America flag. The Confederate flag flew over the island until 1862 when Union forces occupied the island.
  • The U.S. flag has continually flown over the Amelia Island since 1862.
  • Although it’s called “The Isle of Eight Flags,” there have been 10 different flag changes.
  • While no one will ever confuse Amelia Island with Hollywood, we’ve had our share of big-time movies. Some of the famous movies filmed here include the big-screen adaptation of Pippi Longstocking in 1988. Other movies that have been filmed here include G.I. Jane, Sunshine State, and The Manchurian Candidate.
  • If you’re hungry, bring your appetite to Amelia Island. There are more than 40 different restaurants in a 13-mile stretch – that’s a lot of great food to choose from!
  • Do you love shrimp? You’ll be happy to know that Amelia Island is the birthplace of our modern shrimp industry! The boat-builders of Amelia Island were instrumental in creating the process of shrimping with large nets to haul in large loads of the plump, juicy, delicious crustaceans. I’m hungry thinking about it!
  • If you love shrimp like I do, then you must visit one of the biggest festivals in North Florida. The annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival attracts more than 150,000 people to this area during the last weekend of April or first weekend of May.
  • The oldest lighthouse in the entire state of Florida is located on Amelia Island. The Amelia Island lighthouse is still in operation but is no longer open to the public, except on Saturdays when it’s open for viewing for three hours only. The city also offers tours of the lighthouse twice a month.
  • The lighthouse is now completely automated; the last civilian light keeper was in 1956.
  • The current lighthouse historian, Ms. Helen O’Hagan Sintes, is a direct descendant of the first keeper and lived in the lighthouse as a child!
  • Amelia Island is only 13 miles long and two miles wide but is full of nature. More than 10% of our small land area is made up of island park preserves. Natural beauty is what Amelia Island is all about!
  • Report for duty at Fort Clinch – this is one of the most well-preserved forts in the country. Fort Clinch was an important garrison on the first coast. Today it’s a historic attraction with period reenactors.
  • Fort Clinch was in operation during the Civil War – and used by both Confederate and Union forces. It also was in service during the Spanish American War and again in World War II as a communications post.
  • Centre Street is a historic downtown district boasting more than 400 historic structures on the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings are Victorian-era and date back to the 19th century.
  • Amelia Island has been inhabited for more than 3,000 years. The oldest-known inhabitants of the island date back to 1500 BC (based on pottery found in archaeological digs).
  • It’s strongly believed that there could be buried treasure in Amelia Island. It’s not as far-fetched as it seems! During its early history, Amelia Island’s harbor would regularly have hundreds of ships moored and many of these were pirate and privateer ships.
  • Over a 200-year period, Amelia Island attracted the largest concentration of seafaring thieves in America. Some of these pirates were the most famous of all time, including Jean Lafitte, Blackbeard, and Red Legs Greaves. Funny names, not so funny people!
  • Amelia Island was a bit of safe harbor for pirates and privateers because the port is one of the deepest on the southeast coast of the U.S., which would allow the large pirate ships to enter even at low tide.
  • If you enjoy golf, you can swing away to your heart’s content! There are seven golf courses on this small piece of land. That’s basically a golf course every two miles!
  • Amelia Island boasts 117 holes of championship-caliber golf. Why is there an odd number of holes? That makes six full 18-hole courses and one beautiful 9-hole course throughout the island.
  • Amelia Island was dubbed “The Queen of Summer Resorts” in the 1896 edition of American Resorts magazine. This is because vacationers to the area included the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, DuPonts and other prominent U.S. families.
  • The first U.S. Customs House is said to have been in Amelia Island in what is now the famous Marina Restaurant.
  • Amelia Island was home to one of the first black resorts in the U.S. After the Civil War, freed blacks received land on Amelia Island but they were prohibited from swimming with white people.
  • A.L. Lewis was the President of Afro-American Life Insurance Co. He purchased 200 acres of beachfront property and named the beach “American Beach” – the resort area was used for company executives and agents.
  • The farms and land that made up American Beach was sold in 1972 – the land was sold for the development of what is now Amelia Island Plantation.
  • There is a sunken U.S. Coast Guard ship off the coast of Amelia Island. This ship – the Coast Guard buoy tender Spike – was sunk purposefully and for a great reason. No fatalities are associated with this sinking, either. The ship was anchored to her spot by federal and local agencies to serve as an artificial reef.
  • The Amelia Island Museum of History is another first-of-its-kind establishment in Amelia Island. It is the first spoken-history museum in the state of Florida. The museum is based on a storytelling tradition of relating the history of the area.
  • Looking for somewhere to stay in Amelia Island? Well, you have a lot of great choices, but why not stay at the oldest inn in the state? The Florida House Inn is an 1857 inn and the oldest and longest continually operated hotel in all of Florida.
  • The Florida House Inn has a famous signature on its guest list – President Ulysses S. Grant visited and stayed at the inn.
  • The Florida House Inn was built by David Yulee, who the neighboring town of Yulee is named after. Yulee was the first Jewish member of the U.S. Senate. He also served in the Confederate Congress at the outbreak of the Civil War.
  • Ironically for Yulee, The Florida House Inn was used to house Union soldiers during the Civil War.
  • If you enjoy staying up to date on current events, especially on the First Coast area of the state, thank Amelia Island. The oldest newspaper in the state – The Florida Times-Union – was started here in 1864. It was The Florida Union and merged with Jacksonville’s Florida Daily Times.
  • Who doesn’t love visiting places known as one of the “best”? Amelia Island is rated by many publications, such as Conde Nast, as a top 10 island place to visit in the U.S.
  • Although people often think of Florida as a hurricane target, Amelia Island hasn’t experienced hurricane weather conditions in 50 years!
  • There have only been three hurricane strength storms to pass near Amelia Island in the last 155 years.
  • According to the National Hurricane Center that means you are more likely to experience a hurricane living in New York City or Long Island than you are living in Amelia Island.
  • Most people think Florida is too hot and too humid, but our average annual midday temperature high is a comfortable 70 degrees. On top of that we have the lowest average daytime temperature in the entire state during the Summer, a seasonably warm and sunny 89 degrees!

Source : http://www.ameliaislandrealestate.net

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