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New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel

 
 
Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Glenn Sheffield, June 3, 2012
1. Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker
Inscription. This coquina foundation rests within a shell midden from the Timucuan Indian era. Mystery still surrounds the origin of this foundation.

Jane and John Sheldon built a large hotel on this mound circa 1859. During the Civil War, the structure was destroyed by cannon fire from union ships.

After the Civil War, Jane Sheldon built a smaller structure that served as a pioneer general store, port collector's office, boarding house and print shop, which published The Florida Star, one of the region's early newspapers. Structural problems forced the building's removal circa 1900.
 
Erected 2010 by the Jane Sheldon Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Daughters of the American Revolution marker series.
 
Location. 29° 1.636′ N, 80° 55.307′ W. Marker is in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in Volusia County. Marker is on North Riverside Drive just north of Julia Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. The marker is located along the edge of Old Fort Park, on the east side directly across from the city marina. Marker is at or near this postal address: 200 North Riverside Drive, New Smyrna Beach FL 32168, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Glenn Sheffield, June 3, 2012
2. Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 1768 British Colony of New Smyrna (within shouting distance of this marker); Anniversary of Shelling by Union Gunboats (within shouting distance of this marker); To the Past... (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dr. Andrew Turnbull (about 500 feet away); Turnbull Canal (about 600 feet away); The New Smyrna Odyssey (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of Old Stone Wharf (approx. 0.6 miles away); Old St. Rita Colored Mission Church (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Smyrna Beach.
 
More about this marker. The plaque features the emblem of the Daughters of the American Revolution. It is mounted on the side of a block of coquina, which sits in the grass in front of the old foundation structure.

The coquina foundation and adjacent Timucuan shell midden are collectively the Old Fort Park Archeological Site, which was listed with the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 (NRHP #08000629). Additionally, the site as well as the historical marker lie inside the boundaries of the New Smyrna Beach Historic District, which has also been recognized by the NRHP.
 
Regarding Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel. Much speculation over many years has been made regarding
Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Glenn Sheffield, June 3, 2012
3. Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker
The marker can be seen sitting to the left of the massive coquina foundation walls. To the right, beyond the marker is a protective wall reinforcing the Timucuan shell midden.
the possible origin of the mysterious foundation structure found in Old Fort Park. The park actually gets its name from one theory: that the fortress-like structure, with walls several feet thick, began as a Spanish fort. The sturdy coquina construction is reminiscent of St. Augustine's Castillo de San Marcos, however, there are no records of the Spanish building anything here.

Most historians attribute the ruins to the British colony of New Smyrna, settled in 1768. Some have speculated that it was a Colonial church. Another theory claims that it was to be a grand mansion for the colony's founder, Dr. Andrew Turnbull. Given the resources needed to quarry coquina and build such a massive structure, devoting such effort to a private home would have meant ignoring the colony's greater needs at at time when it was struggling to survive.

One of the more likely explanations is that the foundation was built to support a storehouse for the colony, which they would have used to shelter important supplies as well as store the crops they grew while they awaited shipment.

The "Turnbull Ruins", as they are widely known today, were not mentioned by Dr. Turnbull in any of his letters, so their exact origin and purpose remain a subject of debate and curiosity among archaeologists and historians.
 
Also see . . .
1. Hidden Treasures - Historical Highlights of New Smyrna's Past
Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Glenn Sheffield, June 3, 2012
4. Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker
Marker and ruins viewed from North Riverside Drive.
. ..including more about "The Mystery Ruins". (Submitted on June 29, 2014, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.) 

2. Mystery Surrounds New Smyrna's Historic Turnbull Ruins. (Submitted on June 29, 2014, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.)
 
Categories. CommunicationsMan-Made FeaturesNative AmericansWar, US Civil
 
Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Glenn Sheffield, June 3, 2012
5. Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker
Buttresses fortify the foundation's exterior walls, adding to the mystery.
Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Glenn Sheffield, June 3, 2012
6. Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker
The Turnbull Ruins at the Old Fort Park Archaeological Site
Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Glenn Sheffield, June 3, 2012
7. Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker
The foundation ruins, viewed from atop the Timucuan shell midden.
Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Glenn Sheffield, June 3, 2012
8. Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel Marker
The massive foundation that supported the Sheldon Hotel, among other things.
Former Marker: Foundation of Turnbull Palace image. Click for full size.
By Ebyabe, via Wikimedia Commons, July 22, 2007
9. Former Marker: Foundation of Turnbull Palace
The "Site of Sheldon's New Smyrna Hotel" marker replaced this earlier marker also sponsored by the Jane Sheldon Chapter, D.A.R., which stood on the same spot from 1975 through at least 2009.

(Presumably, the former marker was removed due to its information on the ruins' origin being incorrect or unverifiable as fact.)

Inscription:
Begun around 1770 as the official residence of Dr. Andrew Turnbull, founder of the New Smyrna colony of Minorcans, Greeks and Italians, this palace was to have been a large coquina building. It was never completed due to the disintegration of the colony in 1777.

The massive foundation had been placed in the heart of a prehistory Indian mound, a commanding position which was noted as the Ais Indian Village of Caparaca on the Mexia map of 1803. Utilized by Ambrose Hull for his coquina home in 1805 - destroyed by radical "patriots" in 1812. The same site was chosen for the home of Thomas Stamps 1830, burned by Indians 1835. The home-hotel of John Sheldon followed in 1854, burned by Yankees in 1863, rebuilt after the Civil War.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 29, 2014, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page has been viewed 570 times since then and 114 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 29, 2014, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.   4, 5. submitted on June 30, 2014, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.   6, 7, 8. submitted on June 29, 2014, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.   9. submitted on June 30, 2014, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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