Duval County, Florida

Florida East Coast Railroad
St. Johns River
Mayport is at the mouth of the St. Johns river, and is an old settlement with plain accommodations for tourists. The St.
John's Lighthouse adjoins the town. The name Mayport is a reminder that the French called the St. John's "Riviere de
Mai" -- May river. It was near Mayport that the ill-fated French Huguenot settlement of Florida was made -- a settlement
antedating that of St. Augustine.

By 1827 the existing fishing community increased, and a lighthouse was constructed. Called Hazard on early maps and
documents, the settlement became known as Mayport Mills, homage to the French naming the river after the month of

The following year, the United States acknowledged the land grant awarded by Spain to the Dewees family. The town
began to grow in 1828. Its early settlers came from France, Portugal and Minorca. They were fishermen. The other
industry of the town was lumber. It's name was Mayport mills until the end of the Civil War. Mayport, which contained 600
people, was founded in 1830 by river pilots and fishermen. 1831 Mayport, then known as Hazard, was established as a
port. In 1841, part of the Dewees Land Grant was sold to David Palmer and Darius Ferris who laid out the plat for
modern Mayport. In those days, lumber was king in Mayport Mills and the “white gold” was brought by boat, cart or raft to
the mills. The Mayport lighthouse was erected in 1859. By 1885 Mayport had 600 inhabitants, a post office and a school.

The town was also visited daily by steamships which brought beach-goers from Jacksonville down the
St. Johns River.
Boats went twice a day to Jacksonville. The Mayport (Hazard) lighthouse had been destroyed by a hurricane and a new
one was built. The US government began removing the sand bar at mouth of St Johns River. In May, 1888, the
Jacksonville, Mayport, and Pablo Railway and Navigation Company opened a railroad from Arlington on the south Bank
of the St. Johns near Jacksonville to Mayport. This standard gauge railroad was originally built by Alexander Wallace. He
also built the "Burnside Hotel" in a part of "East" Mayport called Burnside Beach. The hotel was to provide Jacksonville
citizens a beach "getaway". The train's inaugural trip was an excursion of the Knights of Pythias on May 17, 1888.
Passengers came by steamer from downtown Jacksonville to a dock in Arlington and went to the hotel at Burnside
Beach and then possibly on to Mayport. There was a station and wye at Eggleston and stops at Verona, Gilmore,
Cosmo, Idelwilde and Mt. Pleasant, and possibly at "Pablo town" (by Mayport Cemetery) between Arlington and the
station at Burnside. There was a wye at Burnside and probably a dock at "West" Mayport.

The San Diego Hotel, the Beaches Pavilion, the pre-Civil War Burnside House, and the new 4-story Palmetto Hotel were
destroyed by fire in 1889. In March, 1892 , the Jacksonville, Mayport, Pablo Railway & Navigation Company road  was
bought out and its terminus moved from Arlington to South. Jacksonville.

Pilot-town is an interesting village situated west of Mayport on the river bank. It is a settlement of sea-farers. Pilots for
the ships making port at Jacksonville start from here. Near Pilot-town was the Spanish fort taken by Des Gourgues on
his romantic and thrilling expedition of event.

The F. E. C. R. R. has large docks and wharves for handling coal and lumber at Mayport.  
All the coal that was used
on the Florida East Coast Railway is freighted here in schooners which usually get return cargoes of lumber,
naval stores, etc., from Jacksonville.

In 1913 Elizabeth Starke bought a 375-acre estate she called Wonderwood. The estate was later acquired by the
federal government to establish a naval station on its site.

The railroad closed this station and branch in 1932. When the trains stopped running in 1932, Mayport returned to its
roots, fishing and shrimping.

Ribault Monument
In 1924, during the 300th anniversary of the beginning of the immigration of the Huguenots to the Americas, the Florida
Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution unveiled a granite monument at Mayport, Florida. The unveiling
of the Ribault Monument at Mayport was the genesis of the eventual creation of a national memorial for the Florida
Huguenots. The monument did not remain in this location.

During World War II, the U.S. Navy took over the land where the monument was located, eventually moving the
monument twice. In July, 1958, the monument was moved a third time to its present location, with a rededication
performed in October of that year. On a high bluff, overlooking the St. Johns River, it now stands on land set aside and
designated as its permanent home.

This gray granite monument, memorializing Captain Jean Ribault's feat and the establishment of the brave little colony of
French Huguenots, was sculpted by the renowned Floridian, Charles Adrian Pillars. It is a replica of the stone column
placed by Jean Ribault at the mouth of the River of May (renamed the St. Johns River), on May 2, 1562.
Florida East Coast Railway
Federal Point
Green Cove Springs
Orange Mills
Crescent City
Lake Helen
Black Point
Piney Point
Orange Park
Magnolia Springs
Green Cove Springs
West Tocoi
Clay's Landing
San Mateo
St. Johns River
Custom Search
Mayport Shrimp Boats
by Linda Olsen
Like us on Facebook
Florida East Coast Railway
Daytona Beach
New Smyrna
Atlantic Beach
Port Orange
Ponce Park
Lake Helen
Coronado Beach
East Palatka
San Mateo
Orange Mills
Pablo Beach
Mayport Map 1918
Ribault Monument
see Florida Monument List
Mayport Lighthouse
Mayport Beach and Frank Floyd Home
Frank Floyd's Saloon
Menorcan History and Culture
British Period
Second Spanish Period
New Smyrna
History of Cast Nets
Canova de Medicis House
Gaspar Pappy House
Gonzalez-Alvarez House
Carrying the Mail
Minorcan Made Cast Nets
Growing Datil Peppers
Captain Jack Usina
Golden Book of the Minorcans
Menorcan Fisherman in the
Benet Family
Menorcan Black Drum Line
The Legend of Carl Canova