Amelia Island Genealogical Society, Nassau County Florida
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November 18, 2020 By:
Growing Up In Fernandina (Part 1)

Atlantic Ave and S. 3rd St (then) Centre St. and S. 3rd St. (now, Fantastic Fudge)


People frequently ask me what it was like growing up in Fernandina.

Some of my stock answers are:

  • Then - Living on the beach everyone had a dog, there were no fences and if you needed a leash you found a piece of rope.
    • Now - You will be fined if caught with your dog off-leash on the beach.
      • Some unnamed people do break the law, Konna & Poppy on the beach.  video.
  • Then - Above the average high watermark was private property, therefore I was able to drive dad's war surplus jeep on the beach when I was 10 years old.  From the north end of the island to the south end of the island because I was on private property.
    • Now - If, and only if, you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and are a county resident you can "drive/park" on about 100 yards of the beach at Saddler Road, drive on limited stretches at Peter's Point and the South End for free, otherwise you must obtain a Permit.
  • Then - Dad would land his Luscombe (airplane) on the beach in the winter and park it, with the tail in the center garage bay.

108 S. Fletcher Ave, 3 car garage were Luscombe was parked
Luscombe similar to Dad's (Wikipedia)
                      o  Now - If you can't drive on the beach I can't imagine what would happen if you landed on the beach.
  • Then - If I was going to town and didn't want to ride my bike or walk, I would stand on the corner of Fletcher and Atlantic and hitch-hike a ride.  To get home I would stand under the oak at 8th and Atlantic and hitch a ride home.
    • Now - No parent in their right mind would allow a child to hitch-hike.
  • Then - A Coke, out of the machine at Moore's Grocery cost $0.05 cents, if you took it out of the store you paid Stella a $0.02 deposit on the bottle.  I remember when the price went to $0.06.
    • Now - I recently paid $1.89 for a medium Coke at one of the fast-food joints on 8th street.
  • Then - There were two stoplights on the island and 5 or 6 restaurants.  Remember the Blue Seas, 5-J's, and the Sandbar?
    • Now - 4 stoplights on Fletcher Ave and more Restaurants than you can count.  Why isn't there a Cajun restaurant?
  • Then - We would sneak into Fort Clinch, to play, and eventually, Mr. Decker would see us and yell at us.
    • Now - There are reenactors playing at the Fort.

Cover Photo - Corner of 3rd and Atlantic (now Centre) looking southwest.  Hardee's is now a Fantastic Fudge ice cream shop.

Photo Credit: Holland, Karl E., 1919-1993. Fernandina Beach street scene - Fernandina Beach, Florida. 1972. Black & white photoprint, 3 x 3 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, accessed 9 August 2016.