Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

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Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Unincorporated community
Top left to right: Ponte Vedra Beach, TPC at Sawgrass, an Egret on Bird Island
Top left to right: Ponte Vedra Beach, TPC at Sawgrass, an Egret on Bird Island
Location in St. Johns County and the state of Florida
Location in St. Johns County and the state of Florida
Country  United States
State  Florida
County  St. Johns
Area
 • Total 33.8 sq mi (88 km2)
Population (2007)
 • Total 37,924
ZIP code 32082
Area code(s) 904

Ponte Vedra Beach is an unincorporated community seaside community in St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Located eighteen miles (29 km) southeast of downtown Jacksonville and 26 miles (42 km) north of St. Augustine, it is part of the Jacksonville Beaches area. It is an upmarket tourist resort area best known for its association with golf. The Sawgrass development is the home of the ATP Tour, the PGA Tour, and The Players Championship, played at the TPC at Sawgrass.

Characteristics[edit]

The area is known for its resorts including the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club (a AAA five diamond resort), the Lodge and Club (four diamonds), and the Marriott at Sawgrass (three diamonds). It also lies in the third wealthiest county in Florida, ranking just behind the Palm Beach and Naples areas.[1]

There are multiple beach clubs from the Lodge and Club to the Cabana Club and the Plantation Club. Between the residential neighborhoods lining Ponte Vedra Boulevard there are many public accessies between. Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. Golf, tennis, and boating are other popular activities. Wakeboarding, surfing, and waterskiing are a few activities that families and sports enthusiasts practice on the St. Johns River.

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City stats[edit]

  • Population: 27,600
  • Median family income (per year): $116,399
  • Job growth % (2000–2008): 5.27%
  • Median home price: $720,000
  • Test scores reading (% above/below state average): 41.7%
  • Test scores math (% above/below average): 33.8%
  • Personal crime incidents (per 1,000): 33
  • Property crime incidents (per 1,000): 253
  • Restaurants (within 15 miles): 1,373
  • High temp in July °F: 89.7°
  • Low temp in Jan °F: 45.1°
  • Median age: 43.1

History[edit]

Ponte Vedra Beach on a December afternoon.

What is now North Florida was visited several times by European explorers in the 16th century, but there is little evidence for them coming to Ponte Vedra Beach specifically. It may have been sighted by Juan Ponce de León during his voyage to Florida in 1513, but as his precise landfall is unknown, this claim may be made by many communities on the east coast of Florida.

The area remained sparsely populated through the late 19th century, even as other seaside communities began to develop to the north. In 1914 minerals were discovered, and a community known as Mineral City grew up around the mining operations there. Titanium (ilmenite) extraction was significant, as well as that of zircon and rutile.[2] These minerals were recovered from beach sands by a private commercial firm called National Lead Company, directed by Henry Holland Buckman and George A. Pritchard. During World War I titanium was a component of poison gas, and therefore a strategic mineral.

After the war, mineral demand dropped, so the National Lead Company changed its focus to building a resort community. The name of the community was changed to Ponte Vedra, apparently after the city of Pontevedra, Galicia, (Spain). The actual reason is unknown, but there was a rumor that one of the developers read a newspaper article that erroneously claimed Christopher Columbus was born there.[3]

A stream running through Ponte Vedra to the St. Johns

Ponte Vedra Club[edit]

In the early 1920s, the National Lead Company had built a 9-hole golf course and 12-room clubhouse constructed of logs for the use of their employees.[4] After the company left Ponte Vedra, that real estate became the foundation of the Ponte Vedra Club. Stockton, Whatley, Davin & Co. was a developer of Ponte Vedra Beach in the early 1930s and owned the Ponte Vedra Club.[5]

World War II[edit]

During World War II the German submarine U-584 debarked four saboteurs at Ponte Vedra as part of the failed Operation Pastorius.[6] The four German spies, all of whom had previously lived in the United States, came ashore on the night of June 16, 1942 carrying explosives and American money.[7][8] After landing they strolled up the beach to Jacksonville Beach, where they caught a city bus to Jacksonville and departed by train for Cincinnati and Chicago. The invaders were captured before they could do any damage. They were tried by a military tribunal and executed.[9]

Tournament Players Club [at] Sawgrass[edit]

In 1972 developers broke ground on the 1,100-acre (4.5 km2) Sawgrass development. Around the same time, Deane Beman, the Commissioner of the PGA Tour, was looking for a permanent home for the Tournament Players Championship. Many areas around North Florida were considered. In an attempt to bring positive attention to the area the Sawgrass developers offered a 400-acre (1.6 km2) tract of land to Deane for only $1. He couldn't refuse this One Dollar Deal and so Sawgrass became the home of the Tournament Players Championship and the headquarters for the PGA Tour.

Sawgrass has been the home of The PLAYERS Championship since 1982. The Stadium Course is the permanent home of The Players Championship, owned by the PGA Tour.

Demographics[edit]

Median household income in Ponte Vedra Beach is $82,688,[10] and median family income is $109,181.[11] The population (including surrounding areas) in 2005 was given as 35,400. The Ponte vedra area is known for being a very influential area of North Florida, and boasts one of the best school districts in Florida.[11] Ponte Vedra Beach was 50th on the list of 100 finalists for CNN and Money Magazine's 2005 List of the Best Places to Live. It was the first place in Florida to be named in that year and one of only four areas in the state to make the cut.[11]

As of August 1, 2012 the average house costs around $720,000.[12]

Education[edit]

Public primary and secondary schools in Ponte Vedra Beach are administered by the St. Johns County School District. Allen D. Nease High School and Ponte Vedra High School, which was constructed to relieve the overcrowding of Allen D. Nease High School, serve as the two public high schools in the Ponte Vedra area. Alice B. Landrum Middle School is one of the primary, public middle schools in the area. The Ponte Vedra Palm Valley-Rawlings Elementary School serves as one of the primary, public elementary schools (K-5) in the area, as well as Ocean Palms Elementary School.[13]

Ponte Vedra offers private education (K-8) at the Palmer Catholic Academy. Also, the Bolles School has one of their two lower school campuses in Ponte Vedra Beach, and offers education from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade before transferring students to the middle and high schools located in Jacksonville, Florida.[14]

Additionally, the St Johns County Public Library System serves in Ponte Vedra at their "Ponte Vedra Beach Branch".[15]

Notable Ponte Vedrans[edit]

Famous past and present residents of Ponte Vedra:

Geographics[edit]

In June 2006, the United States Postal Service designated an area to the south and southwest of the 32082 area as Ponte Vedra (distinct from "Ponte Vedra Beach") and assigned it Zip Code 32081.

Ponte Vedra Beach is wholly located east of the Intracoastal Waterway, south of the Duval County line, and north of Vilano Beach. The South Ponte Vedra Beach community is commonly considered to be a part of Ponte Vedra Beach. The Ponte Vedra area includes Ponte Vedra, Ponte Vedra Beach, South Ponte Vedra Beach (an area between the Atlantic and Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve), Sawgrass, Palm Valley and Nocatee.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 30°14′N 81°23′W / 30.233°N 81.383°W / 30.233; -81.383