First Home on American Beach

First Home on American Beach (HM1R0O)

Location: Fernandina Beach, FL 32034 Nassau County
Country: United States of America

N 30° 34.472', W 81° 26.655'

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American Beach was established in January 1935 when the Afro-American Life Insurance Company purchased 33 acres of land with a 1000-foot shoreline. This Masonry Vernacular home was built that year for the president of the company, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, by local African American shipbuilder William S. Rivers. Lewis was Florida's first African American millionaire and his home was the first built on the beach. The resort community attracted thousands of African American vacationers until 1964. The passage of the Civil Rights Acts desegregated beaches everywhere, and the tourist population sought closer or more popular beaches. Later that year, Hurricane Dora devastated the area destroying homes and businesses. Many residents chose not or could not afford to rebuild. In the 1970s one of Lewis' great granddaughters, MaVynee Betsch, lived in this house and, with other property owners, fought to protect the community's heritage from beachfront development. However, rising property taxes and declining health has reduced the population of American Beach's permanent residents. The American Beach Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, with the Lewis house as a contributing structure.
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HM NumberHM1R0O
Marker NumberF-880
Year Placed2015
Placed ByThe American Beach Property Owners' Association, Inc. and the Florida Department of State
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, March 12th, 2016 at 9:02am PST -08:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17R E 457401 N 3382535
Decimal Degrees30.57453333, -81.44425000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 30° 34.472', W 81° 26.655'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds30° 34' 28.32" N, 81° 26' 39.3" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)904
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 5466 Gregg St, Fernandina Beach FL 32034, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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