by Dan Smith
Up until Jan. 7, 1976 the world's most iconic structure in motor sports was at 113 East Granada Blvd. in Ormond Beach. On that day, I stood across the street and watched the Ormond Garage burn to the ground. The famous old structure built in 1904 by Henry Flagler was on the National Historic Register and cherished by international fans of the automobile. It is a loss still felt by locals and visitors alike. In my capacity as unofficial beach racing historian for the city of Ormond Beach, the question I am most asked by tourists is "where is the Ormond Garage?" The second most asked question usually comes from locals and is "what happened to the two replica cars that were in The Birthplace of Speed Park?"
Some of you may remember that the city ordered a monument likeness of the Winton Bullet and the Olds Pirate to be the centerpiece of the park when it was dedicated at the racing centennial in March of 2003. As it turned out, the cars were not constructed to withstand the salt air and in a couple years were removed to be repainted. After the work was completed the city was reluctant to return them to the park. When I heard that I went to the city commission and volunteered to wash and tend to the cars on a weekly basis. I did that for about a year but it soon became apparent that it was a losing battle. Once more the cars were removed.
Now it appears that I will soon have an answer for those two "most asked" questions. Back in May of 2009 our group, The Motor Racing Heritage Association, was given approval by The Ormond Beach City Commission to erect a small replica of the garage in The Birthplace of Speed Park. It will house the two model race cars and protect them from the elements. The MRHA plans to fund this project with no debt to the taxpayers and donate to the city the garage and the work being done on the cars. Since 2009, we have been working to raise the money and secure the proper permits and now we are nearing our goal.
The last step to put us over the top is to complete the sale of original bricks from the Ormond Garage. For years now, many of you have told me how you miss the cars in the park and now I am asking for your help to put them back where they belong. A brick can be yours for a tax-deductible donation of $200 and is accompanied by a nice certificate of authenticity. You must act quickly for they are available in a very limited quantity. The bricks are from the garage floor where Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet, Ransom Olds, the Stanley twins, William K. Vanderbilt, Oscar Hedstrom, Glenn Curtiss, Barney Oldfield, Major Segrave, Captain Campbell and so many more of the pioneers of motor sports once walked. This will be your only chance to own a piece of the world's first structure built to house and repair race cars. If you are a fan of the automobile, motorcycle, racing or a historian, you will want to own and hold a brick from the Ormond Garage.
To that end, I will be at the Living Legends of Auto Racing Museum in the Sunshine Park Mall, 2400 S. Ridgewood Ave. in South Daytona on Friday, July 6. Come on down and get your piece of lost history and avoid the postage, which is considerable. If you have never visited the LLOAR Museum, you will enjoy that as well. It is packed with history and racing memorabilia and on Friday, July 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. many of the drivers who raced the beach will be there to sign autographs. Also on hand will be NASCAR great and member of The International Motorsports Hall of Fame Ray Fox.
Come and enjoy the museum and help us put the cars back in the park. Can't make it? Call me at (386) 441-7793