Ponce Inlet Historical Museum
Ponce Inlet Historical Museum
Most visitors discover Ponce Inlet while making their way to the lighthouse or one of a handful of popular local restaurants. They delight in driving through this small coastal town where lush foliage acts as a natural barrier around the well-manicured lawns that surround some of the area’s most lavish homes.
But venture a half block off the beaten path and you’ll discover two little treasures: The Meyer/Davis House and the Hasty Cottage/Post Office, collectively known as The Ponce Inlet Historical Museum.
The somewhat older Hasty Cottage/Post Office was built in the 1880’s by Nathaniel and Elizabeth Hasty. It was originally used as a fishing camp, and then later converted to a Post Office. Ellen Mary Meyer, the wife of lighthouse keeper Edward Meyer, worked as its last Postmistress in what was then known as Ponce Park. Adjacent to the Cottage are the graves of the Hasty’s and their handyman, “Cocoa” Bill Williams, who died in 1932.
If Florida Cracker-style architecture intrigues you, a visit to the Meyer/Davis house is a must. The metal roof, raised floor, large porch, and straight central hallway characterize the former residence of Edward Meyer, Ponce Inlet’s last civilian lighthouse keeper.
The structure was built in 1922 as a vacation rental by Redwood Wharton Sr. But his son, Redwood Jr., founder of the Inlet Harbor Restaurant, decided against renting and instead sold it to Meyer. The tiny home remained in the family with Edward’s daughter, Gladys Meyer-Davis and son in law Earl raising their two daughters there.
While the restored cottage doesn’t show it, at one point the Davis family enclosed the front porch to add more bedrooms. Even so, it is difficult to imagine how a family of any size lived in these cramped quarters.
Life was simple in the early days of the house. A generator produced electricity and there was a rare indoor bathroom. Rainwater fell from the roof into a cistern where it was hand-pumped to the kitchen, then repurposed for cooking and laundry.
The house stayed in the family until Earl and Gladys Davis, sold it to the Town in 2003. Both cottages were set for demolition until their daughter Julie Davis, who grew up in the home, set the wheels in motion to restore and forever preserve them. Her group, Davis House Historic Preservation, Inc. worked with the town to restore the pair and convert them to a museum and welcome center.
While Hasty Cottage sits empty at the moment, the Preservation Group is working to add historical artifacts. The Meyer/Davis House contains a number of exhibits including photos, furnishings and accounts by the town’s founding settlers. The group hopes the restorations create better public awareness of the history, culture and people that were important cogs in Ponce Inlet history. ~ Deborah Boyd
143 Beach St., Ponce Inlet, 32127
Open Monday through Friday 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., staff permitting & closed on Sundays.
Admission is free, but donations are welcome.Tags: FamilyFun • History • Museum • Natural Florida • Outdoors