by Sisco Deen
1916 Chicago to Bunnell flyer – Flagler County Historical Society
April 18, 1916 – -Thomas A. Verdenius of the Bunnell Development Company invites you to accompany him on the Dixie Flyer Grand Excursion Train departing Dearborn Street Station at 10:25 p.m. Tuesday night. This Dixie Flyer will arrive in Jacksonville Thursday morning at 7:50 o’clock. We will tour and then depart for St. Augustine. We will travel from there via automobile down the Dixie Highway through Hastings to the Bunnell Colony.
Isaac I. Moody, Jr. and Major James Frank Lambert purchased 30,000 acres of land from Georgia Senator George W Deen. These gentlemen were successful in the turpentine business but realized that some good farm land was in the acreage they now held.
On June 24, 1909, just six months after the St. Johns Development Company was formed on the western side of the county, the Bunnell Development Company was chartered with Isaac I. Moody, Jr. as president; Claude E Stewart of Jacksonville as vice-president; J. R. Stone of Jacksonville as secretary and treasurer, with each having 25 shares. Isaac died in Dec 1918 while serving as Flagler County’s first state representative. Following his death, in Jan 1919, Major James Frank Lambert was elected president; the Honorable W. A. McWilliam of St Augustine, was elected vice president; Mr. J. A. Cranford of Jacksonville was elected secretary; and George Moody, Isaac’s brother, was elected secretary and treasurer.
Attractive, well designed houses and landscaped
streets made Bunnell a model community
The company established real estate offices here and in Chicago where train trips were arranged for potential buyers from the North to visit this area. The company also started the publication of a newspaper entitled “The Bunnell Home Builder.”
According to a “Map of the Bunnell Development Company’s Land at Bunnell, Florida” – ‘Every farm will be on a public road’ (so it says) –
(the map is on file at the Flagler County Historical Society); the company’s plotted land included an area whose boundaries extended about 3.5 miles west of Bunnell, 1.5 miles north of Bunnell, 6 miles west of Bunnell stopping at Ocean City, just east of the present-day intercostals canal, and about 8.5 miles south of Bunnell which would be very close to today’s Volusia County line.
The company’s hotel, The Halcyon, still stands at the SE corner of Railroad Street and Lambert Ave. (though fenced and ready for demolition), as do the original homes of Major Frank Lambert (NE corner of Railroad Street and Lambert Ave.) and Isaac Moody (NE corner of Railroad Street and Moody Blvd).
Bunnell Stop was first incorporated as a town on June 2, 1911, when the state legislature passed a special act of incorporation. James Emmett Deen who was mentioned previously, was one of the Bunnell City Councilmen appointed by Governor Albert W. Gilchrist on 4 Sep 1911.
The writer does not know who the other city officials were, however Mr. Deen’s appointment, which is framed and hanging on a wall at the Flagler County Historical Society’s Holden House Museum in Bunnell states: ” to be councilman for the town of Bunnell from the 4th day of September A D 1911, until the election and qualification of his successor”. James, or Emmett as he was called, later served as Supervisor of Elections for Flagler County from 1942 until his death in 1948.
The act is said to have contained a faulty description of boundary lines and because of this error, Bunnell did not function as a town until two years later when a special law was passed granting a charter. Appointed as councilmen by the governor at that time were; Isaac I Moody, Jr., George Moody (Isaac’s brother), William Edgar (Ed) Johnson, James Frank Lambert, William H. Cochran and W. Chapel Heath, mayor.