Daytona Beach Mythbusters

Daytona Beach Mythbusters

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The history of Daytona Beach reveals some surprising stories and urban myths dating back to its founding in 1870 by Mathias Day. Most folks think of the Florida resort for its beaches and raceway, but there's more to this city than meets the eye. Test your family and see if you know the truth and can qualify as one of our Daytona Beach mythbusters.

1. College students descend on Daytona Beach every year, creating Spring Break madness.

FALSE. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Daytona Beach earned this reputation, but the majority of students now flock to Bermuda or the Caribbean. Although the area is no longer the party town it used to be, the urban legend of Daytona Beach's wild days continues.

2. Hawaiian Tropic Suntan's formula was developed in a garage in Daytona Beach.

TRUE. While on a Hawaiian vacation, Rich Rice noticed women using oils to protect their skin. He came home to Daytona to develop his famous tanning formula. Trash cans in his garage gave humble beginnings to this well known product that eventually became a multi-million dollar business.

3. President Warren G. Harding used Daytona Beach for a winter home.

TRUE. President Harding's wife and family constructed a home on Magnolia Avenue in 1907. The 29th president and his first lady used it to escape cold winters. The basement of the property, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, has been converted into a fine Italian restaurant called The Cellar.

The Cellar
220 Magnolia Ave
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Tue-Sat 5PM-10PM

4. Daytona Beach is a city with few cultural attractions.

FALSE. This is prime material for Daytona Beach mythbusters. Believe it or not, the city is bursting with culture. The Museum of Arts & Sciences includes the finest collection of American art in the southeast. It also boasts the largest collection of Cuban art outside of Cuba.

The Daytona Beach International Festival receives a visit from the London Symphony Orchestra every other year. Music can also be heard at the Beach Bandshell and Elizabeth Hall Auditorium. You can catch live performances at the Daytona Playhouse, Performing Arts Center and Little Theatre.

The Museum of Arts & Sciences
352 S Nova Rd
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Tue-Sat 9AM-5PM, Sun 11AM-5PM

5. Auto racing in Daytona started on the beach.

TRUE. The hard-packed sand was ideal for early automobile races. The earliest race in 1903 was held on Ormond Beach. Daytona Beach became the home in the 1920's, although high tide cut short the race in 1952. The Daytona International Speedway was opened in 1959. Visitors can stroll past the original North Turn marker off Highway A1A or choose to have lunch at Racing's North Turn restaurant while perusing old beach racing photos and memorabilia.

The Daytona International Speedway
1801 W International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL 32114

Racing's North Turn Bar & Grille
4511 S Atlantic Ave
Ponce Inlet, FL 32127
Daily 11am

6. John D. Rockefeller bought a home in the Daytona area because the Ormond Hotel charged him more than other guests.

LIKELY TRUE. Although no one can document this Daytona Beach urban legend, Mr. Rockefeller was known as a thrifty fellow. When he discovered he was being charged more than other hotel guests, he was not pleased. Most people believe he simply chose to buy a house instead. His former Osmond Beach property is now maintained as a museum known as The Casements.

The Casements
25 Riverside Dr
Ormond Beach, FL 32176
Mon-Fri 8:30AM-5PM, Sat 8:30AM-noon; tours Mon-Fri 10AM-2:30PM, Sat 10AM-11:30AM

7. After Daytona's 2009 Race, the Coke Zero 400 was stopped to repair potholes in the pavement; NASCAR drivers wanted the Daytona Speedway repaved.

FALSE. Although the racetrack is currently being repaved, the drivers hoped to avoid the renovation. They preferred the original surface, which they felt was faster than any other track.

8. The current International Speedway repaving project will lay 50,000 tons of asphalt.

TRUE. Crews are paving approximately 33 acres with about 50,000 tons of asphalt. They will use high-tech, high quality polymer modified asphalt, which can withstand the stresses of racing. Let's hope it's fast.

9. Bike Week and Biketoberfest attract members of notorious motorcycle gangs.

FALSE. Daytona's scary urban legends about gangs are not true. Today, the world's largest motorcycle event attracts many rich urban bikers, known as "rubs." They often ride in small groups, visit fine restaurants and choose upscale lodging. Bike Week has been a tradition since January 24, 1937 – the inaugural running of the Daytona 200 motorcycle contest. Biketoberfest naturally takes place in October.
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