Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023
Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Monday, November 8, 2021

Have You Heard of Ruby, Florida? Do the Neptune/Jacksonville Beach 10k Walk to Find Out About It - Monday, November 8, 2021

Susan Medlin and I do things differently from time to time. Today was one of those times.

Our sign-in spot for the Neptune Beach/Jacksonville Beach Walk was at Homespun Kitchen in the old part of Neptune Beach. Not being from the area, we didn't know where to park without paying. 

Susan had done the walk once before so she had some experience with the parking issue. After she got the directions on her previous walk, she drove to a place on the route to park, so that's what we did today. 

The Pablo Historical Park Complex has free street parking and we had an immediate introduction into the history of Jacksonville Beach (or Pablo Beach as this area was known until 1925). Included at the complex are: an old post office, Cracker House, Chapel, the "Pablo Station" railroad display, and the first settlers at Ruby, Florida. Be sure to allow time to explore this wonderful historical park!

Since I teased you with Ruby, Florida, in the headline of today's blog, let's get right to the info about the settlement of Ruby. It all started with the railroad, a common theme in many early towns. 

Construction of the Jacksonville and Atlantic Railroad was begun in 1883 to serve this undeveloped area. The track was narrow-gauge, running 16.5 miles from the south bank of the St. Johns River to the beach. 

Susan Medlin on Locomotive #7.

Locomotive #7.

Steam Locomotive #7 was built in 1911 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, by the H. K. Porter Company. The 25-ton (50,000 lb.) engine has a "2-6-0" design, which refers to the number of wheels that were used to actually move the locomotive rather than hold it up. Locomotive #7 did not run on the Florida East Coast Railway line at the Beaches. It belonged to the Cummer Lumber Co. and was used for logging near Tampa. It was moved from St. Augustine to this park in 1982.

The first settlers were William and Eleanor Scull. William was a civil engineer and surveyor. In August 1884, Eleanor was appointed postmaster. They lived in a tent two blocks east of the current Pablo Historical Park. A second tent was the general store and post office.

The Jacksonville and Atlantic Railroad Company sold lots and housing construction began. The Sculls built their first house in 1884 on their tent site. The settlement was named Ruby for their first daughter.

On May 13, 1886, the town was renamed Pablo Beach. On June 15, 1925, the name was changed to Jacksonville Beach.

The stand-alone Pablo Beach Post Office was built in 1903. Before that, the post office was run out of other businesses, such as the general store or Murray Hall Hotel. The Post Office was moved to this historical park in 1986.

Pablo Beach Post Office.

Other structures in the Pablo Historical Park include:

Pablo Beach Flagler East Coast (FEC) Railway Foreman's House. 

The FEC foreman's house is 
painted Flagler Yellow.

History of the FEC foreman

The Mayport Depot

The Mayport Depot, also Flagler Yellow.

The Osterreicher-McCormick Homestead: This home was built in 1873 and is one of the oldest remaining homes in the Beaches area.

Rare Florida "Cracker Style" home.
Read plaque below for more info.

Beaches Museum Chapel:

Also in Pablo Historical Park is a marker regarding "Jimmy" Doolittle's 1922 record flight.

A fascinating read. He was quite
the aviator.

It just wouldn't be fun if I didn't include a bit of whimsy. These decorations were attached to the trees. Other people had variations of these in their yards,

The chameleon.

The crab.

We exited the historical park on Pablo Ave. and walked past a beautiful turtle sculpture on 4th St. N. 

Now the walk begins in earnest. We headed two blocks east to the American Red Cross Volunteer Lifesaving Corps building, passed it, then turned left onto a wide walkway next to the dunes. There was a lifeguard up in the building's tower keeping an eye on people on the beach. The waves were still quite active.

American Red Cross Volunteer
Life-Saving Corps building. 

If you enlarge this, you
will see a lifeguard in the

We walked on the wide
Good views of the Jax Pier construction

The ocean was going bonkers again.

Another view of the Jax Fishing 
Pier construction

Our directions instructed us to continue on the boardwalk to just past Casa Marina. No can do. There is a massive construction project to rebuild the Jax Beach Fishing Pier. The boardwalk was blocked by a construction fence and construction vehicles. We detoured around the construction and returned to the sidewalk on the other side of it. We couldn't detour onto the beach because the waves were too high. 

Stopped by a 
construction fence.

No way through here.

We went around the construction.

Once we got to Casa Marina, the directions were so easy. Just stay on 1st St. N. all the way to Atlantic Blvd. (a looonngg way!). This path is all residential until you get to the historic Neptune Beach. 

There are fun murals on this restaurant.

I love this. The iguana is so funny.

Casa Marina is a restaurant with a 
Rooftop Lounge (not a boat marina, 
which is what we were looking for).

Cute! It says "Southeast
of Disorder.

Pretty home.

This is what the instructions call
"a car barricade."

Driftwood art - pretty awesome!

We were halfway through our walk and hungry! It was time to take a break for lunch! I chose to eat at Homespun Kitchen to support their generosity in hosting the walk box. Susan Medlin ate a couple of doors down at Ragtime Tavern, Seafood & Grill. 

I loved my lunch. It was an Asian Grain Bowl with quinoa, brown rice, almonds, organic carrots, organic green peas, scratch-made ginger miso, and scratch-made teriyaki. I added avocado and chicken to it. 

It was wonderful, but it would have easily fed two or three people. I ended up carrying half of it three miles back to the car. Susan also enjoyed her lunch of coconut shrimp. 

Asian Grain Bowl at Homespun Kitchen.

Homespun Kitchen is open 7 am - 9 pm
every day.

After lunch, we had to decide if we could walk back along the beach. Susan Medlin put on her sandals and we were going to go for it until we got a look at the ocean. There was no beach. So, she put her walking shoes back on and we found an alley that took us a number of blocks one block away from the beach.
We found the Neptune Beach mural.

At that point, we looked at the ocean again and Susan decided to walk on the beach. I stayed on the alley until it petered out and then I went back to 1st St. N.

Such a beautiful flowering 

Does anyone know what flower
this is?

I zig-zagged back toward the beach and found another alley-like street that continued for many blocks. It was fun to walk on a different street on the way back.
Little Free Library. 

When the second alley-like street ran out, I took a boardwalk out to an overlook of the ocean to see where Susan was. I thought I'd join her, but she was 4-5 blocks ahead of me. I put my feet into overdrive and speed-walked on the surface streets to try to catch up with her. When she finally came up from the beach past the Jacksonville Fishing Pier, she called me on my phone. I was only two blocks behind her, so she waited while I caught up. 

"Dawn Patrol," by Seward

First Coast's Finest Beach mural.

We finished the walk together and headed back to her son's house. I dropped her off and went back to the Holiday Inn. 

Thank you First Coast Trail Forgers for this nice walk. Tomorrow, we are going to do the Atlantic Beach 10k!


  1. Excellent write-up of this walk. I think I do it about once a year, maybe less cuz it is over 5 hours away. Last time I did it, they had construction in the same area. One time there was a docent at the park that told us quite a bit about that really old home in the gated park. Tom like it cuz there were trillions or billions of women in skimpy workout clothes running up and down the road and in and out other roads and alleys. I will have to try Homespun next time over.

    1. Thank you.

      We saw only a few people walking this time. Homespun Kitchen was very good, in my opinion. They also have smoothies and other breakfast items.


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