Spruce Creek fly-in of Port Orange !!

I was seaching into my vault and found a picture. Going back to my times in Volusia County, Florida, where I went to my Univ studies,got married to a wonderful Frenchie Martine, had my first son and just a ton of wonderful memories…One of these memorable spots had to do with Spruce Creek Fly In community in Port Orange just 27 km or 17 mi south of my former home in Ormond by the Sea, Wonderful countryside on the mainland. Port Orange is on the other side of the Intracoastal waterways so no beach, for that you need to turn into Dunlawton avenue over the bridge into Daytona Beach Shores left or Wilbur by the Sea right. This is my story and theirs ; hope you enjoy it as I, Memories forever !!

I happened to be here because my father did tile pool work for a man FD who was one of the founders of the Sabre reservation system for American Airlines and lived there so my father tag me alone. Because the anecdote of the trip this men neighbor was John Travolta and wife Cynthia which I met!!! Unfortunately rather private encounter and no photos allowed of his Cessna 310 jet lol! What I did get was a ride on our friend Cessna 172 all over the Kennedy Space center and back, with my family so it is nostalgic for me indeed.

Port Orange spruce creek fly in sabre frank cessna 172 and us

Spruce Creek Airport  is a private airport and housing community located in Port Orange, originally constructed during WWII as an outlying field to nearby Naval Air Station DeLand and Daytona Beach. Port Orange was settled by John Milton Hawks who brought freed blacks to work at his sawmill after the US Civil War.  The colony struggled soon after its creation and most colonists left. The area that became known as Freemanville is a legacy of the settlers who stayed in the area, It is also,known for the harbor or port where oranges were shipped all over therefore the name of Port OrangeThe Spruce Creek Fly-in is west of the I95 interstate highway .The best way to get there is get on US 1 (South Ridgewood ave) and turn right into the Dunlawton avenue or SR 421, it then becomes Taylor Road (we did drag racing here during good old college days!!) this is still the SR 421. Then turn left on the Spruce Creek Blvd you have a couple turns remaining but signs lead you to Spruce Creek Fly in.

A bit of the history I like

A Naval Air Operational Training Base, was completed in late 1943 in what is now occupied by Spruce Creek. The base was constructed as a training facility and had three runways crisscrossing as well as an extra runway intersecting it, The Spruce Creek facility was decommissioned and eventually sold in 1957 to the City of Daytona Beach which intended to build an industrial park but never made it to fruition. During the early 60’s, the “Samsula Airport”, as it was then named, was used by the locals as a recreational place to drag race, camp and fish Also famous for bikers to smash other bikes that were not hogs or Harley-Davidson during Bike Week, memories forever !!

Around 1964, it was offered to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute, which was looking for a new campus to move its Miami facility. Embry-Riddle eventually moved to the Daytona Municipal airport in 1965 (now International !)after deciding that they did not want the responsibility for maintaining an airport themselves.Embry-Riddle had began in 1925 as the Embry-Riddle Company, founded by Talton Higbee Embry and John Paul Riddle (I met him!) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Embry-Riddle was eventually incorporated into what is now American Airlines, before reforming during the buildup to WWII in Miami,as the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation, and later, the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute. In 1970, the school was renamed Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (I arrived in 1977, graduated in 1982).

The thing about Spruce Creek was that “Mac” Conway during the early 1960s, made a survey of surplus military airfields in Florida ,and during the late 60’s and early 70’s, Conway planned and promoted a number of fly-in developments at former military bases in Florida , One of the sites which particularly appealed to Conway was the old Samsula airfield near Daytona Beach. Conway assembled a group of investors, mostly Atlanta pilot-friends, and laid out a plan to pool their money to buy the property and arrange with a Florida developer to implement the project. They incorporated their company and named it “Fly-in Concept”. The city officials approved the plan and in early 1969 signed the purchase contract, and in July, 1970 the site plan was finally approved and the project officially launched. The primary focus of the Fly-in Concept investors was the recreational aspects of a secluded place where they could fly their airplanes to. Their private getaway offered plenty of natural areas and an unspoiled Creek to go fishing. They graded a taxiway from the end of the runway to the creek for easy access, In the late 70’s, Thompson Properties Inc. of Florida, led by Jay Thompson, acquired the 1,400 acres Spruce Creek Airport and immediately started work on updating Conway’s original vision. Today, only a few undeveloped lots remain and the community is literally a thriving private city. Thompson developed the Spruce Creek Country Club together with club house, tennis courts, pool, restaurant, meeting facilities and an 18-hole championship Golf course to complement the airport. Of the original military airfield, one runway remains (5-23) as the others were closed or turned into taxiways over the years. The strip is a wide, modern 4,000 ft x 150 ft asphalt-surfaced military-spec runway economically impossible to duplicate in todays’ terms and unique in the world. It has a GPS approach and landing lights which allow 24-hr access. The Spruce Creek airport can accommodate anything from a Stearman to a Gulfstream II. It has 1,300 homes and 700 hangars sharing a unique life in this private gated village. 24-hr patrolled security complements the safety, privacy and enjoyment of the residents

Some other things to see in Port Orange are the Freemanville Historic Site at 3431 Ridgewood Ave. Cracker Creek at 1795 Taylor Rd. This 20 acre sanctuary is a natural home for a variety of endangered plants and animals that can be seen by boat or by foot , In my univ years we used to race cars alont Taylor Rd !! Riverwalk Park at 3459 S Ridgewood Avenue, The park is split into two sections bordering the Riverside Pavilion on the Halifax River , This is a great park with wonderful views over the intra coastal or Halifax river ! A wonderful place to eat of memorable moments with the family and still going strong !! is the Aunt Catfish’s on the river restaurant at 4009 Halifax Dr.

The city of Port Orange on its historyhttps://www.port-orange.org/270/City-History

The Spruce Creek fly in on its historyhttps://www.fly-in.com/spruce-creek-history/

The Spruce Creek airport: http://www.7fl6.com/2008/01/spruce-creek-airport-7fl6.html

There you go folks, another nostalgia lane story of yours truly. Yes it has been a long trek on various continents and countries and what not, all worth it, very rich, and always missing these places as a reluctant traveler does always. Hope you enjoy Spruce Creek Fly In at Port Orange as I. They said, to remember is to live again or something like that….

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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