Ponte Vedra Inn & Club was built on the
site of the first golf course in Ponte Vedra.
It used to be called Mineral City, “city” always being
delivered with a slight smirk, a rye joke that often flew
over the heads of those unfamiliar with the southern
predisposition to irony.
Ponte Vedra Beach wasn’t big enough to be a wide
spot in the road. It was originally a tiny mining village,
known for its rattlesnakes, Timacuan Indians, and
ilmenite, one of the key minerals in titanium.
A village sprung up around the ilmenite and rutile
mines during World War I when titanium was at a premium and the Germans held the lion’s share.
After the war, the National Lead Company introduced golf to the region with a nine-hole course and
polo ground situated on what is now the Ponte Vedra
Inn & Club.
“It was the mining company that named the place
Ponte Vedra,” said George Forbes, city manager of Jack-
sonville Beach. “Mineral City wasn’t going to attract any
tourists, and once the mine dried up, they thought they
could get some people to come down.”
Visitors wouldn’t see much: a hamlet with a few cot-
tages near the water, and a million acres of oak and pine
thickets, rich with wildlife.
Today, it is nearly impossible to tell where Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine begin
and end. And it’s equally difficult to know where A