Hastings, Florida

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Hastings is a town and agricultural center in St. Johns County, Florida, United States, 18 miles (29 km) southwest of St. Augustine. The population was 521 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 607.[3]

Contents

History

Henry Morrison Flagler built tourist hotels at St. Augustine in the late 19th century, including the Ponce de León Hotel. He needed a local source of fresh vegetables for his guests, so he persuaded Thomas Horace Hastings, his cousin, to develop a farm. A small community evolved into a town, which was named for its founder in 1890. Hastings is known as the "Potato Capital of Florida" with 21,000 acres (85 km2) of potato farms, but also produces cabbage, onions, eggplant and ornamental horticulture.

The Hastings High School was built in 1924 to provide education for the children of the farmers in the southwest corner of the county. It has since closed, and the Hastings Branch of the St. Johns County Public Library is located in this building.[4] The only public school in the town is the Hastings Youth Academy, an Alternative school.[5]

Hastings offers a quiet, rural lifestyle where the average home price is under $80K. State Road 207 is the main highway through the town, which is the only real development between St. Augustine and Palatka. Much of the roadway between Hastings and St. Augustine was expanded to four lanes in the late 1990s and early first decade of the 21st century, increasing the attractiveness of the area for new development and subdivisions.

National exposure

The town was briefly in the spotlight when the American Broadcasting Company television network show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition featured the Harvey family in a show aired on April 24, 2005. Workers employed by the show were joined by the Northeast Florida Builders Association (NFBA) members to complete the project, which demolished the family's 1930's era broken-down structure and replaced it with a 4,280 ft², 2-story home with a 2009 assessed value of $342,696.[6] The project was completed in seven days of work. Much of the actual labor was performed by the non-profit Builder's Care, a unit of the NFBA. Builder's Care also performed an "Extreme Community Outreach" in the surrounding homes to identify and resolve problems in plumbing, electrical, air conditioning and structure.[7]

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