The Halifax Historical Museum
separates our exhibits into two different categories.
We have permanent exhibits and a changing exhibit area.
The museum has three changing exhibits a year. The first runs from
January through June. The second runs from July through the first two weeks of November. The last exhibit each year is from
Thanksgiving Week through the end of the year,
celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and the New Year.
Click one of the following to explore:
| |During the year, the Museum offers changing exhibits that highlight artifacts, photographs and postcards from our extensive archival collection.
Current Changing Exhibit:
See Home Page
| |Permanent Exhibits:
Local native peoples' artifacts dating back to 2,500 - 5,000 B.C.
Mary McLeod Bethune Collection
Dr. Josie Rogers Collection
The Models of Lawson Diggett
T he Charles Grover Burgoyne CollectionBeauty Queens & Lifeguards
The "Rumrunner" Bill McCoy Collection
Artifacts of World War I & II
Daytona Beach Racing Memorabilia
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Lawson Diggett was born in Lake Como, Florida July 24, 1901. He moved to Seabreeze, Florida in 1902 with his English parents.
Diggett began a lifelong interest in automobiles as a child. When he was 11 years old he began carving models. He became engrossed with the hobby, and his parents provided him with a workshop attached to their home. He specialized in building miniature automobiles, but had a vast collection including airplanes, ships, trucks, trains, carriages, furniture and more.
Most of his models were build prior to the 1940's before modern materials such as plastics, Styrofoam and super glue. All of his models were fashioned from scratch, made mostly from pine and tin cans. He also utilized scrap items such as rubber pads from a conveyer belt for tires on the cars. He hand painted every model in authentic colors to match the full sized original he copied.
He was an avid writer and photographer, and corresponded with race drivers and racing enthusiasts throughout the world. He recorded racing activities in detail in scrapbooks, and collected every magazine and book pertaining to automobile racing. He photographed much of life in Daytona, and that included all aspects of racing. He also kept a diary every day of his life.
In the 1930's he built a model of the Temple to Speed which was proposed for City Island including a cloverleaf park setting. In 1938 he created his most ambitious and memorable work which was a 4' x 14' replica of the Boardwalk.
When Diggett died he left his entire estate to the Halifax Historical Society. Many of his models may be seen in our Museum.
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Charles Burgoyne was born in Fairmont Virginia in 1847. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War, joining at age 14. At age 28 he went to New York and began a printing company. After earning a fortune there he moved to Florida with his third wife, young Mary Therese MacCauley, who was a proofreader at his printing company.
Charles Burgoyne purchased a city block in downtown Daytona between Bay and Volusia and Beach and Palmetto Streets. He built an ornate three-story mansion that became the showplace of the area.
He was elected Mayor of Daytona between 1897 - 1898, and in 1899 he was elected Commodore of the Yacht Club. He was referred to after that time as Commodore. His 65' yacht, The Sweetheart was built in 1898, and a huge boathouse was built on the river across from the mansion to accommodate it.
In 1912 Burgoyne had a $25,000.00 aeolian pipe organ installed in his home. It is pictured here in this exhibit. He played the organ for his friends and associates at musicales held in his music room.
The Commodore shared his love of music with the public by building a round gazebo at the corner of Orange and Beach Streets and hired Saracina's Royal Italian Bank from New York to play here during the winter seasons.
In 1914, to improve the downtown Beach Street area, he built as a gift to the City a 10' wide concrete promenade bordered by a rock seawall that extended from Orange to Bay Streets. It was lined with streetlights, each pole containing a cluster of five large white globes. It was named THE ESPLANADE BURGOYNE, and a bronze plaque to honor him for this was donated by the City.
In 1915 he built a spacious casino across the street from the Merchant's Bank. It was a 17,000 square foot structure and was to house the band that played in the winter season, and to be used for other types of recreation. It burned in 1937 and was lost forever.
The Burgoyne's had no children of their own and were very generous to the children of the town, providing milk for school children and aiding the needy in whatever they could. Mrs. Burgoyne gave young girls of the town a pearl necklace for their birthday, and a huge party was provided for the children every year on the lawn of their home.
Mr. Burgoyne died unexpectedly in 1916 at the age of 69. He is buried at Pinewood Cemetery on Main Street in Daytona. The marble angel placed on his grave was vandalized in 1953 and has not been replaced.
Mrs. Burgoyne continued to live in the home for the next 25 years at which point she sold the home to a land developer, and spent the rest of her years in an apartment on Grandview Avenue. She died in 1944 at the age of 81.
A booklet of the life of Charles Grover Burgoyne is for sale in the Gift Shop at the Halifax Historical Museum.
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One of the most colorful characters to live in the Halifax area was the dashing and adventurous Bill McCoy, the famous rumrunner and "King of Rum Row". The rumrunners of Prohibition said that "Bill never cut his liquor", and his fair dealing perpetuated the phrase, "It's the real McCoy".
Bill was six feet two, shoulders like a cargo hatch, slim waist, a voice like a fog horn, lean tanned face, and steady eyes in a weather beaten face from long gazing over glittering waters. He was born in Syracuse New York, and was a cadet for two years on the Saratoga.
He moved to Florida in 1900 with his family, and he and his brother Ben began building boats on the banks of the Halifax River in Holly Hill. Their boat, the Uncle Sam which they built in 1903 was used as an excursion boat on the Tomoka River, and they also operated freight and passenger boats between Daytona and St. Augustine and to West Palm Beach. In 1908 they purchased Charles Burgoyne's The Sweetheart, and made weekly runs to West Palm Beach. They built several more boats including the Republic, The Beach Comber and the Hibiscus which were built for Fred Vanderbilt in 1915 and John Wannamaker in 1918.
In 1920 business was poor, and Bill was approached by a rumrunner with a phenomenal salary to captain his boat. He declined the offer, however he and his brother decided to go into business for themselves. Bill purchased the Henry Marshall in Massachusetts. It was a 90-foot fishing schooner built of white oak. The boat could carry 1,500 cases of liquor in crates, or 3,000 cases in burlap bags. Bill sold all his first cargo offshore in New York. This was the largest cargo brought into New York to that time and Bill founded the notorious "Rum Row".
With the money made from the first sale, he purchased the love of his life, a beautiful fishing schooner, the Arethusa. Nassau became his home port for the next four years, and the Arethusa sailed many times from there loaded with liquor headed for Rum Row. He claimed he landed more than 170,000 cases of liquor during his rum-running days.
He was closely watched by the Coast Guard, and the canny Bill renamed the Arethusa, the Tomoka and placed her under British registry. He also named her the Marie Celeste and registered her with the French. Eventually in 1921 the Henry Marshall was taken into custody by the Revenue Service when its drunken captain went ashore and left the ship in incompetent hands. Revenue agents boarded the Tomoka, but Bill claimed he was beyond the 3 mile limit and tried to make a run for freedom while some of the agents were on board. When the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca fired on the Tomoka, Bill surrendered. So went the rum-running days of Bill McCoy with his 130' vessel leading the Coast Guard on a merry chase. He died aboard his boat the Blue Lagoon at Stuart, Florida at the age of 71 on December 30, 1948.
The Halifax Historical Museum has thousands of domestic and foreign artifacts from the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II; and the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf conflicts. In addition to several permanent displays, we rotate various memorabilia for special displays and commemorations.
The Halifax Historical Museum houses hundreds of artifacts from the Halifax area plantations. Items include tools, household items and personal artifacts. Regular exhibits are available for viewing in addition to the archaeological artifacts.
In addition to the new permanent Racing Zone Exhibit, the Halifax Historical Museum has several displays documenting the history of automobile and motorcycle racing in the Daytona Beach area. Our collection of automobile photos and memorabilia is second only to the NASCAR archives. We feature seasonal exhibits coinciding with area racing events.