Daytona Beach, Florida, land of sand and surf and numerous little
motels which fell victim to the wrecking ball over the years.
We'll get to that in just a moment, but first let me tell you
about a friend of mine.
He was born John G. von Feilitzch in
1906 in Germany. I'm not sure when he came to America, but he
eventually settled in the Daytona / Ormond Beach area and became a
In the summer of 1993, my family and I traveled to Daytona Beach.
I brought along some old postcards of
my 1960's family vacations and noticed the name John G. Von listed as
photographer. I looked in the phone book, was amazed to find
name, and gave him a call.
At first, he probably thought I was a
nut, but we later became "pen pals" and Mr. Von sent me dozens
old postcards made from his photographs for clients in the Daytona
area. In return, I sent him books on various subjects in
In the summer of 1994, I paid him a
visit. During our conversation, I mentioned that my mother
old snapshot of my father and a group of fishermen after they returned
to Inlet Harbor from a day out fishing.
Von told me he had been the official photographer for Inlet
and, if I could identify the date and boat, he would look through his
negatives and send me a print. (If you look closely, my
holding a "ship's wheel" sign with the date. The other sign
clearly shows the name of the boat.)
of my dad, Harvey McCollum, taken on the same day. He caught one of the
large amberjacks in back.)
sure enough, a few days later I received the photo below taken by John
Von on August 12, 1965. You can't tell by these website
reproductions, but Mr. Von's photo has much greater detail than the one
above taken with the family Polaroid.
photograph received 29 years after it was shot. What a
coincidence that I happened to make friends with the photographer.
Von passed away in 1996, but I think he would be happy to know that
some of his work lives on. I hope you enjoy the following
pictures courtesy of Mr. John G. Von, Daytona Postcard Photographer
Anchorage Beach Colony "centrally located to shopping centers."
After a day in Daytona, I'd be running to the shopping center for
some Noxema for my sunburned skin.
Shamrock Apartment Motel, "one block from the Boardwalk and Bandshell."
In other words, bring your earplugs.
Cove Motel with "Muzak and laundromat on premises." Who needs
Elvis when you've got Muzak? (The Cove is still in operation,
same location and building.)
The Monterey featured "free TV and phones in rooms." They
forgot to include a comma after the word TV.
Inside the Monterey, customers enjoyed "maid service." The
Monterey Motel still exists as a high-rise property.
If you wanted television at the Monterey, you had to visit their modern
"television lounge." Watch out for the Hindenburg!
O.B. Linkous, real estate salesman. (No, I didn't make that
up. It's on the back of the postcard.) I
know quite a
few middle-age men who, as teenagers, were on their ass in Daytona.
Perhaps you're one of them?
not drive your Thunderbird to the Thunderbird? It features an
"ocean-side patio, cocktail lounge, and elevator service (!)"
According to google maps, this building at 500 North Atlantic
Avenue still operates as a motel, but under a different name.
El Caribe accepted the Diner's Club Card. The El Caribe is
in business at the same location, but with a much larger building.
The Vagabond Motel had rooms that could accommodate up to 8 people.
your '56 Buick Special is about to rust out from all the driving up and
down the beach, roll it through the Busy Bee Car Wash. "Cars
automatically washed and waxed while you wait!"
At the Rainbow Court. Somebody please stop those kids on the
balcony before they jump!
exotic Ormond Biltmore Apartments, "on the brim of the Blue Atlantic"
featuring a "private shuffleboard court." If you look
you can see Hope and Crosby.
Boynton Seaside Villas offer "you tropical splendor in an enchanting
setting of shade-giving Floridian palms." Is that Dorothy
the Piedmont Driving Club won't accept you, you can always go to the
Esquire Beach Motel and enjoy a "room TV with radio and hi-fi music."
The Spindrift is "conveniently located for fishing camps and
amusements." Now we're talkin'.
the Summit Motor Inn with a "recreation mezzanine with color TV,
billiards, and game tables?" Makes you wish Frank Gehry would
stop with the aluminum siding and bring back googie architecture.
This property is still in operation under a different name,
subsequent owners have hidden all the googie with boring stucco
Come back, little de Beaux Cottages! Seaside is too expensive!
Holland Manor Motel urged you to "swim, fish, and play to your hearts
content!" There's James Dean leaning on his chickie-run Ford
from "Rebel Without A Cause."
Remember the Steak N Shake at 110 South Ocean Avenue? Who
cares about HDL levels anyway?
Memory Lane Motel was "directly on the World's Most Famous Beach,
overlooking the ocean." Is that a Packard or Studebaker in
Sanibel Hotel claimed to offer "luxury at moderate prices, in the
center of all activities, with paved off-street parking at your door."
was "modern and facing the ocean." I guess that meant you'd
to walk across the highway as your feet blistered on the hot
That looks like Ward Cleaver's car at the Lyndhurst Hotel. I
wonder if he's with June? Hmmm.
you were lucky enough to stay at the Tropicana Motel, you'd get
"carpeting throughout, circulating hot water heat, TV lounge, sun deck,
and a tropical patio." There's that term "TV lounge" again.
Reminds me of watching TV at my dorm in the early '70s.
Coral Court Motel claimed to have an A&P supermarket across the
street. I suspect the Coral Court Motel went the way of the
Who cares about SPF ratings when you've got large umbrellas courtesy of
the Tropical Manor Motel?
At the Copa... Copacabana you could use your BankAmeriCard or
MasterCharge! Only 75 miles to Disney World!
downtown Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge was "only three-fourths mile from
jai-alai and the dog track." Just think how Chattooga County
would grow with its own jai-alai court or dog track. Anyone
willing to sign a petition?
Seaside Holiday Cottages. I think they filmed "The Truman
ladies on the left are discussing the latest Troy Donahue movie.
The Sand Castles Motel "near shops, good restaurants, and fishing
Daytona Sands Motel was a "beautiful, new luxury motel with heated
swimming pool, shuffleboard, and central air conditioning."
The Treasure Island Motel's retaining wall says it all:
heated pool, coffee shop, and air conditioning.
We stayed at the Imperial Beach Motel back in 1961.
The Newport Beach Motel was in adjacent Ormond Beach. It's
still in operation as a budget hotel.
Somebody call Roy Rogers! Trigger has escaped and must have
rabies! And don't let him check into the Maverick!
More Maverick. They don't make lamps like that anymore.
this is the last of the Maverick. It featured "direct dial
telephones, color TV, refrigerators in all rooms, background music,
and marble vanities and lavatories." Sounds like Versailles
me! And, like Versailles, the Maverick still stands proudly,
without Trigger and the large cow head emblem.
We stayed at the
Riviera Beach Motel during our August 1965 vacation. This
property is still in operation, but under another name.
Here's a photo I took in 1965 which captures the scene more
realistically than a postcard.
hope you enjoyed this diversion to the Daytona Beach of long ago thanks
to the postcard photography of my friend, Mr. John Von.
reply from a viewer in Florida:
I came across your
delightful web site while googling "John G. Von". Thanks for
received a photo some years ago of the store I co-operate.
boat store but the original photo was from "John G. Von Studio" of the
same property possible mid 60's as a A&P grocery
photo came from a poorly attired gentleman on a bicycle. He
stopped and was checking out the building while looking at
something he carried. This went on for awhile as I was
thinking "another street person looking for a handout".....
actually was trying to match photos he had saved from cleaning out a
widow's garage to the actual building. We prize this photo
often share the shot with those that shopped the A&P or even
730 U.S. 1
Holly Hill, Florida
Thanks, Monica, for sharing!
Update II from
Donnie Moses of Atlantic Beach, Florida...
remember almost every one of those motels as my family and many other
families in our community would spend at least one week every summer
there beginning in the early 1960s, progressing to a week early in the
summer and a week later in the summer by the late 1960s and throughout
the 1970s. It will come as a surprise to some to learn that
lived just 90 miles away in Jacksonville yet went to Daytona to
vacation instead of the beaches in the Jacksonville area.
1966 the Holiday Shores Motel held a watermelon eating contest for the
kids. Photographer John Von was there to document the event
shot the above photograph and the ones that follow.
Photo contributor Donnie Moses, poised to attack a large slide of
The Holiday Shores Motel also sponsored a pie eating contest.
am the one on the right, celebrating my victory in the Watermelon
Eating Contest with my cousin Tommy. Yes, that's a baby
alligator my cousin Phyllis is holding
on the left, her prize for having won the Pie Eating Contest or
Mr. Von had been commissioned by the motel operator to cover the
contests and if you wanted to buy the photos afterwards, he would make
them available. What a brilliant photographer he was. This
is 45 years old and looks like a high-definition image.
might remember the Holiday Shores Motel. It was next to the
Silver Beach Inn at the intersection of Silver Beach and Atlantic.
Many thanks to Donnie Moses for sharing his photographs and memories of
a wonderful time and place.