The meaning behind the signs you pass every day harken back to Flagler's original forefathers.
Alvah Alonzo Bunnell
The city of Bunnell is named after Alvah Alonzo Bunnell, son of Eli Bunnell and Mary Ann Phebe Caulder, born on in 1854 in Columbia County, Florida.
Sometime before 1880, when the U.S. Census was taken, and in which his occupation was listed as farmer, he moved his family to Espanola in present-day Flagler County to homestead. Official records of the U.S. Postal Service show that Bunnell was apponted as postmaster for the city in 1892. His wife, Mary Lund Bunnell, a teacher, established a school in the area, where a train depot had begun bringing in more visitors, and then residents, in the late-19th century.
In 1904, the saw mill Bunnell had established was moved and and a store he had launched, was sold to a Mr. I. H. Hyden. Alvah his wife, eight sons and two daughters then moved to Miami. Bunnell died in 1944.
Henry Morrison Flagler became a self-made millionaire by collaborating with John D. Rockefeller in developing Standard Oil, and by building railroads and luxury hotels.
Henry M. Flagler was born on January 2, 1830, in Hopewell, New York. In 1867, he collaborated with John D. Rockefeller in developing Standard Oil, named such in 1870. Flagler directed the New Jersey operation until 1911. He spent the last few years of his life developing land in Florida into railroads and luxury resorts that promoted the area of Northeast Florida as a paradise getaway for those of means in other areas of the country -- particularly, the Northeast -- to come visit and, some, buy up property, helping to develop the area.
Flagler -- also, the namesake of Flagler College, where he had established a well-known hotel in St. Augustine -- died in 1913 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
James Franklin "Major" Lambert was instrumental in setting up the Bunnell Development Company. Lambert came to St Johns County in the late-19th century as a turpentine still operator, along with George W. Deen about 12 miles west of the present town of Bunnell. Lambert was the bookkeeper at the commissary and the distiller.
They worked together for several years before forming a partnership and purchasing from Fairhead and Strawn of Jacksonville, a shingle mill operated by Alvah Alonzo Bunnell at the railroad flag stop called Bunnell Stop. They then purchased a 30,000 acre tract of land from for turpentine and timber purposes.
Lambert erected the first house in the town of Bunnell, which still stood until 2008. He was also the proprietor of the Hotel Halcyon.
In 1911, the Bunnell State Bank was organized with Lambert as vice president and director. He was elected president of the bank in 1919, succeeding Isaac Moody, Jr.
Isaac I. Moody, Jr.
Isaac I. Moody Jr., came to St. Johns County in the early 1890s to work as a woods rider for George Deen of in the turpentine business here, eventually becoming the Bunnell Development Company.
The company advertised in northern newspapers and had an office in Chicago. They brought people down by train to show them the 10- and 20-acre tracts. They laid out a town which was chartered as Bunnell in 1913 with Moody being appointed as a Councilman. In 1913, he was reelected as president of the Bunnell State Bank.
He contracted in 1914 for a two-story residence to be built on his lots on the corner of Lambert Ave. and Turner Street. When completed, it was to occupied by Mr. W A Sapp, cashier of the Bunnell State Bank.
Lewis Edward Wadsworth, Jr.
Lewis Edward Wadsworth, Jr., born in 1915, in Hawthorne, Florida, is the namesake of Wadsworth Elementary School and Wadsworth Park, and was at one time called the "Baron of Bunnell."
Lewis was a conservationist before it became popular. He was among the first to adopt progressive conservation practices at the turpentine still, and in the woods through fire control, tree planting and good forest management.
Wadsworth and his financiers sold out to the Rayonier company in 1942. Lewis continued to manage the family operation until 1944 when he started his own pulpwood and saw mill business.
The civic-minded Wadsworth served on the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners for several terms, was president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce, president of the Flagler County Farm Bureau, and was named honorary director for the Florida Chamber of Commerce in 1997. He was also a director of the Atlantic Bank of St. Augustine and the Florida Power and Light Company.
Special thanks to Sisco Deen, curator of the Flagler County Historical Society, for contributing to the research of this story.