James Canfield and Art Dycke honored at 51st Palm Coast Founders’ Day celebration


Years before the town was incorporated, the man who would one day become mayor, James Canfield, was given a gift of sorts. ITT, the company that envisioned and created the community in 1970, was now leaving town and wanted to unload a pile of boxes containing founding documents and artifacts.

Soon Canfield’s garage was full of ITT boxes. “My wife was getting angry,” Canfield said in his speech on Oct. 29, as the city celebrated Founders Day. He explained that when the city was founded later, on December 31, 1999, the boxes were eventually moved from his garage and to one makeshift town hall after another, until they landed at the Palm Coast Historical Society in Holland Park.

It was therefore appropriate, after the speeches commemorating the 51st anniversary of the founding of the city, that the building be renamed the James V. Canfield Museum. The adjoining room of the museum was also given an official name: Arthur E. Dycke Research Center, named after the city’s historian since 2000.

Founding member of City Council Bill Venne also addressed the crowd of a few dozen dignitaries and residents on a beautiful fall day, October 29, 2021. He recalled “the country club atmosphere “from Palm Coast since the early days. Ultimately, however, “people started to feel that we needed a little bit of sovereignty.” He thanked Canfied for paving the way for incorporation and setting the tone for the city.

“If he was there with his tie and his jacket, we had to be there too with our tie and our jacket. He led a tight ship, ”Venne said. “… It was a great experience to work with this group, to get the city off the ground. “

Ralph Carter, Jerry Full and James Holland joined Canfield and Venne on the original city council. Carter and Holland both have city parks named after them.

More than 60% of the 12,000 voters opted for incorporation, according to Dycke’s book on the history of the city.

Fanny Herrera spoke after Venne at the celebration on October 29, 2021. Her family moved to Palm Coast in 1976; her husband, Eddie, has land named after him at the Indian Trails Sports Complex. She explained that, in an attempt to organize an international celebration, she leafed through the meager phone book of the time and found all the names that appeared to be Polish or Hungarian etc. About 13 people showed up. Ultimately, the event would attract thousands of people.

The city once asked her how much money she would need to organize the celebration, and she remembers saying, “I don’t need the money. I give you the bills and you pay for everything.

The late Jon Netts served as the city’s second mayor, from 2008 to 2016, and was replaced by Mayor Milissa Holland, who also spoke at the event on October 29, 2021. She recalled this, in as a young woman, before the incorporation of the city. , his father told him that Canfield would make a good mayor because he had an understanding of the city’s history, a love for the community and a vision for the future.

“He set an example every day,” Milissa Holland said of Canfield. “… Thank you for your amazing service.

Like Venne, James Holland was not as enthusiastic about Canfield’s dress code during the early days of the Palm Coast government. He ended up wearing clip-on ties to board meetings, Milissa Holland said, and he removed them as soon as meetings were over.

“If he was there with his tie and his jacket, we had to be there too with our tie and our jacket. He led a tight ship. … It was a great experience to work with this group, to get the city off the ground. “

– BILL VENNE, on the first city council, with Mayor James Canfield

Dave Studnicki, a member of a golfing group known as Sludgehammers, which included some of the town’s founders, announced to the public that the group had disbanded after 70 years of renewable membership. He donated a check to the Palm Coast Historical Society for the amount of the club’s remaining dues, $ 527.

Dave’s wife, Elaine Studnicki, is the president of the company. She unveiled the names of the museum and research center, as well as an ongoing fresco that will be dedicated to Netts’ memory.

Current mayor David Alfin, the city’s fourth, praised the leadership of each previous mayor; he also praised Dycke’s efforts to record the town’s history, calling him a “gentle and humble gentleman.” Dycke has written a third book, available at the Canfield Museum.

Alfin noted how far the city has come since those first 8,000 homes were sold in the first year. In 2021, the city has an Innovation District and 90,000 inhabitants.

“Today, our Palm Coast Historical Society honors five decades of memories, leadership, triumphs and challenges that shaped the foundations of our city,” said Alfin. “It’s not just an anniversary, but a celebration of our history and the people who have helped make it the wonderful place where we all live, work and play.”


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