January 2021 Newsletter
for Echo Grant Project
The golden shovels of progress were out in force despite crisp morning temps as the Southeast Volusia Historical Society (SVHS) held a low-key, yet formal ground-breaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction for their Echo grant project. New Smyrna Beach City Commissioners Michael Kolody and Randy Hartman were on hand along with special guests Gerard "J" Pendergast and Curtis & Laura Hodges and Mark Rakowski who have all played key rolls in the project. The project itself will see a hardened elevator shaft and impact windows as well as an overall cosmetic face lift to the North side of the museum building. The structure for the lift will include a barrel tile roof and stucco to match the building in order to preserve the historic look and appeal of the local landmark building. A special "Thank You" to all our members and contributors. It is only with your support that we are able to take this important step into the museum's future. Also, "Thank You" to the citizens of Volusia County who voted to continue the Echo and Volusia Forever programs.

Appearing from left to right in the group photo are Curtis Hodges project contributor, Laura Hodges project contributor, Mark Rakowski project contributor and Southeast Volusia Historical Society (SVHS) board member, Walt Flanigan Vice President SVHS, Randy Hartman NSB City Commissioner Zone 4, Michael Kolody NSB City Commissioner Zone 1, Gerard "J" Pendergast project contributor, Greg Holbrook Executive Director New Smyrna Museum of History.
Director's Digest
By Greg Holbrook
Executive Director
New Smyrna Museum of History

Although it has been a trying year for the entire world, 2020 has left the Southeast Volusia
Historical Society and New Smyrna Museum of History feeling thankful.

The realization that we would need to close to the public, along with the duration of this Covid-19 event, caused us to step away from direct public contact and explore other options to engage with our audience.  

With previous fundraising efforts being established on public events and small business donations, we were forced to reach out to our supporters to help us make up the $15,000 that would have normally been realized by our two annual fundraisers.  

By June, our fundraising team was working to put together a formal appeal that was launched via a direct mail piece, email share and GoFundMe solicitation to make up for these traditional fundraisers.

Your response was generous, as supporters donated and renewed out-of-date memberships to help us achieve this goal by end of year! Thank You all for your continued support.

The challenges of 2020 also presented opportunities for us to improve in areas that had seemed less important in past years. Without the option to invite folks into the museum, we realized that we needed to improve upon our social media presence and learn to engage with a virtual audience.   

Our virtual programs co-hosted with the Florida Public Archaeology Network throughout this year have been well received. Even growing to include a global audience with attendees from Greece and Italy joining November’s program.

We have also entered the ecommerce world and you can now shop for items from the museum store from wherever you might happen to be, see the link to view the store in this newsletter.

Other projects, such as our initiative to develop a strategic plan and the beginning of construction related to our recent Echo grant award were able to move forward. All along we scrutinized the calendar and latest news, hoping for an opportunity to reopen our doors.

From today's vantage point as we look back on all we have missed this past year, the absence that stands out most clearly, is you. The conversations our volunteers never had, the programs we couldn't enjoy together and the precious human interaction that makes life so rich, are missed the most.

Events such as these take away the precious person-to-person interactions that we would otherwise get to share with you and the other folks who have a like-minded interest in history, whether they be locals or visitors.

Our hope for the coming year is that soon we will all be able to view Covid-19 as a thing of the past. At some point in the past someone proclaimed that "time is money". Perhaps when all this is over, we might remember these days as we reflect back and realize that time, time with our friends and family, is a currency more precious than money. I never really liked that saying anyway.
Museum Giftshop Now Available Online
The New Smyrna Museum of History gift shop is now available for online shopping. Check our the new shop by Clicking Here. Cool t-shirts and hats or your favorite Minorcan Datil Pepper products are a holiday favorites. Don't forget to check out custom beach and surf themed artwork by Jimmy Lane and Ronnie Dreggors as well as literature featuring topics from the local area. Local Shoppers can select self pickup and save the cost of shipping.

An insider look at one of the many individuals who make our organization great.

By Mark Spradley
Barbara Zafuto was born in Buffalo, New York in 1937. 
Her mother's family came to America from Wales in 1606. They settled in Philadelphia, eventually ending up in Buffalo. Her father's family came from Poland in 1835 and settled in Grand Island, New York, just outside Buffalo. This is where they met, married and had 3 kids.   
Barbara's formative years were spent on this island where she was a free spirit. She had a canoe that she enjoyed paddling in the waters around the island, just 2 miles upstream Niagara Falls. In 1946, when she was 9 years old, she helped her father build their 2-story house. She says her father did the digging and she did the tree cutting. The house had no electric or plumbing and was used more as summer home.
By that time, rich New Yorkers had built mansions on the island that were now deteriorating. As she and her father roamed through these ruins, she took great interest in the architecture. She says it was the cleverness of the designs that interested her.
Her father had several jobs which boosted her interest in history. He was a civil engineer doing some work as a surveyor. Another time her dad worked for Pullman and she has many fond memories of riding the luxurious trains with her dad when he went to work. He also became president of International Railway, which built cabooses. 
This love of railroads continued here as she re-tells the story of why Flagler built the HUGE maintenance facility with an 8 engine Round House in New Smyrna Beach. He had very wealthy clients staying in his hotels in Ormond and Palm Beach and did not think they should be subjected to the dirty business of railway maintenance.
About 20 years ago, she and her sister became interested in their family history and figured out the best way to tackle it was to talk to the oldest members of the family. She pointed out that if you talk to enough people and they have the same memories across time and place, the stories were probably true. This led them to writing a book about their ancestors. 
She has used that same method in collecting stories about the history of New Smyrna Beach.
Barbara moved to New Smyrna Beach in 2000. She bought a house on stilts in Bethune Beach and remembers the dirt road through the National Seashore, with had very few people on it. Norwoods was her favorite restaurant and one of the few she could easily find.
What attracted her to New Smyrna Beach was that it more resembled a typical "small town" rather than a touristy beach town, especially with the businesses on Canal Street. She discovered the History Museum on Sams Avenue because she was attracted to the arched columns out front.
Barbara has always said that her primary interest in history is the architecture. If you follow her on one of the walking tours, she will point out all those details as well as the history of its people…especially Hannah Bonnet. 
If you would like to speak with Barbara about her history or volunteer work at the museum, contact her at bzafuto@yahoo.com
New Smyrna Beach
"Hi Lights"

Victoria Theater and Little Drug Store
CLICK HERE to watch video
Did you miss November's Virtual Matinee Program?
Archaeology Works
Click here to view it on our YouTube Channel
Your Membership and Support Matters!

To become a member, Click Here
New Members
Jennie Griffith

In Memoriam:
Elizabeth "Sissie" Barr
Elizabeth "Sissie" Barr
by Greg Holbrook

We were greatly saddened to learn that Mrs. Barr had passed on December 29th. During these past 2 years Mrs. Barr had actively worked with us here at the New Smyrna Museum of History on several projects.
Having first visited New Smyrna Beach as a young girl in the 1940s, Mrs. Barr had a love for New Smyrna Beach that spanned over the decades. Much of her renowned modern impressionist artwork featured scenes in and around the New Smyrna Beach area. While living in New Smyrna's North beach area, she also became fascinated with New Smyrna Beach history. She showed great interest in sharing the stories of the Native American cultures that existed here prior to European settlement, and those that made up the Turnbull Settlement that carved out the beginnings of the community we know today.
The painting shown here featuring the sunlight playing off of shadows in Old Fort Park is just one of the beautiful works that Mrs. Barr donated to our museum collection.
Back in August of 2019 Mrs. Barr joined us here at the museum for a special program titled "A Visit With Sissie Barr". Presented in a live interview format, Mrs. Barr delighted her friends and fans with stories of childhood trips to the beach, and how her extraordinary life led her to persue a career as an artist and eventually brought her back to the city she loved, New Smyrna Beach.
In past years Mrs. Barr had also donated images she created of historic locations here in New Smyrna Beach to our City. Earlier this year she took the step of authorizing our museum to use those images to promote the history of our local area. We look forward to making these images available to the public in the coming months.
I was honored to be the representative for the museum who worked directly with Mrs. Barr on these interactions. I don't think I have ever warmed to another personality as quickly as I did with hers. Her passion for the subjects she held interest in was infectious, and her kind yet honest nature caused me to seek more opportunities to interact with her. We had Mrs. Barr back on schedule to present a 2nd updated version of her previous presentation in hopes of capturing it on video, when Covid-19 forced our museum closure and the postponement of the event. I will cherish the short times we were able to spend together working to share her message and talent. The Southeast Volusia Historical Society and New Smyrna Museum of History look forward to continue sharing the history of our local area through her wonderful art.
You can view more images of Mrs. Barr's artwork here.
COVID-19 Funding Appeal Update

A heartfelt thank you to all that donated, renewed memberships and joined to support our goal to raise $15,000 to replace our annual fundraising events for 2020. Your kindness and generosity have helped us make it through this difficult year.

We have hope that 2021 will allow us to again welcome our members and visitors back to the museum.

Until then please remember us as you consider your charitable giving opportunities.

Donations can be made through any of the options offered below.

Southeast Volusia Historical Society
P.O. Box 968
New Smyrna Beach Florida 32170

You can also donate using one of the following electronic donation platforms:



Become a member by joining here:

If you prefer a paper membership form be mailed to you simply email us at:

Provide us a mailing address and we will have it in the mail to you promptly.
The New Smyrna Museum of History
Phone: 386.478.0052
Email - NSMofHistory@gmail.com

120 Sams Ave., New Smyrna Beach Fl 32168
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 968
New Smyrna Beach Florida 32170