By Gary McKechnie
I had no idea the richest man in American history once lived in Ormond Beach.
When I visited The Casements in Ormond Beach, the relatively small home once owned by John D. Rockefeller, the docent asked our group how much we thought this man was worth. Having read a little bit, I ventured what I thought was an accurate guess: $1 billion.
I was off. Way off. When adjusted for inflation, Rockefeller’s wealth today would be $663.8 BILLION! That's more than six times the wealth of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – combined.
It’s fascinating to think, then, that the reason Rockefeller lived in this modest home was because when he lived across the street at the now-razed Ormond Hotel, they raised his rent and he didn’t like it.
While he was here overseeing his far-flung empire, to the people of Ormond Beach he was simply known as ‘Neighbor John.’
But why did he live in Ormond Beach in the first place? Well, because he thought the sea and air and daily rounds of golf would help him live to be 100.
He was close – he lived to the age of 97, passing away right here.
Taking a tour of The Casements in Ormond Beach is a great little excursion. It takes about 90 minutes, doesn’t cost a dime, and you're right across from a lovely park that fronts the Intracoastal Waterway, and just a few blocks from the ocean. Plus, there are added displays, including Boy Scout memorabilia and Hungarian festival costumes.
Next time you’re in Ormond Beach, drop in and see how the other .00000000000000001 lived.
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