Neptune Beach is a beachfront city in Duval County, Florida, United States, located to the east of Jacksonville. When the majority of communities in Duval County consolidated with the city of Jacksonville in 1968, Neptune Beach, along with Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Baldwin, remained quasi-independent. Like the other towns, it maintains its own municipal government but its residents vote in the Jacksonville mayoral election and have representation on the Jacksonville city council. Neptune Beach is part of the Jacksonville Beaches community.
Neptune Beach was originally part of Jacksonville Beach. Through its development, the part of Jacksonville Beach north of 20th Avenue North was sparsely populated, with a brick road (First Street) connecting the more populated southern area with Atlantic Beach. According to the best accepted story, the name “Neptune Beach” originated in 1922 with Dan G. Wheeler, one of the few residents. Wheeler had a home at what is now One Ocean Hotel (now in Atlantic Beach), and had to walk all the way home from Mayport each evening after taking the Florida East Coast Railway train home from work in Jacksonville. A friend who worked for the railroad informed Wheeler that if he had a station, the train would have to stop for him, so Wheeler built his own train station near his home and named it Neptune.
Neptune seceded from Jacksonville Beach and incorporated as its own municipality in 1931, following a tax revolt. The comparatively few residents of the area were largely cut off from Jacksonville Beach city services such as police, fire, garbage collection, and road developments, though they paid taxes in equal share. The first mayor was O. O. McCollum, and the government met in Wheeler’s old train station until a new town hall was completed in 1935.
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