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Ponce de Leon statue.

Ponce de Leon Statue

Field review by the editors.

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

In 2013 a race was on between Ponte Vedra Beach and Melbourne Beach, Florida, to erect Ponce de Leon statues. Both communities claimed to be the spot where de Leon had first landed in Florida 500 years earlier, in 1513.

Ponte Vedra Beach won the statue race, unveiling a 17-foot-high bronze likeness and historical marker on April 2, the day that de Leon sighted land and at the exact latitude that he claimed to have done so (Melbourne Beach's statue, unexpectedly delayed, followed a few months later).

It perhaps helped speed things along that the Ponte Vedra Beach statue is a copy of another Florida de Leon statue, cross-state in Punta Gorda, which marks the spot where the Spanish explorer was shot by a poison arrow that eventually killed him. The only difference between the two statues is that the original in Punta Gorda has big feathers sticking out of de Leon's Conquistador helmet, and the copy in Ponte Vedra Beach does not. Ponce de Leon looks better without the feathers.

Ponce de Leon Statue

FL-A1A, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
On the inland waterway side of FL-A1A, 16 miles north of its intersection with US-1 in St. Augustine.
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