History of the Outpost
Origin of Neck Road
The “Neck” is a twelve-mile strip of land separating the Tolomato and Guana rivers in St. Johns County. The Neck extends south from Mickler Road to the confluence of the rivers.
Neck Road is a one-mile, two-lane road beginning at Mickler Road and ending at the entrance to the Outpost, the name given to the property made the subject of this case. Neck Road is a segment of an historic road that runs from the northern county line to the southern tip of the Neck. It is and always will be the only point of ingress and egress for the Neck Road community and the Outpost.
Neck Road first was platted in 1780 by James Grant, Governor of British East Florida. Grant established a plantation that predominantly featured rice production. The paddies were contained by a north dam at the site of present-day Mickler Road and a downstream dam one mile south at the end of Neck Road. Grant built the principal residence and thirty-seven slave cabins along Neck Road. By 1781 more than fifty workers had settled the plantation. In 1784 Grant abandoned the plantation because Florida was ceded back to Spain by the terms of the Treaty of Paris.
Significantly, in the ensuing 235 years, the Neck Road settlement has not expanded beyond the footprint of Grant's plantation.
Resettlement of Neck Road
In the 1900s the area residents freely roamed Neck Road, hunting, fishing and hiking (with a little bit of deep woods moonshining on the side). A few fish camps came and went, and some families built homes along the road.
Stockton, Whatley, Davin & Co.
At the same time, Stockton, Whatley, Davin & Co. (“SWD”) acquired the land extending from the south end of Neck Road to the southern tip of the Neck peninsula. SWD built a hunting lodge and used it to entertain customers. SWD made no other improvements or uses of the property.
Ponte Vedra Corporation & The Outpost
In 1941 Stockton and others formed another company, The Lodge, Inc., stating the general nature of its main business as the operation of a tourist hotel (the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club). In 1948 the name was changed to Ponte Vedra Corporation (“PVC”). On July 20, 1970, SWD carved out 100 acres at the north end of its holdings abutting the Neck Road settlement and sold the tract to PVC. PVC made no additional improvements, but continued to use the site as a hunting lodge.