Hastings, Florida, was established in 1890 as an agricultural community. Known as the "Potato Capital of Florida," it thrived on potato farming and later diversified into other crops. The arrival of the railroad in 1900 boosted its economy, and today, Hastings maintains its rural charm and strong agricultural heritage while also attracting visitors with its proximity to St. Augustine.
The history of Hastings, Florida, is interwoven with the legacy of Thomas Horace Hastings, a prominent figure and distant cousin of the renowned industrialist Henry M. Flagler. In the late 1800s, as Flagler's railroad expansion reached the region, Hastings recognized the potential for growth and development. With an eye for opportunity, he purchased land and established a community that would come to bear his name. The town's roots deepened as the railroad facilitated access, fostering trade and commerce that contributed to its early prosperity.
Thomas Horace Hastings' influence extended beyond the town's foundation. He became an advocate for agricultural advancement, promoting crop diversification and experimentation with new farming techniques. His efforts led to the establishment of the Florida East Coast Experimental Farm in Hastings, which aimed to enhance agricultural productivity and elevate the region's economic prospects. Today, Hastings' history echoes through its streets and landmarks, honoring the legacy of a visionary who, inspired by Henry M. Flagler's ambitions, played a pivotal role in shaping the town's identity and development.