Living the NSB Lifestyle – Then and Now



NSB Canal Street

Downtown NSB Canal Street

NSB Lifestyles have not always been the same.  While community, socialization, and entertainment have always been important in NSB, the beachside of New Smyrna Beach hasn’t always been the place to do it. In the early 1930s, as NSB was coming into its own, Canal Street was the place to see and be seen. Today there is a multitude of businesses lining Canal Street. However, considering that roughly 4,000 people lived in NSB in the 1930s there was an astonishing number of options along Canal Street back then.

Photo Credit – Division of Library & Information Services – Florida Department of State

Of course, Canal Street is named for the canal that runs under it. A canal that wasn’t covered by the street until 1924. In the 1930s and 40s, Canal Street was a meeting place for locals and visitors alike. Folks would walk downtown to visit and find something to eat or catch a show. At the east end of Canal Street near Riverside Drive was a fish-house where you could get a fish filet ready-to-cook that had been caught that day. On the north side of Canal Street by Riverside Drive, you would have seen a large fancy hotel built specially for the wealthy northerners that made NSB their home all winter long. Walking west you would come across a pool hall, a church, two drug stores (at one you could honk and a hop would deliver you a fresh soda!), a market, a hardware store, large family homes, a barber shop, an ice cream shop, several grocers, a Five and Ten, a dress shop, a men’s store, a dry-cleaner a bank, two theatres and more! US1 didn’t exist back then. Neither, for that matter, did movies with sound. A lady played the piano while you watched a silent film.

Today Canal Street still offers a wide variety of shops and restaurants for both locals and NSB visitors. From a bookstore to a jewelry store, a body shop, insurance agencies, two vision stores, a drug store, the Utilities Commission, a flooring store, a home decorating store, a number of boutiques and at least 10 restaurants with options from incredible pizza to Thai food. The canal still runs under the street, and you can see it between Myrtle Street and Wallace Road. The canal isn’t there accidentally but was developed by Andrew Turnbull when he settled New Smyrna around 1768. Each time you walk down the north sidewalk of Canal Street checking out the shops and delicacies you’re strolling over a piece of history.

Ruins of Turnbull’s plantation warehouse

For nearly 100 years Canal Street has been the heart of New Smyrna Beach. The businesses may change but the heart of the community hasn’t. Allow our 2nd and 3rd generation LOCAL NSB REALTORS to show you the history, camaraderie, and variety that make us proud to call New Smyrna Beach home. Let 2nd & 3rd Generation LOCAL REALTORS assist you.

Buying NSB?  Call 386-478-7154

Selling NSB?  Call 386-235-8588

Renting NSB?  Call  386-423-6859

Photo Credit

Johnson, Francis P. Ruins of Turnbull’s Plantation warehouse – New Smyrna Beach, Florida. 1953. Black & white photoprint, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <>


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