Potato Growers Association building in Hastings, Florida
Location in St. Johns County and the state of Florida
|o Total||1.66 sq mi (4.30 km2)|
|o Land||1.66 sq mi (4.30 km2)|
|o Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||7 ft (2 m)|
|o Estimate (2016)||644|
|o Density||387.95/sq mi (149.78/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|o Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0307980|
Hastings is a town and agricultural center in St. Johns County, Florida, United States, 18 miles (29 km) southwest of St. Augustine. The population was 521 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 607. In the 2010 census, the population was 580.
Henry Morrison Flagler built tourist hotels at St. Augustine in the late 19th century, including the Ponce de León Hotel. He needed a local source of fresh vegetables for his guests, so he persuaded Thomas Horace Hastings, his cousin, to develop a farm. A small community evolved into a town, which was named for its founder in 1890. Hastings is known as the "Potato Capital of Florida" with 21,000 acres (85 km2) of potato farms, but also produces cabbage, onions, eggplant and ornamental horticulture.
Hastings in 1910 was thriving town that was a stop on the Florida East Coast Railway. The population of approximately 1,200 supported several general stores, a bakery, drug stores, meat markets, an ice plant and cold storage. In addition to farming, two companies manufactured barrels and a grist mill ground grain. There was a bank and a hotel, three doctors and a dentist. The town had water and sewer utilities, telephone and telegraph service. The local public school was good.
The Hastings High School was built in 1924 to provide education for the children of the farmers in the southwest corner of the county. It has since closed, and the Hastings Branch of the St. Johns County Public Library is located in this building. The only public school in the town is the Hastings Youth Academy, an Alternative school.
Hastings offers a quiet, rural lifestyle where the average home price is under $80K. State Road 207 is the main highway through the town, which is the only real development between St. Augustine and Palatka. Much of the roadway between Hastings and St. Augustine was expanded to four lanes in the late 1990s and early first decade of the 21st century, increasing the attractiveness of the area for new development and subdivisions.
On November 7, 2017, the voters of Hastings elected to dissolve the city with an 82% majority vote. St. Johns County will officially take control of the area in March 2018.
The town was briefly in the spotlight when the American Broadcasting Company television network show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition featured the Harvey family in a show aired on April 24, 2005, with assistance from its local affiliate WJXX. Workers employed by the show were joined by the Northeast Florida Builders Association (NFBA) members to complete the project, which demolished the family's 1930s' broken-down structure and replaced it with a 4,280 square feet (398 m2), 2-story home with a 2009 assessed value of $342,696. The project was completed in seven days of work. Much of the actual labor was performed by the non-profit Builder's Care, a unit of the NFBA. Builder's Care also performed an "Extreme Community Outreach" in the surrounding homes to identify and resolve problems in plumbing, electrical, air conditioning and structure.
Hastings is located at (29.7180, -81.5081).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 521 people, 213 households, and 139 families residing in the town. The population density was 790.5 people per square mile (304.8/km²). There were 238 housing units at an average density of 361.1 per square mile (139.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 52.02% White, 43.38% African American, 0.58% Pacific Islander, 2.11% from other races, and 1.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.99% of the population.
There were 213 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 29.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 84.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $26,635, and the median income for a family was $30,769. Males had a median income of $25,909 versus $20,694 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,537. About 15.4% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.0% of those under age 18 and 16.3% of those age 65 or over.