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Brevard

TITUS HOUSE
Location:Indian River Ave between Main St. and Stephen House Way
County: Brevard
City: Titusville
Description: Located on the Indian River, the hotel was built (circa 1869) and operated by Henry T. Titus, founder of Titusville. The building, constructed of wood, was U-shaped with each room opening on a veranda facing a tropical garden. In the days of steam boat travel, the hotel, with its elaborate salon, was considered one of the best in Florida. After the death of Titus, the property became part of the Dixie Hotel.
HERNANDEZ TRAIL
Location:U.S. 1 at King Street
County: Brevard
City: Cocoa
Description: One half mile to the west ran the Hernandez Trail used during the Seminole War. It connected forts along the East Coast to Ft. Dallas in Miami and across from Ft. Pierce and Ft. Capron to Ft. Brooke near Tampa. Brig. General Joseph M. Hernandez, born 1792 in St. Augustine, served as the first delegate to Congress and held a number of positions of importance in the Territory of East Florida. In 1837 under orders from General Thomas S. Jesup, he captured Indian Chief Osceola.
Sponsors: The Brevard County Historical Commission, The Brevard County Tourist Development Council, and The Florida Department of State
ST. GABRIEL'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Location:South Palm Avenue between Pine St. and Julia st.
County: Brevard
City: Titusville
Description: In 1887, construction of a church was begun on land donated to the Titusville Episcopal mission by Mary Titus, wife of the town's founder, and J. Dunlin Perkinson, lay reader of the mission. The name of the church was changed from St. John's to St. Gabriels's with the gift in 1888 of a stained glass window depicting St. Gabriel. The neo-Gothic style reflects a trend in Episcopal Church architecture in central Florida during the late 1800's. This style was spread through the efforts of Edwin G. Weed, third bishop of Florida. The church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, contains a fine collection of Victorian stained glass.
Sponsors: Sponsored by St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church in cooperation with department of state
DOUGLAS DUMMETT - DUMMETT GROVE
Location:In Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, on Courtenay Pkwy N. after the Haulover canal
County: Brevard
City: Merritt Island
Description: Indian River oranges, one of Florida's most outstanding products were developed in the 19th century by Douglas Dummett. The Dummett family immigrated from the Barbados in 1807. By 1825, Thomas Dummett had acquired sugar plantations on the east coast of Florida. His son Douglas (B. 1806) established his plantation in this part of Merritt Island and began to grow oranges. Dummett used a new grafting technique later widely adopted in Floirda. He grafted buds from sweet orange trees onto his sour orange trees. This method produced frost-resistant trees and was called top-grafting because budding began several feet above ground. Unlike many coastal planters, Dummett did not abandon his property during the Second Seminole War (1835-42). He served as captain in the "Mosquito Roarers," a Floirda Militia company formed to protect property in this area from Indian raids. Dummett continued to cultivate what were regarded as East Florida's most valuable orange groves until his death in 1873. He also held elective and appointive political offices. The Dummett groves were damaged beyond recovery in the 1893 hurricane and the freeze of 1894-95. The property became part of Kennedy Space Center in 1963.
Sponsors: sponsored by the brevard county historical commission in cooperation with department of state
HARRY T. & HARRIETTE V. MOORE MEMORIAL HOMESTEAD
Location:2180 Freedom Ave. Near Replica House
County: Brevard
City: Titusville
Description: This property is the former homesite of civil rights activists Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore, two people whose lives were committed to help Florida’s Negro communities unite to form a collective identity. Mr. Moore was a Brevard County educator who became a full-time civil rights activist. After being fired for demanding equal pay, he worked to equalize the salaries received by Negro teachers with that of their white counterparts. He organized the Progressive Voters League of Florida, and his efforts to open the Democratic Party to Negroes provided new political opportunities for minority citizens all over the state. Mr. Moore organized the first Brevard County Branch of the National Association for he Advancement of Colored People in 1934, and served as its president for five years. From 1941-1946, he served as president of the Florida State Conference of the Branches of the NAACP, and then as the executive director until his death. Mr. Moore and his wife were murdered when a bomb was planted beneath their house on Christmas night in 1951.
Sponsors: Brevard County Board of County Commissioners and the Florida Department of State
NAVAL AIR STATION MELBOURNE
Location:1205 Eddie Allen Road,
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne
Description: This site was the 129-building Naval Air Station constructed at the Melbourne Municipal Airport at the beginning of World War II. It was commissioned as Operational Training Unit #2 on October 20, 1942 and closed on February 15, 1946. The Station was used for training newly commissioned Navy and Marine pilots. There were over 2,200 pilots who trained in Grumman F4F Wildcat and F6F Hellcat fighter planes. Of the pilots trained there, 63 died in aerial accidents and two enlisted men died in ground-related accidents. The location served more than 310 officers and 1,355 enlisted personnel. Today the area is operated by the City of Melbourne Airport Authority.
Sponsors: Melbourne Airport Authority Property Manager and the Florida Department of State
WINDOVER ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
Location:8006 Thru 8026 Windover Way
County: Brevard
City: Titusville
Description: Discovered by accident in 1982, the Windover site is a burial place of Early Native Americans who inhabited this region 7,000 to 8,000 years ago. The burials were placed underwater in the peat of the shallow pond. This peat helped to preserve normally perishable artifacts and human tissues. The site contains the largest skeletal sample in the New World and the oldest bottle gourd found north of Mexico, two features that add to its significance. It also includes the largest and most complex sample of early textiles in the New World, a pollen record from the end of the Pleistocene to Recent Eras and recovery of some of the oldest DNA from brain tissue and bone. The remarkable state of preservation has allowed archaeologists to reconstruct some of the earliest New World diets based on contents from their stomachs and on scientific analysis. The site has produced the largest and most complex textile collection ever recovered from an Early Archaic period site. It also yielded a remarkable organic artifact inventory including wood and fibers. Archaeologists from Florida State University were among those who explored the Windover site.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
WINTER-TIME AIS INDIAN TOWN OF PENTOAYA
Location:2055 So. Patrick Dr.
County: Brevard
City: Eau Gallie
Description: In 1605 Florida’s Spanish Governor Pedro de Ybarra sent Lt. Alvaro Mexia on a diplomatic mission to the Ais Indians. Mexia recorded his passage from St. Augustine down the coast to the principal Ais Indian town near present-day Vero Beach. At the confluence of Ulumay Lagoon (Banana River Lagoon) and the Great Bay of Ais (Indian River Lagoon) Mexia reported the location of the winter-time Ais Indian Town of Pentoaya. He recorded that the 17th century town of Pentoaya was located directly opposite on the western mainland, near the confluence of the Eau Gallie and the Indian Rivers. The Winter-Time Town of Pentoaya was located between this park and the Banana River Lagoon, to the west. It consisted of a complex of shell middens, mounds and a causeway, which divided the small lake seen from this marker. Little remains of these mounds, as the shells found in them were used as roadbed material early in the 20th century.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
LaGRANGE COMMUNITY CEMETERY
Location:1575 North Dixie Highway
County: Brevard
City: Mims
Description: Established in 1869, this is the oldest cemetery on Florida’s lower East Coast. The oldest portion is located in the front center section, evidenced by the southeasterly positioning of the tombstones. Tom Johnson Cockshutt (1841-1917), who arrived here in 1868 and made barrels nearby, donated this parcel to be used, in part as a community cemetery. In 1869 he organized the first protestant church on the East Coast between New Smyrna and Key West. The community built a small log structure to serve as the first public meeting house, area schoolhouse, and church. It was located in what is now the north portion of LaGrange Cemetery. LaGrange Community Church, built in 1872, stands just south of this parcel. The earliest marked grave is that of Andrew Fenster, a War of 1812 veteran, who settled here in 1865, died in 1869 and is buried in the large family plot. Gravesites of many pioneer families include Tom J. Cockshutt, founder of the Church; Andrew Froscher, undertaker; Dr. B.R. Wilson, physician; William S. Norwood, who operated the first overland mail service; Mims, for whom the town of Mims was named; and Colonel Henry T. Titus (1823-1881), founder of Titusville.
Sponsors: BY THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
LaGRANGE MIMS COMMUNITY CEMETERY
Location:1575 North Old Dixie Highway
County: Brevard
City: Titusville
Description: In the early 1900s a two-acre parcel of land north of LaGrange Church and Cemetery was given to the Mims colored community for a cemetery. Earliest marked graves are dated 1903; many were unmarked. During the late 1800s both blacks and whites worshiped at LaGrange Community Church. In 1894, after organizing their own congregation, St. James Colored Missionary Baptist Church acquired land in Mims and in 1904 built their own church. In June 1913, trustees of that church purchased this parcel from the East Coast Cattle Company for use as a cemetery, then referred to as the Mims Colored Cemetery. Many of North Brevard’s pioneering black families rest in this hallowed ground with family names of Abrams, Bell, Brothers, Brown, Campbell, Cuyler, Grant, Gibson, Highsmith, McKenzie, Mitchell, Seigler, Simms, Strickland, Warren and Williams. Most noted ate the graves of Harry T. Moore and Harriette V. Simms Moore, Florida civil rights activists. Moore was chapter president of the Brevard County National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and later NAACP Florida Convention president/state coordinator. On Christmas Eve, 1951, the Moores were killed when their home, located near this site, was bombed.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
CITY POINT COMMUNITY CHURCH
Location:3783 North Indian River Dr.
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne
Description: Known as City Point, this area was settled shortly after the Civil War by Confederate veterans, citrus grove workers, northern winter residents, and consumptives seeking a healthy climate. By early 1885, a board of trustees was formed consisting of William H. Sharpe, George W. Holmes, A.L. Hatch, John M. Sanders, and George E. Chester, to construct this building to be used for a public hall, school, and non-denominational church for both white and black residents. On land donated by J.C. Norwood, this building was designed by A.L. Hatch and built by John M. Sanders who completed the work on November 1, 1885. This structure served as the beginning congregation for the following churches: the United Methodist Church of Cocoa, Church of Christ, Church of God, Primitive Baptist Church, Calvin Baptist Church, Indian River Baptist Church, Baptist Enterprise Church, and the First Apostolic Temple. The building was used as a school until 1924. Picnics, dances, political rallies, a precinct voting station and observation tower during World War II, were some of the many uses the community found for the building.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
HOLY TRINITY
Location:Corner of Fee Avenue and U.S. 1, Melbourne
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne
Description: First organized in 1884, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church was erected in 1886 on land donated by Lucy Boardman, who also provided plans for the building. Founding members of the congregation included the Goode, Campbell, Miller, Ely, Ellis and Grubb families as well as Hector, McBride, Gibbs, and Mason. The church, built of virgin Georgia heart pine, was located south of Crane Creek. Members from the north side of the creek arrived by boat and after 1895, by footbridge. The building was moved in 1897 to land donated by W.T. Wells at the corner of Fee Avenue and U.S. 1, Melbourne. Repaired and stuccoed in 1927, the building was moved to its present location in 1963.
Sponsors: BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
GREATER ST. JAMES MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH OF MIMS
Location:2396 Harry T. Moore Avenue
County: Brevard
City: Mims
Description: In 1894, after organizing a congregation, St. James Colored Missionary Baptist Church acquired land in Mims, and with Rev. G. Brewer as pastor, built the first wooden church on this site in 1904 under the guidance of Rev. J.S. Gilbert. Many of North Brevard’s pioneering black families: Warren, Grant, Campbell, Cuyler, Strickland, Bell, Harris, Hester, Lewis, Sheldon, Abrams, Brothers, Wright, Highsmith and Mitchell, held positions in this church. Rev. James Massey served as an inspirational and dedicated leader from 1937 to 1967. Choir director Dorothy Hester also served as Youth Advisor for North Brevard NAACP under the direction of Harry T. Moore. Funeral services were held at this church for Civil Rights activists Harry T. Moore and Harriette V. Moore who were killed when their home was bombed on Christmas night 1951. Moore was Brevard County NAACP Chapter President and later NAACP Florida Convention president/state coordinator. The present church structure was built in 1964. The old wooden structure was torn down in 1968 and the annex building was started in 1971. The name of the church was changed to Greater St. James Missionary Baptist Church in 1974.
Sponsors: THE BRVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
LaGRANGE COMMUNITY CHURCH
Location:1575 Old Dixie Highway
County: Brevard
City: LaGrange
Description: Founded by Tom Johnson Cockshutt in 1869, this was the first organized Protestant Church on the East Coast of Florida between New Smyrna and Key West. Tom donated land for a cemetery and built a small log structure located on what is now the northern part of LaGrange Cemetery. It was used as a public meeting place, church, and the first public school in Brevard County. In 1872 a two-story structure of vertical logs was built on the present site. The first floor was used as a church and the second floor for public meetings and a schoolhouse. In 1893 the second story was removed, a bay window was added between the two front doors, and horizontal boards were placed over the vertical logs, encompassing the old structure within the walls of the new. Depicted on one of the eight memorial windows are the names of those who built the church: J.N. Feaster; J.C.C. Feaster; Tom J. Cockshutt; W.S. Norwood; B.J. Mims; R. Singleton; and W.P. Day. The first ordained pastor was W.N. Chaudoin from 1871-1904. Several other congregations were formed from this small church that included: First Presbyterian of Titusville; Mims Methodist Church; and Greater St. James Missionary Baptist Church of Mims.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
ORIGINAL MELBOURNE VILLAGE HALL
Location:6100 Hall Rd.
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne
Description: This community hall was constructed, circa 1941, as a barracks on the Banana River Naval Air Station. Following World War II, the Naval Air Station became Patrick Air Force Base. In 1948, this building was declared surplus, and sold to the American Homesteading Foundation (AHF), located in Melbourne Village, Florida. The building was barged down the Banana River and Indian River to Melbourne and trucked on the then two-lane U.S. Route 192 to this location. As the center of Village life, the Hall was used for AHF Trustee meetings and annual AHF Membership meetings. It was also used for square dancing, life saving and first aid classes, Women’s Guild activities, study groups for organic gardening, art and drama, plus children’s crafts, drama, and story time programs. From 1957 until 1963, it provided office space for the newly incorporated Town of Melbourne Village. After 1963, it was used for recreational activities and the Village Men’s Club. In 1996, the Town of Melbourne Village Historic Preservation Commission began a campaign to restore this historic landmark. The Town of Melbourne Village with the support of a grant from Brevard County completed the restoration in 2003.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
GEORGIANNA CHURCH
Location:3925 S. Tropical Trail
County: Brevard
City: Merritt Island
Description: Georgianna United Methodist Church was built in the community of Georgiana on Merritt's Island in 1886. The ringing of the church bell still marks the beginning of worship as it has for many decades. Franklin C. Allen, Jr., a local homesteader, donated the land where the church stands. In the summer of 1886, led by Edwin Nelson, men of the Georgiana community started their building program. Lumber was brought in from St. Augustine by sailboat and unloaded along the Indian River shoreline then carried to the work site. By the end of September the roof was in place and Sunday school was held using chairs on loan from local households. Crafting of the pews was the next project. D.C. Munson crafted the pews by hand from rough lumber. The first service was held on Thanksgiving in 1886. With its dark wood, white pews, red carpet and bright stained glass windows, Georgianna United Methodist Church is one of the most unique worship centers on the east coast of Florida. Georgianna United Methodist Church has always been a vital part of its community and remains so today.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
CLIFTON COLORED SCHOOL
Location:2.8 miles north of the Haulover Canal on the Canaveral National Seashore, on the east side of U.S. Route 3.
County: Brevard
City: Merritt Island
Description: Before the Clifton Schoolhouse was built, Butler Campbell and Andrew Jackson’s children were home schooled by a black teacher, Mr. Mahaffey. The teacher was paid five dollars for each student, after examination by the County School Superintendent. Any locality claiming a school had to provide a public school house, select at least one trustee, and secure a certified teacher. In 1890-91, Campbell and Jackson decided to build a proper school. A neighbor, Wade Holmes provided a one-acre lot on the northwest corner of his property. The three men built a 12’ x 16’ heart pine structure that sat on coquina cornerstones about one foot off the ground. The west-facing front was fitted with a double-paneled door. Two sets of glass-paned windows were on the north and south sides. The roof was made of cedar or cypress boards. Campbell’s children included Florida, Eugenia, Agnes, Henry and Willie, who was Valedictorian in 1892. Jackson’s children were Annie, Mary, Floyd and Douglas, who was Valedictorian in 1893. Studies included reading, physiology, English, math and Latin. By 1910, the children were out of school or attending school elsewhere. In 1924, Eugenia returned to Clifton and later lived in the structure. When NASA bought properties on North Merritt Island in the 1960s, the families relocated to other areas and most of the houses were moved or demolished.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THEBREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
THE PRITCHARD HOUSE
Location:424 South Washington Avenue
County: Brevard
City: Titusville
Description: Captain James Pritchard bought a lot from Mary Titus, and in the spring of 1891 contracted Pleasant J. Hall, who had built St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, to build a Queen Anne style house of heart pine. It appears today much like it did then. On the first floor is a main entrance hall, a stairway to the second floor, parlor and dining room. The kitchen was separated from the main living area by an open passage, now closed in with a side door. A narrow stairway ascends from the kitchen to the maid’s room above. The second floor has four bedrooms with built-in closets. Only the master bedroom had access to the balcony. The passage between the main house and maid’s room at the end of the hall later became a bathroom. A pipe connected to a hand pump located next to the tub carried water from the cistern below. The four fireplaces have original tiled hearths. The entrance hall light fixture is original. In 1888, Pritchard organized Titusville’s first bank, built the first generating plant in 1890 - later sold to Florida Power and Light Co., and owned James Pritchard and Son Hardware Store. Pritchard family members had continuously lived in the house, until it was purchased by Brevard County in May 2005.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
POSSIBLE VICINITY OF JUAN PONCE DE LEON'S LANDING
Location:4005 Hwy. A1A
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne Beach
Description: While there is disagreement among scholars, it is believed that this site may be in an area where Juan Ponce de Leon made landfall in April 1513. It has long been thought that this event took place near St. Augustine, based upon studies of de Leon’s compass headings that did not account for the inability of 16th century navigators to accurately determine longitude, magnetic compass deviations, or the effects of the Gulf Stream and prevailing winds. Professional navigator Douglas Peck re-traced Juan Ponce de Leon’s route in a sailboat, however, and found a more likely landing site. Peck, who sailed the same waters for 30 years, has an “intimate geographical knowledge of the route” Juan Ponce de Leon took. When he re-sailed the route at the same time of year as the 1513 voyage, he reached Florida’s eastern shore at 28 degrees North Latitude and 80 degrees 29 minutes West Longitude, just south of Melbourne Beach. He can place the accuracy to within 5 to 8 Nautical Miles on either side of this navigational fix. Many historians now conclude that an area south of Melbourne Beach, such as this site, was a more probable location for Juan Ponce de Leon’s first landing. This Brevard County Park, Juan Ponce de Leon Landing, was created in 2005.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, BREVARD COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION, AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
HAULOVER CANAL
Location:SR #3 Merritt Island Wildlife Rufuge
County: Brevard
City: North Merritt Island
Description: Native Americans, explorers and settlers hauled or carried canoes and small boats over this narrow strip of land between Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River. Eventually it became known as the “haulover.” Connecting both bodies of water had long plagued early settlers of this area. Spaniards visited as early as 1605 and slid boats over the ground covered with mulberry tree bark. Early settlers used rollers and skids to drag schooners across. Fort Ann was established nearby in 1837, during the 2nd Seminole War (1835-1842), to protect the haulover from Indians and carry military supplies from the lagoon to the river. In 1852, contractor G.E. Hawes dug the first canal using slave labor. It was 3 ft. deep, 14 ft. wide, and completed in time for the 3rd Seminole War (1856-1858). Steamboat and cargo ships used the passage until the railroad arrived in 1885. By 1887, the Florida Coast Line Canal and Transportation Co. dug a new and deeper canal which you see now, a short distance from the original. The Intracoastal Waterway incorporated the Haulover Canal as a federal project in 1927 to be maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Since then the channel has been dug wider and deeper, and a basin added for launching boats.
Sponsors: BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
HISTORIC DERBY STREET CHAPEL
Location:121 Derby Street
County: Brevard
City: Cocoa
Description: Dedicated on July 13, 1924, this structure was built by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and was heralded by The Cocoa Tribune as “an honor to the City.” In 1955 it was sold to the Church of Christ, Scientists. In 1964 it was sold to the First Baptist Church. The building is constructed of heart of pine and stucco over wire lathing. The Craftsman style architecture and the original flooring, windows, altar rail, and tin tile roof have been preserved. The roof withstood many years of hurricanes without leaking. In 1996, the building was destined to be demolished for a parking lot, but local preservationists objected and resolved to save the historic building. In 2003, Cocoa Main Street leased the property to restore and rehabilitate it as a community use facility. Restoration was done by volunteer labor. Design and landscaping of the adjoining park was a project of the Dirt Daubers Circle of the Cocoa-Rockledge Garden Club. On September 27, 2005, it was officially named “The Historic Derby Street Chapel.”
Sponsors: THE BREVARD HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL,AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
HISTORIC BREVARD COUNTY COURTHOUSE
Location:506 South Palm Avenue
County: Brevard
City: Titusville
Description: Brevard County was founded in 1855 and Titusville became the county seat in 1879. The first courthouse was a two-story classical revival wood structure built in 1882, on land donated by Titusville founder Col. Henry Titus. In 1912, County Commissioners ordered the construction of a new courthouse which opened in March 1913. The old wooden structure was moved to the back of the site and sold at auction. Lightman, McDonald & Co. of Jacksonville built the two-story structure of re-enforced concrete for $30,566. Four large classical columns mark the original main entrance on the east side. On the north and south entrances were two small piazzas with one-story classical columns. County Commissioners, Clerk of the Court, Treasurer, Tax Assessor/Collector, and Surveyor offices were on the first floor. On the second floor were a large courtroom, lawyer’s offices, judge’s chamber, and jury rooms. In 1926, a three-story wing was added to the west side. On the third floor were jail cells, warden’s quarters, kitchen, and hospital ward. Sheriff, other county offices, and vault room were located on the second floor. The courthouse continues to serve Brevard County, and the jail facilities on the third floor are no longer used.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PROVOST HALL
Location:3890 Old Settlement Road, behind building
County: Brevard
City: Merritt Island
Description: Provost Hall was originally constructed in 1910 as the Georgiana Club house on land provided by Charles D. Provost and his wife Gertrude Breese Provost. Until their grandchildren, Charles D. Provost and his sister, Mary Virginia Provost Katz, gave the hall to the Georgianna United Methodist Church in 1992 the Georgiana Club house was used for community functions. These functions included the children’s Christmas Eve party; the Georgiana Club meeting and card party fund-raiser; Memorial Day services; and, the Fall Youth party and dance. During WWI it was the focus of many Georgiana Red Cross Auxiliary Unit (GRCAU) functions to sew items for the war effort. A fund-raising mid-winter ball was held on March 1, 1917 by the GRCAU with the KMI military school orchestra providing the music. The Club house was packed to capacity with people from all over Brevard County. The Club house was also the voting precinct for Georgiana residents for many years beginning in the 1930s. Presently, Provost Hall plays a vital role in the ministry of Georgianna United Methodist Church and its WAVE (Wave of the Future) Youth Groups.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
JAMES WADSWORTH ROSSETTER HOUSE
Location:1320 Highland Avenue
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne
Description: Descended from 17th Century New England pioneers, James Rossetter (1863-1921) was born in Hamilton County, Florida. Rossetter arrived in Eau Gallie in 1902 and became a leader in the local fishing industry, harvesting the many local waterways as a charter partner of the Indian River & Lake Worth Fish Company. Later, he would form his own wholesale fishing enterprise and would go on to develop a fish pound at the Bight of Canaveral, precursor of Port Canaveral. The James W. Rossetter House began as a small existing structure on this property, which Rossetter bought in 1904. To expand his newly purchased home, Rossetter bought the winter home of John Aspinwall, a wealthy New York industrialist, and moved it to its present location. The Aspinwall structure, built in 1890 and now the west wing of the house, was connected to the existing building with open-air breezeways. Many of the designs used in the construction of boats were employed in the building of the house, as evidenced by the whimsical wood patterns inside the home. The scale of the home in relation to the surrounding residential area reflects the early success of Rossetter's industrial endeavors.
Sponsors: BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, THE FLORIDA HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
ST. LUKES EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Location:5555 N. Tropical Trail
County: Brevard
City: Merritt Island
Description: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of Courtenay was formed by the Porcher, LaRoche, Sams and other families that settled on north Merritt Island after leaving the Charleston, South Carolina area in 1875 due to the loss of their homes and plantations during the Civil War. The first services were held in 1879 in a store building on the bank of the Indian River. In 1888, Edward Porcher donated property for the site of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. It was built with a $600 donation from Lucy Boardman of New Haven, Connecticut, along with the donated labor of parishioners. The Florida Gothic style, common architecture for Episcopal churches in Florida at the time, was a board and batten wooden 600-square-foot structure built of locally milled hand-planed island pine and cypress with a steep gabled roof and square bell tower. During the early years, the church did not have a vicar. Ministers from churches in Cocoa and Titusville traveled by boat to hold monthly services, while members led the weekly services. The chapel is still used for mid-week and special services. The church is surrounded on three sides by an historic cemetery. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
JOHN H. SAMS HOMESTEAD
Location:6195 N. Tropical Trail
County: Brevard
City: Merritt Island
Description: The Sams family came to Brevard County from South Carolina in 1875 to take advantage of the 1860 Homestead Act. The family consisted of John Hanahan Sams, his wife Sarah, their five children, John’s brother William Sams, and his sister, Catherine DeVeaux Sams. The Sams Homestead consists of two buildings. The first, a single story home, was originally constructed in Eau Gallie on property homesteaded by John H. Sams in 1875. The family decided to move nearer to other relatives on North Merritt Island and the house was rafted up the Indian River in 1878 to the present site. It is the oldest dated structure on Merritt Island and a prime example of Florida vernacular construction. In 1884 Sams was granted a homestead deed for 156 acres and by 1888, built the second two-story home adjoining the older house on the property. Sams served as Superintendent of Schools for the county from 1880-1920, while growing citrus and pineapples. John H. Sams died in 1923 and the homes were occupied by his descendants until 1995. Archaeological excavations at the site discovered a prehistoric Native American occupation site that dates from approximately 5,000 BC to 1250 AD, and also a late Pleistocene fossil site.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST D EVELOPMENT COUNCIL AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
THE LAST NAVAL BATTLE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR
Location:445 Challenger Rd.
County: Brevard
City: Cape Canaveral
Description: The last naval battle of the American Revolutionary War took place off the coast of Cape Canaveral on March 10, 1783. The fight began when three British ships sighted two Continental Navy ships, the Alliance commanded by Captain John Barry and the Duc De Lauzun commanded by Captain John Green sailing northward along the coast of Florida. The Alliance, a 36-gun frigate, and the Duc De Lauzun, a 20-gun ship, were loaded with 72,000 Spanish silver dollars they were bringing from Havana, Cuba to Philadelphia to support the Continental Army. One of the British ships, the HMS Sybil, a 28-gun frigate, commanded by Captain James Vashon, chased the Alliance and Duc De Lauzun to the south. The HMS Sybil fired first, exchanging shots with the slower Duc De Lauzun. Then in a daring strategy Captain John Barry aboard the Alliance reversed his course, and while under fire, waited until the HMS Sybil was close. When the British ship was alongside he returned fire to the broadside with greater number of cannon. The battle lasted less than an hour, when the HMS Sybil, outgunned and badly damaged, broke off from the battle and fled. The Alliance and Duc De Lauzun then continued on their mission at dawn on March 11, 1783.
Sponsors: THE FLORIDA SOCIETY OF THE SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OLIVER'S CAMP
Location:2215 Jay Jay Rd., Chain of Lakes Park
County: Brevard
City: Titusville
Description: This site derives its name from the Oliver family who migrated from Missouri and homesteaded this area of Turnbull Hammock in the early 1870’s. They owned large tracts of timberland and citrus groves, and the main “camp” was located on this property. In 1886, L.C. Oliver started a lumber business in Titusville, and dealt in Georgia pine lumber, shingles, and other building supplies. Oliver bought half interest in the Budge & Huckabay Hardware Store in 1888, and renamed the business Oliver & Budge Hardware & Lumber. Budge and Oliver moved to Miami in 1895, and started another hardware and lumber business. Budge bought Oliver’s half interest in the Titusville business, and in 1898 sold it to his father-in-law, Captain J. Pritchard, and it became James Pritchard and Son Hardware. In 1918 Oliver and wife Louise sold their Turnbull Hammock 40 acres to Florida Senator J.J. Parrish and wife Emma for $15,000. Parrish was one of the state’s largest citrus grove owners and businessmen during the early 1900’s. Located on this property was a 1910 Craftsman style two-story house that Parrish used as the grove caretaker’s residence. Brevard County purchased this property and is now the location of Chain of Lakes Regional Park.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
VALENCIA HISTORIC DISTRICT
Location:Intersection of Rockledge Dr. and Valencia Dr.
County: Brevard
City: Rockledge
Description: The Valencia Historic District was developed during the Florida Land Boom of the 1920s. The Valencia Homes Company was formed in 1924 by local businessmen C. Sweet Smith, Charles D. Smith, L.S. Andrews and Horace R. Bruen. The company acquired a 22-acre tract of land that was formerly the site of the Plaza Hotel and occupied in part by an orange grove. In March 1924 the company platted the subdivision and named it after the type of oranges that grew there, and for a region in Spain. They built impressive entry gates, a waterworks, paved roads, and installed light posts and tropical landscaping. Each lot was 25 feet wide and most buyers purchased at least two lots to build on. Each sale agreement required that the homes constructed must cost $4,000 or more and that they be of Spanish, Moorish or Italian architectural design. The official architect for Valencia was Richard W. Rummell, Jr., who designed many of Brevard County’s most impressive buildings. All of the contributing homes were built between 1924 and 1926 and are excellent examples of the Mediterranean Revival style. The Valencia Subdivision was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THE BREVARD HERITAGE COUNCIL,THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
THE ADDISON/ELLIS CANAL
Location:444 Columbia Blvd.
County: Brevard
City: Titusville
Description: In 1911, Edgar W. Ellis and J.H. Beckwith put together a consortium of developers known as the Titusville Fruit and Farm Lands Company. They acquired 22,500 acres in the western portion of the old Delespine Grant with plans to drain marshland in the St. Johns River Valley, to make the land usable for agricultural purposes. By 1913, 43 miles of lateral canals had been dug and work began on the Addison/Ellis Canal, which led from Addison Creek to the outlying vegetable fields. The canal was intended to relieve flooding in the St. Johns River by diverting floodwaters to the lagoon and to transport supplies and crops from the St. Johns River to the Indian River Lagoon, ending at Addison Point. The company used the coquina rock extracted from the canal to pave roads to their fields. The marshland and sand ridges proved no problem for the equipment used, but a coquina rock ridge that runs north-south proved insurmountable, and the canal was never completed. The consortium went broke and the project was abandoned. The canal never reached a useful depth, and construction ended just east of the scrub/coquina ridge in Addison Creek.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
GEORGIANA RAILWAY
Location:S. Tropical Trl., Near Georgianna United Methodist
County: Brevard
City: Merritt Island
Description: In 1892, Frank Cass Allen, a Georgianna merchant, began building a 0.6-mile standard-gauge railway with steel rail and wood ties across Merritt Island at this location, connecting docks on the Indian and Banana rivers. It was part of his private water/rail venture to accommodate tourists, especially northerners, who began flocking to the Atlantic beaches following the completion of a mainline railroad into Titusville in 1885. Allen wanted to improve upon the one and only 45-mile boat trip around the southern tip of the island to reach the beaches south of the Cape. His 10-mile route across the Indian River to Georgiana by boat, the island by rail, and the Banana River by boat took about an hour. One 10-ton steam locomotive is documented, apparently replacing an earlier one. Allen built an open 50-passenger car using commercial railroad wheels. The line opened in mid-December 1893, and by April 1894, over 700 had visited the beaches. Financial problems and poor maintenance defeated the railway, and, in mid-1894, it was replaced by a wagon route at Lotus, two miles farther south. The locomotive and passenger car were sold at public auction on March 2, 1896. Rail and other rolling stock were not part of this sale.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
FLORIDA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Location:S. Country Club Rd. between W. University Blvd and W. Amherst Ave.
County: Brevard
City: Cape Canaveral
Description: A 37-cent donation, given to Florida Institute of Technology founder Jerome P. Keuper (1921-2002), would launch one of the most remarkable stories in American higher education. Keuper, a scientist working at Cape Canaveral, founded Florida Tech in 1958 to meet a critical need for scientists and engineers in America’s race for space. Florida Tech quickly attracted the world’s foremost rocket scientists and engineers to its halls. It awarded its first honorary doctorate in 1962 to astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom. Among its first visiting professors were the legendary rocket scientist Werhner von Braun and Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb. Over the years, Florida Tech expanded its course offerings to take advantage of its unique location where the land, sea, sky and space come together. It has done so while maintaining internationally recognized excellence, and its ties to the space program. It counts among its graduates five astronauts, including two who flew together on Space Shuttle Discovery in December, 2006, Joan Higginbotham and Sunita Williams.
Sponsors: THE FLORIDA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
UNION CYPRESS RAILWAY
Location:Tallwood Park, Hollywood Blvd. Between Trend Rd and N. Tallwood Circle
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne
Description: This 18.5-mile standard-gauge railway was built to carry logs from the large cypress/pine holdings of George W. Hopkins, at Deer Park, to the Union Cypress sawmill just south of Melbourne. Two new and seven used steam locomotives would eventually ride the 50-lb. rails, crossing the St. Johns River on a 2,850-foot wooden trestle south of Lake Sawgrass. This was the first direct route across the St. Johns for 80 miles south of Enterprise, preceding the Kissimmee Highway (U.S. 192) by 6 years. Melbourne to Kissimmee travel was now only 53 miles, compared to a previous 128 miles by rail or 153 miles by road. The railway opened up the vast prairie lands along the St. Johns for settlement and carried much of the regional commerce: cut timber, naval stores, livestock, and farm produce as well as people and the materiel of their daily lives. Trains ferried automobiles across the marsh on flat cars when floods closed the Kissimmee Highway. Logging and railway operations ceased after Hopkins died in January, 1925. Foshee Manufacturing Co. took over in March, 1928, and operated until forced to quit in late 1932 due to a declining lumber market in the Great Depression. Only the skeletal St. Johns River trestle remains today.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
UNION CYPRESS SAWMILL
Location:2729 Lipscomb St, on Mill St. side of Macedonia Missionary Baptist
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne
Description: The Union Cypress Co. was Melbourne’s first big industry, bringing employment, growth and development to the region. Their big cypress/pine sawmill was a three-story, all-steel structure about 50 by 150 feet. Five, 150-horsepower boilers provided power. Its power plant supplied Melbourne’s first electricity. The company’s railway to Deer Park provided the first direct route across the St. Johns River for 80 miles south of Enterprise. Some 40,000 feet of lumber and 45,000 shingles could be produced daily from the cypress/pine holdings of George W. Hopkins, which had a market value over $2 million in 1911. Lumber not used locally was shipped out via the Florida East Coast Railway. The company-owned town of Hopkins had some 69 buildings within its industrial, residential and commercial areas. The big mill burned in August, 1919, and was replaced by a smaller pine mill. Construction of a new cypress mill began in late 1924, but halted after Hopkins died in January, 1925. Foshee Manufacturing Co. leased the now-idle mill and railway in March, 1928, but even with plenty of timber left, had to close in late 1932 due to a declining lumber market in the Great Depression. Less than a handful of original buildings exist today.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
CAPE CANAVERAL LIGHTHOUSE
Location:Lighthouse Rd
County: Brevard
City: Cape Canaveral
Description: On May 21, 1838, Florida territorial delegate Charles Downing requested a lighthouse be built on Cape Canaveral. The first lighthouse completed in Jan. 1848 stood 65-feet tall, had a 55-foot tower and a 10-foot lantern room equipped with 15 lamps on 21-inch reflectors. The brick tower and keeper’s home cost under $13,300. Nathaniel Scobie oversaw construction and appointed the first keeper. With the advent of the Civil War, S. Mallory, Confederate Navy Secretary, ordered Florida east coast lighthouses “extinguished.” Keeper Mills Burnham removed the lamp and buried it in his orange grove. A state-of-the-art, 151-foot iron tower was erected in 1868 and topped with a 1st Order Fresnel lens. The tower’s living quarters were used for storage and a weather station. In 1871 a storm surge washed over the lighthouse area spoiling lamp oil and drinking water. This and shoreline erosion caused the lighthouse to be moved. From Oct. 1893 to Jul. 1894 the tower was dismantled, moved by tram one mile inland and re-erected, along with a 1st and 2nd assistant’s and keeper’s homes, to its present location. In 1939 the Coast Guard took ownership. In 2000 stewardship was transferred to the 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base.
Sponsors: The Brevard County Historical Commission, The Brevard County Tourist Development Council And The Florida Department Of State
BENSEN HOUSE
Location:5795 S US Highway 1
County: Brevard
City: Grant
Description: Atley Bensen paid $1,200 for the precut yellow pine lumber which arrived by riverboat from Jacksonville in 1916, to build this house for his wife Clara Christensen. The Bensen brothers married the Christensen sisters, both pioneer families of Grant. Atley and Clara lived in the house with sons, Atley Jr. and Russell until they were school age, and then moved to Melbourne, where son Edward Hartman was born in 1928. The Bensen House was rented for about five years until the family returned. Atley and his brother Adolph were involved in commercial fishing, grew pineapples, and operated the Jorgensen General Store, which opened in 1894. Atley died in 1961. Clara continued to live in the house, and then later moved to Tampa where she died in 1981. Russell donated the “cracker” house to the Grant Historical Society in 1984. In 1985, the house was moved from its original site, which was about 300 feet south of 1st Street on the banks of the Indian River Lagoon to this location, which was the original site of Grant’s first house built in 1894 by Louis Kossuth “Honey” Smith. The Smith house burned down in the 1970’s. The Bensen House became a museum in 1987.
Sponsors: THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION, THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL,AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OLD MELBOURNE BEACH TOWN HALL
Location:2373 Oak St.
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne Beach
Description: This building was constructed in 1908 facing the Indian River Lagoon in the area now know as Ryckman Park in Melbourne Beach. It originally held offices of the Melbourne Beach Improvement Company. The officers, Capt. Rufus Beaujean, son Donald Beaujean and Lawrence Ryckman made plans for the town which included the pier, lot sites, roads, and a railway which ran from the Indian River to the Atlantic Ocean. Eventually, the building became the Melbourne Beach Town Hall and Post Office. In 1953, a new town hall was built and this building was floated down the river to this area. It was used for meetings and classes and managed by Mr. and Mrs. Williams, and became known as the Williams Building. When the Spessard Holland Golf Course was built, the building was moved to the point of land between Oak Street and Highway A1A where it continued to be a community center. In 2001, the county scheduled it for demolition, but two citizens requested time for rehabilitation. After many discussions, petitions and student letters, the county agreed to lease the building to the Town of Melbourne Beach. A committee enlisted the help of volunteers. In May 2007 the building opened as a history center.
Sponsors: The Brevard County Historical Commission The Brevard County Tourist Development Council and the Florida Department of State.
SMITH FAMILY HOMESTEAD
Location:A1A and Old Florida Trail
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne Beach
Description: Under the United States Government Homestead Act of 1862, brothers Robert Toombs Smith and Charley Smith laid claim to 158.79 acres on mullet creek in 1887. They discovered the property while searching the Indian River Lagoon shoreline by sailboat for land to homestead. They improved the land by clearing it by hand, building a permanent two story Florida Cracker “I” house with a wrap around porch on three sides was built on the site. The house, made from heart pine, featuring lapboard siding and tongue and groove floors, rests on coquina on pilings. A separate kitchen structure was attached. More than 15 years later on March 17 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the deed to their homestead. Today the property is known as Honest John’s Fish Camp. Honest John Smith was the son of R.T. Smith and their decedents currently own the homestead. Also located on the site is a sugar cane mill, barn net house and railroad depot used as a packing house for citrus grown on the property. Access to these areas is restricted.
Sponsors: The Brevard County Historical Commission, The brevard County Tourist Development Council and the Florida Department of States.
HISTORIC MONROE CENTER
Location:705 Blake Ave
County: Brevard
City: Cocoa
Description: The Monroe Center – originally Monroe High School -- was built in 1954-55 as one of three segregated high schools serving Brevard County. The school was named after Jessie Ruth Monroe, a pioneer, teacher and principal of Cocoa Junior High School, an earlier segregated school in the community. The original address was 705 Avocado Street. The street was renamed after Virgil Blake, a prominent activist in the community who resided on the Street. Virgil Blake was the father of Richard Blake, who served as principal of Cocoa High School for 22 years and as a councilman in the City of Rockledge. Richard Blake is the grandfather of Michael Blake, who was elected the first Black Mayor of the City of Cocoa in 2004. The facility served Black children in grades 7 through 12 from throughout Central Brevard until 1966-67, when area public schools were integrated. The school had a distinguished reputation and was the alma mater for several community leaders in education, government, industry and the arts. The Monroe Center, now the “Children’s Village,” includes an array of educational and social services for children and families.
Sponsors: SPONSORED BY THE CHILD CARE ASSOCIATION OF BREVARD COUNTY, INC. AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
ULMAY
Location:805 Sykes Creek Parkway at the entrance of the Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary
County: Brevard
City: Cocoa
Description: The Ais were one of the most influential and powerful tribes in Florida when Spanish Army Lt. Alvaro Mexia mapped Ulumay Lagoon in 1605. He wrote in his diary “Here is the town of Ulumay, the first one of the province of Ais. In back of and adjacent to this town there are many camps.” Ulumay was part of the vibrant Ais (Malabar) culture. Ais people occupied small interior camps and towns along resource-rich estuaries. The Ais were subject to Spanish patrols but were independent when British merchant Jonathan Dickinson from Jamaica trekked north through their territory in 1696 after he was shipwrecked near Hobe. Within a few years of his visit, epidemics weakened and then decimated the Ais. By 1715 only a few natives were seen by survivors of a Spanish fleet wreck. Through the 1950s, Ais village mounds including Ulumay were mined to obtain decomposed shell for use as roadbed. During the 1960s, local naturalist and historian Johnnie Johnson helped record what remained of Ulumay mounds. In 1970 the area was given to Brevard County by the State of Florida as a park. In 1993, the Brevard County Historical Commission dedicated the Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary as a historical landmark.
Sponsors: A FLORIDA HERITAGE LANDMARK SPOSORED BY THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION,FRIENDS OF ULUMAY, THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
MYRTLE COTTAGE
Location:Ocean Ave, near Pine St.
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne Beach
Description: Constructed on this site in 1888, Myrtle Cottage was built by Mrs. Hannah Cummings and her daughter Grace, and was the first house in the area known as Melbourne Beach. The house's construction was made difficult by the lack of roads or docks, and while it was being built the Cummings family camped on the beach at the nearby House of Refuge, a shipwreck lifesaving station. After its completion, the family lived in the large house and took in boarders, including Major Cyrus Graves, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Whiting, Mr. Alfred Wilcox, and others who helped found Melbourne Beach. Myrtle Cottage was always an important part of the community. Church services and Sunday school classes were held there until 1892 when the Community Chapel was built. However if repairs were needed to the chapel or bad weather threatened, church services and classes were temporarily held in Myrtle Cottage. In later years the house served as a rooming house for students from the Florida Institute of Technology. In 1982, the house caught fire and burned to the ground as a large number of people watched in dismay. There are still residents of Melbourne Beach who fondly remember the "Grand Old Building."
Sponsors: The Brevard County Historical Commission The Brevard County Tourist Development Council and the Florida Department of State
ST. MARK'S EPISCOPLE CHURCH
Location:4 Church Street
County: Brevard
City: Cocoa
Description: On June 2, 1878, The Right Reverend, The Bishop of Florida, and Dr. William H. Carter of Holy Cross Church of Sanford, FL held the first meeting of St. Mark's Episcopal at a nearby Rockledge residence. The mission was originally named St. Michael's in honor of St. Michael the Archangel. In 1884 Mrs. Lucy Boardman, a Winter resident of Sanford and frequent visitor to Cocoa and Melbourne, made a donation to Bishop Young for the constuction of Episcopal churches in the Indian River Area. Mrs. Sarah O. Delannoy donated land for the church. The board and batten Carpenter Gothic church was designed by Gabriel Gingras in 1886. William Booth and William Hindle, both early settlers in Cocoa designed and installed the church's woodwork. While still under construction on Christmas Eve 1886, the church was the sight of the first ever Christmas Tree seen in Cocoa Village. In 1888 "Michael," the Church's tower bell was cast in New York. In 1890 the church name was changed to St. Mark's in recognition of support from St. Mark's church in West Orange, New Jersey. Despite later remodeling and additions, most of the church's original interior woodwork and stained glass windows remain
Sponsors: The Brevard County Historical Commission, The Brevard County Tourist Developement Council, and The Florida Department of State
MISSION (MERCURY) CONTROL CENTER
Location:Mission Control Rd.
County: Brevard
City: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Description: Built on this site in 1957, the Mercury Control Center, later renamed Mission Control, was the United States' first mission control for unmanned and manned space programs under the leadership of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The center housed critical launch equipment for the Mercury and Gemini programs. These programs made crucial advancements in the development of spaceflight, including placing astronauts in suborbital and orbital space within and outside a spacecraft, and safely returning them to Earth. The Gemini program was the first American attempt in orbital rendezvous and docking, a critical maneuver used in future manned lunar landings. The control room was dominated by a world map with a miniature spacecraft that tracked the capsule's planned flight path. Teams at the center controlled all flights launched aboard Redstone, Atlas, and the first three Titan II vehicles. After mission control functions were transferred to Houston, Texas, the center provided backup for the initial launch and trajectory. Before the facility's demolition in 2010, its essential historical components were removed for preservation and are displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Sponsors: THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BETHEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Location:4725 North Tropical Trail
County: Brevard
City: Merritt Island
Description: Established in 1892, the Bethel A.M.E. Church of Merritt Island was the first African Methodist Episcopal church on North Tropical Trail, located on land James R. Ragan originally acquired in 1895 through the Homestead Act. The little wooden church sat on brick piers close to the road, and was referred to as “The Little Church on Courtenay.” The pews were made of rough-hewn cypress, worn smooth from years of wear and lined with fans advertising an insurance company. In front of a small altar was the Communion rail, a 4 ft. section of 2x4 wood. Rev. Lawrence Walton was one of the first pastors and Rev. L.R. Catlin, Jr. was the pastor when a cornerstone was added in 1959. The congregation numbered 49. The church was in existence for 76 years before burning down in the spring of 1968. The adjacent cemetery was originally known as the “White Lilly Cemetery.” Graves date back to the early 1900s, and many are unidentified. Among pioneer families buried here are the Gillins, McDonald, Williams and Anderson. Renamed the Bethel-Greater Mount Olive A.M.E. Church Community Cemetery, and still in use, it is managed by the Greater Mount Olive A.M.E. Church, 1240 N. Tropical Trail, Merritt Island.
Sponsors: SPONSORED BY THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
INDIALANTIC CASINO
Location:201 North Miramar Avenue
County: Brevard
City: Indialantic
Description: The Indialantic Casino was constructed on this site in 1923. The two-story Mediterranean Revival style building was designed by architect William Christen and developed by Herbert Earle. It opened on December 22, 1923, and boasted shops, an Olympic-size saltwater pool, a tall diving tower, and wading pools. The casino became a center for social activity in the Melbourne area, offering rooms for winter guests and space for club meetings, socials, and galas, such as wedding receptions, banquets, and cotillions. Special events included a Midnight New Year’s Eve dinner, a Fourth of July celebration, and the Miss Melbourne and Miss Florida Beauty Pageants of 1925. Weekly rates in 1924 for ocean-view rooms (including board) were $20 for singles and $35 for doubles. The casino’s pool was used for training World War II military personnel from the Banana River Naval Station. Following a major renovation in 1942, Karl Abbott purchased the casino in 1944 and changed its name to the Bahama Beach Club. From 1949 until it was purchased by the Town of Indialantic in 1967, the building was an exclusive private club. Following a period of decline, the building was razed in 1970
Sponsors: SPONSORED BY THE BREVARD COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION THE BREVARD COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
THE RYCKMAN HOUSE
Location:515 Ocean Ave
County: Brevard
City: Melbourne Beach
Description: One of the first homes in Melbourne Beach, the Ryckman House was built in 1890 for Jacob Fox by Captain Rufus W. Beaujean. Both men were original investors in the Melbourne Beach Company, later named the Melbourne Beach Improvement Company. The Ryckman House was built of native pine and cypress that was brought to Melbourne Beach on the vessel Frost Line. The two-story house originally had no electricity, and water came from the Improvement Company’s free-flowing artesian well. Jacob Fox and his family spent several seasons living here, enjoying the Atlantic, hunting, fishing, and socializing with the town’s few residents. Garrett E. Ryckman, a vintner from Brockton, N.Y., and a major shareholder in the original Melbourne Beach Company, acquired the house in 1908. The Ryckmans and their son Lawrence came to Melbourne Beach in 1908, followed by their daughter Ruth in 1910, after her graduation from Vassar College. Ruth Ryckman was an active member of the Melbourne Beach community, volunteering her services as a private nurse to the town for many years. She bequeathed the Ryckman House to the Town of Melbourne Beach upon her death in 1979 at the age of 89.
Sponsors: Commodore John Barry Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the Florida Department of State