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Brevard County, Florida : A Short History to 1955Brevard County, Florida: A Short History to 1955 by John M. Eriksen
by John M. Eriksen                                        ISBN   978-0-9817187-0-5
Format: ebook (pdf) Adobe Digital Editions      

    This is an awesome 230-page history of Brevard County, home of NASA's Kennedy Space Center and launch complex for the Space Shuttle.  Would you like to go back in time when life was more in tune with the natural surroundings? Within these pages you'll be transported to a pristine land filled with opportunity and those who sought a new life in a far-away place called Indian River Country. These pages capture the original beauty and abundance of raw nature so starkly contrasted by today's development, and how that raw beauty was developed for a growing population.

    Thoroughly documented with 320 endnotes, maps, and photographs. This is an "instant download" eBook in PDF format. 

Table of Contents

  LOS MOSQUITOS IN THE 14th COLONY (1763—1783) p.24
  THE TERRITORIAL PERIOD (1821——1844) p.30
  EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA IN THE 27TH STATE (1845——1860) Part One p.43
  A WILDERNESS INVADED The Indian River Country and Beyond (1865——1879) p.51
  MODERN BREVARD (1906—1920) Mechanized Development p.104
  THE BOOM YEARS (1920——1930) p.117
  THE BUST AND THE NEW DEAL (1931——1938) p.128
  THE EFFECTS OF WAR Preparation and Support of the Mission (1939——1945) p.137

  Endnotes (320 numbered notes)

  Manuscript Collections


  Public Documents

  Interviews and letters

  Secondary Materials (Bibliography)





V2 rocket, first launch from Brevard County - July 24, 1950    Treasure fleets and sunken treasures of gold and silver
   Fishing and hunting at its best
   Old towns, roads and trails
   The roots of Florida’s Indian River Citrus industry
   The nation’s first wildlife sanctuary
   The famous “real McCoy” brothers
   The nation’s first multi-stage rocket launch
   The Cape’s first commander (USAF Colonel) spots UFOs
   Approx. 1000 sources within 320 numbered endnotes
   Bibliography of 150 source books
   Many maps, photos and sketches
   Easy to read layout in pdf format

Click here for detailed synopsis of the book



"Brevard County, Florida: A Short History to 1955 enhances existing scholarship, is more detailed in its information...Eriksen's book is extremely well documented and utilizes a large number of primary sources such as manuscript collections, oral histories, and public documents. His list of secondary sources is equally exhaustive."

- Melissa Williford Euziere, from a Master of Arts Thesis submitted to
The Florida State University College of Arts and Sciences

1600s Sailing Ship  Indian River Steamboat - courtesy of Bill Gleason  Cape Canaveral launch complex  John Glenn and Gordon Cooper - 1962  Lockheed Martin Launch complex  Vertical Assembly Building on launch day

"... a well-researched account of Brevard's emergence from prehistory into the space age offers many lessons to those who hope to shape a bright future for a unique community."

  -- former U.S. Congressman Jim Bacchus


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Synopsis of the Book

Chapter 1
- Geologic history
- 12,000 BC - First people arrive on peninsula
- Archaeologist find bones of prehistoric beast and early man in areas of early drainage and road
  building projects
- Windover people discovered south of Titusville (DNA preserved from 5500 BC)
- Indian River Lagoon Begins to form about 8000 BC
- Indian mounds: refuse middens and burial mounds
- First people on Florida's east coast: Timucua, Ais, Jeaga, Tekesta
- 1605 Spanish map of Indian River Lagoon

Chapter 2
- Spanish slave hunts
- Juan Ponce de Leon makes first continental landfall at Melbourne Beach, Naming of La Florida
- Florida's first transportation route: the Gulf Stream. Cape Canaveral and Turtle Mound's importance
  to the Gulf Stream route
- Ribaut and Menendez and the first east coast settlements
- Intermittent inlets: a short overview
- Story of Jonathan Dickinson (namesake of J.D. State Park near Jupiter)
- The famous 1715 fleet shipwrecks

Chapter 3
- East Florida was Britain's 14th colony
- The Bartrams explore Florida's first inland transportation route: the St. Johns River
- The largest single colonization effort in early pre-U.S. history: Turnbull's colony of New Smyrna
- The first crackers, Seminoles, runaways
- The purchase of Florida from Spain
- 1837 Williams map of East Florida (early place names, inlets)
- Seminole war map, first road: 1838 Hernandez Trail
- 1856 Ives map showing Hernandez Trail

Chapter 4
- 1824 Mosquito County - the bulk of east Florida 
- Douglas Dummett - father of the famous Indian River citrus industry
- 2nd Seminole war, first steamboats on Indian River & St. Johns, creation of Hernandez Trail, Plans
   for Haulover canal and opening of the Intracoastal waterway
- Indian River Colony of 1842: the first U.S. colony below St. Augustine
- Mills Olcutt Burnham, first career lighthouse keeper
- 1844 map of Indian River Inlet, early entrance to Indian River
- Map of original Brevard County 1855

Chapter 5
- Family history of the Brevards
- Early Manatee hunters / wildlife depletion
- Civil War: salt making

Chapter 6
- Gov. Gleason's travels by boat - 
- Henry Titus, founder of Titusville, early route to Sand Point
- Gleason's early canal projects
- Dr. Hawks: description of early boat routes, Merritt's Island, Indian River
- Courthouse history
- The developing Indian River Country: The lure for steamboats, tourists, and agriculture
- Early map of original Haulover Canal
- Early map of Indian River showing original homesteaders of 1880s

Chapter 7
- 1880 descriptions of Wildlife and scenery of today's Kennedy Space Center terrain
- The first steamboats on the Indian River
- Oleander Point: Annual meeting place for east coast settlers
- First train: Jacksonville, Tampa, & Key West RR
- First attempt at man-made inlets, 1880s
- Descriptions of the early days and communities by settlers
- Nation's first wildlife refuge 
- 1890 Canaveral Club built on land at the exact location of today's pad 39A 
- 1883 geodetic charts of the Indian River

Chapter 8

- Flagler and his Florida East Coast RR
- Inlet development
- Shell roads: 1899 - first state-financed projects to use the old Ais Indian shell mounds for road 
   building material
- Early mosquito control

Chapter 9
- Automobiles - 1901-1905
- George Hopkins & Jane Green cypress
- The Dixie Highway Association, AKA the Montreal-Miami Highway
- Inlets, fishing, lagoon's health

Chapter 10
The Florida Boom. Dixie Highway paved and then rerouted
- 1930s map of Brevard

Chapter 11
The Depression. Roosevelt's New Deal projects in Brevard county.

Chapter 12
The development of the Banana River Naval Air Station
- First experiments with DDT to control mosquitoes
- Development of launch pad and first missile launch from the Cape

Chapter 13
Permanent mosquito control, dredging and impounding wetlands
- Missile development
- Fight to move the courthouse
- Integration
- Zora Neale Hurston
- UFOs

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