Central Brevard County (Images of America: Florida)
Publish Date: 1998-11-10
Author: A. Clyde Field;Ada Edmiston Parrish;George Leland "Speedy" Harrell
While Brevard County is today an affluent tourist destination, its early history was one of hardship and struggle against adversity. Mosquito-ridden salt marshes to the east and the headwaters of the mighty St. Johns River to the west made access hard and survival harder. Indeed, as late as 1870, fewer than 250 people lived between Titusville, near the northern end of the Indian River, and present-day Miami. The Industrial Revolution brought change, and with the arrival of the first steamboat on the lagoon came the first boom period for the region. From a subsistence existence, the areas population embraced commercial agriculture and mass tourism. Resort hotels sprang up, citrus farms flourished, and migrants arrived by the thousands to share the newfound wealth. The growth continued and expanded with the arrival of the railroad and, later, the automobile, and was crowned by the advent of the space program in the 1950s. Fueled by NASA and by the rise of the Disney complex in Orlando, the region became a mecca for those seeking the sun or the stars.