Cocoa-Rockledge Historical Trail
1....Print this file.
2....At its end, click on "rules" to see a copy of the trail rules, print it, and then click where indicated at the end of the 3-page rules and patch order form to get back to the list of Florida trails.
3....If you want a hand-drawn map showing the locations of all of the sites, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Steve Rajtar, 1614 Bimini Dr., Orlando, FL 32806.
4....Hike the trail and order whatever patches you like (optional).
WARNING - This trail may pass through one or more neighborhoods which, although full of history, may now be unsafe for individuals on foot, or which may make you feel unsafe there. Hikers have been approached by individuals who have asked for handouts or who have inquired (not always in a friendly manner) why the hikers are in their neighborhood. Drugs and other inappropriate items have been found by hikers in some neighborhoods. It is suggested that you drive the hike routes first to see if you will feel comfortable walking them and, if you don't think it's a good place for you walk, you might want to consider (1) traveling with a large group, (2) doing the route on bicycles, or (3) choosing another hike route. The degree of comfort will vary with the individual and with the time and season of the hike, so you need to make the determination using your best judgment. If you hike the trail, you accept all risks involved.
About a quarter-mile west of here passed the Hernandez Trail, used during the Seminole Wars to connect forts along the eastern part of Florida and Fort Brooke (Tampa). It was named after Brig. Gen. Joseph M. Hernandez, who captured Seminole Chief Osceola in 1837.
This section of US 1 was a part of the Dixie Highway, which was the dream of Carl Fisher of Indianapolis. He had made his fortune in the new auto industry, and wanted to build a highway from Chicago to Miami. When news got out, many communities formed associations to lobby for inclusion on the route.
The Dixie Highway Association met in Chattanooga and chose a route passing through Tallahassee and Jacksonville, and proceeding south along the east coast. Frenzied lobbying also produced an inland route passing through Gainesville, Ocala, Winter Park, Orlando, Kissimmee, Bartow and Arcadia, rejoining the coastal route at Palm Beach.
In 1915, Fisher led an auto cavalcade from the Midwest to Miami, popularizing auto trips to Florida. The Dixie Highway was officially open for traffic in October of 1925 from the Canadian border at the northern tip of Michigan to Miami.
During the early years, black residents of Cocoa usually lived west of Florida Ave. and south on Willard St., with the focus of the black community being Magnolia St. It was renamed Stone St. to honor Richard E. Stone, a prominent black mortician. The section of the street between 121 and 304 Stone St. is known as the Richard E. Stone Historic District.
Richard Stone, the son of the owner of Melbourne's first grocery store and stable, established Brevard County's first black professional baseball team (the Cocoa Black Indians) and its first black funeral home. He also helped found the first civic organization, then known as Liberty League, Inc., and invented and patented an automobile directional signal light, and patented the trocar, a surgical instrument used in embalming.
Malissa Moore raised money to build a church on Florida Ave., the construction of which took place in 1886. In 1922, it burned down and Moore raised money for its replacement. Bricks used in the 1923 construction of this Gothic style sanctuary were manufactured on the site using sand donated by Richard E. Stone.
This house was the residence of Cocoa's first shoe shiner. This Bungalow was built in about 1924.
This was the home of Cocoa's first black doctor, Dr. B.C. Scurry. This is a Frame Vernacular structure built in about 1920.
This was one of the early grocery stores in Cocoa. It began in about 1924 as a private residence, and returned to that use after its time as a store.
John Henry Hall had one of the first grocery stores here, a Frame Vernacular structure built in about 1895.
Malissa Moore moved to Cocoa in 1884 and planned to build a church similar to ones she had attended in Atlanta and Monroe, Georgia. She raised money within two years and hired a Titusville carpenter to construct the Mt. Moriah A.M.E. Church. She lived here.
This Frame Vernacular structure was built in 1890 near the Indian River, then was moved here to become a restaurant and rooming house. At the time, it was the only one in Cocoa and was a favorite of Henry Flagler.
This congregation was established in 1886 and had its original church building here. The windows from it were preserved when it was torn down, and were incorporated into the present sanctuary which was built in 1978.
This residence of Grace Edwards was built by one of Cocoa's first black families.
This is a Bungalow, built in about 1924. Bungalow is a term derived from a Bengali word meaning a low house with porches used as a wayside shelter by British travelers in India. In Cocoa, Bungalows are strongly horizontal in appearance, one to one and one-half stories with a shallow sloping roof. They are generally rectangular and asymmetrical in plan.
On these grounds, a golf course was built in 1921. During the 1930s, winter resident Eugene Wuestoff took ill and was treated by Dr. Tom Kenaston. When he recovered, he left $12,500 in his will for the construction of a hospital. After he died in 1940, the city donated the golf course for a hospital site.
Wuestoff Hospital, organized by Dr. Tom Kenaston and Rev. William Hargrave, opened on December 14, 1941, with eight rooms and ten beds. It was enlarged to 28 beds in 1952 at a cost of $125,000. It later grew to five stories on ten acres with 308 rooms.
This church was built in 1907. During the space boom of the 1960s, a larger sanctuary was built to replace it for most functions.
This home was built before 1900 and was one of the guest houses comprising the 40-room White's Cottage complex. It later was converted for use as a family residence.
As are several of the homes on this early Rockledge street, this house was built in 1890.
This three-story building was built before 1900. With Singleton's Cottage along the Indian River, they were two of the most popular privately-run guesthouses of their era.
This was first used as the Rocklege Town Hall, and was replaced by a new government building in the early 1920s. This then became an apartment house.
Rockledge was first settled in about 1876. In the 1880s, Rockledge was Florida's southernmost winter resort city. It got its name from the home of Cephas Bailey Magruder on a rocky river bluff along Rockledge Dr., which he called his "Rockledge Home".
This building, while it was located at another site, was the gift shop of Kate Eyer. It was bought by May Quimby and moved here to be the Women's Exchange, and later housed Stefurak's Antique Shop.
Rockledge was served by a railroad spur track from the main line east to this point, which was between the 400-room Indian River and the 300-room Plaza Hotels.
Henry Flagler wanted to buy the Plaza Hotel in 1908, but its owners decided not to sell. In retaliation, during the middle of one night, Flagler's workers tore up the spur line and cut off a major access to the hotel.
In 1909, Dr. Alfred S. Badger became the first permanent pastor. A second sanctuary was built by Albert H. Smith in 1909-11. The present sanctuary was built in 1952-53 at a cost of $100,000.
This was previously the site of the three-story, 300-room Plaza Hotel which was built during the 1880s.
A Moorish style stuccoed building built here in the mid-1920s contained 57 guest rooms. An early owner was Ralph Laycock, who reopened it in 1934 after it had closed for some years during the real estate bust of the late 1920s. It was acquired in 1961 by Tony and Georgia Ninos, who restored it to much of its earlier charm.
Next to the hotel was the Indian River Yacht Club, which had been formed during the 1880s.
This house is an example of Carpenter Gothic, a style popularized in the U.S. by Andrew Jackson Downing, Alexander Jackson Davis and Richard Upjohn. Its most common feature is the use of sawn wood ornamentation of eaves and vergeboards. They generally also have steeply pitched roofs with cross gables, sometimes with windows extended into gables. This was the residence of J.N. Hicks.
The center section of this church, the first in Cocoa, was built in 1886 of wood frame and clapboard. The site had been personally prepared by Bishop John Freeman Young in 1877. Its style is described as Florida Gothic, and was designed by local shipbuilder Gabriel Gingras. The altar windows are a memorial to Bishop Young.
The building was enlarged in 1926 and remodeled with a Spanish style. The land on which it sits was donated by Sarah Delannoy and Mrs. E.P. Porcher.
The first bridge connecting Cocoa and Merritt Island was built here in 1919 for $75,000, at the east end of the main business district in the 1920s.
A railroad spur was built here by the Florida East Coast Railroad to conect with a large wharf for boats delivering and picking up freight.
The Willard brothers, B.C. and C.A., built a store here in 1881 as the first commercial building in Scrub City. It was a trading post for settlers living along the river, reached by a 35-foot dock. The Willard brothers founded the community, once known as Oleander Point.
The store was acquired by J.M. Sanders in 1912. He tore it down and built the Bank of Cocoa on the site.
Cocoa's first school, located on the west side of town, was replaced in 1900 by a two-story six-room building at this location. Next door was the town hall, also built in 1900. The town hall building included the post office downstairs until 1920 and an opera house on the second floor. The school was replaced in 1917 by a larger building at another location.
This Frame Vernacular style home was built in about 1910.
This is a Bungalow, built in about 1924.
This Masonry Vernacular style home was built in about 1930.
This is a Frame Vernacular style house built in about 1900.
Built in about 1895, this home is Frame Vernacular in style.
As do many of the Bungalows in Cocoa, this dates to about 1924.
This Frame Vernacular home was built in about 1919.
This Frame Vernacular home was built in about 1924.
This is another Frame Vernacular style home, built in about 1910.
This is a Mediterranean Revival style home, built in about 1925.
This Frame Vernacular style home was built in about 1924.
This is an earlier Cocoa Bungalow, built in about 1919.
This 1924 Bungalow features a low-pitched gable roof, wide eaves supported by exposed beams, exposed rafter ends, a gable dormer, and a porch supported by a coquina knee wall.
This Colonial Revival structure was built in about 1915 as a single residence, and later was converted into a boardinghouse.
This Colonial Revival house was built in about 1905.
This Frame Vernacular style home was built in about 1938.
This Colonial Revival style home was built in 1918.
This Frame Vernacular style house was built in about 1905.
This Bungalow dates to 1920.
This is a Frame Vernacular style home built in about 1905.
This Frame Vernacular style home was built in about 1923.
This is also a Frame Vernacular style home, built in about 1910.
This is a Monterey style house, built in 1939.
This is a Colonial Revival style house, built in about 1900.
This Colonial Revival style home was built in about 1905.
This Mediterranean Revival style house was built in about 1930.
This Frame Vernacular home was built in about 1924.
This Mediterranean Revival style house dates to about 1930.
This is a Colonial Revival home built in about 1924.
This Colonial Revival style house was built in about 1924.
This building with a Mediterranean Revival style was built in about 1930.
This Frame Vernacular apartment dwelling was built in about 1924.
This house was built in about 1919 with a Frame Vernacular style.
This is another Bungalow, built in about 1924.
This Bungalow dates to about 1930.
This Frame Vernacular house was built in about 1924.
This Bungalow was built in about 1924 to house a business.
This Colonial Revival style structure was built in about 1940.
This Bungalow was built for business use in about 1924.
This Bungalow was built as a residence in about 1924.
This Bungalow was built in about 1920.
This Bungalow was built in about 1915.
This Masonry Vernacular structure was erected in about 1924.
This building, erected in about 1930, has a Tudor Revival style.
Built in 1884 by William Jarvis, Delmonico's Restaurant was located on this site and was owned by English sisters Mrs. Jarvis and Mrs. L.T. Daniel. It initially had six sleeping rooms for guests. To accommodate steamer travelers, the Prospect Boarding House was later added to it at the south end. It was badly damaged by the fire which burned the center of town on September 2, 1890. By 1917, it was known as the Cocoa House Hotel. It was considered quite stylish.
The S.F. Travis family opened a hardware store on this corner in 1885. The present Masonry Vernacular style building was added in 1907, and four additional buildings were added later. Cocoa commercial buildings of this style are characterized by flat parapet roofs, decorative brick work, belt courses, and name and date panels.
In 1926, the Travis Company extensively renovated the building, including the enlargement of display windows, removal of the transom which had run over the windows and door, and the addition of a stucco covering.
This was the homestead of Albert Armer Taylor in 1886, who had come here that year for his health. His large home burned down in the 1940s. Across the street was Brevard's first bank, founded by Taylor in 1889, as the only bank between here and Key West.
Delannoy Ave. is named for Judge John Delannoy, who developed areas south of Cocoa.
This building was erected in 1925 during the Florida land boom. Unlike nearby buildings, it has a Beaux Arts Classical style, emphasizing elaborate and lavish decorative detailing. The style expressed the American sentiment of prosperity and progress in 1885 to 1920. It was popularized by the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
In the rear of this building, silent movies were shown until 1924. The front of the first story was a jewelry store, and the upstairs was a boarding house.
Julia Roberts O'Brian lived here and ran a dressmaker and millinery business in this Florida Gothic building. She was known as the "dressmaker for the ladies of Cocoa". The building later became an art studio.
In 1883, the Porcher family started the Deerfield Citrus Groves on Merritt Island and brought the fruit across the river to a wharf and warehouse at this site. Coquina rock dug from the riverbed was used to construct this Classical Revival style home in 1916 for Edward Postel Porcher and his wife, Byrnina Mona Peck.
Porcher is reputed to have been the first to wash, inspect and grade citrus. He invented machines for washing citrus, stamping fruit and lifting heavy boxes. He was one of the founders of the Florida Citrus Commission.
This house has been used as a residence, a library, the police department headquarters, and beginning in 1945, the city hall. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Dr. W.L. Hughlett built a Victorian mansion here in 1890 and named it Orange Hall. Hughlett was a physician and civic leader, and his home was a gathering place for Cocoa's influential people. It was later torn down.
Cocoa incorporated as a city in 1895. The present city hall was constructed in 1969.
Cocoa's first post office was established on September 11, 1884, with William B. Smith as the first postmaster. He also edited the first newspaper, the Indian River Mirror. This building, a Public Works Administration project, was erected in 1939.
Mrs. James had a simple cottage on this site in 1880 and provided meals for river travelers. She also handled the mail for local residents. Local legend says that she suggested naming the town after seeing the word "cocoa" on a package of Baker's chocolate powder.
This three-story building was erected in 1919 to serve as a meeting place of the Masons, who had organized in Cocoa in 1889. It was designed by Richard W. Rummell and was built by the Brevard Construction Company. For a time, the post office and the Cocoa Bank and Trust were located on the first floor. This building was later known as the Village Tower.
Built in 1924 by contractor W.H. Bower as the Aladdin Theatre, this was one of the finest theaters in Florida when it was new. It shows an Italian Renaissance style more popular in the Miami area. It features three horizontal zones divided by belt courses, upper-story windows being smaller and more elaborate than those below, a low-pitched hipped roof covered with ceramic tile, arcaded window surrounds, small classical columns, and medallions.
This Spanish Mission style building was erected in 1925-26. The pineapple designs on the roof are symbols of hospitality in the South.
African Americans in Florida, by Maxine D. Jones and Kevin M. McCarthy (Pineapple Press, Inc. 1993)
Black Florida, by Kevin M. McCarthy (Hippocrene Books 1995)
Brevard County, by Elaine Murray Stone (Windsor Publications, Inc. 1988)
Centennial History: First United Methodist Church, Cocoa, Florida, by Frank M. Childes (1985)
Florida Historical Markers & Sites, by Floyd E. Boone (Gulf Publishing Company 1988)
Florida: The Long Frontier, by Marjory Stoneman Douglas (Harper & Row 1967)
Florida's History Through Its Places: Properties in the National Register of Historic Places, by Morton D. Winsberg (Florida State University 1988)
Guide to Florida Historical Walking Tours, by Roberta Sandler (Pineapple Press, Inc. 1996)
Guide to the Small and Historic Lodgings of Florida, by Herbert L. Hiller (Pineapple Press, Inc. 1991)
Historic Homes of Florida, by Laura Stewart & Susanne Hupp (Pineapple Press, Inc. 1995)
Historic Properties Survey Within the City of Cocoa, Florida, by Historic Property Associates, Inc. (1991)
History of Brevard County (vols. 1 and 2), by Jerrell H. Shofner (Brevard County Historical Commission 1995)
History of the Rockledge Presbyterian Church 1877-1953, by Clara Edwards (1953)
Indian River, Florida's Treasure Coast, by Walter R. Hellier (Hurricane House 1965)
One Hundred Years of Rockledge, by Eric C. Caron (The City of Rockledge, Florida 1986)
Tales of Old Brevard, by Georgianna Kjerluff (The Kellersberger Fund of The South Brevard Historical Society, Inc. 1972)
Walking Tour of Historic Cocoa Village, (The Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, Inc.)
Wish You Were Here: A Grand Tour of Early Florida Via Old Post Cards, by Hampton Dunn (Byron Kennedy and Company 1981)
Click here for a copy of the trail rules.