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Brevard County History

Prehistoric Brevard County

In the early 1980s, an archeological site was uncovered and excavated in what is now a residential community called Windover in the City of Titusville. According to the Brevard Historical Commission, the human remains and artifacts that were recovered from the ancient burial site are thought to be between 4,000 and 6,000 years old, which makes them as old or older than the mummies that were buried in the pyramids of Egypt.

Colonial and Revolutionary Brevard County

Around the time that Juan Ponce de Leon was searching for the fountain of youth, the Ais and Jeaga Native American tribes lived in what is now Brevard County, according to the Brevard Historical Commission. Some information about their clothing, food, homes and customs has become known based on accounts of interactions with them. The English were in possession of Florida from 1763-1783. The last naval battle of the American Revolutionary War was fought off the coast of Cape Canaveral on March 10, 1783. The battle took place more than a month after the war had officially ended, but word had not reached the combatants. A cannon is seated on the water's edge at the Veterans Memorial Center in Merritt Island to honor the patriots who fought off of our coast so long ago. Florida was returned to Spain and remained a Spanish territory until 1821 when it became a United States Territory. Twenty-four years later, it became the 27th state to join the Union. A community developed around a lighthouse in Cape Canaveral in 1848. According to the Brevard Historical Commission, this settlement is considered the first permanent one in Mosquito County, which later became Brevard County.

Turn-Of-The-Century Brevard County

Per the Brevard Historical Commission, an influx of residents to the area occurred following the Civil War. Railroad links in Titusville and Melbourne in the 1880s made travel to Brevard County easier and led to the rise in population. Brevard County residents capitalized on the first trains that stretched toward them to create a thriving hospitality and tourism industry that centered on resorts and hotels. In time, a land boom took hold and real estate speculation eventually led to an economic depression across Florida in 1927.

Mid-Century Brevard County

In 1940, the Banana River Naval Air Station became a training location for Navy pilots. Years passed and the base, which was seated neatly in-between the Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River, changed hands and became Patrick Air Force Base. Today, it is home to the 45th Space Wing, the Air Force Technical Operations Center and the 920th Rescue Wing. The Banana River Naval Air Station and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station were followed in short order by the Long-Range-Proving Ground at Cape Canaveral in 1949 (now known as the Eastern Launch Range) and the Launch Operations Directorate (now known as Kennedy Space Center.) During this period, Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore pioneered the Civil Rights Movement in the Sunshine State. Mr. Moore opened the first NAACP branch in Brevard County and helped tens of thousands of black Floridians become registered voters. He and his wife were teachers, civic leaders and dedicated community members. The site where the couple's home once stood in Mims is now the Moore Multicultural Complex and the Justice Center in Viera is named after them.

Space Era Brevard County

During the Space Boom, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island and Titusville flourished. The mostly rural and farming county saw its population increase dramatically and its focus shift to space, technology, science, research and development. Many families moved to the area, and generations later, still call Brevard home. Over the years, a number of our nation's pioneering moments in space started with a countdown at Cape Canaveral. The iconic program that aided men in orbiting the Earth and walking on the moon had an integral piece that took place in Cape Canaveral, making the city a household name. The shuttle program continued our space exploration mission into later decades, just as today's rocket launches further modern science and communications efforts. A new manned space program is in the works and is sure to be just as much a part of Brevard County's identity as those programs that preceded it.

Present Day Brevard County

A number of industries, cultural centers and scenic spaces give modern day Brevard County charm and warmth. The Space Coast is home to many industries, including healthcare, science and technology, space and aerospace, and tourism. The fine arts are right at home along the Space Coast and provide entertainment for music and theatre aficionados alike. With 72 miles of coastline, sprawling acres of refuge and protected lands, the Banana and Indian Rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean, Brevard County continues to be a scenic place to live, work and play. Moreover, present day Brevard County possesses more than 90 historic sites and landmarks. Some are quaint schoolhouses, while others are turn-of-the-century homes filled with charm. All retain memories of the way life was lived during their respective periods of Brevard County's history.

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Brevard County Recreation

If you enjoy outdoor life, Brevard County has 108 parks, a number of boating facilities, campgrounds, golf courses and sports and recreation centers for your enjoyment. Brevard is a convenient location for the recreational boater with dozens of marinas and boat ramps.  Fishing is very popular, especially the saltwater variety. Sport fishermen catch mackerel, sailfish, marlin, wahoo and tuna from Brevard County waters. If you don’t own your own boat, charters are available. The historic Cocoa Beach Pier, which stretches out 840 feet above the ocean, is also a good place to cast your line, if you don’t have a boat or even if you do. And, of course, wind surfing, surfing, swimming, diving and boating along the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean keep water-friendly folks in a state of bliss.

Brevard residents also enjoy local sports and recreational facilities. If tennis is your game, there are tennis clubs along the Space Coast. Many local parks and recreational facilities also offer tennis courts. There are numerous leagues and programs for tennis enthusiasts of all levels. If ice-skating is your hobby, Brevard has an Olympic-size ice complex that offers public skating, hockey lessons, and leagues.

Golfers enjoy dozens of courses throughout Brevard. Our year-round tropical climate makes golfing a sport for any season. Moreover, you’ll be surprised at how affordable golfing can be in Brevard. In addition to water recreation, indoor sports facilities and a wealth of golf courses, Brevard also holds many scenic beaches, hiking and biking trails for nature lovers.

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Brevard County Shopping

You can shop till you drop along the Space Coast. Brevard County is home to a number of malls and shopping centers, including Melbourne Square Mall, Merritt Square Mall, Searstown Mall and the Avenue Viera. Titusville is also home to Titus Landing, an open-air mall that is currently under construction. Titus Landing's first anchor store, Hobby Lobby, opened its doors in 2016. 

The charming downtown sections of Melbourne, Cocoa and Titusville and the Eau Gallie Arts District offer one-of-a-kind-shops, boutiques and galleries. They feature restaurants and specialty stores and host arts and crafts activities throughout the year.

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Brevard County Employers

Brevard County School Board 2000+
Health First 2000+
Harris Corporation 2000+
Brevard County 2000+
Department of Defense 2000+
NASA  2000+
Northrop Grumman Corporation 1000+
Wuesthoff Medical Center 1000+
Rockwell Collins Inc 1000+
Brevard County Sheriff Office 1000+
Florida Institute of Technology 1000+
Eastern Florida State College 1000+
Lockheed Martin 1000+
Parrish Medical Center 1000+
City of Melbourne 500 or less
GSI Commerce Solutions Inc 500 or less
City of Palm Bay 500 or less
United States Postal Service 500 or less
MC Test Service Inc 500 or less
DNC Parks & Resorts at KSC Inc 500 or less
United Launch Alliance LLC 500 or less
IAP Worldwide 500 or less
Brevard Achievement Center Inc 500 or less
City of Titusville 500 or less
The Devereux Foundation Inc 500 or less
Embraer 500 or less
Medsolutions Inc 500 or less
Space Coast Credit Union 500 or less
City of Cocoa 500 or less
DRS Network & Imaging Systems LLC 500 or less

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Information courtesy of the Economic Devleopment Commission Florida's Space Coast

Brevard County Arts

The Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra is a talented group of more than 150 Brevard County students ages 6-18. For more than 30 years, the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra has benefited greatly from the high level of music instruction Brevard County Schools offer. The fully professional Brevard Symphony Orchestra is the orchestra in residence at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts. The $12.5 million cultural facility holds a 2,000-seat theater and an 800-seat theatre that host symphonies, opera, ballet, Broadway musicals, jazz, comedy, children’s events, and much more.

There are also a number of community theatres in Brevard, including the Titusville Playhouse, the Cocoa Playhouse and Surfside Playhouse. A few of these community theatres are located in historic buidings. There are also several children's theatre groups in Brevard. 

Within Brevard, one will find a wealth of art galleries and historical displays. Art and cultural festivals are scheduled year-round, providing something to see and do every season of the year. Additionally, dozens of historic homes and sites have permanent and rotating exhibits. One will find that art leagues and writer’s guilds are very active in Brevard as well.

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Brevard County Business

Brevard County has a history of pro-business government, planned and controlled growth and dedication to preserving the environment. We have created pleasant, productive workplaces along the Space Coast, which is part of Florida’s High Tech Corridor. Within Brevard County are a number of different sectors that fuel our economic engine, from Port Canaveral, to communications, to aerospace and tourism. Global industry leaders, such as Boeing, SpaceX and Lockheed Martin, all have footprints here in Brevard, which enhances our economy while bolstering their mission success with our viable resources and talent. In addition, Brevard is home to Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. These two military installations are of paramount importance to our commercial and government space missions. Since 1950, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station has conducted more than 3,300 launches. These efforts not only further science and space exploration, but also drive our local economy forward through the creation of jobs and capitol. New businesses are welcome in Brevard and can access local and state incentives, a healthy transportation infrastructure, and a skilled labor force. 

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Brevard County Tourism

Brevard County is a popular vacation destination and a great place to call home that boasts a year-round average temperature of 74 degrees. Our beautiful beaches, the Kennedy Space Center and cruises from Port Canaveral attract millions of people to the Space Coast every year. Once here, visitors enjoy easy travel to their destinations via Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 1, which are accessible from virtually anywhere in Brevard County. The Space Coast also benefits from Port Canaveral and the Orlando Melbourne International Airport, which make travel by cruise ship, commercial airline or chartered plane a breeze.

At 72 miles, Brevard's coastline is the longest in Florida. Two great rivers, the Indian River and the Banana River, run parallel to the Atlantic Ocean, separating the mainland from the barrier islands and the beach. A number of Brevard's oceanfront parks also offer shower and restroom facilities, covered pavilions and playgrounds, as well as lifeguards on a seasonal basis. In addition, some parks feature hiking trails and nature walks.

Brevard County’s abundant waterways provide opportunities to watch porpoises play in the surf, manatees slowly swim by and a wide variety of birds enjoying our beautiful weather. The Space Coast is a wonderful place for nature enthusiasts with more than 100 parks, several campgrounds, six nature centers and thousands of acres of sanctuaries and conservation areas. In fact, the Town of Indialantic has been a bird sanctuary for more than 40 years. Visitors enjoy taking sea turtle walks at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge and birdwatching along the Black Point Wildlife Drive in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to more than 1,500 plant and animal species.

Visitors and residents alike enjoy spectacular views of launches from the Cape Canaveral Eastern Launch Range and interactive exhibits at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Those who seek fun in the sun often flock to Port Canaveral, which offers cruises from Disney, Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Carribean cruise lines. Port Canaveral is also home to the Cove, which holds a number of restuarants and shops, Jetty Park, which is a lovely hidden beach with a campground, and the Exploration Tower, which is an architecturally intriguing facility that offers observation points.

Families also enjoy visiting the Brevard Zoo, which is home to quite a few exotic animals, including giraffes, a black swan and great cats. When it first opened its doors, the Brevard Zoo was the largest community-built zoo in the world. It’s a favorite outing for many with Treetop Trek Aerial Adventures, a train and wild animal encounters that are loads of fun. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Coast beaches, Port Canaveral and the Brevard Zoo are just a handful of the places that make Brevard County a fun place to vacation and a great place to call home.

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Brevard County Education

According to the Economic Development Commission, 97 percent of Brevard County’s schools have received A or B grades and 90 percent are A schools. The Florida Department of Education ranked our school system the second best in the state. Brevard Public Schools has the highest graduation rate in the state and is home to 5 of the 23 “Glasser Quality Schools” on Earth. The Space Coast also offers residents dozens of private, religious and charter schools for students from prekindergarten to high school level. Many of these centers of education are known for their low student-to-teacher ratios, thriving arts programs and specialized academic focuses.

There are also nine centers for higher education within Brevard County. Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) serves all sections of Brevard with campuses in Cocoa, Melbourne, Titusville, Patrick Air Force Base, Palm Bay and a strong online learning platform. EFSC students have more than 100 academic options to choose from, including certifications, two-year and four-year degree programs. The University of Central Florida also serves Brevard County students via regional campuses located in Cocoa and Palm Bay. Highly respected academically, the Florida Institute of Technology is a four-year private university that serves students from 175-acre campus in Melbourne. A wealth of education options makes it possible for students to obtain four-year college degrees without ever stepping foot outside of Brevard County.

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Brevard County Religion

Brevard County is a very diverse county, which is reflected in the wide variety of faith centers that have found a home here. With hundreds of religious centers, throughout the Space Coast, there is a place for you in our community. Rest assured that you will find a new faith center near your new home. A number of the religious centers in Brevard also offer daycare that is affiliated with our local elementary, middle and high schools. Some also have private schools on their grounds, such as Merritt Island Christian School and St. Teresa Catholic School.

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