Places of Interest

History of Melbourne Beach

In 1883, Major Cyrus E. Graves, a retired veteran of the Union Army, sailed into Melbourne Harbor. Major Graves was most impressed with the area and decided to buy government land which was available on the barrier island across the Indian River from Melbourne. During the next four years, he bought approximately six hundred acres which comprises present day Melbourne Beach.

There was an eager attempt to grow pineapples and other tropical fruits, but the freeze of 1895, known for years as the "Big Freeze", wiped out the local growers. No real commercial attempt was ever made again in the Melbourne Beach area.

The year 1883 was a busy year for Melbourne Beach. The pier, bathhouse and railroad were built. The railroad consisted of a single push car which was used to transport groceries, supplies and people from the dock at the pier along Ocean Avenue to the ocean. Prior to 1920, transportation to and from Melbourne was by a small ferry boat which was a sailboat, later replaced by a motor launch. The ferry service remained the only means of transportation until the Melbourne Causeway was built in 1921.

The Town was incorporated in 1923, with a population of a few hundred residents. After experiencing several boom and bust periods, the population of the Town began to stabilize after the Second World War with growth occurring more evenly.

Some Interesting Historical Facts about Melbourne Beach
The Women's Club - Now known as the Community Center, it was built in 1920 by a group of ladies
known as the Rambler's Club. They raised $5,200.00 to fund the building by giving dinners, theatricals,
and other activities. It still has the original pine paneling, oak flooring and enclosed bookshelves plus
two fireplaces.


The Ryckman House - Built in 1889 by Jacob Fox of pine and cypress with two rooms upstairs, a
large room downstairs and a large porch. It was purchased by G. E. Ryckman who is listed as an
Incorporator in the Melbourne and Atlantic Railroad Company.

Port d'Hiver Bed and Breakfast Inn
201 Ocean Avenue
Melbourne Beach, FL 32951
(321) 725-0698

Port d'Hiver Website


Mrs. McCormick's Boarding House - This unique structure was built in 1915 and was the private
residence of Mrs. McCormick and her sister who took in boarders. There are many parts of the
interior that are of the original wood such as the pine floors and bead board on the kitchen walls.
They took in boarders to earn their living. It is now a Wellness Center.

Capt. Beaujean's Original House and Post Office - This is a replica of the Original House
located just south of the pier. It was built in 1889 and ferryboat Capt. Beaujean brought his wife Adelaide
and two sons, Don and Claude, to live in it. In 1891, postal service was instigated, and he used a side
portion of the house for the Post Office. Capt. Beaujean built a very nice large house on Riverside Drive
in 1909, and the small rustic structure was moved to the empty space behind the Riverside Drive houses
where it deteriorated. When it was discovered, it was not possible to restore and move it, so a group of
citizens, headed by Mr. Frank Thomas, and the Melbourne High School Trades Department built this
replica.

The Community Chapel - After purchasing 20 acres of land from Major Cyrus E. Graves, Mr. and
Mrs. Henry Whiting donated one lot for the Chapel. The construction took place from 1890 to 1892
under the supervision of Capt. Beaujean for a cost of $200.00 It was a simple building with portico
entrance and could only seat 70 persons. Since then there have been many additions and improvements.
Note the lovely stained glass windows and the bell in the belfry furnished by a Children's Fund Drive
in 1928.

Jeanne's Garden - Most of the land owned by the town founders was planted with pineapple plants
and it was thought to be a fine enterprise until the freeze of 1894-95. Some pineapple fields continued
for a while, but gradually the land was sold in lots and people began to build houses, plant gardens and
spend time enjoying the area. This garden was started in 1940

The Help House - This unusual little house began as a place for the "help" to stay in. These were
African-Americans who were hired by Don Beaujean and others to work on the construction of
buildings and roads and may have helped in the pineapple fields. Since it was not easy to go
to their homes each night by boat, having small quarters near the work was the solution. It probably
was located near Don Beaujean's house by the park. Later it was moved near Sunset Avenue and
eventually was moved to Avenue A. The house still has the original floors, windows and doors
of hardwood pine.


The Lumberman's House - Built in 1935 by Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Sullivan who owned a lumber
yard in Melbourne near the old ice plant. A lot of their lumber supply came from Holopaw. The
house has large planked floors, cypress doors and built in bookshelves, cabinets and drawers.
This house has a basement that was used by the house "help" of the subsequent owners.
The Fisherman's Cottage - Recently remodeled, this attractive house dates back to 1921. It
was built of Miami Dade pine, (floors, ceiling and walls) and has a great fireplace of coquina rock.
There is a cellar with shower. The previous owner, Mr. Chandler Young, was an avid fisherman
(Harry Goode's fishing buddy) and on one day caught over 100 bluefish which his wife photographed.
His niece was inspired to make a sculpture of her uncle with the fish, and that piece of art is on
display in the house.


The Cistern at 1102 Pine St. - An above ground cistern, built to match the house, illustrates
the necessity of storing water before city water was available. These cisterns collected rain water
or stored water from artesian wells.
The Don Beaujean House - Son of Capt. Rufus Beaujean, Don Beaujean was very instrumental
in the formation of the town and the subsequent growth and development. The house was built in
1910, and has been remodeled several times, but it has a unique location and is part of the history
of the area.



        


 
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