• 2210 South Front Street • Melbourne, Florida 32901 • (321) 725-9054 • Fax: (321) 729- 8400 • E-mail: melbourneharbor@aol.com
History of Melbourne, Florida The area along the Indian River that now includes Melbourne was once the ancestral home of the native Ais Indians, and was visited briefly by Ponce de Leon in 1513 as he searched for gold. Early settlers were drawn to the area's fertile soil, abundant wildlife and the protected natural harbor. The "Village of Melbourne" was formed in 1888, and until the arrival of the railroad in 1893, mail and other supplies were delivered by river boat. A fire in 1919 destroyed much of the town, which was rebuilt to the west, near the train depot. Ferry boats, such as the one pictured above, were an important form of transportation from the mainland to the barrier island from the 1880's through the 1920's. The Orange Spot Inn (above) was built in 1883 on the site of what is now the Melbourne Harbor Place apartments, and was famous for its water wheel (foreground) which pumped water to the hotel. It became the winter address for many northern visitors who came to play tennis on the spacious grounds, with a sweeping view of Crane Creek and Melbourne Harbor. The Inn burned in 1927, when its hot water boiler exploded. While the railroad provided a new form of transportation and commerce, Melbourne's ties to the water have not diminished. The present marina, built in 1984, continues to enjoy the protected natural harbor and a rich variety of wildlife, birds, and fish. The Downtown Melbourne Association sponsors a "walking tour" of the Historic Downtown District, along tree-lined streets and parks that still evoke the area's colorful and diverse history.
For more about Melbourne's history, click HERE