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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).

Palm Bay Historical Trail

Copyright 1999 by Steve Rajtar

(From Interstate 95, drive east on Malabar Rd. and north on Florence St. to its end at Johnston Ave., to park at Huggins Park. Walk west on Johnston Ave. and south on Marie St. to the two-story building on the west side of the street.)(0.3 miles so far)

West side of Marie St., between Johnston Ave. and Malabar Rd. (4490 Marie St.)

1....Malabar Millworks

The millworks business has been here since about 1964. It is located in the old brick school building, erected in 1926.

(Continue south on Marie St., then walk east on Malabar Rd. 100 feet past the railroad tracks.)(0.9)

Malabar Rd. (f/k/a Main St.), east of the FEC tracks

2....Site of Huggins' General Store

Near here was Huggins' General Store. Behind it, James W. "Willie" Marshall and his cousin, Will J. Marshall, set up a sawmill in about 1924.

(Continue east on Malabar Rd. to the intersection with US 1 (Dixie Hwy.).)(1.0)

Intersection of Malabar Rd. and Dixie Hwy.

3....Dixie Highway

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.

(Walk north on the west side of Dixie Hwy., west on Hessey Ave., and south on Miller St. to the intersection with Palm Bay Rd.)(4.7)

Intersection of Miller St. and Palm Bay Rd.

4....Site of Second School

The first school classes took place in the Culpepper orange packing house on the north side of the bay in 1889. May Valentine was the first teacher. The second school was located here by 1920 in a two-room clapboard building.

(Continue south on Miller St. to the intersection with Pollak Ave.)(4.8)

Southwest corner of Miller St. and Pollak Ave.

5....St. Joseph's Catholic Church

This is the first Catholic church in the south part of Brevard County, built by the men of the Catholic Colony in 1914. A small church was built by the developer in a remote area west of Malabar, but the colonists instead worshipped in nearby homes. This church building was designed by Frank Meinhardt with an American Gothic style. It was constructed of native pine and cypress from the Union Cypress sawmill in Hopkins.

The construction of the church was followed by a rectory in 1923 (now the convent), and in 1934 by a parish hall and school. In 1929, the remains in the original cemetery were exhumed and moved to their present site. The stained glass windows date to the 1914 construction. The church was substantially restored during 1994.

A parochial school was established here in 1963, due to an expansion of the Catholic community. Many came from General Development Corporation's housing project in Port Malabar. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

(Continue south 300 feet on Miller St.)(4.8)

West side of Miller St., between Pollak and Hickory Aves.

6....Catholic Cemetery

The Florida Indian River Catholic Colony of Tillman was founded here, headquartered in the Slama Hotel. The colony was formed by a land development company which sent representatives to the Midwest farming communities to recruit colonists. Between 1912 and 1914, 105 German and Czech Catholic families moved to the area to establish farms. By 1916, many had changed to careers in fishing.

(Continue south on Miller St., then walk east on Hickory Ave. and south on Braun St. until it ends.)(5.0)

East side of foot of Braun St. (1307 and 1309 Braun St.)

7....Kohten and Bauer Houses

These homes were built in the 1920s. Mr. Kohten was the mayor of Tillman when it was incorporated as a town.

(Walk north on Braun St., east on Hickory Ave., north on Main St., and east on Palm Bay Rd. to the intersection with Dixie Hwy., and look to the north.)(5.4)

Intersection of Dixie Hwy. and Hiawatha Ave.

8....Road to site of First Post Office

The first post office, then known as Tillman, was in the home of Amelia Valentine, the first postmaster of the community. It sat near here, about 100 yards back from the river. In 1882, it was replaced by a post office on the south side of Turkey Creek about a mile west of the railroad, with Richard H. Conkling as the postmaster.

(Walk south 375 feet on Dixie Hwy.)(5.5)

West side of Dixie Hwy., between Palm Bay Rd. and Popsipil Ave. (4186 Dixie Hwy.)

9....Carter House

This house was built during the 1920s and was the residence of Fred Pollak. He and his brother, Harry, were the models for the old-time comic strip, the Katz'n Jammer Kids.

(Continue south 50 feet on Dixie Hwy.)(5.5)

West side of Dixie Hwy., between Palm Bay Rd. and Popsipil Ave. (4198 Dixie Hwy.)

10....Palm Vill-A

This house dates to the 1920s, and was the home of the Wells family.

(Continue south on Dixie Hwy. to the intersection with Popsipil Ave.)(6.3)

Intersection of Dixie Hwy. and Popsipil Ave.

11....Popsipil Avenue

This street is named after the Popsipils, a farming family from the Midwest who moved into a 1918-19 house on Ridge Rd., across Turkey Creek.

(Walk south on the east side of Dixie Hwy. and east on Gran Ave. to the intersection with Judy Ct.)(7.1)

East end of Gran Ave.

12....Cape Malabar

The name "Cape Malabar" began appearing on U.S. maps in about 1825. The word means "bad bar" or "rough crossing" as pertaining to navigation charts. The town took its name from the cape.

Malabar was settled prior to 1886. One of its earliest settlers was E.B. Arnold who grew pineapples until they were wiped out by the freezes in 1894 and 1895.

(Walk west on Gran Ave., south on Dixie Hwy., and west on Malabar Rd. and north on Florence St. to the point of beginning.)(8.7)


Brevard County, by Elaine Murray Stone (Windsor Publications, Inc. 1988)

Crossroad Towns Remembered: A Look Back at Brevard & Indian River Pioneer Communities, by Weona Cleveland (Florida Today 1994)

Florida Historic Stained Glass Survey: Sites of Historic Windows in Public Facilities in the State of Florida, by Robert O. Jones (Florida Members of the Stained Glass Association of America 1995)

Melbourne Bicentennial Book, by Noreda B. McKemy and Elaine Murray Stone (Brevard Graphics, Inc. 1976)

Melbourne, Florida Postal History 1880-1980, by Fred A. Hopwood (Kellersberger Fund 1980)

St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 1914-1986 (1986)

Tales of Old Brevard, by Georgiana Kjerluff (The Kellersberger Fund of The South Brevard Historical Society, Inc. 1972)

Click here for a copy of the trail rules. 1