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Instructions:

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.

Sebastian Historical Trail

Copyright 2004 by Steve Rajtar

(From Interstate 95, drive east on SR 514 (Malabar Rd.) and south on US 1 across the St. Sebastian River to the intersection with Indian River Dr. to park at Moore's Point at the northeast corner.)(0.0 miles so far)

Northeast corner of US 1 and Indian River Dr.

1....Wauregan

This area located south of the St. Sebastian River and west of the Indian River was part of the Fleming Grant surveyed by S.B. Carter. On an 1889 grant, it was called the town of Wauregan. Planned development failed to occur when Henry M. Flagler withdrew his support. He had wanted more land than was being offered for a new hotel site.

This community of Roseland had two early hotels, the Sebastian Inn and the Royal Hotel, each of which burned down. The Erceldoune Hotel was also located near here, a little upstream and back from the river bank, and the surrounding community shared its name, before being called Roseland. Theodore Roosevelt once stayed at the Erceldoune in 1903.

(Walk south on US 1, southwest on 83rd Ave. (Bay St.), southeast on 133rd Pl., southwest on Roseland Rd., northwest on 130th (Gibson) St., and southwest on 83rd Ave. to the intersection with 129th Pl.)(1.5)

Northwest side of 83rd Ave., across from 129th Pl.

2....Roseland Community House

This building was erected in about 1930 and functioned as the social center of Roseland.

(Walk southeast on 129th Pl. to the intersection with Roseland Rd.)(1.7)

West corner of 129th Pl. and Roseland Rd.

3....Roseland United Methodist Church

This was formerly the site of a prison camp, later replaced by apartments. Church services were held here as early as 1911.

After the apartments, this corner had a barber shop and, by 1924, this church was built.

(Walk northeast on Roseland Rd. to the intersection with Indian River Dr.)(2.7)

South corner of Roseland Rd. and Indian River Dr.

4....Site of Gibson House

David Peter Gibson built a home during the 1880s with a pyramid roof and cypress siding on this corner. During the 1910s, it was the home of Tom and Mabel Hicks. In 1930, it was moved to another location, west of the former Indian River Seafood Company. It was then owned by Mr. and Mrs. C.O. Weston, and he was the secretary and treasurer of the company.

(Look east across the Indian River.)(2.7)

East of Roseland

5....Sebastian Inlet

Retired Detroit Methodist minister Rev. Thomas New, who settled near Barker's Bluff in 1881, is credited with cutting the first inlet across the barrier island. Using a shovel and wheelbarrow, he connected the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River, only to have it fill with sand. He cut a second one, and it also filled.

Capt. Gibson promoted and inspired volunteers in 1886 to dig a ditch from the ocean to the river where the barrier island was only one-fourth of a mile wide. On the river side, it was known as Gibson's Cut. That effort failed.

Another group completed the ditch in 1895, but the first big storm caused the gap to disappear. In 1914-19, it was dredged by Charles W. Sembler, but it closed when the tides changed. The channel was opened in 1924, but again closed by tides.

Jetties were built in1924 and a northeastern storm opened the channel. It closed on its own in 1941. In 1945, personnel of the Banana River Naval Air Station attempted to remove the sand bar as part of their training. However, the U.S. Navy Demolition Squad merely succeeded in blowing up 12 cottages owned by the Beaujean family. The land remained.

The Sebastian Inlet Veterans Committee opened the channel on September 28, 1947, and it has remained open since. On September 27, 1965, the Robert W. Graves Memorial Bridge opened for traffic, spanning the inlet.

In July of 1715, 11 or 12 Spanish merchant ships departed from Cuba to return to Spain. They were blown off course by a hurricane and sank near here, and 1,500 survivors gathered here. The surviviors built a temporary settlement while salvage operations were conducted in 1715-19 to regain the lost gold and silver.

While the Spaniards were working on the salvage project, English pirate Henry Jennings confiscated a large quantity of coins which he took to Port Royal, Jamaica. A majority of the treasure was salvaged and returned to Havana.

The survivors' campsite was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 12, 1970, and Sebastian Inlet State Park was formed the same year. The Robert P. McLarty Museum was built there on land donated by him.

(Walk northwest 950 feet on Indian River Dr.)(2.9)

Southwest side of Indian River Dr., between Roseland Rd. and US 1 (13875 Indian River Rd.)

6....Ruffner House

Col. H.D. Ruffner, a Confederate veteran, lived in Charleston, West Virginia, with his family. After his first wife died, he married Joanna Abbott and two years later they moved to Roseland. They purchased land in the Erceldoune area from D.P. Gibson and built the present two-story frame house.

(Continue northwest 100 feet on Indian River Dr.)(2.9)

Southwest side of Indian River Dr., between Roseland Rd. and US 1 (13875 Indian River Dr.)

7....Former Post Office

This small building, now used for storage, was the post office while Joanna Ruffner was the postmaster. It overlooked the Indian River and the boats that delivered the mail in the early days of Roseland.

(Continue northwest on Indian River Dr. to the point of beginning.)(3.3)

(Drive southeast on Indian River Dr., southwest on Roseland Rd., and southeast on Old Dixie Hwy. (turns into Central Ave.) past 129th Pl. to the cemetery, and look to the east.)

Northeast side of Central Ave., between 129th Pl. and Jackson St.

8....Site of A. Park House

When a canning factory opened a branch in Fort Pierce, August Park moved there, having previously lived in Danzig, Germany, and New York. He settled on the river, across from the present cemetery, in 1865.

By mid-1884, he acquired 43.5 acres in the area and operated a trading boat on the Indian River which ran from Titusville to Fort Pierce. The cemetery was started by him when he allowed a man to bury his son on his land, and then gave the same permission to others. August Park died in 1895 when a tree fell on him.

(Drive southeast on Central Ave., northeast on Davis St., and southeast on Indian River Dr. to park at Riverside Park at the south corner of Indian River Dr. and Fellsmere Rd.)(3.3)

South side of Fellsmere Rd., between US 1 and Indian River Dr.

9....Bartram Trail

William Bartram was sent by the government of England to survey the flora and fauna of what is now the southeastern U.S. His trip lasted from 1773 until 1777 and the route's southern terminus was what is now called Sebastian, passing close to this park.

(Walk north on Indian River Dr. to the intersection with Main St.)(4.0)

Northeast corner of Indian River Dr. and Main St.

10....Hardee Memorial

This plaque and the large oak tree 70 feet west of Indian River Dr. honor the memory of Capt. Robert G. Hardee (1872-1947). Hardee was a major force in the early settlement of Sebastian.

(Look to the east.)(4.0)

East of Sebastian in the Indian River

11....Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pelican Island is the largest of the mangrove islands which, along with the surrounding waters, were declared the first national wildlife refuge in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.

From his Barker's Bluff home, Paul Kroegel could see boatloads of tourists disturbing and killing the birds. He built a boat yard and dock, from which he chased away the tourists. Because of the attention he brought to the matter, he is credited with the area's national designation. In 1903, he was appointed as its warden.

Brown pelicans have roosted here at least since 1858, along with egrets, cormorants, ibis, herons, and other water birds. Pelican Island was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

(Cross Indian River Dr. and walk west on the south side of Main St. to the intersection with US 1.)(4.0)

Southeast corner of US 1 and Main St. (700 Main St.)

12....Site of F. Park House

Postmaster Maud Owens operated the post office in the Hardee Building, and she was succeeded by Charles Beugnot. She married Fred Park and again became the postmaster. The Parks had their home here in the 1910s.

(Walk south 280 feet on US 1.)(4.1)

East side of US 1, between Main and Washington Sts. (1208 US 1)

13....W. Braddock House

William Christopher Braddock and his wife, Victorine, moved here from the northern part of the state after the devastating freezes of 1894 and 1895. His son, William Christopher Braddock, Jr. and his wife, Kate Lawson, built this house in 1919. It had the first mechanical refrigeration unit in Sebastian and was the only house with a cellar.

(Walk north on US 1 and west on the south side of Main St. halfway to the intersection with the railroad tracks.)(4.2)

South side of Main St., between US 1 and the railroad tracks

14....Site of Vickers Store

The Vickers Brothers had a store here in the early 1900s. Mrs. E.W. Vickers joined the Methodist Church in 1915 and was its organist for more than 40 years.

The building had been built for the W.C. Braddocks, and later was owned by the Vickers, the Andersons, the Semblers, and the J.T. Thompsons. Upstairs was an apartment in which they lived. It was completely remodeled in 1925 by E.W. Vickers.

Just east of that building was the Sebastian Inn which, in 1940, advertised that is was "where fish and fishermen meet".

(Look across the street to the north.)(4.2)

North side of Main St., between US 1 and the railroad tracks

15....Site of Kitching Store

The 1884 name change from New Haven to Sebastian is credited to Sylvanus Kitching, who moved here with his brother, Walter, in about 1881. Their home and general store was located near the river, then dragged inland on rollers to this site. It also served as the post office while Sylvanus was the postmaster.

(Continue west 100 feet on Main St. and look across the street to the north.)(4.2)

North side of Main St., between US 1 and the railroad tracks

16....Site of Hall Buildings

G.B. Hall owned three small wooden buildings here, including a barber shop and packing house, in the early 1900s.

(Continue west on Main St. to the intersection with the railraod tracks and cross to the northeast corner.)(4.2)

Northeast corner of Main St. and the railroad tracks

17....Site of Hardee Building

In the two-story fram Hardee Building was located the Sloan Store, which included the post office while W.P. Sloan was its postmaster. He was succeeded by Maud Owens, who moved the post office back to the Hardee Building. When Charles Beugnot became the postmaster, he moved it back to the Morrow Building. In 1918, the building here was known as the Tompkins Store.

(Walk west on Main St. and north 150 feet on Louisiana Ave.)(4.3)

West side of Louisiana Ave., north of Main St. (1309 Louisiana Ave.)

18....G. Braddock House

In 1904, George A. and Rebecca Braddock moved from Titusville to John's Island. Three years later, they moved to Sebastian with their four children, George, Geraldine, Janelda and Dixie. The Braddocks had a dairy and a citrus grove, and at one time raised and shipped mangoes.

Their first house was small one, located well back on this lot. By 1912, this larger home was built in front of it, and some of the rooms were rented out. George Braddock died in 1949 at the age of 81 when he was struck by a train.

(Walk south on Louisiana Ave. and west 250 feet on Main St.)(4.4)

North side of Main St., between the railroad tracks and King St. (1029 Main St.)

19....Sebastian United Methodist Church

This is the oldest church in Indian River County, having begun in 1886 with meetings in the homes of its members. Rev. Hickock sailed to Sebastian monthly to conduct the services. A charter was granted for the church in 1887. In 1889, H.B. Howard donated a portion of his homestead for a building site.

Money for construction was raised by the women of the community by cooking suppers for ship crews stopping at Kitching's Dock, the sole stop between Fort Pierce and Titusville. Local residents also came there for the suppers. The pulpit was built by Paul Kroegel and the bell was donated by the Groves family.

The first service was held in the church building in 1893 by Rev. C.F. Blackburn. The building was incomplete, and the parishioners laid boards as a temporary floor and sat on nail kegs. An organ was installed in 1894 and used until 1964. The church was enlarged and remodeled in 1901.

A parsonage was constructed in 1958. The present sanctuary was completed in 1964, along with classrooms and pastor's study.

(Continue west on Main St. 200 feet past Lake St.)(4.6)

North side of Main St., between Lake and Gibson Sts. (1225 Main St.)

20....City Hall

Originally, this was the site of the small frame home of Oscar Gaffney. In 1927, the Sebastian School was built here. That building in 1982 was dedicated as the Sebastian City Hall, which since 1957 had been located in the what is now the Chamber of Commerce Building at the corner of US 1 and Main St.

The town of New Haven was settled by Rev. Thomas New in March of 1882. It was renamed in 1884 because it was near the St. Sebastian River, which had been given that name by Spanish explorers.

(Continue southwest on Main St. to the west driveway of the post office, and look to the southwest.)(4.8)

East of Bob Cir., behind the present post office

21....Site of Macedonia Baptist Church

Murray E. and Sarah Braddock Hall, white settlers, donated this land for a black church. Built in 1908, it was initially called the Colored Baptist Church of Sebastian. Its first trustees were Mose M. Hill, Sebrose P. Norris and Syd Norris.

The Sebastian Methodist Church donated benches and a bell which formerly called slaves in from the Louisiana fields. To preserve the church as a museum and the educational building as a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., they were moved to Gibson in 1994.

(Walk east on Main St., south on Cross St., and east on Palmetto Ave. to the intersection with Louisiana Ave., and look east across the railroad tracks.)(5.3)

East side of the railroad tracks, south of Main St.

22....Site of Railroad Station

The first train arrived at the Florida East Coast Railway station here on December 11, 1893. Across the street from the station, to the west, was the three-story wooden Sebastian School.

(Walk south on Louisiana Ave. across CR 512, then walk southwest on CR 512 and south on Veterans Memorial Way to the intersection with Taft St.)(5.9)

West side of Louisiana Ave., across from Taft St.

23....War Memorial

To the east of this building is a marble monument erected by VFW Post 10210, which is located next to it at the corner of Louisiana Ave. and Veterans Memorial Way.

(Walk east on Taft St., south on High St., and east on Fellsmere Rd. to the point of beginning.)(6.2)

Bibliography
A Guide to National Register Sites in Florida, (Florida Department of State 1984)

An Uncommon Guide to Florida, by Nina McGuire (Tailored Tours Publications, Inc. 1992)

Black Florida, by Kevin M. McCarthy (Hippocrene Books 1995)

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 Markers & Sites, by Floyd E. Boone (Gulf Publishing Company 1988)

Florida's Hibiscus City/Vero Beach, by J. Noble Richards (Brevard Graphics, Incorporated 1968)

Florida's Historic Indian River County, by Charlotte Lockwood (MediaTronics, Inc. 1975)

Florida's History Through Its Places: Properties in the National Register of Historic Places, by Morton D. Winsberg (Florida State University 1988)

Indian River, Florida's Treasure Coast, by Walter R. Hellier (Hurricane House 1965)

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

The Pioneer Churches of Florida, by The Daughters of the American Revolution (The Mickler House 1976)

Tales of Sebastian, (Sebastian River Area Historical Society, Inc. 1990)

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