With the recent passing of Neil Armstrong, America’s space program has been in the news. Those of us, who are old enough to remember the moon landing, remember the feelings of pride and accomplishment. As I have watched some of the recent programs that have recounted the progress of the Apollo program, and realized just how cutting edge and dangerous it was, I have developed an even greater sense of admiration for those brave heroes like Neil Armstrong.
I was also thinking about the huge impact this program has had on the area of Florida’s east coast known as the “Space Coast”. The Space Coast is a region around Kennedy Space Center, where NASA launched all of the manned space missions from Mercury to the Space Shuttles, and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, site of unmanned civilian and military space launches. Cities in the area include Titusville, Cocoa, Rockledge, Cape Canaveral, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne and Palm Bay. Most of the area lies within Brevard County. It is bounded on the south by the Treasure Coast. It is bounded on the west and north by Central Florida and is economically tied to that region. It is bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
Prior to the “Space Boom”, Brevard’s economy was largely based on citrus production. Of the 839,404 acres in the county, more than 20,000 acres were cultivated to produce the famed “Indian River” oranges and grapefruit. In 1950, Brevard’s population was only 23,700 and depended mainly on this agricultural resource. The Cape Canaveral Air Force Station became the location for new government missile defense programs which were responsible for a growth in population to 91,900 by 1958. When the north Merritt Island location was chosen as the launch base for the Apollo program, the population soared to 247,500 in the next ten years. This increase in population, largely consisting of engineers and support personnel for the space program, brought the development of many upscale communities to the area. The space program was so popular in the 1960’s, that television sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie”, used Cocoa Beach, and the Kennedy Space Center as its setting.
The Space Coast is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches and natural areas in the state. It is the location of the Canaveral National Seashore, a National Park, located between New Smyrna Beach and Titusville, Florida, in Volusia County and Brevard Counties. The park, located on a barrier island, is home to more than 1,000 plant species and 310 bird species. It occupies 58,000 acres (including lagoons) and was created on January 3, 1975 by an act of Congress. The park’s 24-mile-long beach is the longest undeveloped beach on the east coast of the state. The John F. Kennedy Space Center is located at the southern end of the barrier island occupied by Canaveral National Seashore. Mosquito Lagoon borders the other side of the Cape from the Seashore.
Maronda Homes has been building quality concrete block homes in Florida since 1972. They have a great new community located on Merritt Island, just 7 miles from the Kennedy Space Center. Mandalay Grove is a private gated community that offers estate sized home sites and features Maronda’s Presidential series of homes. These homes come complete with tile roofs, paver driveways, and luxurious granite kitchen counter tops included in the price. Maronda Homes has other great communities located all over the Space Coast area starting from the $110’s. Visit Maronda online or come see one of their decorated model homes today!