Cape Canaveral

  • Brevard County
  • Year Founded: 1963

History

The vision for a new city came about in 1961, when an organizing committee was formed to set into motion the founding of what later became Cape Canaveral. Raymond Jamieson, local resident and employee of space contractor Pan Am, was appointed chairman of the committee and work began on incorporation. The founding meeting was held on June 2, 1962 at the Tropicana Juice Plant at Port Canaveral to vote on incorporation of a new municipality, to select an Election Board and Charter Board and to vote on three names for the city: Artesia, Canaveral and Canaveral Beach.

The City Charter was presented to the City Council in February 1963 and introduced as House Bill #167 in the State Legislature that same year. The Bill became law on May 16, 1963, without Governor Farris Bryant’s signature. The following month, the City’s first election under the Charter was held. There were 13 candidates for the five council seats. As per the Charter, the council members were to select the mayor and their choice was Richard Thurm who served for the next seven years.

Four years after incorporation, the City had accumulated enough money to construct a city hall free of debt. The building was dedicated on January 21, 1966 and remains the home to the City’s Administrative and Financial Services Staff.

In the early 1970’s, the Apollo Program ended and the area suffered a recession. However, with the advent of the Shuttle Program, a sense of normalcy soon returned. A newspaper reported that there had been 628,426 visitors to witness the launch of the space shuttle during the first quarter of 1981. Unfortunately, after many prosperous years the Shuttle Program ended in 2011.

However, the prospects are bright for Cape Canaveral as City leaders are moving forward with the community’s vision, “Envision Cape Canaveral”, begun in 2009. 160 community leaders and residents participated in a series of workshops to create a sound vision to foster and guide the City’s future growth and development. The City government remains true to moving forward in implementing “Envision Cape Canaveral” which will result in a re-invented progressive barrier island community and the launching pad for future space exploration.

The City Council recently approved creation of a Community Redevelopment Agency, as well as establishment of the A1A Economic Opportunity Overlay District, a zoning overlay for the commercial area along SR A1A and adjacent to Port Canaveral to promote hospitality-related commercial development that capitalizes on the economic benefits of the Port. The Overlay provides flexibility in the uses and design requirements, mixed use, while setting minimum design standards to facilitate quality development.

During these difficult and challenging times, Cape Canaveral has become home to new businesses. Florida Beer Company (full scale brewery), Tight Communications (satellite communications) and Space Tec (aerospace technology) are among the many that have chosen Cape Canaveral to be the launching pad for their future and that of their families.

Story of City’s Founding

The vision for a new city came about in 1961, when an organizing committee was formed to set into motion the founding of what later became Cape Canaveral. Raymond Jamieson, local resident and employee of space contractor Pan Am, was appointed chairman of the committee and work began on incorporation. The founding meeting was held on June 2, 1962 at the Tropicana Juice Plant at Port Canaveral to vote on incorporation of a new municipality, to select an Election Board and Charter Board and to vote on three names for the city: Artesia, Canaveral and Canaveral Beach.

Little Known Facts

  • John Glenn stayed in a house in Cape Canaveral when he was training for his space mission
  • In the early days of the space race, TV Anchorman Walter Cronkite would interview astronauts at a restaurant called the Moon Hut in Cape Canaveral
  • In June of 1969, Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie accidentally met Astronaut Buzz Aldrin at the Cape Kennedy Hilton in Cape Canaveral
  • Archaeological sites in the area revealed a culture of people that resided in the area over 2000 years ago
  • The City has four sister cities: Kloter, Switzerland; Vilo Do Bispo, Portugal; Guidonia, Italy; and Ithaca Greece.
  • Films shot on location: “The Right Stuff”; “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster”; “Things Behind the Sun”, (directed by Allison anders who actually lived in Cape Canaveral)
  • The City once had it’s own Police Department, but today contracts with Brevard County Sheriff’s Office for services
  • There once was a museum of sunken treasure that attracted thousands of visitors annually
  • Early residents in the World War II period would watch allied ships being torpedoed by German U-Boats
  • The final naval battle of the American Revolution was fought off the coast of Cape Canaveral on March 10, 1783
  • In the 1800’s citrus from the area was called Banana River Citrus and wer considered on of the sweetest variety of Indian River Fruit

Historical Sites

Name: Artesia School House
Location: Holman Road
Historical Significance:

Name: Carter – Fuller Mounds
Location: 212 Center Street
Historical Significance: Before modern construction, a complex of six burial mounds occupied this location. They were built by the ancestors of the prehistoric Ais tribe, a group who occupied the Cape Canaveral area at the time of European contact. Based on pottery styles and the presence of European materials discovered here, the age of these mounds range from AD 600 to the 16th century. In the 1930s, Dr. George Woodbury, under the direction of the Smithsonian Institute’s Bureau of Ethnology and the Peabody Museum, initiated a series of archaeological investigations into several American Indian mound sites near here. With the help of local laborers provided by the New Deal’s Civil Works Administration, excavations on the properties belonging to the Carter and Fuller families revealed the remains of more than 100 individuals that included men, women, and children. Along with these burials, dozens of ornamental and utilitarian artifacts made of bone, shell, and stone were recovered. Many of these artifacts are still housed at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. and the Peabody Museum in Massachusetts.

Name: Moon Hut Restaurant
Historical Significance: This 1950’s built restaurant was a favorite breakfast hang out for the astronauts. Oral histories that CBS correspondent Walter Cronkite would interview Apollo astronauts over a cup of coffee here. Flight

Name: Alma Beecher’s Log Cabin
Location: 122 Oak Lane Cape Canaveral

Key Historical Events

Event: First Meeting
Event Description:

First meeting held at the Tropicana Juice Plant at Port Canaveral to vote on whether to incorporate the area. 152 for incorporation and 18 against.

Event: Second Meeting and Election
Event Description:

Second meeting and election by freehold electors. Raymond Jamieson was re-elected Mayor abut Roy Staton replaced previous Town Marshall.

Event: Incorporation Bill
Event Description:

Florida Legislature approved Bill 167 giving incorporation to the City of Cape Canaveral.

Event: New City Hall
Event Description:

The new City Hall is dedicated. This facility was constructed free of debt and remains the home of the City’s Administration and Financial Services Staff.

Event: New Post Office
Event Description:

1963 New Post office built.

Event: Emory Bennett Highway Causeway Dedication
Event Description:

Bennett enlisted in the Army 7/25/1950. In Korea on 6/24/1951 his company was forced to pull back and he voluntarily stayed behind to provide covering fire during which he was mortally wounded. For these actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on 2/1/1952.

Event: Elementary School opens
Event Description:

1964 – Cape View Elementary School opened

Event: Sun and Sea Festival
Event Description:

1967 Sun and Sea Festival commemorates the 5th anniversary of incorporation of the city. Sun, Space and Sea became the logo, the city seal was adopted from this event’s logo.

Event: New Police Facility
Event Description:

Dedication of new police facility for the Cape Canaveral Police Department, The building is still used today by the Breveard County Sheriff’s Office.

Event: Recreation Complex Dedication
Event Description:

The dedication of the new recreation complex.