Vero Beach

  • Indian River County
  • Year Founded: 1919
  • Previously known as: Vero

History

The City was first incorporated in June of the year 1919 as “the City of Vero.” The first meeting of the City Council was held in Seminole Hall on June 12, 1919. Mr. A.W. Young was elected as the City’s first Mayor, Joseph Hill was appointed as City Clerk, and C.G. Redstone was elected President of the Council. In May of the year 1925, the City of Vero was abolished and was simultaneously reincorporated to be known as “the City of Vero Beach” when it was transferred from St. Lucie County to Indian River County. The new and current City Hall, located at 1053 20th Place, was dedicated on May 17, 1963 and the new Community Center was dedicated on January 15, 1966. The population of the City of Vero Beach in 1920 was 753 and it has grown to an estimated population of more than 15,000.

Story of City’s Founding

Mr. Henry T. Gifford and his daughter, Nettie Mae, arrived in the fall of 1887 and are considered the pioneers responsible for selecting and first developing the present Vero Beach. The Gifford family, in search of a new home with good hunting and a healthy climate, traveled by train and boat from Royalton, Vermont. Mr. Gifford took out Homestead papers for 160 acres of land which comprises much of the present City of Vero Beach. Mr. Gifford cleared enough land for a garden, built a palmetto shack, a log cabin, and cleared a road to the Indian River. In the early fall of 1888 Mr. Gifford returned to Royalton, Vermont to bring the rest of his family to their new home. The small community gained the name of Vero when the Post Office was established by the Gifford family.

Little Known Facts

  • 1919 – Paul Nisle, a local pioneer, started the first newspaper and called it the “Vero Press”. In 1927, the Vero Beach Journal, produced by the Schumann family, purchased the Vero Press and it became the Vero Beach Press Journal.
  • Nature’s strong factors of rich soil, just enough moisture, and plenty of sunshine makes the growing of citrus a thriving industry in Indian River County.
  • 1942 During World War II, the U.S. Navy purchased land surrounding the Vero Beach Municipal Airport for a Naval Air Station.
  • 1912 Herman Zeuch formed the Indian River Farms Co., continued to drain the land and a layout of the Town of Vero was made in April 1913 by R. P. Hayes, resident engineer for the Indian River Farms Co. The town of Vero was built over the next few years.
  • 1893- Henry Flangler’s Florida East Coast Railway began operation through the area, allowing fishermen and small fruit, and vegetable growers to ship their products to the north. Frank Forester also sold his fruit to the dining cars when the railroad began.
  • 1926 A large Electrical Power Plant was built.
  • 1948 Major League Baseball came to Vero Beach when Bud Holman, a local businessman, invited the Brooklyn Dodgers’ to take over the unused naval air station, thus Dodgertown was born as the Dodgers winter training facility.
  • 1915 Human bones were discovered near Vero Beach in association with pleistocene animal bones. An abundance of fossils were exposed and found in an excellent state of preservation.
  • 1880 Was about the time when Frank Forester, a German boat captain, secured a land grant for property north of Wabasso Bridge and planted a citrus grove. A heavy freeze of 1893-94 destroyed the trees, but by 1915 a new grove was in full production and was sold to the American Fruit Growers in Wabasso.
  • 1911- Herman Zeuch purchased 55,000 acres of land for growing citrus and began draining the land for development.
  • 1963-64  Indian River County produced a total of 6,145,000 boxes of early and mid-season oranges, Valencia oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines for an income of $19,430,900 for the season.
  • 1965 In February, the A1A Bridge over the Sebastian Inlet was opened connecting the barrier islands.
  • 1961 Piper Aircraft moved their administrative and manufacturing operations to Vero Beach and expanded its facility to 11 acres in 1967.

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