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Winter 2003 - V.18 N.4
Table of Content

Steam Boats on the Indian River Lagoon - 1870s by Florida Decades by James J. Horgan and Lewis N. Wynne
Lagoon History

Dredging Indian River Lagoon Wetlands 1920 - 1950s

Cruising the Lagoon 1884

The Lagoon Enters the Rocket Age 1950

Indian River Lagoon Region 1880ís, A Country of Pineapple Plantations

Indian River Lagoon early 1900's - The Dreaded Ashley Gang

Never a River like St. Lucie was Back Then (1910-1920)
Florida's War on the Seminoles - South Lagoon and Everglades 1830-1840 from Florida Old and New by Frederick W. Dau

Isolation delayed the development of the lands along the Indian River. There were three routes to the area: traveling overland by horse, wagon, or foot; sailing down the east coast of Florida into Mosquito Lagoon and through the often impassable Haulover Canal into the Indian River; and steaming up the St. Johns River from Jacksonville to Enterprise. Every family had some kind of boat, for there were no roads only the broad, shallow Indian River to link the residents of the region together. About 1876, Captain Lund brought his smaller steamer the Pioneer to Indian River. This was the first steamboat on the river. The region while increasing in population was still sparsely settled. The tiny Pioneer, a paddlewheeler of only 44 tons, ran on the river until she burned one April evening in 1877 at the dock in Titusville. But the stage had been set for others and during the next decade the Indian River steamboats had their heyday. Perhaps the most famous and enduring form of entertainment in the Indian River country was the May Day Picnic. The picnic had begun in 1868 when settlers first gathered at Oleander Point just north of Rockledge. Everyone along the river-from Jupiter Inlet on the south to Titusville on the north attended. Families prepared for weeks and sailed to the point. There were games, a fish fry, boat races, and dancing in the evening at Rockledge homes and later in the decade at the hotels. "As the May gathering grew, the Indian River Regatta races over the seven miles stretch of water between Dixon Point to the North, and South to Oleander Point. As far down the river as you could see the wind stirred the sails, from 30 to 60 vessels, cut the brilliant waters of the river". Many engagements resulted from May Day Picnics for it was one of the few times young people along the river got to meet one another.

Next Article: Indian River Lagoon Species Spotlight Lakela's Mint

© 2004 Marine Resources Council of East Florida