THE HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY (Compiled from Society files)
The Brevard County Historical Society was started early in 1966 as a community service by the Indian Mound Grange #177 of Palm Bay, according to records kept by Lola Geil, Worthy Master.
One thousand invitations were sent out and a large group of people gathered in Carpenters’ Hall on U.S.#1 near what is now the Pineda Causeway. At this meeting. the Brevard Historical Society was organized and agreed to meet in Cocoa. Members in the south part of Brevard County wanted a local society and formed the South Brevard Historical Society in a meeting at the Palm Bay Civic Center on April 28, 1966.
The South Brevard Historical Society brought together citizens particularly interested in the history of Florida and Brevard County. It held monthly meetings in various locations with speakers on a wide range of subjects related to local history and sometimes took field trips to historic sites.
Because the Society began to receive and then to solicit donations of historical collections and artifacts, it set up a display area in its quarters at 2011 Melbourne Court in Melbourne under the auspices of the Brevard County Historical Commission. This museum opened as the Brevard County Historical Museum on June 25, 1972.
The museum grew and in March of 1977 moved to the County owned Henegar Complex on East New Haven Avenue. On display were artifacts owned by the Brevard County Historical Commission, the St. John’s Anthropological Society, the South Brevard Historical Society as well as exhibits loaned by history-conscious citizens.
Volunteers from the Society and the Retired Senior Volunteers Program worked about 600 hours a month as docents to conduct tours, process new donations and to keep records. The museum served as a research facility with it’s many files of newspapers, documents, books, and directories.
Unfortunately, in 1984, the deteriorated condition of the building that housed the Museum endangered the artifacts and records and the decision was made to shut down the Museum. Efforts were made by the Society to raise funds to help restore the building or to find another site for a museum. This goal was never realized. As of 2009, any remaining documents and artifacts belonging to the Society are either on exhibit at the Marine Resources Lagoon House located on U.S.#1 in Palm Bay or are undergoing inventory and evaluation at a storage facility.
Among some of the projects also undertaken by the Society itself and with community support were placing historical markers throughout Melbourne, restoring Melbourne’s oldest public school house and moving it to the the campus of Florida Institute of Technology, providing teacher in-service programs, conducting museum and community historic tours, marking historic trails, and holding seminars of Brevard History.
The Kellersberger Fund
Through a generous gift from Dr. and Mrs. Eugene Kellersberger, the Kellersberger Fund was established by the Society to publish materials on Florida. The Kellersberger Fund has published fourteen volumes of historic significance. All of the authors have been Floridians and most residents of Brevard County. Volumes currently in print and available for sale are listed under the PUBLICATIONS section of this website.