I arrived in Melbourne in 1958 and as with all kids who were in the 7th grade (with the exception of those who attended Eau Gallie Junior High) I attended school at the site of the former Melbourne Naval Air Station. From my recollection, 300 to 400 students from Sebastian to Rockledge attended classes in a designated group of wooden barracks that were part of the 129 buildings that had been constructed at the beginning of World War II on the property. I remember the barracks were small, and my fellow classmates and I sat shoulder to shoulder during class. We did move to other rooms at the end of each period for a different class. Our Physical Education class was the most memorable as the few hundred-yard walk from the classroom barracks was rewarded by having this class at the old training area. After quickly changing our clothes, we spent about 20 minutes playing handball, tennis, and other activities that took advantage of the recreational facilities from the former base. When Phys-Ed was over, there was just enough time for a 3-minute shower and change before taking the long walk back to the next class, which in August sometimes negated the recently-taken shower!
A historical marker identifying the site’s former use as a Naval Air Station is located at the intersection of Eddie Allan Road and Playhouse Road. A study of the history of this property will reveal that is has been more than just an airport to our community.