Learn More About Florida’s Space Coast – Cocoa Beach, FL
Before development, the area now comprising Satellite Beach consisted of saw palmetto and oak scrub. The shores of the Banana River were lined with a mangrove swamp. As late as 1871 the entire area now known as Satellite Beach was government-owned public land. It was not until 1923 that the last public land remaining in the area of the city came under private ownership. During those five decades many people and companies bought and sold land, and three subdivisions which exist today were platted. However, nothing permanent was built, although several individuals gained title to land by maintaining primitive homesteads for at least 5 years. Even after World War II, there were deer, bear, and panther in the area. This all changed in the early 1950s when the large number of people helping test long range rockets at Cape Canaveral needed somewhere to live. Housing was at a premium.
In 1968 a 34-acre tract west of the Grand Canal was given to the city of Satellite Beach by a developer from South Florida. It now is Samsons Island Park. In 1971, through the concerted, personal involvement of the city’s Mayor and the Woman’s Club the County bought Pelican Beach Park. In the 1980s the City hosted many national softball championship tournaments and fielded six national champion softball teams, earning the title “junior softball capital of the world”. In 1994, Satellite Beach received the first annual Florida Excellence in Coastal Management Award for work on Samsons Island. Since then the City has placed over 1/3 of its oceanfront into public open space and volunteers continue to provide more than 10,000 hours each year to youth and public service programs.