Titusville, Hub of Indian River Commerce (1850-1895)

Distance: 39 miles
Driving Time: 1 hour 3 minutes

What to expect: You should figure on spending some extra time on the trails at the Oak and Palm Hammock, exploring the historic LaGrange Cemetery, and walking through Titusville’s early downtown commercial district. A visit to the Pritchard House may extend this tour to about half a day. Restrooms and other visitor facilities are noted in the brief descriptions of the highlighted tour stops.

This tour will follow in the footsteps of the earliest European and American explorers, military leaders, and settlers who established outposts, agricultural communities, and a thriving city on the banks of the Indian River. The tour will begin on Merritt Island, site of some of the earliest citrus groves and American settlements in the area and continue to LaGrange, whose founders were instrumental in the later establishment and expansion of Titusville.

The tour then traces the early growth of Titusville itself from Sand Point southward along Washington Avenue. It highlights some of the memorable events that took place in Titusville and some of the city’s prominent leaders in the decades after the Civil War.

The commercial district of Titusville, centering on the 300 block of South Washington Avenue and including other structures on Main Street, Julia Street, and South Street, represents the historic core of the city. While most of the visible structures post-date the catastrophic fire of 1895 and represent the building boom of the twentieth century, a number of significant sites from the early period of Titusville’s history are commemorated with illustrated panels or wall plaques that identify some of the main events and personalities of the city in the late 1800s. Visitors interested in this pioneering era can explore the commercial district on foot (approximately 0.5 mile loop).

Sams House

This site focuses on the hardships and achievements of the era of early American settlement. The one-story house on the site is reportedly the oldest standing home in Brevard County, built originally by the pioneering Sams family in Eau Gallie in…

Oak and Palm Hammock Trails

The easily navigated boardwalk trails provide two thematic circuits that take visitors into the thick hammocks, filled with wildlife and rich vegetation, that the first settlers encountered on Merritt Island in the nineteenth century. Close by is the…

LaGrange Church and Cemetery

The church and cemetery at LaGrange are a true embodiment of that community’s heritage as the first pioneer settlement in the Titusville area. The present church, constructed in 1894 in the Carpenter Gothic Revival style, replaced earlier church…

Sand Point Park

This popular recreation area on a 30-acre site extending out into the Indian River was the original core of the City of Titusville. During the Civil War, Confederate forces used the sandy promontory as a salt works and after the war, a group of…

Steamboat 'Pioneer'

Near the east end of Main St., site of Titusville's city dock, a famous Indian River steamboat of the Lund Line burned to the waterline in 1877. Noted on later maps, the charred hulk of the vessel long remained visible to passersby. It now lies…

Scobie Fish & Oyster Company

Commercial fishing has long been a staple of Titusville’s economy. In 1885, a Connecticut fisherman named George W. Scobie arrived in his schooner and established what would eventually become a large fishing fleet. With the arrival of the railroad,…

Titus House

The imposing three-story hotel built at this site in 1870 by Col. Henry T. Titus was the first hotel built along the Indian River and served for many years as a local gathering place. After Titus’s death in 1881, the wooden structure changed hands…

Indian River State Bank & Brady Grocery Store

Facing each other across Julia Street just east of South Washington Ave. are the sites of two of Titusville's early businesses. To the north (just to the left of the informational panel) is the building that housed Titusville’s first bank, the…

Losley's Hotel and Saloon

Fredrick Alfee Losley, a Swiss immigrant, established one of Titusville’s most famous saloons at this site. Constructed after the 1895 fire, this two-story brick building was occupied by “Losley’s Saloon and Billiard Parlor” on the first floor and…

The Pritchard House

This imposing Queen Anne style home, built in 1891, by Capt. James Pritchard, has become one of the most impressive landmarks of Titusville. It was occupied by successive generations of the Pritchard family until 2003, when it was purchased by…

St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church

The history of St. Gabriel’s is woven into the fabric of Titusville’s history. Constructed in 1888 on land donated by Mary Hopkins Titus. Its Carpenter Gothic style reflects a trend in nineteenth-century Episcopal architecture known as “Bishop Weed…

Isaac Campbell Community Center and Park

There are few architectural remains of the thriving nineteenth-century African American neighborhood of Titusville known as Joynerville. From the Isaac Campbell Community Center, you can look over the area that was once filled with houses,…