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).

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 buried beneath the modern street.
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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, the Scobie Fish & Oyster Company became a…
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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 several times. In 1890 it was refurbished and…
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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 Indian River State Bank, established by Capt.…
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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 “Alpine Hotel” on the second floor, consisting…
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