This history page is a community service of Grace Baptist Church of Vero Beach, FL. Our church was founded by residents of the Indian River County area who desired to meet together for worship and the study of God's Word. During the last three decades, Grace Baptist has had an involvement in the community life of the area, and a spiritual impact in the lives of it's people. Today, that spiritual impact is as vital and needed as ever.
Highlights of Vero Beach History
1891 - Henry T. Gifford applied to establish a Post Office in his hamlet, it's new name: Vero
1893 - Henry Flagler’s Florida’s East Coast Railroad begins service through Indian River County. It allowed fishermen and small fruit and vegetable growers a way to ship their products to markets in the north.
1903 - With Henry Flagler opening up access to south Florida with his railway, the train station was built in the little community of Vero.
1911 - Herman Zeuch, after 3 years of planning and 12 trips to Florida, began to buy land for Citrus growing and development. He initially purchased 48,000 acres outside Vero and began draining the land. Zeuch was in born in Iowa in 1867.
1912 - In September Zeuch formed the Indian River Farms Co. and hired William H. Kimball of Iowa, a civil engineer to continue the draining the land. His assistant was Col. R. D. Carter. Over the next few years they laid out a town site and built the town of Vero, later changed to Vero Beach. They named the streets after Native Americans.
1919 - Vero was chartered as a town in 1919 and the first bridge was built connecting the Vero mainland to the barrier island. The first newspaper, the Vero Press, was organized in March 1919.
1925 - Up until this time Vero was part of St. Lucie County. A desire for local autonomy moved legislators to push for the formation of a new county, and so in May 1925, Indian River County was born, and Vero became the county seat. Vero’s name was officially changed to "Vero Beach" in 1925. The Dixie Highway was officially open for traffic in October 1925. This was a new highway for the burgeoning auto industry that ran from the Canadian border at the northern tip of Michigan to Tallahassee and Jacksonville, and proceeded south along the east coast through Vero Beach to Miami. The section of Old Dixie Hwy. from Sebastian to Ft. Pierce was built by Gifford and Hughes. In December, the "Vero Beach Journal" newspaper began publication.
1926 - A large Electrical Power Plant was built on the south side of 19th Pl., between 12th Ct. and the railroad tracks.
1927 - The Vero Beach Journal absorbed the Vero Press, becoming the Vero Beach Press Journal, produced by the Schumann family.
1942 - During World War Two, the U.S. Navy selected the Vero Beach Municipal Airport as the site for a Naval Air Station and purchased an additional 1,500 acres surrounding the site. The base was formally commissioned before year's end.
1948 - Major league baseball came to Vero Beach as Bud Holman, a local businessman, invited the Brooklyn Dodgers' to take over an unused Naval air station following World War II. The Dodgers liked the area and so Dodgertown was born as their winter training grounds.
1957 - Piper Aircraft selected Vero Beach for their research and development center which was built on part of the grounds of the former naval air station. In 1961, Piper moved its administrative and manufacturing operations here after completing building additions. By 1967, Piper had expanded its facility to eleven acres and its work force to over 2,000 employees.
1965 - The A1A bridge over Sebastian Inlet was opened in February, 1965.
Recent - In recent years, cultural opportunities in Vero Beach have increased. The Vero Beach Theatre Guild started in 1958. The Vero Beach Concert Association began presenting concerts in 1966. Riverside Theatre opened in 1974, and the Center for the Arts in 1986.