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North Brevard History - Titusville, Florida

St Johns River to Indian River Canal - 1874 - 1950's
Michael Knight

On March 3, 1845 Florida became a state. Ten years later in 1855, the Florida General Assembly considered a proposal under the Internal Improvement Act that would dig a canal from the St Johns River at Lake Harney to the west shore of the Indian River just north of Titusville to allow the transportation of passengers and goods on the route to and from the steamboats at the St Johns river and the "Indian River Country" as it was called in its day. With deep water and fewer switchback turns, the St Johns River from Jacksonville to Lake Harney was a relatively easy passage for steamboats. From there on up the St Johns to Salt Lake Landing (that served Titusville) and Lake Poinsett Landing (that served Rockledge), travel was difficult in times of high water but impossible during periods of low water. This plan was not adopted.

The picture below shows the proposed canal location on an 1874 map of Volusia County.

1874 Volusia County map showing proposed map.

In 1885 a revised canal location was proposed and the next picture shows the new location on the 1885 map of Brevard County by surveyor J. Francis LeBaron. Again, there was no approval. Apparently anxiety for the canal had led to its partial completion before approval was given according to the map.

1875 detail map of the proposed canal.

In August of 1927, voters were asked to give approval to a revised canal location from Salt Lake to a spot on the Indian River north of Titusville but this plan was not approved either.

The canal issue was lastly raised in the 1950s, when engineers recommended the canal as part of a flood control project. Fortunately for the Indian River Lagoon, the century-old plan was a victim of advanced knowledge and concern for the two separate ecosystems and was not approved for the last time.