Historic Cocoa Village
Backstory and Context
The historic Cocoa Village is located in Cocoa, Florida. Cocoa, Florida is one of the world’s most famous towns. It is home to the John F. Kennedy Space Center, and is one of the surfing capitals of the world. Ron Jon surf shop is a major tourist attraction and is a local favorite. Cocoa has so much to offer for tourists and locals of all ages and interests that it would be hard not to enjoy yourself while visiting the town. The John F. Kennedy Space center, established on July 1st, 1962, is one of ten Aeronautics and space administration field centers. Due to such rarity of locations like this, the space center draws a good crowd to the beautiful town of Cocoa. Ron Jon Surf Shop, which began as a one room shack store in Long Shore New Jersey in 1961, is a major attraction in itself that brings people out to Cocoa. One of the signs of a great vacation is the retrieval of unique souvenirs and this surf shop is a gold mine for those. Tourism was a major component of these times. Throughout the five and a half decades after the year 1950, there were a thousand retirees moving to Florida a week! This brought a huge amount of capital and emotional commitment. The population of the state grew 70% in the 1970’s and 40% in the 1980’s. The opening of Walt Disney World in October of 1971 brought about an explosion in Florida’s tourism industry. By the 1980’s, Disney had become the world’s greatest tourist attraction. Walt Disney World itself brings about 17 million tourists annually. The combination of Sea World, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure reel in an additional 50 million tourists annually. Before the 70’s, Cocoa village, and Disney, tourists had come to Florida for the natural attractions like Cypress Gardens. The baby boomers were the ones who had the most powerful impact on Florida’s economy at this time. Many of the tourists who thought they were just coming to visit, ended staying and calling Florida “home”.
Cocoa Village has slowly evolved into one of the most desired and visited sites in Brevard county. It is mainly known for is shopping and dining experiences, but through these it has become a favorite destination on the space coast. The town of Cocoa itself was founded in 1860 by some fishermen. The name of the town “Cocoa” is said to have come about from the association of the cocoa plant action that was so popular in the city. Cocoa village is located on the west side of the Banana River. The village is the oldest part of the town. Some of the streets in the village, even though they have been refurbished a bit, are even made of cobblestone that dates back to the 1890’s. The town is flooded with boutiques, antique shops, gift shops, sidewalk cafes, art galleries, and even street festivals. Buildings like the Porcher House, 1916, and the still active Cocoa Village Play House, 1924, were present at the turn of the century and are still being presently used as scenery and attractions. The Cocoa Village Play House was established as the “Aladdin” theatre when its doors opened to the public on August 18th 1924. It began its historic journey by showing silent movies. Based on the buildings and the architecture of the town, you would say that Cocoa Village is stuck in time. But the dining experiences and shopping are right up to date. The village has an extreme vintage feel to it all while providing contemporary services. It truly is a unique mixture of historical significance with modernized simplicity.
“About Cococa Village”. Visit Cocoa Village, http://visitcocoavillage.com/about-us/. Accessed 4 October 2016.
“History and Culture”. Cocoa Florida, http://www.cocoafl.org/908/History-Culture. Accessed 4 October 2016.
“A Walk Through Historic Cocoa Village”. Visit Florida, http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/articles/2012/october/7837-walk-through-history-in-cocoa-village.html. Accessed 4 October 2016.
“History of the Cocoa Village Playhouse”. The Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse, http://www.cocoavillageplayhouse.com/about/history. Accessed 4 October 2016.