BREVARD HISTORY: JT&KW Railroad, Indian River Steamboat Wharf Expanded Export of Indian River Citrus in 1880s
By Space Coast Daily // December 4, 2023
'Tropical Trunk Line' arrived at Titusville in 1885
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – When the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Railroad line arrived at Titusville at the end of 1885, it opened a new era of transportation by linking with the Indian River steamboats in what was called the “Tropical Trunk Line.”
The railway extended eastward down the middle of Titusville’s Broad Street and out onto a wharf extending into the Indian River some 1,500 feet.
At the end of the wharf, passenger vessels of the Indian River Steamboat Company would dock and provide passage for visitors to settlements downriver. The JT&KW railroad depot occupied a site where the Baldwin Plaza shops are today.
In addition to enabling the convenient transport of people, the train terminal at Broad Street significantly expanded the export of Indian River citrus, pineapples and seafood to northern markets.
Titusville became a hub for both tourists and commercial trade. By 1893, Henry Flagler’s Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Indian River Railway (later the Florida East Coast Railroad) reached Titusville and soon pushed ever southward, quickly ending the short-lived monopoly Titusville had enjoyed as the junction between the rail-road and all points south.
Today, the unusually wide paved right-of-way of Broad Street hints at its past life, and a city-owned dock extends out into the lagoon near the site of the original wharf.
– Source: Brevard County Historical Society
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