Highlighting "The Treasure Coast"|
Vero Beach - The Gateway to the Tropics
Henry T. Gifford, a former sheriff of Royalton, Vermont and his wife moved to this area in 1888, settling on land west of the Indian River, and laid out a town. On September 28, 1891 Henry T. Gifford asked the United States Post Office for permission to establish a post office in his own home. Ironically, on the application it appears the U.S. Postmaster thought “Vero” was an error, and he wrote over the first letter and put a “Z” to make it “Zero”. Mr. Gifford corrected the postmaster by drawing the letter “V” with very thick lines. A copy of the application is in the Indian River County Local History file at the Main Library There are several interesting, but incorrect theories, concerning the origin of the name “Vero”.
First, that it was named after Gifford’s wife.. This was disproved, because his wife’s name was Sara Jane and no family members had the given name of “Vero” for five generations. Second, Sarah suggested the name be “Verona”, and since the Post Office required a four letter name for towns, it was shortened to Vero. This isn’t likely since there were already several towns in the area with names of more than four letters, i.e. Sebastian, Woodley and the Narrows. Third, it was published that the son , Friend Charles Gifford, said his mother had knowledge of Latin. She educated her children (her daughter, Nettie May was one of the first school teachers in Indian River County). Veritas is the pural form of the Latin word Verus. The adverb of Verus is Vero, which means, in truth. This seems to be the most reasonable, but it is interesting to the researchers, why she felt Vero was a place of truth. It is hoped that future generations will find the “truth.”
The early English and Spanish settlers to this area planted extensive acerages of sugar. In the 1800s Captain Thomas E. Richards started growing pineapples and reportedly shipped 14,000 crates of the fruit in 1920. Grapefruit and oranges fared better than either the sugar or pineapple crops. Vero, its area extending from west of the Indian River lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean on the east, was known as a major citrus fruit shipping area before the turn of the century. In 1903, as Henry Flagler was opening up access to south Florida with his railway, the trains station was built in Vero. The first bridge, connecting the mainland with the barrier island, was constructed in 1919, the same year that the city of Vero was incorporated. On June 1, 1925 the city was renamed Vero Beach.
During the 1920s a few Ohio residents discovered Vero’s natural beauty and built the Riomar Country Club on the barrier island. Substantial vacation homes surrounded the country club and this established the area as an excellent winter vacation resort. In 1948, major league baseball came to town. A local businessman invited the Dodger’s to take a look at an unused Naval air station that was turned over to the City of Vero Beach following World War II. The results - Dodgertown.
In the early 1970s, two 13 story condominium buildings were erected on the island side of the city. Local citizens were outraged, many of whom had “escaped” from large, overcrowded south Florida cities. Height and density ordinances were quickly passed to preserve the character of Vero Beach.
Today, more than just a City, Vero Beach is a Lifestyle. From the Scenic Indian River to the Deep Blue Waters of the Atlantic. Vero Beach is truly “The Gateway to the Tropics”. The quaint style and charm, and the numerous cultural benefits - national performing artists, art exhibits, theatres, and numerous fine restaurants. Grand Harbor is located on the shores of Vero Beach
Information from: http://vero-beach.fl.us/info/history.html