19 Responses

  1. Bryan Mozo

    Downtown Eau Gallie has always been a place extremely near and dear to my heart. I have always loved being able to just spend a sunny afternoon walking around the parks, library, pier, museums, and stores. I was born and raised just ten minutes away from the Eau Gallie Arts District and in 23 years of living here had no idea that Eau Gallie was French for “Rocky Water” it was always just a weird name to all of us that grew up here, and going to Eau Gallie High School it was often kind of an inside joke to all of us how wrong people would pronounce the name especially in sporting events outside of our county and even just outside of the Melbourne/Palm Bay area.

    I think revamping the image of America’s downtown areas is such a huge important thing since a lot of times that’s where most cultural and artistically significant events take place each season. Another area that, just in my lifetime, I’ve noticed go through disrepair and then be reinvigorated with life is downtown Daytona Beach. My parents grew up there and I still have a ton of family up there so I have spent many a stroll wandering around all the shops and historic buildings up there. Many of the buildings became dilapidated throughout 90’s and luckily in the early 2000’s I’ve noticed a ton of restoration projects and even now they are reworking some vacant lots into a community square that looks like it will be quite beautiful.

    1. Hilary Lassoff

      I too believe that convenience has become an American standard for living. If one were to dabble around a downtown area, such as the Eau Gallie District, they would hope to find everything they need, goods and services alike. The entirety of a downtown area is what makes that area great, it is not just one shop, or one old historic building that makes the town. I think most of the time people are able to assimilate a certain area, based upon its downtown. Even big cities now, it is easy to conform them into certain types. Reading about the Mainstreet program, I think that it is a wonderful thing that has been put into place in order to preserve historic downtown areas. Through preservation of these downtown areas, I think agree in that there is exorbitant amounts of economic growth that can be derived from keeping such historic buildings and downtown dwellings in place. I have not in fact been to the Eau Gallie Art District in all my four years here at school, but after seeing pictures and reading about the town, and the economic impact it has for the area, I am much more inclined to go and check it out. I also did not know that the Art school is owned by Florida Tech, which it is nice to see our school having strong ties to the downtown area and the community as a whole. The vernacular homes nestled in downtown seem beautiful and I would love to go and see them for myself.

  2. jennifer sartori

    Historic Downtown

    As a society of bigger and better, new not old, and almost everything becoming disposable, it would be sad if no one sat up and took notice and appreciation of our downtown areas. Often located near or on a waterway, the land soon becomes more valuable than the buildings or businesses. Creating a desire to tear down and reconstruct a larger, modern and often residential structures. Currently knee deep in researching this topic for a group presentation, I have found a new appreciation for the protection of these community gems. I’ve traveled throughout the United States as a child, and can recall always being able to tell what was the “downtown area” of each community. They have a personality unique to themselves, often having distinctive architectural features, big window store fronts, awnings jutting from the building, and close proximity to their neighboring businesses. Sadly, many of the window’s today have for rent, for sale, or even ply-wood boarding up the window’s. The charm that a day downtown can provide is irreplaceable; Florida is fortunate enough to have several location’s to visit. Locally we have Downtown Melbourne and Downtown Eau Gallie. Common to these type of commerce areas are unique shopping, eating, museums, art gallery’s, coffee & ice cream shops, as well as friendly merchants and pedestrians sharing the sidewalks. Hosting art, musical, and cultural events have helped raise the necessary funds to maintain and raise awareness of downtown preservation efforts. These types of event’s bring a community together through a common goal and invite visitors to the area, contributing to our local economy.

  3. Saidee

    Loved your country song to start! It was a great tune, very true and very well sung! Thank Heavens for the Main Street Preservation program and those that are behind it because we have to start somewhere. It’s a healthy choice for everyone to take a break from the everyday warehouse market.

    You can’t deny the closeness in community when you stroll along the streets of these preserved historic districts and breath the fresh air from the tree lined streets. You take your time and enjoy something unique and different that has been crafted by the person standing in front of you and later share that joyful relaxing experience with your family and friends while you plan your next trip back to the district with them so they can experience it as well. Now compare that the warehouse setting of the stressful overwhelming feeling that you have to hurry thru to escape the crowds and share that experience with your friends and family, it’s intoxicating and I think it is sad that communities are strong armed by wholesale prices and cheap craftsmanship.

    In literary terms it may be a program to preserve structural historic buildings but I also feel it is a preservation of true historic human interaction with your local patrons. We need to value these districts because it makes your community strong and a city or town is only as strong as their community is.

    I also can’t wait to see more emphases on the preservation of vacant buildings that line the streets leading up to these down town districts. Nothing bothers me more to drive down a main street lined with existing older vacant buildings and then you turn the corner to find a brand new building being constructed.

    Great post this week, Thank you!

  4. Lana

    Eau Gallie Arts District is one of my favorite areas. To be known as EGAD is funny to me as there is really nothing funny about it. Whenever I stroll through the art galleries and stores I connect with my inner artist. I took watercolor classes because of a sign up sheet in one of the studios. Ralph is always happy to help me find colors, mats and other materials in his EGAD art supply store. I love shopping for 60’s furniture, accessories and jewelry in Outta Space and finding discounted furniture in Ricks Furniture Store. As a repeat customer Rick always recognizes me. Yes, it is a very friendly place.

    I enjoy going to the First Friday Festivals, which is coming up this week, especially on Bring Your Dog Night. If people in Eau Gallie Art District are friendly than people on Dog Night are down-right loving. Who wouldn’t be after being greeted by one friendly pooch after another?

    The neighborhood south of the businesses where the Rossetter house is located has so many adorable homes. There is also neighborhood access to a park next to the river. I’ve always thought that living in this neighborhood would have the added benefit of being within walking distance of EGAD. I’ve not explored north of the EGAD area but after seeing the bed and breakfast pictures I would like to. I know many people who bike north on Pineapple because of the scenery.

  5. maritzaq rodriguez

    Community interaction is so important, its where you can go to all the different shops and meet new people and interact with them after a long hard week of work. Its the love and warmth of a small shop run by its owners. I was born and raised in New York City, and I remember as a child walking with my mother three blocks to reach the local down town area and markets. it consisted of four blocks. And on each side of the blocks there were many different stores stemming from fresh fruits to meat butchers, veggies, jewish deli’s with barrels full of pickles, greek cheese deli, Small clothing stores,novelty stores we even a the best bakery in town were we would go and buy fresh hot real Italian bread. old own pharmacy’s. It was wonderful. After a few hour stroll throughout the downtown area, on our way home we would stop at a candy store.
    The candy store of course offered cigars, cigarettes newspapers, magazine, comic books cut out dolls which I loved, it also offered soda pops, ice cream and fountain drinks. mom would have a pop and I would have a ice cream cone. I miss that so much, I often reminisce of those times. It was a close community and everyone knew each other. All of that was torn down to make lots of one family homes for the low income people. I was upset when I went back to stroll down memory lane, there were lots of buildings there that could have been preserved. These one stop shop stores have run out the little man, shops that were run by the owners with much love and warmth. The ingenuity of the minds of man have destroyed the downtown area, the community and the little man.

  6. Stephany

    I have not actually been down to the Eua Gallie area even though I lived here for countless years. Regardless of this I have heard a lot about it and it is nice ot learn about these districts that are in different places. I live near to a few of these different districts and I love wandering around and looking for something, anything or maybe just nothing. I love these little towns and it would be a shame if they were not around at all. It does not feel just a rush in and rush out place it feels more homy and comfortable. You feel welcome to the stores where the owners will start up a conversation and the workers are not the anti social people stocking shelves. The little towns have everything you could ever want and or need. From clothes, to groceries, to toys and hobbies. But it is without the florecent lighting, linoleum floorings, and with everything unique. 162 It is hard to tell every single thing about a place like that which makes it so likeable you just have to experience everything for your own self and take the time to look around, take everything in. All the sights of old buildings, the smell of dusty shelves and books mixed with maybe a candle on a counter top, and sounds of laughter, the creaky floor boards and shuffling around and the feel of the old wood and metal doorknobs. It all gives you this feeling of being safe and going back in time when all this electronic stuff wasn’t around and thigns were so much simpler.

  7. Catherine Biegler

    Wonderful pictures and I will have to check out Mathers Cake Shop. I have been by there, but have not stopped in yet, guess I will need to do that soon.

    I absolutely love walking around the Eau Gallie Arts District. I enjoy going into the galleries and into the various shops. Some of which I frequent often, such as the art supply store. I also enjoy the farmers market on Saturday mornings and the like to attend the First Friday’s events where there is music playing and even wine tasting in some galleries. My children and I also like to fish off the pier.

    I feel that it is important to preserve our downtown areas. They are architecturally important along with being important to the heritage of each town.

    The Eau Gallie area reminds me of the town I grew up in on Long Island, with its small town feel and the friendly atmosphere. I know that the town I grew up in has ordinances in place to keep to a certain standard of architectural integrity. None of the buildings can have flashy signage. You will not find any major chain stores inside the “village”, or what would be considered the main street district. Each downtown area that is preserved serves as a reminder of the past. They show craftsmanship that is not necessarily seen today. The architecture from previous time periods is irreplaceable in my opinion.

    I am happy to live in such a beautiful area and have access to a charming downtown area that has a wonderful museum, excellent library, art galleries, small shops that are individually owned (and not chain stores), and beautiful parks.

  8. Coral Moyle

    It’s kind of ironic that this week I am in a little town called Cooperstown in New York, you may have heard of it before especially if you are a big baseball fan like my family is. Cooperstown was built in the late 1700’s by William Cooper. This town is primary kept alive through the families and players that come to play at the Field of Dreams in Cooperstown. Walking along the downtown strip, the landscape looks like out of a movie with mountains peeking out from behind the shops. Surprisingly the downtown commercial district looks different than it did in the 1970’s which you wouldn’t think because when walking downtown it all still looks very old and historic. Until reading I found out that Cooperstown’s downtown has undergone significant changes over the years. A lot of the baseball memorabilia and souvenir shops have taken over the traditional town shops, which makes it more of a tourist town then what it used to be. Most of the Main Street shops now cater to the tourist and are closed in the winter because of the economy doesn’t successes in the off seasons of tourism. This town like many towns is like Florida Main Street in the Eau Gallie Arts District though they may not look the same they both have been transformed in one way or another. They both as well are needed to keep the town economics up for the town to be kept alive in a way.


  9. Kathleen Miron

    Historic downtown villages are the foundation and the stability of the town and community. It lets you know there was life here, that people were coming and going, not to mention building here. The existence of them and the continued function tells a productive story of a community with a need to thrive. The business owners are a close knit community not just keeping their businesses alive but, the life soul of the whole town. They are like family looking out for each other maybe with the sense of responsibility to up hold the district. I think the rest of the town relies on the districts support. Now that we don’t have the space center attraction for tourists like it used to I think we need to get our Historic Districts in overdrive to gain the respectable attraction of everyone. Each district has an overall specific talent produced and I think that talent is what is the focal point of the attraction. To me I think some districts don’t have that inviting dated feel. I see a lot of paint and a lot of colors but, it looks like over paint and that makes it feel like old stuff. Historic = TLC (in my book), with the respect it should have and I know it would take more from the budget and a talented carpenters but, that is the impression I want from an era still in existence. When I look at the pictures of the 1950 brochure it looks inviting but compared to present day — somethings missing.

  10. Clair Brown

    I like the quaintness of the Eau Gallie Arts District. I frequent the arts supply store there often because I think it’s important to support local businesses. In addition to avoiding the hustle and bustle of shopping centers, the downtown gives a personable architectural feel. When you drive along the downtown, there’s a since of maintaining the one on one atmosphere. Maybe it’s a collection of signs and sale items displayed along the sidewalks, trees and landscape or window displays that make you stop and wonder what else is inside. A mixture of façades that you walk by and admire make you imagine the since of community that the original architects were trying to create.

    Downtown districts not only benefit the local economy but are also sought after by Florida “snow birds” and tourists. Tourists often appreciate the experience of an original downtown community because they can experience local artists and cuisine. A planned tourist district I think sometimes removes visitors from the local scenery and they may miss the true atmosphere of the local area. These historic districts will always be a target location for small businesses and new entrepreneurs because they are often more affordable and connect with a smaller community. The local economy benefits directly from the success of these businesses. When neighborhoods are able to shop and dine locally, the perception of historic districts are strengthened. The Main Street Program has been an asset to communities by emphasizing the growth potential on main streets around the country.

  11. Jan C Reed

    Our delicious wedding cake was also made by Mathers Bakery and our flowers were designed by Eau Gallie Florist and that was almost 25 years ago. Both of these businesses were located in the Eau Gallie Arts District (not called that) then and still are thriving in the same locations. My friend owns Joan’s Perfect Pie, where she makes a variety of scrumptious pies. I have frequented Ralph’s Art Shop on many occasions, especially when beginning my Interior Design studies, where they were always helpful and give BCC students a discount. I love antique and collectible furniture and purchased my dining room table at the store on the corner of Highland and Eau Gallie Blvd. I have enjoyed lunch in the old bank building that is now the Concepts on Highland restaurant and strolled through many art shows. You can surmise that the downtown Eau Gallie area now called EGAD is near and dear to my heart and I try to visit this area frequently.
    The many times I have roamed Highland Ave, until the recent designation of EGAD, it never occurred to me that it was considered a preservation area. It is true that the individual buildings located in this area are not really historically significant by themselves, but as a whole they create a charming historic district. Even in these trying economic times it seems this area is thriving economically and continued restoration and improvements are underway. The murals on many of the buildings are beautiful and add to the uniqueness of the area. You are correct that this is a great example of the Florida Main Street Program done right!

  12. Jamie Goodwin

    I am in love with the fact the Brevard has finally begun to appreciate the cultural heritage that Downtown Melbourne can provide. Now, I think that downtown Eau Gallie a should continue to follow in the same footsteps. There has been recent renovations including storefronts and restaurants. I think that the city needs to invest more money into this area that is full of potential. It is right by the river, there are plenty of really neat spaces that could house all sorts of local and commercial stores and such. My dad has always talked about how cool that area would be if they expanded it into more of a true downtown area. He thinks it would be wise to take advantage of the river views by offering hotels that sit atop of stores and restaurants. This would be similar to the true metropolitan concept of building up and not out. Not only would this expand the areas potential it would become a pass through destination for all consumers and visitors. Anybody heading to the beach would have to drive over Eau Gallie causeway, so the area would become widely exposed. This would give Downtown Eau Gallie the upper hand over downtown Melbourne.

  13. Florida Pecky Cyprus and the Bartlett Boathouse

    [...] Mrs. Bartlett’s description of the under-developed state of midcentury Melbourne, FL leads to the significance of her home’s location and the importance of the boathouse on the property. She recalls that “there was no bridge connecting the north side to the south side of Melbourne, so everyone got around by boat.” Bartlett was referring to the towns of Eau Gallie and Melbourne, which, for more than a half-century were two cities located side by side. Eventually in 1969, with the approval of a majority of voters, Melbourne and Eau Gallie were consolidated into the contemporary known today as Melbourne. (2) Without well-paved roads and bridges connecting the two locations, most people lived near the water and used boats as their major form of transportation. For more information on the history of Eau Gallie click here [...]

  14. Melanie McAboy

    It amazes me how many artists and creativity can be found in the Eau Gallie district, but after all it is known as the arts district. This article brings up many good points. Local shops and communities are threatened by the more convenient alternatives of the one stop shops that our lives sometimes demand due to the fact that they are much more fast paced in our society today. People have less time during the day because we are working longer hours and taking on greater responsibilities and in turn we flock to the local stores which carry an abundance of various products. I feel more people would partake in local shopping more frequently if they had more time. The shops that you describe however sound way worth the visit. I’ve enjoyed the trips to the Foosaner I have made.The art walks I have been to downtown were wonderful, I’m impressed by the amount of talented local artists we have in this area. Not to mention a great way to support our local economy. I look forward to exploring this downtown district more in the future. I’m happy to learn about the Main Street Program from reading this article. It’s an important and much needed program. I definitely agree and support the statement you made saying that supporting businesses makes “good economic sense”. We’ve heard it a hundred times, but we are in hard economic times, and any way we can support our local economy we should as it benefits all of us.

  15. David Scott

    I have lived in Brevard County for over 3 years now and I have never been to the Eau Gallie Arts District. There are many old buildings in this county and I have not taken the time to wonder what historic significance that building might have had years ago or even to this date. I have heard locals speak of EGAD but never asked what it meant or what area of town they were referring to. I did not even know that Eau Gallie and Melbourne were separate cities that merged in 1969. In order to keep some historic meaning, I am content that they kept the area known by its old city name.
    With all the museums, public library, civic center and parks, the opportunity of being educated on Melbourne’s history is not limited. The district’s mixture of vernacular homes and commercial buildings concerning historical blends of designs makes the scenery of the area seem even more complete. With all the various stores and areas of business, I feel that if the tourism level increased around that area, more people could appreciate the art district’s concept and what it stood and stands for. The fact that the residential area was rezoned as an Art Overlay Zone makes the concept of appreciating works of art more on a personal level very interesting. Getting to see the work by artists in their homes adds to the curiosity of a person such as myself who after reading this article, would want to take a visit to the EGAD one day. Being drawn in shows the success of considering the various aspects of EGAD making it a historical art district with the Florida Main Street Program.

  16. Amber Maiwald

    I have never been to the Eau Gallie Arts District. It sounds like a nice place to visit on a weekend for something inexpensive and new to do. From the pictures, it looks like a lot of care was taken to make sure that the area was kept up. I really like the colors and the architecture of the Eau Gallie Civic Center and the sign that hangs from the side of the building informing the public of what shops and attractions are near. I would definitely have to stop by the cake shop to check it out. This downtown area and Historic Downtown Melbourne look nothing like the downtown in my hometown. The downtown area in Ashland, WI is made of tall, 3-5 story buildings that are made of brick, stone, and other materials of the sort. There has been great consideration given to preserving the historical feel of the downtown area by not allowing the current business owners to place extravagate and flashy signs outside of their stores. The signs are kept simple. Also, the current business owners do not change the appearance of the buildings what so ever. They are kept in their original, historical form. The buildings in the pictures and the buildings in downtown Melbourne do not look that old. There might be a different look between the old in the northern part of the states than in the southern part though. I think that the National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Program was an excellent idea. Too many towns in the country are being swallowed up by commercialization and the small town (or big town) charm of these cities are getting swallowed along with it.

  17. Drew Lacy

    Wow, that photo of the Foosaner Art Museum is really cool. I had no idea the building had such a distinct and modern look to it. (Unless that’s just a good angle, in which case, great photography skills!)
    I had no idea the Main Street District program was such a widespread success. I first became familiar with the program based on the work completed at Historic Downtown Melbourne. The twenty five dollar for every one dollar spent return rate is incredible. It’s hard to think of many other restoration programs that can provide not just a boost to local culture, but also such an incredible boost to the local economy.
    The Eau Gallie Arts District is a place I have heard so much about, but have never been to, despite having lived near the area my entire life. I feel like the restoration of downtown areas is such a creative idea, because it goes against what might otherwise define worthiness of restoration. As you said in the article, many of these places aren’t especially historical beyond their age, and it’s much harder to restore an entire area compared to one home or a plot of land.
    I think some of the best restoration comes when you blend both economic growth and cultural growth. Instead of just preserving for preservation’s sake, you’re building upon what already exists, without changing what it stands for. Areas like Downtown Melbourne and the Eau Gallie Arts District help to add both much needed financial help and a beautiful new location for artists and other culturists in one amazing project.

  18. ahmed almazrouei

    I absolutely love walking around the Eau Gallie Arts District. I enjoy going into the galleries and into the various shops. Some of which I frequent often, such as the art supply store. The Eau Gallie area of Melbourne was recently designated as the arts district for the city of Melbourne. The district includes the Brevard Art Museum, Historic Rossetter House Museum, Eau Gallie Riverfront Library, Eau Gallie Civic Center, two public parks, a band-stand and fishing pier. EGAD contains studios and galleries, an art supply store, a Bed and Breakfast, and many small merchants and restaurants. The Eau Gallie Farmers Market is held each Saturday in Eau Gallie Square Park from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The city of Melbourne has re-zoned a residential area within EGAD such that artists may establish studios in their homes, providing a special enclave for working artists. The neighborhood south of the businesses where the Rossetter house is located has so many adorable homes. There is also neighborhood access to a park next to the river. I’ve always thought that living in this neighborhood would have the added benefit of being within walking distance of EGAD. I’ve not explored north of the EGAD area but after seeing the bed and breakfast pictures I would like to. I know many people who bike north on Pineapple because of the scenery.

Finally, I love these little towns and it would be a shame if they were not around at all. It does not feel just a rush in and rush out place it feels more homey and comfortable.

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