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New Book Explores Melbourne's Logging Era

Local author tells history of this Florida industry through photographs.

PRLog - Jan. 23, 2012 - MT. PLEASANT, S.C. -- The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series is Melbourne’s Logging Era: 1912-1932 from local author Ed Vosatka. The book boasts more than 200 vintage images and memories of days gone by.

Melbourne was a quiet coastal town of 157 people on Florida’s Indian River lagoon. Farming, ranching, fishing, and related trades supported the local economy. Melbourne entered the industrial age in 1912, when the Union Cypress Company began manufacturing lumber from the private cypress and pine holdings of George W. Hopkins at Deer Park. This timber had a 1911 market value of over $2 million.

Good employment and a local source of lumber brought development, and the company-owned mill town of Hopkins was eventually annexed by Melbourne. The company provided Melbourne’s first electricity and out-patient hospital. The Union Cypress Railway provided the first direct route to Florida’s interior across the “impenetrable” St. Johns River and marsh, saving over 100 miles and countless hours of back-road travel via Enterprise, which was 80 miles to the north. It opened the vast St. Johns prairie lands for settlement and carried much of the regional commerce.

Highlights of Melbourne's Logging Era:
•   The first three settlers were freedmen from Georgia, Alabama and Virginia, arriving in the early 1870s.  The settlement was then called Crane Creek.
•   By June 1880, the village had six families, 21 residents, and a US Post Office.  In July 1880 the community was named Melbourne, honoring one of its early settlers who came from Melbourne, Australia.
•   In early 1919, fire consumed most of Melbourne’s downtown business district.  Later that year, fire destroyed the big Union Cypress sawmill.  Both were rebuilt.

Ed Vosatka, a graduate of Ohio State University, came to Florida in 1972. He holds degrees in biology and photographic technology with master’s work in geology. He is a former high school science teacher, a research biologist for the State of Florida, and has published in both scientific and popular journals. Images of America: Melbourne’s Logging Era: 1912–1932 represents some 30 years of research.

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or

Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States.  Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places.  Have we done a book on your town?  Visit www.arcadiapublishing.com.

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With more than 7,500 local history titles published to date, Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Widely recognized sepia books feature hundreds of vintage historical images.

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Source:Arcadia Publishing
Location:Mt. Pleasant - South Carolina - United States
Industry:Books, Industrial, Family
Tags:melbourne, Florida, logging, history, book, vintage, photographs
Last Updated:Jan 23, 2012
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