Eldora, another place in time.... Enjoy a brief stroll through the century old live oaks to the once thriving village of Eldora. Close your eyes as you rock on the porch and imagine the excitement of the arrival of a steamboat, or just absorb a magnificent sunset over Mosquito Lagoon. Both activities were enjoyed by early residents and visitors alike, along with horseback riding and walks on the beach. Step back in time, relax and experience Eldora.
Before 1876, the area that became known as the settlement of Eldora was home to Native Americans and few woodsmen who lived off the land. The community's history spans four distinct time periods.
Growth and developement as an agricultural community, and a steamboat stop serving the East Coast of Florida before the arrival of the railroads. In addition the government built a United States Lifesaving Service "House of Refuge" on the site of todays parking area five.
Rest and recreation, as the village shifted from industry to "gentleman's farming" and winter seasonal homes for leisure pursuits. Several events caused this shift; the arrival of the railroad on the mainland, the relocation of the Intracoastal Waterway and serval freezes that destroyed citrus crops. Sport hunting and fishing lodges also became popular during this period.
Slow decline as the Florida tourism interests changed and the Coast Guard moved their station to Ponce Inlet on the north end of the island.
Rehabilitation and preservation with the formation of Canaveral National Seashore in 1975, assuring that public ownership will preserve the history and culture of Eldora for future generations.
Turtle MoundThe earliest evidence of man at Canaveral National Seashore is found in the numerous mounds witin it's boundaries. More than 14,000 years ago, small nomadic bands of First Natives entered Florida. As time passed, regional cultures evolved in response to local environmental conditions. By the time the Europeans came various distinct First Native groups were distributed throughout Florida. Living in the vicinity of Turtle Mound were the Timucuan people.
In their 2,000 years of occupation along the coast, the Timucuans did little to alter the natural landscape. Their few remaining burial mounds and shell mounds are like an unwritten book about the people who lived here. By protecting it, we are assuring that future generations will learn of the Timucuan people.
The large shell mounds hold undisclosed information to the their way of life. From 800 to 1400 CE, generation after generation left evidence behind to tell of the their lifestyle at Turtle Mound.
Winter Camps along the coast were small, consisting of one or more families. The chief of the village live in a structure in the center of the village.
Animal bones uncovered in shell middens revealed the skill of the Timucuan hunters. With bow and arrow, spears and snares, they caught a variety of small mammals and reptiles. Deer was an important meat source. Using a deer's hide and head as a disguise, they stalked their unsuspected prey. So skilled were they in imitating a deer's movements, at times disguised hunters were mistakenly attacked by other hunters.
Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida in 1513. Contact with the Europeans led to the rapid demise of the Timucuan people and their culture.Numbering an estimated 40,000 with the coming of the Spanish, the Timucuans were reduced to a handful of survivors who fled wih the Spanish when Spain withdrew from Florida in 1763.
There has never been a complete excavation of Turtle Mound. By protecting it for the future, we will be able to gain more insite into the way of life of the Timucuan people. Archeological sites such as Turtle Mound ae the last remaining vestiges of the Timucuan people. Other mounds have been leveled to provide roadfill material. Some mounds have been so disturbed that their archeological record was destroyed and their artifacts lost forever.
Seminole Rest Historic Site
The historic shell mound, the foundation of the main house and the caretakers house, is 13 feet high and comprised of over 90 % quahog clam shells left as refuse by the Timucua. Evidence from the mound indicates that this mound was seasonally used as a clam processing station. The clams were mass harvested, smoked for preservation and packed for use at a later date. Artifacts such as projectile points, pottery sherds, and shell beads for necklaces were found in the mound during an archeological dig that was conducted in the 1990's. The mound, known as Snyder's Mound, dates as far back as 2,000 BCE (Before Common Era). The most inhabited time period was 800 CE - 1100 CE (Common Era).
Seminole Rest tells a story of the Timucua Indians, pioneer settlement and a preservation of cultures. With accounts from Spanish writings, as well as the science of archeology, we are able to connect the past to the present. The main house as well as the caretaker's home were constructed prior to 1888.
Last updated: March 28, 2020