It all started in 1915 when Ernest Kouwen-Hoven moved to Melbourne and purchased a strip of beachside land lying between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean. He envisioned this property as becoming an exclusive beachside resort and indeed it did. This one-square mile became known as “Indialantic-by-the-Sea” The first map of this area was recorded in 1916.
Back then the only means of access to Indialantic was by boat or ferry. In 1919 Kouwen-Hoven began construction of a wooden bridge across the Indian River from Melbourne to Indialantic. It became known as the “Kouwen-Hoven’s Folly” because of predictions it would never be completed. Kouwen-Hoven financed the construction by issuing his own bonds at 8% interest and using his land in Indialantic as an incentive for prospective buyers. If a person purchased a $100.00 bond, he could buy a lot for $20.00. The bridge was finally completed in 1921 and used for many years. Lighted by kerosene lanterns, the bridge was often set afire when they were blown or knocked over. It was not uncommon for drivers to travel with hammers to pound loose nails back into the wooden planks.
In 1941, a new concrete and steel swing bridge was begun. Construction, delayed with the onset of World War II, was completed in 1947. This bridge was used until the existing high-rise was completed in 1985.
A stable community of homeowners was established in Indialantic during the Florida real estate boom that reached its peak in 1925. The 1.05-square mile area was incorporated in 1952 with a population of 1,500. It is today a quiet, primarily residential Town with a population of 2,731. Strict zoning codes and enforcement of these codes keep Indialantic a unique and prestigious community. Even though a large portion of the population is retired, there is still a diversity of residents consisting of young couples with children, professionals, business people, artists and students.
Indialantic stores and businesses cater to all the basic needs plus more exotic demands. Restaurants vary from fast food and family establishments to ethnic and gourmet dining. Residents and tourists can enjoy the public beach area from Miami to Watson. Swimming, fishing, boating and surfing are favorite pastimes. Threatened and endangered sea turtles nest along the shore from May through October. The boardwalk offers a place to stroll along the ocean and the parks throughout the Town provide getaways from the day’s routine.
Designated a bird sanctuary in 1975 by a Town Council proclamation, the Town has taken measures to protect its abundance of animal species and plant life. Indialantic remains a natural, unspoiled paradise.