The first real settlement in Cocoa Beach, Florida was started by a family of newly freed slaves following the Civil War, but a hurricane in 1885 discouraged settlement. Then, in 1888, a group of Cocoa men bought the entire tract of land. The land remained untouched until an attorney named Gus Edwards arrived. He bought Cocoa Beach and began to develop it. The City of Cocoa Beach was established on June 5, 1925, and was incorporated as a City on June 29, 1957.
Cocoa Beach came to life during the 1960s due to America’s space program. NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center is located approximately 15 miles away. The city became home to many young families where one or both parents worked on some aspect of the space program. Children raised here were sometimes referred to as “Cape Brats.” The community was once so full of children that the schools overflowed and portable class rooms were built to host them. It was not unheard of for there to be 45 children per classroom. After manned space flights, the town held astronaut parades. Before there was a “Silicon Valley,” Cocoa Beach and other surrounding towns were full of the best and brightest technical minds around. Today, many Kennedy Space Center workers still call Cocoa Beach home.
Cocoa Beach was also the setting for the 1960s sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie,” although only one episode was actually filmed here (Jeannie’s wedding).