The Historic Derby Street Chapel, also known as Derby Street Chapel, is a historic church building located at 121 Derby Street in Cocoa, Brevard County, Florida. Built between 1916 and 1920 as a Seventh-day Adventist church, it was sold to First Church of Christ, Scientist, Cocoa in 1955.
Henry Parrish, Mayor of Cocoa
Welcome to Cocoa Village FL
Cocoa was founded by fishermen with the first families arriving around 1860. A post office was established at Magnolia Point, and the city's first commercial building was erected around 1881. First plats of the new settlement were made in 1882 under the name "Indian River City" on land owned by Captain R. A. Hardee. The name Indian River City was unacceptable to the U.S. Postal authorities who claimed it was too long for use on a postmark.
The origin of the city's name is uncertain. In 1925, the Cocoa Tribune published several reader-supplied accounts of the town's naming. One reader credited Captain R.C. May with recommending the name at a town meeting in 1884. At Captain May's suggestion, the group finally chose the name "Cocoa" for the town's association with the cocoa tree. The name was forwarded to Washington, D.C., where it was approved. Another story suggests that an old woman was inspired by a box of baker's cocoa and her suggestion was adopted. Still another version suggests that along the bank of the Indian River lived an old woman who would supply hot cocoa to sailors as they traveled along the river. As they passed, they would call out "cocoa, cocoa" until the woman supplied them with refreshment. Whatever its origin, by 1884 the name Cocoa had become permanently associated with what was then an infant settlement.
In 1885, the S. F. Travis Hardware store opened. It is still in business in 2014.
Cocoa's business district was destroyed by fire in 1890, but soon, significant development began to occur with the extension of the Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Indian River Railway to Cocoa.
The city was chartered in 1895. In the winter of 1894-1895, Cocoa suffered a second severe economic setback when the "Great Freeze" destroyed the citrus crop and forced many citrus workers to seek new occupations. According to one source, by 1903, the population of Cocoa had dropped to 382.
During the second decade of the 20th century, population growth and economic development in Cocoa accelerated. The state business directory of 1911-1912 set the population at 550. By 1925, the population was estimated at 1,800. During the Great Depression, the local economy declined and the two local banks failed. Still, by 1930, the population had risen to 2,200.
The population rose dramatically following the development of the space industry, quadrupling from 3,098 in 1940 to 12,244 in 1960. Cocoa and the surrounding area also became integrated with the tourist industry for the first time as thousands visited the area to witness the launches from Cape Canaveral. By 1980, the population had grown to 16,096.
Education was segregated until the 1960s, at which time Monroe High School and elementary schools for black students were closed.
In 1964, the city built the Cocoa Expo Sports Center (Cocoa Stadium) for the Colt 45s spring baseball training and Grapefruit League games. The team later became the Houston Astros. In the early 1980s, the city attempted to upgrade the stadium by asking the Astros to pay for needed repairs. In 1985, the team responded by moving its training to Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee. As a result, it was decided that future negotiations with major league teams would be done by the county government.
In the 1970s, the old downtown area was revitalized with a shopping district, music clubs and waterfront park.
Established as the “Aladdin” theatre, the doors opened to the public on August 18th, 1924, showing silent movies. Later, Brevard’s first “talkie” movie house became known as “the showplace of the Indian River”.
This brick building was completed in 1909 and became the home of the Travis family businesses; they opened their first in Cocoa in 1885. The structure originally housed businesses owned by three Travis brothers; hardware and furniture on one side and dry goods and clothing on the other.
The Blair Building was originally an alleyway between two buildings, neither of which are still standing. The alley was covered around 1910 and soon became an art store, photography studio, and gift shop owned and operated by Luke Blair and his mother, Eva.
The two-story Hindle Building was built in 1907 in the same style as the Travis building on the other side of the street. The staircase to the second floor originally was located inside the entrance but was moved to the north end of the building sometime in the 1920’s.
The Masonic Temple, also known as the Village Tower, is a three-story brick building which began construction in 1919. It was built as the meeting hall for the Cocoa Mason Chapter that was founded in 1890 and counted nearly all local business leaders among it's members.
The church welcomes all visitors to come inside (provided there is not a sermon in process) to see the beautiful interior of the original church, built in 1886. Take a close look at the original stained glass windows.
This two-story building was completed in 1893 and had commercial space on both floors.
Edward Porcher came to this area as a young man in the late 1800s from his home in South Carolina. After a short stay in the area of Cocoa he bought property on Merritt Island where he and wife Byrnina Peck of Atlanta settled and began to raise citrus fruit and a family.
The oldest commercial wooden structure in Historic Cocoa Village is the Sur Le Parc Building, which means “on the Park” in French. Built in the 1880s by dressmaker Julia Roberts, who is known to have been a very good businesswoman.
The original location for this historic home was on Rockledge Drive over a half a mile to the south of Cocoa, but it was moved from there to Delannoy Ave in 2002 by barge.