By Maria Sonnenberg
40: SPACE COAST LIVING | SPACECOASTLIVING.COM
Big Orange on U.S.
1 north of Eau Gallie
is hard to miss.
The Chamber of
Commerce used the
16-foot cement citrus
to dispense orange
juice to visitors.
dot the Florida landscape
and Brevard is no exception.
On U.S. 1 in Eau Gallie, the
huge cement Big Orange built during
the 1960s once served as a fruit stand
where the Chamber of Commerce would
dispense orange juice to tourists.
Although visitors will no longer enjoy
any OJ there, they do stop for a photo
op with the round structure, 15 feet
in diameter, carefully preserved in
all its orange and green glory by the
Melbourne Rotary Club.
In the 1800s, Douglas Dummett owned
a citrus grove perfectly situated near
the warm waters of the Indian River. A
good caretaker to the grove, Dummett
developed unique grafting techniques
that, coupled with the location of his
grove, saved his trees from a landmark
freeze in 1835, a freeze that felled
almost every orange tree in the state.
Dummett graciously provided not only
seeds and cuttings from his healthy,
hardy trees to his fellow growers, but
he also showed them a technique to
propagate by grafting buds of sweet
orange trees onto the stumps of the
wild sour orange trees, a process that
speeded growth and increased the
For his efforts, Dummett has been
called the father of Florida citrus.
Unfortunately, his groves did not
survive. The United States government
decided to allow the 9,000 acres of
orange groves that buffer Kennedy
Space Center to revert to the wild,
and the trees that once saved the
Florida citrus industry soon were just a
footnote in history.
Grower credited with saving industry