Block Party - June 10, 2006 — CLICK for gallery EARLY
A Little HistoryBy Joe Richardson
Eons ago Spring Valley was Atlantic Ocean waterfront property made up of beach sand dunes. Evidence of the dunes can still be seen south of Highway 50 on Barna Avenue. When Junez Corp. started to develop Spring Valley, their first job was to level the high dune that stretched north and south through the center of the property. Bulldozers cleared trees and pushed sand westward to make level lots where Spring Creek Lane, Cathy Circle, and Clay Circle are located. That land was as much as twenty feet lower than the top of the dune.
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Junez Corp. started construction of Spring Valley in late 1966. The company had just finished work on a subdivision off Singleton Avenue north of Garden Street. The first family to move into Spring Valley was the Conklins on Summer Terrace. Next were the Maderys on Autumn Street (then Autumn Drive) and the Richardsons on Spring Creek Lane. The Barnas followed soon afterward--also on Spring Creek Lane. Barna Avenue was so named after Doug Barna's father who owned the land where Spring Valley is located.
When our subdivision was started, Barna Ave. was not paved south of Troutstream; there were no railroad crossings at Knox McRae or Harrison. Harrison was not paved. Houses and pine trees occupied the land where Miracle City Mall is located. Only the Sears was open at Sears Town mall, the rest was under construction.
The only malls (?) were at Sand Point and Pirtle Plaza. The Sand Point anchor was a small Belks and Pirtle Plaza had a Grants.
Cheney Highway was a narrow two-lane street. Past where I-95 was later built, the road twisted and turned all the way to Orlando. The wooden bridge across the St. Johns burned in '67 or '68. We had to go to Cocoa and take 520 to Orlando for several months.
The Star Advocate and the Orlando Sentinal newspapers served this area.
1970 saw the end of the Apollo program, which was followed by the layoff of many NASA and contractor personnel. Only about one fourth of the houses had been built in Spring Valley. A significant number of our neighbors had no choice but to leave their homes and move away in search of jobs. Junez Corp. declared bankruptcy and stopped construction with several homes only partly completed. For a few years many of the unfinished homes were subject to vandalism and theft. Several air conditioner units and irrigation pumps disappeared during the night. The neighborhood kids were delighted with the expanse of the Spring Valley "sand box" where trenches could be dug and forts built. One boy made gigantic footprints in the sand one night by attaching "feet" made of large slabs of cork to his sneakers and tromping through the sand. The "monster" remained a mystery for several weeks.
In the early days, Spring Valley neighbored property inhabited by various wildlife. The acreage between Spring Valley and Hwy. 405 were undeveloped. On Christmas Eve of 1967 a Florida panther came out of the woods at the north end of the subdivision, strolled south through sand backyards and vacant lots on the west side of Spring Creek Lane, inspected the Richardson's patio (where he/she was seen) and continued south and back into the woods. The panther's large feet left deep tracks so it was very easy to follow his path Christmas morning. Foxes and Bobcats were also seen frequently. A family on Autumn Drive lost their housecat to a Bobcat. A six-foot rattlesnake was killed on Spring Creek Lane. A Florida black bear climbed fences and raided garbage cans a few blocks east of Barna Ave.
Twice, the open country between Spring Valley and 405 burned. Flames seared electric and telephone lines at the back of Spring Creek Lane. Houses were saved through the efforts of Fire departments from Titusville, other cities, the county, and the cape.
Photos from Joe & Joan Richardson - some of Spring Valey's earliest residents.
Lemonade for sale at Barna and Autumn.
Mosquito spraying in 1967 over Spring Creek Lane
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