The Indian River Anthropological Society (IRAS) in a partnership with the North Brevard Heritage Foundation (NBHF) and Brevard Community College (BCC) conducted a Phase I Archaeological survey to assess the previously undocumented site known as Pace's Landing. The IRAS and BCC conducted the study in January and February 2007.
Two local historians, Bob Gross and Roz Foster conducted extensive research on Pace's Landing. Their data along with additional supporting data indicated Pace's Landing was originally settled in 1868 by John W. Harvey (some accounts John Varney) and his brother who operated a store at this location. A boarding house was built approximately 1.6 kilometers (1-mile) to the west which was run by John Varney's wife. It is believed that sometime in 1870 the property was sold to A.J. Pace for whom the site is named on all the maps from the 1870s to present. In addition, an individual by the name of Seymour (Seymore) operated a drugstore at the landing. Local lore states there was a indian trading post. Seminole Indians would travel up the Indian River to trade and camp at the site for weeks at a time. In addition, the tramway from Salt Lake to Titusville was suppose to have terminated at this location. Additional research was conducted by the IRAS to verify the information. Unfortunately, at this time there is no evidence that the Seminoles traded at this location. There were more trading posts further south including one at Ft. Pierce making the use of Pace's Landing as a trading post unlikely. In any case it was once an important settlement in the area. Pace's Landing slowly died from the development of new roads to the growing community of Titusville and the advent of the railroad. The final blow may have come from hurricanes that struck the area in the 1870s and 1880s.
Archaeologically, there is no evidence of a nineteenth century occupation of the site. There are footings on the bank and submerged in the river though there is no definitive way to determine their date. Artifacts found near one of the footings included two .22 cartridges and the base of a paper shotgun shell. The cartridges can only tell us that they were used after 1878. Bottle glass and a complete bottle found at the site date to the twentieth century with one specimen dated to. Interestingly a dense scatter of coquina was found submerged off the bank and an additional deposit was found in two shovel tests. The presence of this deposit has been the subject of speculation it was a pier or jetty or debris from a building.
It is the opinion of the IRAS that the nineteenth century occupation of the site was more than likely west of the present day FEC railroad grade on somewhat higher ground. The area tested during this survey is too low and poorly drained for a permanent settlement, though a dock and smaller associated buildings would have been plausible. Most likely any evidence of the Pace's Landing settlement was destroyed by the construction of the FEC railroad line, construction of the Chain of Lakes project, and citrus agriculture to the west.
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