Permanent Collection - The Railroad Museum

Vero Beach Train Station

The trains no longer stop in Vero Beach, but the first railway station that has served the city through pioneer times, boom and depression, and two world wars, is still here.

Before the station was established in 1903, the railroad stop was known as Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) mile marker 350, and the small community of Vero was part of Brevard County. In 1916 when the station’s passenger area was enlarged, the community was part of St. Lucie County. By 1919, the Town of Vero was incorporated, and 1925 “Beach” was added to the Town’s name and a new county, Indian River County, was formed from northern St. Lucie County.

In 1936 the station’s passenger area was again updated with the travelers able to enjoy the added comfort of indoor plumbing. During the war years of the 1940s, the station saw a bustle of activities as freight and troops came to the naval air station in Vero Beach. Through the renewed growth of the 1950s and 1960s, the Vero Beach railroad station played its part. In 1968, following bitter labor disputes, the passenger service was discontinued along the entire Florida East Coat Railway line. The shipment of the world famous Indian River citrus kept the freight service operating until 1979 when all freight service was discontinued, and the station was left abandoned along the tracks

Purchased from the FEC by the Indian River County Historical Society in September 1984 for $1.00, the station was moved one-half mile north to a city-owned parcel of land. This parcel, originally purchased in 1924 for relocation and expansion of the station, had lay vacant for sixty years until December 1984 when the station arrived on site.

With the moving of this battered and abused historical structure and the restoration and reopening as an exhibition center in 1987, the Indian River County Historical Society received a tremendous outpouring of community support. The Vero Beach Jaycees, the local chapters of architects and builders, and individual volunteers banded together to tackle the restoration.

As one of the last small wooden depots existing on the East Coast of Florida, Henry Flagler built the Vero Beach station during the Florida boom. Small stations were located along the railroad tracks from St. Augustine to Ft. Dallas (Miami) and opened the southeast coast of Florida to farmers, businessmen, tourists and land developers. These stations became the meeting places and community buildings of many early settlements. In 1987 the State of Florida nominated the Vero Beach Railroad Station to the National Register of Historical Places.

The restoration of the Vero Beach Railroad Station has been viewed with enthusiasm and joy by the community. The ‘oneness’ in spirit within the county has since lead to other historical restoration undertakings. Today, the railroad station serves as the office of the Historical Society and an exhibition center offering displays of the County history and a travel tour- in miniature – through Indian River County. This ”whistle stop” once removed, again, plays a vital role in the lives of the citizens and visitors to the County.

< back to Museum's profile