Satellite Beach is a picturesque, seaside community situated on a barrier island, located on the Space Coast. The approximately three square miles of land area is bordered by Patrick Air Force Base to the north, Indian Harbour Beach to the south, Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Banana River to the west.
In 1956, four brothers and their cousin from North Carolina bought a 130-acre parcel of land in a sandy, beachside area covered with palmettos, scrub brush, sand spurs and infested with mosquitoes. Highway A1A was a narrow, graveled road that linked Cape Canaveral and the causeways to the mainland. Percy Hedgecock (wife Helen), along with brothers Hub (wife Irma), Shine (wife Annie), and June, as well as, Cousin Jimmy Caudle (wife Nancy), had a vision to build a community. A community focused on family values and one that would provide recreational opportunities for youth. Within five months, the group had built seven houses, four for each of the families and three houses to be sold. The need for housing was extremely high with the growing population of aerospace workers at Patrick AFB and Cape Canaveral, and the houses sold quickly.
As the population continued to grow, it became evident that there was a strong need and desire for appropriate zoning regulations, building codes and inspections, and community services. A proposal to build a 500-unit trailer park on land off A1A and Park Ave brought it to the forefront. A vocal delegation of local builders and landowners presented a plan to incorporate as a town. As a result, on August 3, 1957 Satellite Beach became a municipality, as 56 of 57 (one resident was downrange) eligible voters approved the measure. Along with the Hedgecock brothers, Carlos Canova, a government surveyor and landowner, was instrumental in rallying support for incorporation. Eau Gallie attorney A.T. Rossetter drew up the charter and Representative Jim Pruitt filed the paperwork in Tallahassee. A contest was held to name the city and Evelyn Price (secretary to Mr. Rossetter) won the prize of $25.00 with the name “Satellite Beach”. Percy Hedgecock was elected as the city’s first mayor and served for 16 years. Wiley White became the first council member and his wife, Ann, the first city clerk. Another contest, held in 1964 to determine the city slogan was won by Phyllis Koerner with her submission “Where Progress Prevails”. Along with the Hedgecocks and Caudles more hard working families and friends made their way to Satellite Beach and helped build the city. Some of these founding families included: the Smiths (Percy, Dumont and Jack), Tom and Harry McLean, Ray and Slim Sells, Ted Craver and Ben Bowman.
During the 70’s and 80’s, softball became the “name of the game” in Satellite Beach. The sport that began in the early 60’s produced numerous championships under the direction of Mayor Hedgecock. Under his leadership, the city ensured that recreational facilities and ball fields were available to its youth. Percy and Hub Hedgecock were selfless in their dedication and generous financial support. Satellite Beach created three different National Championship slow pitch softball teams – the Comets, Mets, and Rockets – each winning numerous national titles. During those two decades, Satellite Beach hosted 11 National Championship tournaments and earned the title “Softball Capital of the World”. In 1975, the ASA recognized two individuals that helped make softball famous in Satellite beach: Judy Hedgecock was inducted to the Hall of Fame as a player and Percy Hedgecock to the Hall of Honor as Coach and Tournament Director. Though the popularity of slow pitch softball has waned, the city continues to promote a very active recreation department and provides programs, facilities and services for all ages. Satellite Beach has over 147 acres dedicated to public recreation and sports programs.
Another priority for the city has been the preservation of oceanfront land and protection of fragile coastal vegetation and sea turtle nesting sites. In 1998, city leaders recognized the continued loss of public beach access due to coastal construction. City leaders identified remaining undeveloped properties and with assistance from the Florida Communities Trust grant program, purchased four parcels totaling over 17.2 acres. Because of this endeavor, nearly 40% of the city’s oceanfront is protected from further development. There are also 11 permanent public crossovers and three beachfront parks; Pelican, Hightower and Sunrise which provide beach access and public facilities. Today’s leaders and city policies remain focused on a self-reliant, sustainable city with lagoon-friendly landscaping and maintenance.
From the very beginning, the residents of Satellite Beach were good-hearted and happily volunteered to serve their community. This included being generous with their time, talents and treasure. Elected officials all served without pay, a practice that continues today. Many of the city structures, including the first civic center, city hall/fire department complex and library were all built using volunteer labor with much of the materials being donated. Louis Olson and the Hedgecock brothers were extremely philanthropic, donating land for the first city ball field, Olson Park. The Fire Department was manned by all volunteers, with Shine Hedgecock as the first Fire Chief, until 1964 when one professional firefighter was hired. The first elementary school, Surfside, opened in 1962 and the teachers and volunteers moved in the furniture so it could open at the start of the school year. The interior of the original library (now City Hall) was finished in 1967 by volunteers and residents donated over 6,000 books and periodicals to fill the first shelves. The original recreation center was built on a tennis court with funds earned from Little League concession stands in 1968. In 1977, the volunteer fire department bought and donated the land to the city for a new fire station. Service organizations flourished and played an important role in serving the community. Some of these organizations include, Woman’s Club, Jaycees and Lions Club. The spirit of volunteering born from the city founders continues today. Loyal volunteers continue to raise and lower flags, help maintain Samsons Island Nature Park and assist with various Fire and Police Department initiatives. Most notable are those unique selfless volunteers that demonstrated “the difference one person can make” while serving their community, like Al Carlson; Richard Rogers; John Baker; Lou Chatelier; George Cavanaugh and Scotty Culp, to name a few.
Satellite Beach, Florida – Your Place to Call Home.