Not to be Missed: Cocoa’s Architectural Heritage and its People



-BEST Cocoa historical book 2.jpg_20140429.jpg

Photo Left: Tim Shortt/Florida Today

A trio from Brevard County, Florida have published a book on the architectural heritage of our own Cocoa, Florida. Michael Boonstra, Roy Laughlin and Robert Kronowitt worked together to document the architectural heritage of Cocoa, Florida from 1880-1950.

The title of the 384-page book, “Not to be Missed: Cocoa’s Architectural Heritage and its People, 1880-1950,” urges readers not to take for granted the rich architectural treasures in your back yard. “It seems as if you can use architectural history as a container or wrapper (for social history,” said Laughlin, whose earlier book, “At First Glance: An Artist’s View of Rockledge’s Historic Residential Neighborhoods,” was published in 2008 and is in its second printing. “Houses and commercial and public buildings are like conch shells. They have survived the living animals that made them and have the ability to persist indefinitely after their creators. … The book is about the buildings of the past, as well, that are now gone, as the buildings we are still using: the mysteries of the past and the mysteries of the present.”

Lyn Dowling from Florida Today spoke with the men and chronicled their involvement in the project in an article for Florida Today titled “Trio documents cocoa history in new book” on May 13, 2014, seen below:

An 86-year-old commercial artist who also worked on “At First Glance,” Kronowitt is another enthusiast. “I really love historic buildings,” the Melbourne resident said. “It has been such a pleasure to do this and to meet the people who (own) these buildings. They are so unique, and they make huge commitments to restore rather than renovate.”

A longtime preservation advocate, Boonstra, who edited the book and provided research, is one of the area’s premier historians: the genealogy librarian and archivist for the Central Brevard Library and Brevard County Historical Commission. He also added his expertise to “At First Glance.” Boonstra wrote about the book on his blog  “This book is the result of careful research that ranged from interviews with long time residents to an untold amount of consultation with original sources such as deed books and early newspapers. In many cases contemporary accounts of a structure’s construction was found in the Cocoa Tribune so exact dates, builders and architects can now be assigned to previously anonymous buildings. These records also revealed the stories of our area’s earliest residents and their level of involvement in creating the community we enjoy today. Every important section of Cocoa is included in this book with coverage on the business district, schools, the river front, the land boom neighborhoods north of town and the African American community.”

The book is broken down according to types of structures and their uses: schools, homes, houses of worship, commercial buildings, public buildings, etc. “It also includes some social history and the story of how Cocoa developed.”

To buy the book

“Not to Be Missed” is available from the Florida Historical Society, 435 Brevard Ave., Cocoa; S.F. Travis Hardware, 300 Delannoy Ave., Cocoa; or from Roy Laughlin.

Email nottobemissed2001 Cost is $42.35 plus tax.