Gail Briggs Nolen offers an intimate portrayal of her two bloodlines in Memories of Merritt Island: Birthplace of Kennedy Space Center. This story of Merritt Island is recounted through the lives of the Benecke-Briggs family.
Briggs Nolen shares the triumphs and failures of the homesteading lifestyle that was prevalent throughout Merritt Island. This rich history is brought to life with love letters, family photographs, government records, maps, and news articles. We learn about the struggles of a young German immigrant who yearns for financial stability and the warmth of his distant lover, become acquainted with the brave Aunt “alligator Lena,” and even told about the great family piano that not even Liberace could buy. The reader travels straight through this family’s lineage up until the eventful moment when their dreams were dashed by the United States government. Progress demanded change. John F. Kennedy ushered in the age of space exploration. Merritt Island was the location of choice.
Memories of Merritt Island is definitely a successful endeavor at passing on a special family heritage. The sentiments of the individuals who enjoyed the island before the Kennedy Space Center are quite clear. This historical piece is a gentle reminder that legacies are built on hard work, dedication, and ingenuity. Land lovers, adventurers, and history buffs can appreciate this work.
Kadier C. Carter, J.D.
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