Welcome to The Heritage Center in Vero Beach, FL
As early as 1926, a local Tourist Club endeavored to attract more tourists and keep them in Vero Beach longer. In 1935 the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) paid the labor costs while the City paid the material costs, and the City’s first Community Building was built. This building, now known as the Heritage Center, was constructed in just 3 months and its prominence in the community is everlasting.
During WWII, Vero Beach was home to 2,700 men and 900 women involved in the war effort. And so, the Heritage Center became the Servicemen’s Center; hosting a variety of events, foremost among them elegant dances with young people in spotless uniforms and charming 1940's USO-era attire, paying attention to details and etiquette. With band music wafting, and romance in the air, many locals tell stories about their grandparents meeting at those dances!
After the war, the Community Building became more of a true community center for all ages, hosting teen dances and adult gatherings. Eventually, the building became the Physical Arts Center and housed the City’s Recreation Department. Art classes were held in what is now the kitchen and a ballet studio occupied what is now the Indian River Citrus Museum.
After a new community center was built in the 1960s, the building fell into such disuse and disrepair that some say the only thing holding it together was the termites. The City was ready to demolish the building. Concerned citizens, led by the Indian River County Historical Society and Millie Bunnell fought to save it. In 1993, the Heritage Center was fully restored and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Heritage Center continues to be a City-owned property. The successful nonprofit Vero Heritage, Inc has the privilege of stewarding the venue, at no cost to the City.
Today, the Heritage Center hosts weddings, fundraisers, birthday parties, community meetings and more. It also houses the unique Indian River Citrus Museum, the only museum on the Treasure Coast that features artifacts, gifts, and a wealth of fascinating information dedicated to Indian River's citrus industry and history.
The Heritage Center evokes such memories and so resonates with the community that, to this day, many choose to host their own meaningful events at the Heritage Center. People intuitively know “this place matters.”
The Indian River Citrus Museum features attractive, informative, easy-to-access displays.
Citrus-Related Items For Sale
Our gift shop features exclusive FL-made items. For a preview of gift shop items, such as original citrus crate labels, citrus products and other souvenirs, Click Here.
Vero Heritage Citrus Label Tour
Vero Heritage is establishing the “Vero Heritage Citrus Label Tour” (modeled after what has been successfully done in Polk and Manatee Counties). This art in public places heritage tour explores the historic marketing portion of citrus though artistic labels that once adorned the wooden shipping crates. As of Summer 2022, we have three signs in Historic Downtown Vero Beach. Look for more signs throughout Indian River County soon!
Download a family-friendly scavenger hunt here.
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