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WUCF TV’s Central Florida Roadtrip Journeys to Cocoa Beach

Posted by Jennifer Cook on

Central Florida Roadtrip returns Thursday on WUCF, taking viewers inside the stories and history that shaped the city of Cocoa Beach.

Find out how Cocoa Beach, known as “Missile Town USA” in the 50s and 60s because of its proximity to the space center, originally came to be the hub for the American space program, and hear the story behind President Warren G. Harding’s role in the growth of the city.

A missile launching site was placed just north of Cocoa Beach at Cape Canaveral in the late 1940s. Discover how this influenced a population growth of 370% in the 1950s, and see why local residents fought for their cape when President LBJ proposed it be called Cape Kennedy.

With all eyes on Cocoa Beach due to the Apollo space program, reporter Jay Barbree became the ears and mouth that translated the goings-on of the space program for people across the country. Listen to Barbree’s thoughts on his time as Cocoa Beach’s most prolific space reporter, covering every launch of American astronauts, from the Apollo 11 to the tragic accident of the Challenger shuttle. “As [The Challenger] was going up, I had a premonition that something was going to happen,” said Barbree. “I was dialing New York’s number and it was ringing when the shuttle exploded over my head.”

Finally, get a historical look at the astonishing growth of the now 64-year-old Port Canaveral. Starting as a small port for the citrus and scrap metal industry, see how the port ended up, with the help of the cruise industry, hosting 4 million passengers annually.

Central Florida Roadtrip airs Thursday, November 2 at 8 p.m. on WUCF TV.

You can learn more about Central Florida Roadtrip on the website (http://www.wucftv.org/roadtrip).