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You've heard the stories about fast talking con men selling swamp land to unsuspecting Yankees, right? Well, some of those stories are true.

Map of Palm Bay
Click the map to see a larger version.

A huge area of Palm Bay (the city next to Melbourne) was bought in 1959 by some enterprising brothers from Miami, split into lots and developed to the extent of digging canals for drainage and paving roads. Miles and miles and miles of roads. With street signs. The name of their business was the General Development Corporation, so locals just call that area "The GDC".

The map shows roughly the boundaries of the actual populated part of Palm Bay (in yellow) and the (then) unpopulated GDC area.

But don't think that because you have a map you can find your way around easily - there is no pattern or plan to the way the roads are laid out. There are places where the same streets intersect each other several times.

Street layout in the GDC
Street layout in the GDC.

Streets in the GDC.
A typical street in the GDC.

Since there were roads, these lots were sold as "developed" land to people who never actually saw them. If they had seen them they would have probably noticed that they were miles away from the nearest store, gas station or houses, and had no water, electric, telephone, or tv cable available. Add to that the joy of scorpions, snakes, panthers, alligators and bugs and you have the Florida retirement home you always dreamed of!

Of course, there are some people who like to live that way. Personally, if Pizza Hut won't deliver, it's too far out for me!

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