The 'Farmer' That Sold Florida

A long-forgotten newspaper offers a unique view of Vero Beach's infancy.
Herman Zeuch touted the motto, “You can look without buying, but don’t buy without looking,” and offered prospective landowners semi-monthly tours of Indian River Farms.

“There’s Money in the Earth. Come and Get It Out. VERO, FLORIDA.” One could easily think that such an ad had been placed in newspapers and magazines throughout the country over the past few years, leading to Vero Beach’s relentless growth. But actually, this ad appeared nearly 100 years ago in the Indian River Farmer, a monthly publication created to promote the sale of the land owned by the Indian River Farms Co.

It began in 1909, when Herman T. Zeuch first visited the Vero Beach area from his hometown of Davenport, Iowa. The town of Vero had already been established years earlier, having obtained a post office in 1891 and a railroad depot in 1894. But a major step occurred in 1912, when Zeuch purchased 55,000 acres of what was to become Indian River County. At $3 an acre, it may seem like a phenomenal bargain, but one must bear in mind that much of the land was submerged under water at the time.

Still based in Davenport, Zeuch enlisted business partners and formed the Indian River Farms Co. A massive drainage project was then undertaken.

Read the entire article in the March 2008 issue