In 1896, New York industrialist, William T. Wells and family, moved into their completed winter home, Green Gables, on the high bluff of the river in Melbourne, Florida. Mr. Wells, a metallurgist, was known for his patent of rustless iron. The Wells process was used for water pipes and for ornamental/decorative purposes, such as the facade of the Library of Congress. The mark made by Nora and Williams Wells and family on Melbourne exists to this day. As members of the community, they donated huge parcels of land to the City for a park with the first swimming pool, a parcel to the first Melbourne Woman's Club (GFWC), a parcel for the Episcopal Church, the construction of the first auditorium for events, the first library, and high school. Every event at the Melbourne Auditorium, every day in the library, and with the swans at Wells Park in is some way due to the investment the Wells family made in Melbourne, for the benefit of all. We plan to honor the legacy of this family who invested early in our small town with the preservation of their beloved and irreplaceable home.
Green Gables Living History Education Program
Green Gables will invite school children, teachers and parents to visit the 1896 home of William Twining Wells and his wife Nora Stanford Wells. Students will learn about the history of Brevard County from characters such as Mr. and Mrs. Wells, servants, a Florida cowboy, and the Wells children, all dressed in period costume and sharing information about what life was like for them. Students will learn how to “whittle”, churn butter, play games of the period and maybe even learn to “crack” a whip like a real Florida cowboy. They will learn about the Seminole and Ais Indians and the role they played in the development of our community.
Additional opportunities to participate in a “tea” with Mrs. Wells, learning etiquette, or enjoy a family “Lawn Party” actually playing games of the time period with the Wells Children, craft classes and more will be available.
A small gift shop selling period toys such as tops, marbles, Green Gables Historical Coloring Books, post cards, penny candy and more will be available for student visits.
Establishing a living history museum will offer our community, visitors and tourists, the opportunity to learn about and develop an appreciation for the history, heritage, and rich culture of our unique area of Florida. Enabling students to stand in places where the things they are learning about really happened , can have an amazing impact on their understanding. It’s important to bring history lessons to life for the children, and enable them to develop a deeper understanding of the people
and places that have shaped society today. Visiting historical sites can serve as a catalyst for sparking children’s imagination and showing them a world beyond the classroom. A school visit to Green Gables can put what is taught in the classroom into context, and offering interactive, hands-on and immersive experience, differentiating to meet the needs of diverse groups can make the experience even more valuable. School visits to historical sites are amazing for developing the students’ interest in history as well as their knowledge and appreciation of the past.