Some might argue that technically, this reason doesn’t exist any longer. Well Brevard Happening and thousands of other Brevardians beg to differ. Though she may have collapsed into the Indian River during the stormy early 2000s, the Merritt Island River Dragon remains a sturdy reason to “heart” our hometown today. Reason #3 we love Brevard County: “Annie.”
What? You never heard of Annie the dragon who once resided at the tip of Merritt Island and watched over the Indian River Lagoon near the Eau Gallie causeway? You must have moved here after her time. Well, once upon a time, there really was a dragon. A local myth? Nope. But a legend? Yes!
Here are some facts about Annie the Merritt Island River Dragon:
- In 1971, Aynn and Jeff Christal hired Miami artist and self-proclaimed warlock Lewis VanDercar to build a dragon sculpture at the “point” of their Merritt Island property.
- The dragon was inspired by an American Indian legend, which held that seeing a dragon rising from the mist where the Banana and Indian Rivers met was good fortune. VanDercar claimed to have envisioned the dragon in a dream.
- The dragon, named Annie (after Aynn), consisted of 20 tons of steel and concrete, which was transported over the property one wheelbarrow-full at a time.
- In 1974, under new ownership, Annie was outfitted with red lights in her eye holes and a propane-based flame-thrower in her mouth.
- Around 1981, at the behest of another new owner, VanDercar revisited Annie to enlarge her neck and head, give her a pair of back legs and add four baby dragons (Joy, Sunshine, Charity and Freedom) emerging from their eggs.
- During her reign, Annie hosted her share of children’s birthday parties and charity fundraisers.
- After 30+ years of delighting everyone who sailed, paddled or drove by her, Annie was badly damaged and fell into disrepair. The hurricanes of 2005 destroyed what was left of the majestic creature.
Check out this short documentary about Annie the Merritt Island River Dragon to learn more:
Brevardians have many reasons to miss Annie. Some of us played on, in or around her as children. Some of us enjoyed watching her breathe fire on the Fourth of July and looked forward to seeing her decked out in twinkling lights come Christmastime. Annie was a local “Wow!” and a unique part of Brevard history. She captured our imaginations and inspired us. And let’s not forget: She watched over us and brought us luck without asking for anything in return.
Alas, the Merritt Island Dragon is gone forever. Or is she? Not if the folks of the newly formed Save Dragon Point organization and thousands of Brevardians have anything to say about it!
That’s right, there’s a strong local effort to see Annie resurrected.
Check out this Florida Today article to learn more and visit the links below to join the movement:
- Save Dragon Point Official Homepage
- Help Save Dragon Point Page on Facebook
- Merritt Island’s River Dragon Community Page on Facebook
You can also show your support by completing the form below.
Comment with your Annie the Merritt Island River Dragon memories and stories!