Merritt Island Dragon
|Merritt Island Dragon|
|Location||Merritt Island, Florida|
The Merritt Island Dragon or Merrit Island River Dragon was a dragon-shaped green concrete structure that stood at the southern tip of Merritt Island, known as Dragon Point, where the Indian River Lagoon splits to form the Banana River Lagoon. The dragon was built in 1971 by Florida artist Lewis VanDercar and property owner Aynn Christal. In 1981, the statue was expanded for new property owner Warren McFadden, with the addition of a tail, an extended neck, two cavepeople a caveman named Fred and a cavewoman named Wilma and four hatchling dragons named Joy, Sunshine, Charity, and Freedom. The statues were located in the city of Melbourne, Florida, north of the Eau Gallie Causeway.
The dragon was created from 20 short tons (18 t) of concrete and steel, and stood 35 feet (11 m) high and 65 feet (20 m) long. Known as "Annie", the dragon served as a landmark for both locals and boaters, and also as a playhouse for children. On special occasions, the dragon would breathe fire.
In August 2002, the sculpture was badly damaged, and partially collapsed into the water during a storm; vandalism was blamed for contributing to the statue's destruction. The owner and the Brevard County Commissioners were unable to agree on a rehabilitation effort; there was a plan in 2004 to reconstruct the sculpture, while in 2008, a developer planned a luxury hotel and spa on the Dragon Point site with a reconstructed dragon statue as its centerpiece, but both plans fell through.
A children's book about the dragon, River Dragon: A Real Florida Fairy Tale, was published in 2003.
Save Dragon Point, an organization dedicated to rebuilding the dragon statue, was founded in May 2012. In August, the mansion on the property where the dragon had stood was scheduled to be demolished and the property sold. Save Dragon Point changed its name to Annie and Kids Arts and Education Foundation.
In January 2015, Don Facciobene, local builder and developer, bought the property. He announced that a new dragon named "Rojak" will be built. According to the story of Dragon Point Rojak is Annie's fifth hatchling who was kept hidden. In April Rojak was revealed to be built by 2017.
The inaugural Dragon Boat Festival is planned for June 13, 2015. Proceeds are intended to benefit Save Dragon Point.
Demolition work began at Dragon Point in March of 2017, clearing room for a future multi-million dollar riverfront mansion and for "Rojak."
- "Annie crumbles: Vandals, erosion claim landmark Merritt Island dragon". Star-Banner. Ocala, FL. August 7, 2002. p. 6B. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- Frawley, Loretta W. (November 26, 1991). "Dragon finds role as fund-raiser". Orlando Sentinel. Ocala, FL. p. F1. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "River Dragon History". DragonBook.com. 2009-05-27. Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
- "Lagoon landmark met tragic end". Florida Today. Melbourne, FL. March 31, 2008. p. A5. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "Annie the Dragon will again overlook Indian River Lagoon". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Sarasota, FL. July 6, 2004. p. 9B. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "Brevard County's "Annie The Dragon" Could Make Comeback". WFTV. Orlando, FL. March 31, 2008. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "Annie the Dragon: R.I.P." Florida Today. Melbourne, FL. November 10, 2009. p. A3. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- Cox, Billy (December 13, 2003). "Merritt Island dragon resurrected in fairy tale". Florida Today. Melbourne, FL. pp. People–1. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- Neale, Rick (August 20, 2012). "Merritt Island's Dragon Point mansion will be torn down". Florida Today. Melbourne, FL. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- Neale, Rick (May 1, 2015). "Save Dragon Point to change name, refocus its mission". Florida Today. Melbourne, FL. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
- Neale, Rick (January 20, 2015). "Dragon Point sells for $800K; a new dragon may debut". Florida Today. Melbourne, FL. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
- Neale, Rick (April 24, 2015). "Dragon Point will rise again in 2017". Florida Today. Melbourne, FL. Retrieved 2015-05-17.
- Save Dragon Point. "Save Dragon Point Dragon Boat Festival". High Five Dragon Boat. Archived from the original on 2014-12-05. Retrieved 2014-11-29.
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