Brief History and Perspective
Three Black freedmen: Wright Brothers, Peter Wright and Balaam Allen settled in Florida along the banks of the river that is now known as Crane Creek. Each of these men received property on the north and south sides of Crane Creek. According to the 1880 census of Brevard County there were just five Black men who were heads of families. Three of them were Wright, Allen, and Brothers. Captain Peter Wright became the mail carrier. Whether these men arrived on Crane Creek separately or together is not known. They left no written records.
In 1884, in a tiny house on the southern banks of Crane Creek, Wright and Mary Brothers, Robert and Carrie Lipscomb, and Balaam and Salina Allen met for the purpose of organizing a place of worship for themselves and others of the Black community. In 1885, the first church structure for Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church was built on the northern end of what is now Lipscomb Street. This was Melbourne’s first house of worship. The original house of worship, the home of Wright and Mary Brothers, remains at 2310-1/2 Lipscomb Street and is in the process of relocation and restoration. In 1964, a new edifice was built at 2416 Lipscomb Street, Melbourne and, today, Greater Allen Chapel AME Church remains at that site. Greater Allen Chapel’s history continues to be written as a place to serve the Lord and a pillar of the Melbourne community.
Given the history of Crane Creek, now known as Melbourne, the Melbourne Founders Festival represents itself as an opportunity to not only entertain visitors of all ages, races and genders but also to increase awareness of African American culture and history and the role it played in the development of the city of Melbourne.
Greater Allen Development Corporation, a 501(c)3 public charity organization, is proud to host the Annual Melbourne Founders Festival. The purpose/mission of this venue is to encourage a sense of pride for the aggregate Melbourne community as well as to provide for future community enrichment activities.