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Tracing Time

Sallie Ann Gotshall's "Gotshall Map" Chronicles the Heartbeat of Indianola on Merritt


by Joel McPherson

A graphic history of Indianola Community by the hand of Sallie Ann Gotshall gives us the layout of the community from her childhood recollections.  Born on October 17, 1873, and finding her final rest on April 10, 1964, Sallie Ann left behind a timeless legacy, a testament to her love for Indianola and its rich history. Her masterpiece, the Gotshall Map, is a delicate reflection of her recollections circa 1900.  Her map and its notes offer a captivating journey into the past, unraveling the layout of the vibrant community that once thrived on this Florida island.

Gotshall Map

Noteworthy for its list of “firsts,” Indianola featured the area’s first Post Office, store, schoolhouse, church, social center, telephone system, and electricity.  An active community pier into the Indian River Lagoon allowed the shipping of Indian River Fruit, passengers, and merchandise for its General Store.

The Indianola Clubhouse, a space for communal gatherings and shared endeavors, finds its spot on the map, embodying the unity that defined the community. The Post Office, a lifeline connecting Indianola to the world beyond, is etched with precision, symbolizing the importance of communication in an era before the digital age.

Indianola Clubhouse

Adjacent to the Clubhouse, the Little Baptist Church emerges from the pages of history, a spiritual haven that anchored the community in times of both celebration and solace. Sallie Ann's pen breathes life into its location, allowing us to envision the steeple rising against the backdrop of Merritt Island's lush landscape.

Indianola Church

Further unfolding the map, the Schoolhouse played a pivotal role in shaping the minds of the community's youth, laying the foundation for a future that Sallie Ann would intricately capture on her canvas.  The schoolhouse provided another venue for community events.

Notably, the map pays homage to Sam Field's General Store, a cornerstone of commerce where residents gathered not only for goods but for the exchange of news and camaraderie. Sallie Ann's attention to detail immortalizes this vital hub, acknowledging its role in sustaining the fabric of Indianola.

Indianola Schoolhouse

Adding a poignant touch to the Gotshall Map is the notation of the "Evergreen Cemetery of Indianola," a precursor to the Indianola Pioneer Cemetery. The sacred land of the IPC was deeded to the Indianola Community on November 4, 1898, marking not only a physical space for remembrance but a lasting testament to the community's foresight in preserving its history.

As the Gotshall Map unfolds its sepia-toned secrets, it becomes a bridge across time, connecting us to the vibrant past of Indianola on Merritt Island. Sallie Ann Gotshall's legacy lives on, her artistic masterpiece a doorway to the echoes of laughter, the solemnity of prayers, and the resilient spirit that defined a community now immortalized in ink and memory.                                


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