Nora Stanford was the eldest daughter of Senator Charles Stanford, and niece of Leland Stanford who founded Stanford University, was the Governor of California during the Civil War, United States senator of California and President of the Southern Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad. She married William Twining Wells and they had 3 children.
Nora, William and their children lived in upstate New York where the winters were harsh. Because Nora tended to get pneumonia every year, her doctor suggested that the family winter in the south. Mr. and Mrs. Wells traveled all over Florida looking for the ideal place to build their winter home. When they arrived in Melbourne, they found the people to be friendly and welcoming. At that time, the Indian River was clear as crystal and filled with fish, and so the Wells , being fond of boating and fishing, decided that Melbourne was the perfect location . They purchased 150 acres and began construction of Green Gables.
Nora was an unusual woman for the times. She was strong, well-educated and dedicated to literacy. She kept a room filled with books at the house and neighbors were welcome to borrow them. Local children could often be found up in the “ trunk room” reading. Mr. and Mrs. Wells later built the first public library. They also built the first auditorium and brought culture and the arts to Melbourne. Since there was no high school in the area, they built “Educational Hall” and employed Professor Winters to be the teacher for all the local children. In the 1920’s, Mr. and Mrs. Wells donated a 30 acre tract of land to the City of Melbourne for a park, which is now Wells Park.
Nora Stanford Wells was a force for positive change, literacy , education and culture here in Melbourne. She and her husband, William, have earned their place in the pages of history for the City of Melbourne, Florida, a place which they came to so dearly love.
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