The Thousand Islands formed as the result of an ancient tidal inlet that breached this barrier island and flowed across modern-day Cocoa Beach. The indigenous Ais people, a fisher-gatherer society, lived along the inlet. Their oyster-shell middens gave rise to the tropical hammocks still evident on the islands today. In 1907, a New York hunting club purchased the land through their agent, W.J. Hazelwood, for duck hunting. The Thousand Island Club paid $5,000 to erect a clubhouse across the river at Horti Point, but it burned down on a rainy night in 1912. After World War II, dredge and fill activities for new housing developments modified the islands. During the Mercury and Apollo space programs on the 1950s and 1960s, Cocoa Beach saw an influx of population, and ditches were cut through the shoals to allow larger fish to access the inner marshes for mosquito control. In 1988, the State of Florida purchased the portion north of Minuteman Causeway. Brevard County acquired the remaining southern section of the Thousand Islands in 2007 to preserve and protect the natural beauty, vegetation, and native wildlife of this habitat.