What Did It Look Like Before the ACOE Built the C-44 Canal along the St Lucie River?

The South Fork of the St Lucie River prior to the construction of the C-44 canal. (Photo ca. 1920,  courtesy archives of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
The South Fork of the St Lucie River prior to the construction of the C-44 canal and nearby orange grove. Today, this area is Four Rivers subdivision in Palm City.  (Photo ca. 1920, courtesy archives of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)

For many years, I was searching for old photos and maps showing what the river looked like before it was intersected by the C-44 canal, at the south fork of the St Lucie River, in Martin County around 1923. The canal was widened and deepened many times thereafter, but according to documents, the construction began around that time.

I felt like a sign should be erected noting the spot were we changed the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon forever….I still have not done this, even after the spot was discovered.

Time went on, and one day my mother, historian, Sandy Thurlow, looking through her old aerial photos said, “Jacqui, I think I found it! That spot you are looking for.”

C-44 construction linking canal to south fork of St Lucie River, early 1920s. (Photos from archives of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
C-44 construction linking canal to south fork of St Lucie River, early 1920s. (Photos from archives of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)

These are the aerial photos she sent me. I wanted to share. I will not write much today, as a picture speaks a thousand words….

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FDEP/History C-44 Canal: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/C-44%20Canal%20.pdf)

FDEP-Evidence of Impairment, C-44 Canal: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/C-44_Impairment.pdf)

2 thoughts on “What Did It Look Like Before the ACOE Built the C-44 Canal along the St Lucie River?

  1. Sorry this got away from me yesterday… it most certainly helps folks understand what has happened. These came from Nat Osbourne and I had to rip them out of a stubborn powerpoint.. tricky stuff for a dummy like me. Hope  all is well, would love to get together with you and Katy Lewey and discuss River  Kidz. Best! Marty

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  2. Thanks, Jacqui. That spot where the C-44 joins is only about a quarter mile downstream from my house on the old winding South Fork. It is in a County wildlife preserve that use to belong to Cookie Delaplane. I know it well. When they dump the S-80, the flow past that junction backs up or blocks the flow in the old river. You can spot the junction quite clearly on Google Earth.

    W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.

    643 SW Fuge Rd

    Stuart, Fl 34997

    (772) 287-4106 (home)

    (772) 485-1866 (cell/car)

    guywe2@gmail.com

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