Town of Ocean Breeze, What’s Next for This Slice of History Along the Indian River Lagoon?

ca. 1944 post card advertising Ocean Breeze Camp from Sandra  Henderson Thurlow's book, Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida's Indian River.
ca. 1944 post card advertising Ocean Breeze Camp. (Photo, Sandra Henderson Thurlow’s book, Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida’s Indian River.)

I love driving north along Indian River Drive towards Jensen Beach from the Town of Sewall’s Point. The palm trees, the river, the old brightly painted houses, and the Town of Ocean Breeze. Since childhood, “Ocean Breeze Park,” has been an icon for retired people growing old and  having a great time. A little crowded in there for my  taste, but still, what a cool place!

According to Sandra Henderson Thurlow’s book, Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida’s Indian River, “In the 1930s, Harry and Queena Hoke along with their two teenage sons, came to Martin County in a red trailer that was their home.”

According to the family: “The trailer was so small you had to go outside to change your mind.”

After visiting Pitchford’s trailer camp further north, the family eventually purchased 23 acres of the former C.F. Wolf pineapple plantation. The formation of the town is an American dream story. After success as a park, they eventually incorporated in 1960 increasing their coffers and their land holdings  by buying adjoining properties.

With a great advertising campaign and true caring for the lives and fun of their residents the park-city became a true home.

Early advertising for Ocean Breeze Park.
Early advertising for Ocean Breeze Park.(Courtesy of  Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
Original site of Ocean Breeze Park.
Original site of Ocean Breeze Park, 1948. (Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)

According to the town’s Wikipedia article: “at the time of its incorporation, in 1960, the 65-acre park was said to be the largest privately owned trailer park in the United States.”

One of the great town stories is Mrs Geeben.

Mrs Dorothy Geeben, embodied the spirit of Ocean Breeze. She was mayor from 2001 to 2010. When she was re-elected in 2004 at age 96, the national media dubbed her “the nation’s oldest living mayor.  She passed on January 11, 2010 at the age of 101 just short of her 102nd birthday.

The Ocean Breeze Park Clubhouse, social center for parties, dances, meetings and performances. (Thurlow collection.)
The Ocean Breeze Park Clubhouse, social center for parties, dances, meetings and performances. (Thurlow collection.)
Ocean Breeze Park, 1945.
Ocean Breeze Park, 1965.
Recent aerial photo. (Internet)
Recent aerial photo. (Internet)
Photo 9-27-14 by Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch and Ed Lippisch.
Photo 9-27-14 by Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch and Ed Lippisch.
Town of Ocean Breeze's town limits.
Town of Ocean Breeze’s town limits.

Today new things are on the horizon for the Town of  Ocean Breeze. Yes, it is run down, but it is improving. Flying over or driving through one can see that many trailers have been removed and western lands belonging to the town are being cleared for residential apartments. The town owns a tremendous amount of land as well as land in the Indian River Lagoon.  (see chart above.) The Town of Ocean Breeze  is a sovereign. They regulate themselves.

Hmmmm? What will the future bring?

Recently, there was a rumor going around that the town could ignore the county’s four-story height limit within its boarders and build condominiums to “see the sea.”  I think that is doubtful, but stranger things have happened in Martin County and if Ocean Breeze is to evolve into the future it will certainly have to change.

According to Scripps Newspapers, after great financial difficulty the town was bought in 2013 by Carefree RV Resorts for Arizona for  16.5 million. The company owns 60 communities nation wide.

Although I know I’ve got many more good and productive years, I find myself thinking about where Ed and I might eventually downsize. I want a great location, a place where I can see the Indian River, somewhere within walking distance to town, and a community where I can have fun and grow old. Ocean Breeze just might be the ticket!

_________________________________________________________

Town of Ocean Breeze Wikipedia: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Breeze,_Florida) 

2 thoughts on “Town of Ocean Breeze, What’s Next for This Slice of History Along the Indian River Lagoon?

  1. My mother as a kid and my grandmother, helped the Hoke’s park and setup their first trailer. Our family spent many years, wintering in Pitchford’s camp. I’ve still got a few fotos from the early days.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s