Just a few days ago, while walking and trying to “get back into shape,” I saw the giant granite boulder, like Stonehenge, with the sun setting behind it, and the full beauty of the river’s reflection bursting forth.
Immediately, I experienced a kind of flashback. It was 1979; it was raining. I was fifteen years old; I was awkward; and the most important thing in the world to me was my friends who I was hanging out with that day, and experiencing freedom away from my parents, who were just down the causeway.
And then, something I’d never seen happened. A governor was before me. Yes, Governor Bob Graham came out and started speaking, next to this giant rock. Everyone was quiet, even we girls stopped fooling around. The governor was wearing a suit, had presence, and when he started talking his slow cadence and confidence was rather mesmerizing ….He was talking about the St Lucie Inlet and the future of Martin County…
People were whispering: “The governor? Governors never come to Martin County…” “The inlet improvements must be a really big deal.” (http://www.oceanscience.net/inletsonline/usa/doc/St._Lucie.htm)
This experience, may in fact, have been the first time I realized a politician could have an effect on people…My mind’s eye still holds the image of seeing the governor, like a photograph.
I am fortunate to have information detectives in my family so after my flashback experience, when I got home, I immediately contacted my mother and brother and asked about the lone boulder that I recognized that was sitting all alone. “What’s its story…?”
I knew that before the “new” Ernest Lyons Bridge, the boulder stood close to the “old” Ernest Lyons Bridge along the Stuart Causeway. One would always see it on the way to the beach, sitting right there, very visible, along A1A. Today it is tucked away under the tall bridge between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island, without so much as a plaque to note its symbolic significance.
Within a short time, my brother, Todd, found a Palm Beach Post Article from 1979 entitled A FESTIVAL FOR ALL—EVEN IN THE RAIN by Jim Reeder. The article tells the story of the thousands of people who showed up to see the dedication of the boulder and Governor Graham at the “St Lucie Inlet Festival.” “This festival was in celebration of the extensive improvements to the inlet miraculously approved by Congress, requiring blasting and dredging that amazingly was “supported overwhelmingly by all the groups that are normally at odds, such as developers and conservationists.”
How quickly things are forgotten….
It is my hope the lone boulder gets a plaque. According to my historian mother, it was one of the gigantic granite rocks to be used to improve the new St Lucie Inlet jetty, set aside for the event to memorialize that special day. This jetty is still out there taking the waves, and is still part of an inlet that has problems, but represents one of the few times, Martin County contingencies “got along.” This is worth recognizing….