Old Treasure Coast Inlet Photos, Indian River Lagoon

Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936. Photo by Ruhnke or Sterling Hawk, 1936. Courtesy, archives of Sandra Thurlow.)
Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936. (Photo Ruhnke Collection, courtesy, Thurlow archives.)

Just recently, my husband Ed and I had the hardwood floors of our 1977 home redone. During this time, we literally “moved out” into one room of the house for almost four weeks.  As much as this turned my world upside-down, it forced me to go through all of the “stuff” I have acquired over the past ten years  in my St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon files.  I found some cool things I had forgotten about.

The folder I am sharing today is entitled OLD INLET PHOTOS. It includes aerial photos of the Jupiter, Stuart (St Lucie), Ft Pierce, and Sebastian inlets.  I borrowed the photos from my mother, historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow,  years ago. My photos are copies of the originals. I believe she and my father acquired the photos through Aurthur Ruhnke’s  Photography Shop that once was located in Downtown, Stuart.

Written on the back of all photos except the Sebastian Inlet, was the year “1936.” The photographer was R.B. Holt. The Sebastian Inlet however, has “1962” written on the back of the photo along with “Sterling Hawk’s name,” a different photographer.

I love old stuff like this; I hope you do too.

Enjoy and dream of a time long ago…the fishing must have been great, and look how undeveloped the surrounding lands were! The inlets helped promote the development of the Treasure Coast Region.

Of course before man created the inlets permanently along the Indian River Lagoon, Mother Nature’s winds and tides would decide if an inlet was open or closed to the sea. Over thousands of years, inlets opened and closed all along the Indian River Lagoon making the naturally fresh waters brackish for a time and allowing wildlife to flourish in these areas.

Man was attracted to these natural inlets as well. I was just reading last night about how the inlet at Jupiter closed in the 1860s when the US government was building the Jupiter Lighthouse. Nature’s closing of the inlet  was a “great inconvenience.” Today we would also consider it a great inconvenience to have any of our inlets closed.

The problem is that they are not meant to be permanently open and erosion problems occur over time. As most things in life, there is a positive and a negative; the tricky part is figuring our just where to draw the line in the sand…

Jupiter Inlet, 1936. (Facing west.)
Jupiter Inlet, 1936. (All aerials from the Rhunke Collection, R.B. Holt is believed to be the photographer for all but Sebastian Inlet photo, Thurlow archives.)
Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936.
Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936.
Stuart (St Lucie) Inlet, 1936,
Stuart (St Lucie) Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Sebastian Inlet, 1962. Photo by Sterling Hawk.
Sebastian Inlet, 1962. Photo by Sterling Hawk.

_____________________________________________

All photos courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow, historian. Her books on Sewall’ Point, Stuart, Jensen and the House of Refuge can be purchased at both the Stuart Heritage Museum, (http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com) and at the Elliott Museum, (http://www.elliottmuseumfl.org).

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