Certain photographs become imprinted in our minds, affecting us on an emotional level–conjuring up images and memories again and again….
One such photo for me is this late 1800s image of Captain Henry Sewall’s Post Office and home. The picture graces the cover of my mother’s book “Sewall’s Point, A History of a Peninsular Community on Florida’s Treasure Coast.” This photograph was often laid out on our family dining room table and we kids listened to mom tell stories of the house and the people from that era of history.
The first time I ever saw the photo it was like I was walking along the long, crooked dock myself to say “hello” or go pick up the mail. I could imagine a gentle breeze blowing, the sun shining, the birds flying over, the fish jumping, and yes, maybe a mosquito or two….
In my imagination, I also thought about how happy I would be to say “hi” to the Sewalls and to maybe get some mail…My mother in her years of writing the books repeatedly pointed out how “lonely” it was for the pioneers, and that the post office played a social role in the community as well as one of function.
With no roads, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon—were the roads—the only means of transportation to greet a neighbor, get supplies, or pick up the mail. The river brought people tougher, just like it does today.
Yesterday, when I drove to today’s Stuart Post Office from Sewall’s Point to drop off Ed and my Christmas cards, I thought about how much things have changed.
But I have to say, that even though I did not recognize anyone at the post office, the holiday mood and bustle of mail led to many smiles just as it must have in the days of Captain Henry Sewall. The post office, even with all of the world’s changes, still holds the heart of “greetings and hellos,” especially during the holidays.
SEWALL POST OFFICE/HOUSE TIMELINE
1889: Capt. Henry Sewall builds a house on Sewall’s Point
1891: Sewall’s Point post office established in the house
1913: The house is moved by barge to Port Sewall
2006: The house is moved by barge to Indian RiverSide Park with unanimous support from the Martin County Commission and advocacy of historian Sandra Thurlow, Stuart Heritage, the Historical Society of Martin County and others. A large donation is made to support the move by Mr. Fred Ayers.
2012: Restoration of the house is completed/the house is listed as one of 11 properties on the Martin County Local Historic Register of Historic Places.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
All of Sandra Thurlow’s books can be purchased at the Stuart Heritage Museum (http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com) on Flagler Avenue, the Elliott Museum, or ordered on Amazon.