One of my favorite aerial photographs from my mother’s history books on Martin County is of the infamous Hugh Willoughby flying over the St Lucie River at Sewall’s Point and Willoughby Point. In more familiar terms for boaters, this location is known as “Hell’s Gate” due to the bottle-necking of the rushing tide.
Mr Hugh de Laussat Willoughby, one of the “early birds” of aviation, and a resident of Sewall’s Point, (http://earlyaviators.com/ewilloug.htm) had the idea of locating the New York Yacht Club at the southern tip of the peninsula as envisioned in the map below. It is difficult to see in the aerial, but the insignia of the New York Yacht Club is on the side of the biplane.
The yacht club never materialized as the market crash of the late 1920s and following depression of the 1930s dashed that dream. Today many local pilots fly over the St Lucie River at this same location to photograph a different dream. –By showing the devistation, inspiring a dream for our state and federal agencies, of clean water…
Would Mr Willoughby ever have imagined his paradise would be one of controversial pollution? Never in a thousand years….
This year, the ACOE has been discharging from Lake Okeechobee since January 29th 2016; in 2013 they released May through October, and in 2014 nothing…
May the photographs or today’s ailing river inspire change, and may the spirit of Mr Willoughby keep adventure and love alive in our hearts—and the wind— ever at our backs.
ACOE Lake O level: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/plots/okehp.pdf
4 thoughts on “Hugh Willoughby’s 1920’s Dream, New York Yacht Club; Today’s Dream, Clean Water, SLR/IRL”
Hi Jacqui. With all the thinking and reports and research about our fragile eco system it’s hard not to ask if in the end are population growth and environmental quality compatible always or just up to a certain point? I researched some demographic data which shows that human growth in Florida went from about 5.5 million in 1963 to about 20 million today. Some future projections show 6 million more by 2030. Can our natural resources handle this? What about 35 million or 50 million humans? How efficient and eco friendly can technology make our use of the land, water and air? Will education or laws work that compel us to behave a certain way or to quit valuing things we want but don’t need?
Love your blog. Keep up the good work. Billy
I think so with this upcoming generation. At least more than us…Thank you Billy!
I can only imagine what this photograph would look like if color photography was available then. Will the next generation look back at Ed’s pictures and say “Those were the good old days?”
Wouldn’t that be the grand irony….I hope not!