-My dad’s photo -bus for Stuart High School, Senior Trip to Havana, Cuba, 1954Why the “Stiller”name rings a such a loud bell for me is because my late, dear, father, Tom Thurlow Jr. always loved to tell the story about his 1954 Stuart High School Senior Trip to Havana, Cuba. As you can see above, the bus was all written up in shoe polish!
I remember saying to my dad, “I get “Stuart Tigers” and “Havana or Bust”, but why does it say FISH FOR SALE, STILLER BROS. FISH HOUSE?” Dad would begin chuckling and reply: “That was my classmate Freddy Stiller…”
-Indian River State College President, Dr. Timothy Moore, JTL, Sandra Thurlow, Vice Chair District Board of Trustees IRSC, Tony George, May 24, 2022. Receiving a “Resolution of Appreciation” for my late father, Thomas H. Thurlow Jr. for his many years of service to the institution. -Mom holds dad’s Resolution of Appreciation. Thank you IRSC!Recently, after receiving a a beautiful plaque from Indian River State College in honor of my father for his service to the institution, my mother, historian Sandra Thurlow, and I visited Mariner Cay where my dad’s friends Freddy Stiller’s family once fished.
During our visit, my mother pointed out that commercial fishing operations flourished along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon after the opening of the St Lucie Inlet in 1892. In the 1940s, the fishing was still wonderful. It was this year that Hubert Stiller, Freddy’s forefather, purchased 75 acres of land from the Jacksonville Partnership Corporation -for the principal sum of $11500.
In 1963, the Stillers sold the family property, except for three lots to Whiticar, Garlington and Dragseth who later also sold the property. This land, platted in 1973, other than the three lots, became Mariner Cay off of St Lucie Boulvard near San Sprit Park.
-Mariner Cay Marina in 2022
When my mom got home she sent me some historic aerials that I will share today. It is fascinating to see what the land once looked like at a time when men could pull thousands of fish from our waters.
PHOTOS & HISTORIC AERIALS LAND ONCE OWNER BY THE STILLERS-TODAY’S MARINER CAY ON ST LUCIE BOULEVARD, STUART, FL
-Early photo of a Stiller Fish House ca. 1945, courtesy Thurlow Archives.-Thurlow Archives/all aerials marked 1964 of the Stiller lands that in 1964 sold to Whiticar, Garlington, and Dragseth. The St Lucie Inlet and Seminole Shores, (today’s Sailfish Point) can be seen in the distance over an undeveloped Rocky Point. -Mouth of Manatee Pocket also 1964, Stuart, FL
-My mother took this photo below of a remaining Stiller structure still located on one of “the three lots” not sold by the family in 1963. It remained/s separate. My friend and realtor, Julia Sansavere who lives in Mariner Cay informed me these “Stiller” properties have just sold. Nonetheless, they will remain a piece of history of my dad’s friend Freddy Stiller who once wrote on the Senior Trip bus to Havana in 1954: “Fish For Sale, Stiller Bros. Fish House…”
-A remaining Stiller structure, on the once Stiller lands, within Mariner Cay, May 24, 2022, photo Sandra Thurlow.-Today’s Mariner Cay red balloon, Google Earth, 2022.
8 thoughts on “The Old Stiller Bros. Fish House, Dad, and Mariner Cay”
Such a well deserved tribute to your father! Thank you also for sharing the history and old photos.
Thank you Deb.
Another beautiful story and history of the area. Thank you for your Dad’s work with IRSC. Congratulations. I can only imagine how nice it was back in the day. Go River!!!
Love to Mike! GO RIVER!!!!
Thanks for sharing this story of your dad and mom!
You are your mother’s daughter….and we residents are so fortunate for the history documented and shared! It is wonderful that your father, also, will be remembered and I’m sorry he is not here for your family! You really hit the lottery when it came to parents! Keep up the great work and know many residents here appreciate all you do!
Love to you. Thank you so much.