Category Archives: History

Reintroducing Myself to Pelican Island’s Paul Kroegel

Reintroducing Myself to Pelican Island’s Warden, Paul Kroegel

-A 30 year old Jacqui meets the Paul Kroegel statue, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Sebastian, Florida, 1994.  Photo by mother, Sandra Thurlow.  -A 57 year old Jacqui reintroduces herself to the Paul Kroegel statue, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Sebastian, Florida, 2021. Photo by husband, Ed Lippisch.

The Story of Recreating the Photo

Last week, when I told my mother I had an Indian River Lagoon Council meeting in Sebastian, she forwarded me a 1994 photograph of me with my hand on the shoulder of statue Paul Kroegel. I vaguely recalled visiting the statue twenty-seven years ago during a family outing to the St Sebastian River.

“You’ll have to reintroduce yourself to our friend, Mr Paul Kroegel,” mom said. “You know, the man who inspired Theodore Roosevelt to create the Pelican Island Reservation that became the nation’s first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903. Mr Kroegel was appointed the United State’s first warden. He loved and protected thousands of pelicans!”

“I’ll do that mom. I’ll find the statue. I do remember that day,” I replied. “You, dad and I were canoeing and got caught in a thunderstorm.” It all started coming back to me…

The more I thought about it, the more I stared getting excited about finding the statue…

On Friday, August 13, I attended the Indian River Lagoon Council National Estuary meeting. Afterwards, using Google Maps, a devise not available in 1994, I found the Kroegel statue in Riverview Park just down the road from Sebastian City Hall.

There Warden Kroegel stood smoking his pipe, pelicans at his feet,  just a shiny as ever! Someone had patriotically placed an American flag in his arms. It blew in the wind as pelicans and wading birds flew by. I took a deep breath, stood tall, and using my best manners reintroduced myself to Warden Kroegel. Looking into his bronze eye was almost real. We looked at each other for a long time. I placed my hand on his shoulder as in the original shot but had to turn around to take a modern day selfie. No one was there to take my picture, so I was unable to recreate the 1994 photo for my mother.

-Sculpted by Rosalee T. Hume

Luckily when I got home that night at dinner, I convinced Ed to drive up with me to Sebastian on the weekend, Sunday, August 15, to recreate the photo. We had a blast! First, it is such a beautiful drive to Sebastian from Sewall’s Point along historic Indian River Drive. Second, Sebastian is small and beautiful.  A lot like Stuart was when I was a kid. We really enjoyed our visit there. After finding Riverview Park and enjoying the scenery, I introduced Ed to Warden Kroegel and we took the picture!

-Riverview Park, Indian River Lagoon -Ed looks out to the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Indian River Lagoon -Standing at Paul Kroegel’s statue  -Ed takes the iconic recreation photo of Jacqui and Warden Kroegel 27 years later! 

Pelican Island and the legacy of Paul Kroegel are on display in Sebastian just about everywhere, but first and foremost at the remains of his Homestead at Kroegel Produce, right at the corner of Indian River Drive and U.S. 1. Pelican Island proper  is “right behind” the old Homestead out in the Indian River. On land, the tomatoes were the best I’ve ever had! If you visit Sebastian, please take a photo with Mr Kroegel and send it my way. I’ll share it with my mother too.

And thanks to my husband, Ed, for helping me recreate the 1994 photo with Paul Kroegel. For mom, for fun, for history!

Information on Pelican Island today, Sebastian Chamber of Commerce.

What’s Happening at the “Gun Club?”

Historic Photos of Palm Beach County, Seth Branson 2007

It’s fun having a mother who is the “history lady” because if I ask a question, it’s answered. Recently I ask her why the address of the South Florida Water Management District was 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, Florida, 33406. It always kind of hits me as I exit from I-95 onto GUN CLUB ROAD before our governing board meetings. Mom answered: “That’s of course because the Gun Club used to be located in the western lands after it was moved from its original location two miles north of the famous Royal Poinciana Hotel. So originally it was located along the Lake Worth Lagoon. In those early days, all revolved around Henry Flagler’s creations.” “Were they hunting animals? Killing them all?” I asked. “Jacqui I think it was more ground birds and skeet shooting. As seen in the photo, there was an audience. All was part of the extensive social life of the wealthy during the Florida boom of the early 1900s.”

Dolph’s Atlas showing location of Gun Club Road, undated but people were also traveling to Havana, Cuba, c.1940s.

Interesting! So what’s going on today along Gun Club Road? The Gun Club is long gone, the airport has expanded and now the SFWMD sits on this road.

SFWMD 2021, Gun Club Road

A lot is happening that is helping Nature, not shooting at it. Today I’d like to share some photos of recent Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Projects as the SFWMD is the local sponsor to the Army Corp of Engineers. They share the costs 50/50.

1.~Picayune Strand: July 9, 2021, water flowing south to restore thousands of acres of land in Collier County for the very first time. Photo SFWMD. This project was pushed forward with the help and passion of Governing Board member Col. Charlette Roman.

2.~Kissimmee River Restoration Completion, Lorida, Florida, July 29, 2021. Photos. Watch ACOE Col Kelly lead ceremony.

Ribbon Cutting The Destruction of the Kissimmee River, an Historic Flyover. This day was based on decades of work from those before us.
Mike Connor, Indian RiverKeeper bright the shovel from the first groundbreaking in the 90s. Mike’s wife’s grandfather was the great Johnny Jones who was key in getting Kissimmee River Restoration supported my state and federal policy makers.

3.~Old Tamiami Trail Removal, August 3, 2021. Photos.

Governor Ron DeSantis has expedited restoration through his leadership and the map for this is Executive Order 19-12.
Restored! Clean water flowing south.
Road bed 100 years old acted like a dam. It was removed for 6 miles. This road was located in Everglades National Park.

A lot more is happening along Gun Club Road than in the early 1900s! Thank goodness we’re not just shooting little doves anymore! And there is much more to come : Indian River Lagoon South C-44 Reservoir, Martin County will be operating by 2021 and getting “filled up” in October 2021; Design of the C-23 & C-24 Storm Water Treatment Areas in St Lucie County will be underway in 2021 to ameliorate the effects of canals 23, 24, and 24 on the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon; ACOE’s Groundbreaking for the EAA Reservoir is expected this year in 2021- the SFWMD is already ahead building the Storm Water Treatment Areas; projects in Miami-Dade and for Biscayne Bay are underway. The C-111 spreader canal and aligned projects will continue to be improved in order to send more water south and protect agriculture and coastal communities from flooding.

These are incredible times of progress for a better water future along historic Gun Club Road! Making history! 

The next Governing Board meeting of the SFWMD is August 12, 2021. Link here to most recent information updates.

Keeping Alive the Power of the Public Voice #3

As I continue my now popular retrospective series “Keeping Alive the Power of the Pubic Voice,” the next St Lucie River rally documented in my LOST SUMMER photo archives is dated August 20, 2013 –Ten days after the Beach Rally and and seventeen days after the first Rally at the Locks.

This was the infamous “riverlution” rally at the the St Lucie Locks and Dam when Governor Rick Scott visited. Just days prior to this, TCPalm put out their STOP KILLING OUR LAGOON issue. These were indeed incredible times! Below is an excerpt I saved from WPTV reporter Jeff Skrzpek, and some of my archived photos. Many people you’ll see in the photographs continue today to work for a better St Lucie River and Everglades LOSOM system.

The St Lucie “Lost Summer” led to significant changes to Florida water policy as we shall we in upcoming post. The recent wave started in Martin  County and continues to crash ashore today.

Excerpt, August 20, 2013 – WPTV

STUART, Fla. — – “Hundreds lined the road, armed with signs and chanted loudly as Governor Rick Scott zoomed by more than 300 protesters on his way to tour the St. Lucie Lock.

“Save our river!” screamed the crowd as the hot sun beamed down sweaty backs.

After arriving, Governor Scott was rushed into fenced area, topped with barbed wire fencing, walking away from the crowd without acknowledging any of the concerned residents. The chants turned from being loud to all out anger…”

-Jeff Skrzypek, WPTV

A protest sign greets Gov. Rick Scott and state Sen. Joe Negron before they tour part of the St. Lucie River near Stuart,Fla, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, to access the environmental impact of water being released from Lake Okeechobee. Scott is committing $40 million to finishing construction on a storm water treatment project by the St. Lucie River. He says the $40 million investment from Florida will speed up the completion date of the project which he says will protect the water quality in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Below” screen shot of TCPalm’s STOP KILLING OUR LAGOON SERIES. Note Eve Samples! I see Larry Reisman and I think that’s Ed Killer in the back. It is hard for me to see and recognize the others with my now “old eyes.” 🙂

 

 

Keeping Alive the Power of the Public Voice #2

I’ve had so many calls and reactions to my recent post “Keeping Alive the Power of the Public Voice,” that I’m going to keep sharing my photo archives of the “Riverlution.” Yes, today’s modern Florida water advocacy all started here in Martin County.

This next set of archived photos is dated August 10, 2013, Lost Summer (only seven days after the Rally at the Locks,) and labeled “Beach Rally for the River.” Photos reveal a large crowd at Stuart Beach and aerials of a black coffee/green algae St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Terrible!

For me, one of the all time most inspirational photos is in this collection. I am displaying it as the first one. It shows a  little boy raising his arms in glee towards the sky as Ed’s original River Warrior -the yellow Cub- plane passes overhead and the flag flies! Save Our River! We are working not just for ourselves but for the future. Please keep the power of the public voice alive for all our Everglades’ rivers during the optimization of LOSOM. The voice of the people must direct policy and we must continue to lead the way!

(Email to comment: LakeOComments@usace.army.mil)

Beach Rally for the River, August 10, 2013, Stuart, Florida (Thurlow archives)

Keeping Alive the Power of the Public Voice

Looking back…

As we move into the LOSOM optimization process, let’s recall the power of the public voice that started this St Lucie “riverlution” in 2013. Today in 2021, the River Kidz have all grown up, we have all gotten older, and a slew of new advocates are involved. But as was clear at yesterday’s Rivers Coalition meeting, the movement is still going strong. It got me looking through my photo archives. Amazing! I wanted to share. Let’s all keep alive the power of the public voice for all our rivers – it started here.

TCPALM “Something remarkable happened on the Treasure Coast in 2013. Was it a short-lived phenomenon or the beginning of a sustained movement?”

The beginning of a sustained movement for sure!

~Photos from RALLY AT THE LOCKS, August 3, 2013. Over 5000 people attended having seen  surfer Evan Miller’s Facebook post call to action due to the “Lost Summer.”