Tag Archives: freight

Henry Flagler Wouldn’t Have Bought All Aboard Florida Bonds, SLR/IRL

Stuart's City Seal The original seal of Stuart was designed by a committee of three, A. T. Hogarth, J. A. Hancock and Curt Schroeder. It showed the confluence of the north and south forks of the St. Lucie River and the Florida East Coast railroad bridge. The original seal, adopted when Stuart was incorporated on May 7, 1914, served through the 1970s. (Sandra Henderson Thurlow, Stuart on the St Lucie)
Stuart’s City Seal
The original seal of Stuart was designed by a committee of three, A. T. Hogarth, J. A. Hancock and Curt Schroeder. It showed the confluence of the north and south forks of the St. Lucie River and the Florida East Coast railroad bridge. The original seal, adopted when Stuart was incorporated on May 7, 1914, served through the 1970s. (Sandra Henderson Thurlow, Stuart on the St Lucie)

The ironies of life in Stuart and Martin County are grand.

Here are a few:

  1. Business tycoon, Henry Flagler, is said to have first planned to run his railway through and develop Sewall’s Point and then across the St Lucie River to Rocky Point rather than developing Palm Beach. Title problems with the Hanson Grant, of which Sewall’s Point encompassed, led Henry to change the path of his railroad, instead taking it through Potsdam, later named Stuart.
  2. Stuart’s orignal seal, adopted in 1914, shows only the railroad going through Stuart as there was no “auto bridge” at that time. The docks sticking out into the St Lucie River can be seen on the seal due to their importance to property and commerce at that time in history. —The St Lucie River was important to “commerce” like the train at that time.
  3. Stuart was first on the north side of the railroad over the St Lucie River. When leaders wanted to change the name to “Port St Lucie” the railroad company “denied” this as there was already a town by the same name north. So the clever leaders of the town just moved the train station over the river to Potsdam and changed the name to Stuart. When things don’t work, smart business men take another path…
  4. All Aboard Florida and East Coast Railroad, Henry Flagler’s company, is now owned by Fortress; their plan to expand Mr Flagler’s business is likely to fail.
City of Stuart seal showed the railroad and an auto bridge in 1978. Seal taken from city stationary. Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
City of Stuart seal showed the railroad and an auto bridge in 1978. Seal taken from city stationary. Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

 

Today proposed All Aboard Florida is not following Henry Flagler’s one famous quote: “To help others is to help yourself,” in the age of paternalism such was the justification of the railroad….not today… Fortress Corporation is doing nothing to help others, like putting a stop at every pineapple plantation, but rather figuring how much money they can make for themselves barreling right through and then failing for bigger and better things…like Panama Canal freight.  Luckily their plan is falling apart.

The following information was simplified and explained by Mr Len Sucsy, of CARE, Citizens Against Railroad Expansion. He is a business expert. He gives us the inside scoop in layman terms we can understand.

You probably know about the Martin County and Indian River County lawsuits that are pending, but the specifics of All Aboard Florida’s failing business deal makes its vulnerability easier to understand:

“All Aboard Florida is having difficulty selling their $1.7 billion tax
exempt, junk bond issue. Municipal bond investors are being quoted in
Bloomberg, the Chicago Tribune, and other media sources as being
“uncomfortable” with the business model not only because no passenger train in the
history of the country has been profitable but also the real estate
above and around some train stations is speculative and yet to be
built. Other freight rail cash-flowing services are also future
events and speculative. The high leverage of the deal is also been
noted…. a problem. A well known muni manger of a $36 billion fund passed on the deal for
“credit risk” reasons.

Fortress, Inc., parent company of All Aboard Florida and Florida East
Coast Railway, is closing its flagship macro hedge fund. At its peak, it managed
$1.6 billion which now stands at $400 million due to investor flight. Last year the fund lost .6% and this year is down 17.5%. Managing partner and billionaire co-founder of Fortress, Michael Novogratz will leave the firm.
The company share price (FIG, NASDQ) has dropped 32% this year…”

AAF CAN’T SELL ITS BONDS. THEY ARE A BAD DEAL. SPREAD THE WORD. WRITE IT ON FACEBOOK. CALL YOUR FRIENDS  UP NORTH. PUT UP A SIGN.

Maybe our sign should read: “HENRY FLAGLER WOULDN’T HAVE BOUGHT AAF BONDS.”

A train on the original wooden bridge that spanned the St Lucie River 1894. Historical Society of Martin County.
A train on the original wooden bridge that spanned the St Lucie River 1894. Historical Society of Martin County via Sandra H. Thurlow’s book St on the St Lucie.

Citizen’s Against the Train: (https://www.citizensagainstthetrain.com)

CARE Citizens Against Rail Expansion: (http://www.saveourfl.com)

Not All Aboard Florida: (http://www.floridanotallaboard.net)

Chicago Tribune article: (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-wp-blm-florida-rail-e93cdf80-6e97-11e5-91eb-27ad15c2b723-20151009-story.html)

History Demolished, The Train Depots of Stuart and Martin County, SLR/IRL

The Jensen train depot ca. early part of 1900s, photo courtesy of Seth Bramson, via Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
The Hobe Sound Depot with engine ca. early part of 1900s, photo courtesy of Stuart Heritage.

I was recently reminded of train depots while reading a front page “Stuart News” article showing an artist painting a mural of the old Hobe Sound Train Depot….All Aboard Florida being rammed down our throats has the Treasure Coast very unhappy about “trains…” yet our area has a history of trains that we may know a bit better if the rail service and the government hadn’t demolished most of the depots that once peppered the Indian River Lagoon Region from Volusia to Palm Beach counties.

As the daughter of a historian, I was fortunate to hear many stories during my youth that if nothing else “made me think.” One of these stories was about how lonely it was to be pioneer here in Stuart’s early days. My mother would say….

Stuart Train Depot, photo courtesy of Historical Society of Martin County, Elliott Museum via Sandra Thurlow.
Stuart Train Depot, photo courtesy of Historical Society of Martin County, Elliott Museum via archives of Sandra Thurlow.

“Jacqui, for the people, for the women especially, this was a very lonely place.”

The daily train used to alleviate that loneliness and give the people a place to meet, gossip, and share. Kind of like today’s Facebook. As my mother Sandra Thurlow notes in her book, “Stuart on the St Lucie,” “Town life centered around the arrivals and departures of passenger trains that also brought the mail.”

Sound familiar? “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!”

Jensen Depot. Photo courtesy of Seth Branson via Sandra Thurlow.
Jensen Depot. Photo courtesy of Seth Bramson via Sandra Thurlow.
Train depot
Train depot in Hobe Sound, courtesy of Seth Bramson via archives of Sandra Thurlow.

From my reading it sounds as if most of the construction and the use of depots and lesser “flag stops,” (a flag was raised if they needed the conductor to stop?)….was between 1894 and 1935. The Hurricanes of 1926 and 1928 coupled with the real estate crash of 1926 was a big part of the railroads’ demise as was the fact that wholesale fishing industries waned from unwise over-fishing, and pineapples had to start competing with Cuba. So basically, in about one generation, the railroads depots and the railroad of Henry Flagler along the Lagoon had seen their “best days.”

In the 1960s and before, the aging, remaining, cute-little, aging stations were demolished by order of F.E.C. Railway officials. As my mother writes about the Stuart Depot: “The depot that was once the center of the community’s activities was demolished without fanfare during the 1960s.”

And so “it goes,” and “so it went”….. THERE GOES THE TRAIN!

The passenger train is gone, along with the depots….today we have too much car traffic, roads are everywhere, All Abroad Florida threats purport a bleak future, Florida’s population is expanding, Panama Canal freight is coming…

Well, at least we have Facebook or we can stay home and text…..

Hmmmmm?

What will the future bring? 🙂

Walton Flag Stop, with people happy to see each other and get the mail. Photo. (Photo courtesy of Reginald Waters Rice and Sandra Thurlow's book "Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida's Indian River."
Walton Flag Stop, with people happy to see each other and get the mail. Photo. Photo courtesy of Reginald Waters Rice and Sandra Thurlow’s book “Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida’s Indian River.”

Great link shared by Rick Langdon of Walton Flag Stop and what wonderful things came of it: (http://rickinbham.tripod.com/TownOfSIRD/SIRD_Homes_11090RidgeAve.html)
(In Martin and southern St Lucie counties, there were stations in Jensen, Stuart, Salerno, Hobe Sound, and “Flag Stops” in Walton, Eden.)

 

Salerno Depot, courtesy of Seth Bramson via Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
Salerno Depot, courtesy of Seth Bramson via Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
Train route along Indian River/St Lucie. Map Sandra Thurlow's book "Jensen and Eden..."
Train route along Indian River/St Lucie. Map Sandra Thurlow’s book “Jensen and Eden…”
Eden's Flag Stop. (SHT)
Eden’s Flag Stop. (SHT)
Inside cover of Stuart on the St Lucie, Sandra Henderson Thurlow shows train depot in downtown.
Inside cover of “Stuart on the St Lucie,” Sandra Henderson Thurlow. Photo shows train depot in downtown, Stuart.

Thank you to my mother, Sandra Henderson Thurlow, for sharing all the photos for this blog post.