Tag Archives: historic aerial

A School by the River…SLR/IRL

Martin County High School under construction. The school replaced Stuart High School and opened MCHS doors in 1964. (Ruhnke, Thurlow Collection)

Recently, I attended the ribbon-cutting for Martin County High School’s Administration and Classroom Building. They even opened a time capsule from the school’s origins in 1964.  I hardly recognized the place…having graduated in 1982. It was so much bigger and better than when I attended. The place has come a long way from being what was literally once the county dump.

When I got home my mother had sent me a historic photograph via email (above.) I looked at it wondering what it was. I wrote back: “Where is that? Somewhere near Frances Langfords? IRL?”

I couldn’t believe it when she replied that it was an aerial of Martin County High School in 1964. I didn’t even recognize it! All these years, and I have never really realized the school lies so close to the St Lucie River. In fact, it lies not too far from where the South Fork of the St Lucie River was connected to the St Lucie Canal, today known as C-44. The link that allows polluted water in from Lake Okeechobee. A link that should be closed…

This Google map shows location with the purple pin.
Another map from Mr Young identifying location.

In her Vignettes, local historian Alice Luckhardt writes about the first school in Stuart. ~Stuart became the county seat of Martin County in 1914:

“Stuart’s first school was a one room building, about 12 x 16 feet, built in 1891 on the banks of the St. Lucie River, to accommodate the community’s children; the first teacher was Kate Hamilton whose salary was about $30 a month, but at that time there were not 12 grade levels and very few students.”

Imagine being taught, along the shores of a clean, beautiful, fish filled, St Lucie River….what a day, what an education, that must have been….

Aerial of Martin County High School, Kanner Highway Stuart, on line -MCHS E. Hassert, TCPalm 2015
Martin County, Fl
SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image.

MCHS web site:
http://mchs.martinschools.org/pages/Martin_County_High_School

JTL 10-27-17

“Go West Young Man! Go West?” St Luice River/Indian River Lagoon

Poppleton Creek and St Lucie River, April 17, 1952, courtesy archives Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

This remarkable 1952 historic aerial photograph shows Poppleton Creek and what were once pioneer Hubert Bessey’s lands near Downtown Stuart. Within the bucolic photograph early stages of C-23’s white sands, as seen piled on the land in the upper right hand corner of the photograph, foreshadow the river’s future. This canal divides Martin and St Lucie County and is considered the “most polluting,” excluding C-44 when open for Lake Okeechobee.

Looking across the beautiful St Lucie River we see in the distance the virgin pinelands and wetlands of parts of today’s Palm City. Interestingly,  if one continues west one will stumble upon the proposed lands to be developed by the Kiplinger Family, Pineland Prairie.

Go west young man, go west?

Time shall tell…

If we do, we may have more regard for the land than we did in 1952 and bring relief to the river that brought development and love of our area here in the first place.

You can use Poppleton Creek on the right as a reference point, Google Earth 2017
Google Earth image 2017.

 

C-23 Canal: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c23.pdf

Palm City History by Alice Luckhardt: http://archive.tcpalm.com/news/palm-city-celebrates-100-years-with-look-back-at-history-events-at-floridian-photo-gallery-ep-382954-343392342.html

Kiplinger’s Pineland Prairie website: https://pinelandprairie.com

Palm City Chamber: http://www.palmcitychamber.com/history-of-palm-city.html

“Go West/Manifest Destiny: “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_West,_young_man

6-21-17 JTL

_____________________________________________________________________

6-22-17

I am adding additional photos to this blog post for reference to questions posed. The Fairchild photos below are dated 1925 and in them you can see the white sands of the C-44 piled on the land connecting to the South Fork of the St Lucie River. The C-44 canal was built between 1915 and is documented to have opened in 1923. Dates vary by a few years depending on sources and it too was enlarged/deepened in the 40s and thereafter.


“What is that huge white stripe on the horizon??” I said. It’s looks like a giant 20-mile-long spaceship runway.

Well, it’s the spoil from the freshly-dug Okeechobee waterway. See it in the attached comparison from Google Earth.” Todd Thurlow

 

1925 Fairchild aerial, note white sands from C-44 canal in upper right area of photo. (Courtesy Thurlow Archives)
Another perspective showing white sands more clearly of C-44 canal linking with South Fork of St Lucie River.
My brother Todd’s Google Earth comparison showing C-44 and South Fork today. (Google/Todd Thurlow)

 

Sewall’s Point is for the Birds! SLR/IRL

 

Sewall Point, Arthur Ruhnke ca. 1950. courtesy of Sandra henderson Thurlow.
Sewall’s Point, Arthur Ruhnke ca. 1950. Photo courtesy of historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

This is one of my favorite historic aerial photos of Sewall’s Point; I have used it before. It is on page 11 of my mother’s book “Sewall’s Point a History of a Peninsular Community on Florida’s Treasure Coast.”

Taken in the 1950s, the peninsula is basically undeveloped. The spoil islands, from dredging the Intercostal Waterway, sit to the east of the island lone and unattached…

One very special spoil island is in this photo as well. I think it is the one furthest north: Bird Island, or MC 2, is a small spoil island now off the Archipelago. Comparing the photo above and below you can see the changes to the east side of Sewall’s Point and Bird Island.

Aerial Sewall's Point's east side. JTL 2013.
Aerial Sewall’s Point’s east side. JTL 2013.

I visited Bird Island yesterday with the Florida Wildlife Commission preparing for a field trip for their board who is meeting in South Florida this week. Bird Island was the first Critical Wildlife Area in the state of Florida designated in 20 years in 2014. This was an enormous accomplishment!

Kipp Fröhlich who was aboard boat yesterday said, “Yes it is amazing, we still don’t totally understand why the birds choose this particular island!” This is true. There are many to choose from.

One thing is for sure, the birds and humans love it here! It is a wonderful thing when wildlife  and humans can reside together. Thank you FWC!

With Ricardo Zambrano who oversaw the coordination of the CWA along with MC, Sewall's Point, Sunshine Wildlife Tours.
With FWC’s Ricardo Zambrano who oversaw the challenging goal of getting the idea off the ground and then achieving CWA status with the leadership of Martin County’s Deb Drum, Mike Yustin and team, the Town of Sewall’s Point, and stakeholders such as Sunshine Wildlife Tours, the commercial fishermen, and many others. After much work and broad support and years..the board of the FWC made the final approval.
Ansley Taylor, Dr Carol Rizkalla, Ricardo and Kip Frohlich. Dr Carol was instrumental in research for the success of the CWA.
Ansley Taylor regional volunteer, Dr Carol Rizkalla, Ricardo Z. and Dep. Dir. Kipp Frohlich from Tallahassee. Dr Carol was instrumental in research for the success of the CWA.

 

Photo by Greg Braun who documented all bird life and nesting for MC during the designation.
Photo by Greg Braun who documented all bird life and nesting for MC during the designation.
Happy wood storks on nests.
Happy wood storks on nests! JTL 4-12-16 There were Roseate spoonbills nesting too.
Spoonbills in mangroves. JTL
Nesting spoonbills in mangroves 4-12-16.  JTL

FWC Bird Island report: http://myfwc.com/news/news-releases/2015/january/28/bird-island-cwa/

Former blog on Bird Island with details on bird life: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/05/09/bird-islandindian-river-lagoon-one-of-floridas-most-important-avian-breeding-grounds/