Tag Archives: historic photos and aerials

Mystery Revealed! Exact Date of Peck Lake’s Inlet Breakthrough-“Ash Wednesday Storm, 1962”–Indian River Lagoon

Stuart News article dated March 12, 1962 about the Ash Wednesday Storm and the breakthrough inlet at Peck's Lake along the IRL.
Stuart News article dated March 12, 1962 about the Ash Wednesday Storm and the breakthrough inlet at Peck’s Lake along the IRL.

In case you have been reading my blog the past week or so, you may have noticed that the date/s of Peck Lake’s Inlet breakthrough/s, into the Indian River Lagoon, along Jupiter Island, have been in question.

I originally wrote in my blog dated 12/12/14, “1948 and 1960” as the dates of the Peck’s Lake breakthroughs, based on my mother’s book Sewall’s Point, A History of a Peninsular Community of Florida’s Treasure Coast.

After I wrote, my mother contacted me saying that she had learned throughout the years that the date of 1948 and 1960 may be incorrect as she had taken the 1948/1960 dates off the back of historic photos from “The Ruhnke Collection” in her and my father’s history photo archives. Also there was the fact, that some old timers had said that date/s seemed a bit “off…” and that the 1940’s break may have been somewhere else…

Nonetheless, no one remembered the right dates. Time and tides fade all good memories, even at Stuart Heritage! (http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com)

I am proud to say, due to some “history detective work” on the part of my mother, who yesterday actually went to the Blake Library and looked through the old papers on the microfilm machine, and a lead from a group email of friend, and attorney, Ted Guy, the exact and correct date of the 1960s break has been revealed!

The exact date that Peck’s Lake Inlet broke through in the 1960s was Thursday, March 12, 1962 during the famous “ASH WEDNESDAY STORM of 1962….” (Still working on 1940s date.)

Being raised Episcopalian, when I heard this clue, I had to ask my mother….”Mom, when is Ash Wednesday? ”

She looked at me and immediately spurted out : “Maybe 40 days before Easter….”

“The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 occurred on March 6–8, 1962 along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. Also known as the Great March Storm of 1962, it was considered by the U.S. Geological Survey to be one of the most destructive storms ever to affect the mid-Atlantic states. One of the ten worst storms in the United States in the 20th century, it lingered through five high tides over a three-day period, killing 40 people, injuring over 1,000, and causing hundreds of millions in property damage in six states.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ash_Wednesday_Storm_of_1962)

 

Close up of date on newspaper
Close up of date on newspaper

This was my mother’s final message:

 “Jacqui, because of your interest, we have finally pinned down the date of the article that had the wrong year on it. Your dad found a piece by the county on hurricane damage and it said Peck’s Lake washed through in 1965 as well…”

MYSTERY SOLVED, AND YET ANOTHER DATE REVEALED! 

Thank you to all those who helped uncover this “mystery.” It is important to know as surely Peck’s Lake and other areas of Hutchinson Island and Jupiter Island, our ever changing barrier islands, will break through again. 

Here are the photos of the Peck’s Lake 1962 breakthrough originally displayed , in case you did not see them the first time:

Peck's Lake breakthrough 1962
Peck’s Lake breakthrough 1962 (Photo Ruhnke Collection)
Another angle
Another angle, Peck’s Lake Inlet 1962 (Ruhnke Collection)
Inlet open to IRL
Peck’s Lake Inlet open to IRL, ca. 1962
Another Peck's Lake photo (Ruhnke Collection)
Another Peck’s Lake photo after ACOE filled in, (Photo Ruhnke from Thurlow Archives.)
Filled in
Filled in after breakthrough….

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Original post with updates on Peck’s Lake, JTL: (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/12/12/old-photos-jupiter-islands-shorelinepeck-lakes-inlet-along-the-indian-river-lagoon/)

The Contributions of “The History Lady,” Sandra Henderson Thurlow, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Sandra Henderson Thurlow, historian and author has written four books about the pioneer culture along the St Lucie River/IndianRiver Lagoon.(Photo, Tom Thurlow, 2010)
Sandra Henderson Thurlow, historian and author, has written four books about the pioneer culture along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. (Photo, Tom Thurlow, 2011.)

As the jacket of her Sewall’s Point Book states:

“Sandra Thurlow was a resident of Sewall’s Point for twelve years before she became fascinated by its history. In 1986, the Town of Sewall’s Point commissioners ordered the demolition of  a lovely old home that stood on a bluff overlooking the St Lucie River. Queries revealed that it was once the High Point Rod and Gun Club, a wildness retreat for a coterie of politically powerful Philadelphians. Further research uncovered a wealth of local history that needed to the shared and preserved. ”

As you may already know or have guessed, Sandra is my mother and the house was one the children of Sewall’s Point played in and got into trouble having lots of fun….And yesterday, we as a family honored Sandra’s  75th birthday and today she will be featured in my blog. 🙂

Even though she is my mother, it is my opinion that no one has done more for “Stuart’s” local history and  no one has written more about the pioneer families who made their way along this wilderness, once known as “Santa Lucia” or the “Indian River Region.”

When I came back to visit Sewall’s Point and Stuart after graduating from University of Florida in 1986, I could tell things had really changed at the Thurlow house. My sister Jenny was getting ready to go off to school, I had been gone four years and our bedrooms were being transformed into offices. –Offices  full of shelves and drawers of historic negatives, old maps from my father’s law office, abstracts,  camera equipment, historic photos, taped interviews and the beginnings of what would become personal computers.

“Wow, ” I thought,  “that’s cool, she and dad certainly will not suffer from empty nest syndrome when Todd leaves in another two years….”

As the years went on, she and my father, dove into the history of our area, and the history of our area is the history of the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. A teacher by early profession and native of Gainesville, by 2008, my mother, with the help of my dad, had written and published four books: Sewall’s Point, the History of a Peninsular Community on Florida’s Treasure Coast; Stuart on the St Lucie; Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida’s Indian River; and together with my sister-in-law Deanna, Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge, Home of History.

Book covers of the local history books written by Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
Book covers of the local history books written by Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

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My mother taught me not to brag. But today I am bragging. It’s time. She has inspired and educated not only me but thousands of people. She has given talks, presented slide shows, worked with students in our local high schools, and has won state awards for her work.

I think she has helped make Martin County one of the “best documented histories” of our state. And through it all, whether she is writing about Captain Richards and his daughter Lucy of Eden struggling to grow pineapples in the sandy soil along the Indian River; or the first pioneers of Stuart trading with the Seminoles and calling their new-found paradise, “Stuart on the St Lucie;” or the early fish houses pouring over in Jensen Beach; or the shark fishermen in Salerno; or the lonely House of Refuge Keepers longing for the site of a ship or boat in river or ocean and who sustained themselves from the great riches of its waters; and even the documentation of the great detriment  that came to this place through the false hope of canals and connection to Lake Okeechobee, she writes about the relationship of people to the land and the relationship of people to the water.  The water is our history and we are the water, as that is why we came to this land….

Thank you mom for all of your work and happy birthday! Stuart is 100,  you are 75 and I, your oldest, am 50. Time is flying, and  the water that defines this place is still defining it as we fight to bring it back to health so that future generations can have some stories and write some books too.

75 birthday SHT
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Sandra’s books are available at Stuart Heritage, 161 Flagler Avenue, Stuart, FL 34994 in Downtown Stuart.(http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com) and through Amazon and Barnes and Nobel.