Tag Archives: inlets

Ft Pierce, Sebastian, and Stuart’s Inlets, Gallery of Discharge Photos, 3-6-16, SLR/IRL

Today I am sharing a “gallery” of discharge photographs from my husband Ed’s flight over Ft Pierce, Sebastian, and Stuart’s St Lucie Inlets. The photos were taken yesterday, March 6th, 2016, around 2pm.

A picture speaks a thousands words…(In this case through about 106 frames.) Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day, yet area waters estuarine and ocean were not necessarily so. —-Certainly not those surrounding the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon near the St Lucie Inlet.

The discharge levels and reports for Lake Okeechobee can be reviewed at the Army Corp of Engineer’s Jacksonville website here: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm. Lake Okeechobee is reported at 15.68.

The ACOE will be releasing less according to a recent press release.

Flight Over the Shifting Inlets of Hutchinson Island 1515-1900, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Hutchinson Island 1947, via archives of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
From bottom  to top: Atlantic Ocean, Hutchinson Island, Indian River Lagoon, Sewall’s Point, St Lucie River, Stuart…1947. One notes here Hutchinson Island– so thin… (Fairchild aerial survey ca. 1940s-photo courtesy of Sandra H. Thurlow)
My mother's business card shows a map with the St Lucie Inlet right across from mid S. Sewall's Point. This area is not an inlet today as it was in the 1800s. (Sandra Thurlow)
Look closely–My mother’s business card shows an historic map of the mid 1800s with an Inlet across from Sewall’s Point at today’s A1A and SP Road. This area is not an inlet today as it was in the 1800s. (Sandra H. Thurlow)

Inlets, the shifting sands of time on our barrier islands. Fascinating, and a reminder of the power of Nature and the limited control of human endeavors….

Recently I looked closely at my mother’s business card and asked “Why is the St Lucie Inlet so far north?” Looking closely one can see it once was located midway across from South Sewall’s Point. “It looks like it was there, because at that time, it was,” she replied.

Such is the matter-a-factness of coastal change…

Today, I am going to feature one of my brother Todd’s amazing flight videos incorporating historic maps and today’s Google images to show the changing sands of time, our barrier islands, in a way you may never have seen before. Todd has a talent for this rare communication format and he will be teaching us more before the end of the year!

This is his write up”

This video is a time capsule review of the inlet of Hutchinson island that appeared on maps between 1515 and 1900.  It is a rough draft of a larger project that I wasn’t going to post yet.  I planned to drop the music and break it down into 5 shorter videos which were kind of the chapters of the long one: 1.  1515 to 1871 Freducci, Jeffreys and Romans 2.  St. Lucie Sound 1763 to 1834 – 5 maps 3.  Gilbert’s Bar 1850 to 1861 – 4 survey maps 4.  Hurricanes and The Gap 1871 to 1882 – hurricane tracks and 2 maps 5.  Digging the St. Lucie Inlet 1887 to 1900 – 2 maps   I believe there was an inlet, referred to on the old maps as “The Gap”, that reappeared in the mid 1800s.  It was in the general area of today’s Florida Oceanographic Society and probably opened and closed many times like the other inlets.  Coincidentally the area was struck by back-to-back Cat 2 and Cat 3 hurricanes around that time (sound familiar?).  “The Gap”  will be the topic of another project the I would like to post some day on Jonathan Dickinson because I believe that it could be described in his journal.   I will update this summary later… Todd Thurlow

Don’t lean too far out of the airplane; enjoy!


Link to video: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhYQz4P1ELM&feature=youtu.be)

Todd Thurlow PA: (http://www.thurlowpa.com)

FCIT Changing Coastlines, Florida: (http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/teacher/science/mod2/changing.coastlines.html)

Francis La Baron’s 1885 Map-“the Mouth of the Indian River Lagoon,” SLR/IRL

Portion of 1885 Francis LaBaron Map of IRL/SLR. Courtesy of Todd Thurlow and Sandra Thurlow correspondence, 2015.)
Portion of 1885 Francis La Baron Map of IRL/SLR. Courtesy of Todd Thurlow, Sandra Thurlow, and Rick Langdon correspondence, 2015.)

On Friday, I like to post something of beauty or interest regarding the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Old maps are about as cool as things get for me. They take my mind off my idea that  things “are permanent.” For instance, the “mouth of the Indian River Lagoon” or its inlet/s, vary in “time and place,” as we can see from this hand drawn map of our area in the 1885 map above where the “inlet” is north of Ft Pierce and there is none in Stuart.

The St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon is dynamic, and we too, although we may not realize it,  are a huge part of that constant flux.

I wonder what people will think of our old satellite maps when they look at them in the next 130 years? Where will the IRL’s “mouth” be? Will some “mouths” have closed? Will there be others we have never even thought of?

My historian mother, Sandra Thurlow, shared this map with me and referred to it  as the “Francis La Baron Map.” This portion posted above is just a section of it.

Francis La Baron, among other things, was the head of the Army Corp of Engineers.

Francis  La Baron (http://www.zoominfo.com/s/#!search/profile/person?personId=19587320&targetid=profile)

La Baron’s map is incredible to study. How wonderful that our area was documented and that this documentation has been saved in Washington DC’s Library of Congress!  Thank you to my brother Todd and my mother for bringing it to my attention. I think Todd will be using it in another one of his magic carpet videos in the future like the previous one he did of Peck’s Lake: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO650JyADwQ)

In closing, one of the historian friends my mother corresponds with is Mr Rick Langdon of Indian River Drive. I am including some of his thoughts on the map below that my mother shared with me. Very interesting!  Hope you’ll share your thoughts too.

—–This “historically shoaling natural inlet” location is a bit further north… (of Ft Pierce); it’s almost a mile and a half North of the Ft. Capron location at the junction of (perhaps) 4 man-made “cuts” – the Bluehole Cut, the Garfield Cut, the Negro Cut, and the Ft. Pierce Cut.

It’s interesting too that this map shows only one natural outlet from the Savannas and that’s the one which leads to the Creek at the Beacon 21 Condo’s in Rio – (Warner Creek) …Rick Langdon 

Portion of 1885 Francis LaBaron Map of IRL/SLR. Courtesy of Todd Thurlow and Sandra Thurlow correspondence, 2015.)
Same as above for viewing purposes. A Portion of 1885 Francis LaBaron Map. (Click to enlarge.)


Old Treasure Coast Inlet Photos, Indian River Lagoon

Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936. Photo by Ruhnke or Sterling Hawk, 1936. Courtesy, archives of Sandra Thurlow.)
Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936. (Photo Ruhnke Collection, courtesy, Thurlow archives.)

Just recently, my husband Ed and I had the hardwood floors of our 1977 home redone. During this time, we literally “moved out” into one room of the house for almost four weeks.  As much as this turned my world upside-down, it forced me to go through all of the “stuff” I have acquired over the past ten years  in my St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon files.  I found some cool things I had forgotten about.

The folder I am sharing today is entitled OLD INLET PHOTOS. It includes aerial photos of the Jupiter, Stuart (St Lucie), Ft Pierce, and Sebastian inlets.  I borrowed the photos from my mother, historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow,  years ago. My photos are copies of the originals. I believe she and my father acquired the photos through Aurthur Ruhnke’s  Photography Shop that once was located in Downtown, Stuart.

Written on the back of all photos except the Sebastian Inlet, was the year “1936.” The photographer was R.B. Holt. The Sebastian Inlet however, has “1962” written on the back of the photo along with “Sterling Hawk’s name,” a different photographer.

I love old stuff like this; I hope you do too.

Enjoy and dream of a time long ago…the fishing must have been great, and look how undeveloped the surrounding lands were! The inlets helped promote the development of the Treasure Coast Region.

Of course before man created the inlets permanently along the Indian River Lagoon, Mother Nature’s winds and tides would decide if an inlet was open or closed to the sea. Over thousands of years, inlets opened and closed all along the Indian River Lagoon making the naturally fresh waters brackish for a time and allowing wildlife to flourish in these areas.

Man was attracted to these natural inlets as well. I was just reading last night about how the inlet at Jupiter closed in the 1860s when the US government was building the Jupiter Lighthouse. Nature’s closing of the inlet  was a “great inconvenience.” Today we would also consider it a great inconvenience to have any of our inlets closed.

The problem is that they are not meant to be permanently open and erosion problems occur over time. As most things in life, there is a positive and a negative; the tricky part is figuring our just where to draw the line in the sand…

Jupiter Inlet, 1936. (Facing west.)
Jupiter Inlet, 1936. (All aerials from the Rhunke Collection, R.B. Holt is believed to be the photographer for all but Sebastian Inlet photo, Thurlow archives.)
Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936.
Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936.
Stuart (St Lucie) Inlet, 1936,
Stuart (St Lucie) Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Sebastian Inlet, 1962. Photo by Sterling Hawk.
Sebastian Inlet, 1962. Photo by Sterling Hawk.


All photos courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow, historian. Her books on Sewall’ Point, Stuart, Jensen and the House of Refuge can be purchased at both the Stuart Heritage Museum, (http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com) and at the Elliott Museum, (http://www.elliottmuseumfl.org).