Tag Archives: Stuart Stiller family

The Old Stiller Bros. Fish House, Dad, and Mariner Cay

-My dad’s photo -bus for Stuart High School, Senior Trip to Havana, Cuba, 1954Why the “Stiller”name rings a such a loud bell for me is because my late, dear, father, Tom Thurlow Jr.  always loved to tell the story about his 1954 Stuart High School Senior Trip to Havana, Cuba. As you can see above, the bus was all written up in shoe polish!

I remember saying to my dad, “I get “Stuart Tigers” and “Havana or Bust”, but why does it say FISH FOR SALE, STILLER BROS. FISH HOUSE?” Dad would begin chuckling  and reply: “That was my classmate Freddy Stiller…” 

-Indian River State College President, Dr. Timothy Moore, JTL, Sandra Thurlow, Vice Chair District Board of Trustees IRSC, Tony George, May 24, 2022. Receiving a “Resolution of Appreciation” for my late father, Thomas H. Thurlow Jr. for his many years of service to the institution. -Mom holds dad’s Resolution of Appreciation. Thank you IRSC!Recently, after receiving a a beautiful plaque from Indian River State College in honor of my father for his service to the institution, my mother, historian Sandra Thurlow, and I visited  Mariner Cay where my dad’s friends Freddy Stiller’s family once fished.

During our visit, my mother pointed out that commercial fishing operations flourished along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon after the opening of the St Lucie Inlet in 1892. In the 1940s, the fishing was still wonderful. It was this year that Hubert Stiller, Freddy’s forefather, purchased 75 acres of land from the Jacksonville Partnership Corporation -for the principal sum of $11500.

In 1963, the Stillers sold the family property, except for three lots to Whiticar, Garlington and Dragseth who later also sold the property. This land, platted in 1973, other than the three lots, became Mariner Cay off of St Lucie Boulvard near San Sprit Park.

-Mariner Cay Marina in 2022

When my mom got home she sent me some historic aerials that I will share today. It is fascinating to see what the land once looked like at a time when men could pull thousands  of fish from our waters.


-Early photo of a Stiller Fish House ca. 1945, courtesy Thurlow Archives.-Thurlow Archives/all aerials marked 1964 of the Stiller lands that in 1964 sold to Whiticar, Garlington, and Dragseth. The St Lucie Inlet and Seminole Shores, (today’s Sailfish Point) can be seen in the distance over an undeveloped Rocky Point. -Mouth of Manatee Pocket also 1964, Stuart, FL

-My mother took this photo below of a remaining Stiller structure still located on one of “the three lots” not sold by the family in 1963. It remained/s separate. My friend and realtor, Julia Sansavere who lives in Mariner Cay informed me these “Stiller” properties have just sold. Nonetheless, they will remain a piece of history of my dad’s friend Freddy Stiller who once wrote on the Senior Trip bus to Havana in 1954: “Fish For Sale, Stiller Bros. Fish House…” 

-A remaining Stiller structure, on the once Stiller lands, within Mariner Cay, May 24, 2022, photo Sandra Thurlow.-Today’s Mariner Cay red balloon, Google Earth, 2022.