Tag Archives: undeveloped Stuart and Martin County

Awesome Aerials of Stuart-Martin County in the Days of Old!

I hope everyone is in good health and doing well.  Last week I published an outstanding 1959 aerial from my mother, Sandra Henderson Thurlow’s Shanley Collection entitled Looking Wide West 1959 Aerial~South Fork to Lake Okeechobee. It was very popular, so today, I wanted to  post the four remaining aerials that make up that collection. All of the photos are remarkable documenting a “time gone by.”  

I find the photos really interesting to look at…

What do you see? What don’t you see? How would you develop it, or not develop it  if we could start over? Me? I would never have cut that C-44 Canal connecting Lake Okeechobee to the St Lucie River! 

Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I’ll stop here and let you begin your visual tour of yesteryear. 

“~One with Roosevelt Bridge in the center is Feb, 9, 1971

~The on showing the South Fork and the new Turnpike is Dec. 5, 1957

~The one looking all the way to Lake Okeechobee is Oct. 26, 1959.

~The one looking from Palm City toward the airport and inlet is Jun. 13, 1957.

~The one looking along Dixie Highway A1A and US 1 toward the ocean is Dec. 19, 1958

The donor is William Shanley who used to live in the Stucco house across from the Quisenberry property on Sewall’s Point. He was in real estate and he and Dan Deighan bought the Real Estate office of C. O. Rainey on Colorado that had the aerials on the wall.”  ~Mom 

Below: (L) Area where St Lucie Canal (C-44 Canal) connects to the South Fork of the St Luice River. Here one can also see the New Turnpike, the “Sunshine Parkway,” and how beautiful the remaining wetlands were in the area of the South Fork. December 5, 1957.

Below:  An “old” Roosevelt Bridge, connecting the shortest distance over the St Lucie River; North River Shores over the bridge and west is already developed with canals;  Lighthouse Point is being built (L) in Palm City; most of Rio is empty to the east of US1 to the ocean; Stuart is built out as it is the County Seat and the heart of Martin County and our history.  February 9, 1971

Below: Looking from Palm City to the Airport. Hutchinson Island’s Indian River Plantation and Sailfish Point are not yet developed. The glaring white sands of the Stuart Causeway can be seen at what will become the Ernest Lyons Bridge (A1A) connecting Sewall’s Point to Hutchinson Island; seeing lots of greenery we can tell Sewall’s Point had many river to river estates remaining; in 1957 the town did incorporate and subdivision followed; Cabana Point Circle jutting forward is clearly seen as white fill in the St Lucie River south of the Palm City Bridge. Dredge and fill was not outlawed until the 1960/70s as its destructive environmental issues became clear especially for the marine environment. June 13, 1957.

Below: Dixie Highway A1A and US1 looking towards the ocean one sees that the Hobe Sound area is wide open and natural. Dixie Highway was the most traveled prior to US1 (R) Note the fires burning in the upper right corner. Sugarcane? Burning tree trunks? Something else? December 19, 1958

Thanks Mom! Your history files are AWESOME! 


No Fertilizer in This Wonderful 1925 Aerial, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Ariel 1925, SLR/IRL courtesy Archives of Sandra Thurlow as shared by Higgins Engineering WPB.

I have shared this 1925 aerial previously, but it is worth sharing again. What a wonderful photograph of a healthy confluence of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon!

Every time I see it, I see something new.

I see the white sands of the newly dug St Lucie Canal, today’s C-44 connected to Lake Okeechobee,  in the far middle distance; I see dark, prevalent natural vegetation; I see an undeveloped Sailfish Point, Rocky Point, Manatee Pocket, Sewall’s Point, and Stuart; there are a few roads, but no airport; no spoil islands along Sewall’s Point; there are no “bridges to the sea; ” I see shoaling, as the St Lucie Inlet had been opened/widened not too long before ~located just around the left hand corner of the photograph; I see beaches at Hutchinson Island with beautiful coquina sands that had not been “re-nourished;” I see lush seagrass beds, the nurseries of life,  cradled against the shoreline; I see Paradise…

What would we do as far as development in this paradise, if we had it to do all over again?Or would we do just the same?

How we develop lands,  of course, affects the health of surrounding waters. Today, what can we do to reinvigorate our rivers, our paradise? How can we help bring back the seagrasses especially? Well, we can do a lot.

Think of all the lawns that would be in this photo today!  All the development, and how when it rains everything on our streets, parking lots, and lawns  runs into our drainage  systems and into our river.

Yesterday was June 1st, the beginning of rainy season. The beginning of fertilizer restrictions that were especially inspired for the entire Indian River Lagoon by the work of Sewall’s Point, the first to have a strong fertilizer ordinance,  in 2010. I am proud of this and thank my fellow commissioners of that era.

Do what you can by not fertilizing your yard this rainy season, and if you haven’t considered changing out your yard to a more natural, Florida Friendly landscape, perhaps begin the process.

Every little thing we do, counts. And the more we do, the pressure we can put on the “big polluters” to do the same.


BE FLORIDIAN program: “Saving Florida one lawn at a time”: http://befloridiannow.org/quick-start/

IRL Fertilizer Ordinances: https://sites.google.com/site/fertilizeruseintheirlwatershed/fertilizer-ordinances

Florida Friendly Yards: http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu

Fertilizer Ordinances Martin County:https://www.martin.fl.us/sites/default/files/meta_page_files/Martin%20County%20Fertilizer%20Ordinance_FAQs.pdf

History of St Lucie River/IRL, development of canals, and Lake Okeechobee connection: by Bud Jordan, Rivers Coalition: