Tag Archives: Yesterday and Today

Lock No. 1 North New River Canal, Yesterday and Today

~Lock No. 1 is located at 6521 FL 84, Davie, FL 33317, was used until 1912, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It is  also known as the Sewell Lock (architect) and the Broward Memorial Lock (https://dos.myflorida.com/florida-facts/florida-history/florida-governors/napoleon-bonaparte-broward/)

Historic Lock No. 1 New River Canal, with “new structure” in background, photo by Ed Lippisch

Driving into the heart of Ft Lauderdale, one is enveloped in traffic while passing through a preserved pond apple slough. Incredible! Just recently, Ed and I visited Lock No. 1 North New River Canal enjoying its art-deco architecture and pondering this “highway” of early Florida. Lock No. 1 was the first of the South Florida canal system playing a major role in the Everglades’ drainage dream of Napoleon Broward.

Canals built south of Lake Okeechobee were not just for drainage and agricultural development,  but also for transportation to achieve these things.  In early times, boats were the car or the horse…

Please read from Broward History below:

One of the canals, the North New River Canal, was, in the early years, a major transportation artery between Fort Lauderdale and Lake Okeechobee. In order to make the canal useful for transportation, locks had to be constructed. Lock No. 1 at the south end of the canal was the first to be built in South Florida.

…The opening of the lock led to an increased agricultural exploitation of the newly drained land along the New River Canal. Produce grown in this area and around Lake Okeechobee was brought down the canal through the locks to the railroad in Fort Lauderdale. An even more important cargo was Okeechobee catfish. New River was lined with fish houses, overhanging the river. Boats traversed the distance between the lake and Fort Lauderdale in groups. This made the trip go faster since more than one boat could get into the hand-operated lock at a time making it more efficient.

The locks also made it possible for small steamboats to operate on a regular basis between Fort Lauderdale, the lake and Fort Myers via the Caloosahachee River. Regularly scheduled steamers included the Suwannee, Lily and Passing Thru. These boats carried passengers, cargo and tourists up and down the river. By 1926 the canals had shoaled to the point that boat traffic was no longer practical and the waterway was replaced by a railroad and highways as the primary transportation method to and from the lake…”

~Excerpt from Broward.org (http://www.broward.org/History/NationalRegister/Pages/LockNo1NorthNewRiverCanal.aspx)


One could say that Lock No. 1 helped lead to the success of the Everglades Agricultural Area (https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1182/pdf/12Everglades.pdf) as well as the development of Broward County that continues today right into what was once the Everglades (https://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/fl-op-buzz-mega-mall-everglades-20180511-story.html)

Florida Memory https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/105656
1924 Florida Archies
Topographical map of EAA showing elevations.
West of the red lines shows the edge of what was once the Everglades in South Florida. Development has crept and continues to creep over this edge. (Photo/map courtesy of Chappy Young,/GCY Surveyors


For Ed and I the visit was a great experience. And I was happy knowing I could tell my mother we visited something on the National Register of Historic Places! The Iguana’s liked the historic lock too. They were everywhere!

Look closely and you will see many iguanas! I saw at least fifty running around. Big, small, jumping into the water from the lock and dam, sunning themselves. Very cute, although an invasive issue for the area eating everything…

Right before one turns in!
One passes through a cool Pond Apple Slough a remnant this area once being the Everglades.

Pond Apples also known as Custard Apples at the lock. Prior to agricultural development there was a 32,000 acre pond apple forest at the southern edge of the Everglades. It was ripped out to access the valuable “black gold” soil below.
Ed and I in front of the new structure built to replace Lock No 1. along the New River Canal that goes north to Lake Okeechobee. The New River in its natural form has been severely compromised by agriculture and development; however, million dollar homes sit along its altered shores today. The state of Florida must work for both water quality, and our economy as now they are actually one in the same. Lock No. 1 even has its own Facebook page, you can join here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sewell-Lock/568281143229622



Structures of theSFWMD: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/lib/graphics/projmaps/infra.pdf

The WWII Beach Horses of the Indian River Lagoon, Yesterday and Today, SLR/IRL

Army horses were used to patrol Indian River Lagoon area beaches during WWII. (Photo untitled: http://olive-drab.com/od_army-horses-mules_ww2.php)
Horses were used to patrol the  Indian River Lagoon region’s area beaches during WWII. (Photo untitled: http://olive-drab.com/od_army-horses-mules_ww2.php)
Men on horseback looking fro enemy invaders, Hutchinson Island. Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida's Indian River, Sandra Henderson Thurlow,. Photo James W Harrington.
Men on horseback looking for enemy invaders, Hutchinson Island. “Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida’s Indian River,” Sandra Henderson Thurlow,. Photo James W. Harrington.
1945 US Coast Guard Station and stables for horses were later converted to the Kensington Club located in the area where Jensen Beaches are today. (Photo Dale Hipson via Sandra H. Thurlow.)
1945 US Coast Guard Station and stables for horses were later converted to the Kensington Club located in the area where Jensen beaches are today. (Photo Dale Hipson via Sandra H. Thurlow.)
US Coast Guard patrol and former snack shop at Jensen Beach. 1943. (Thurlow Collection)
US Coast Guard patrol and former “snack shop” at Jensen Beach. 1943. (Thurlow Collection.)
Jensen residents could hear explosions and see billowing smoke from freighters torpedoed by German U boats. in 1942. (Florida Photographic Archives via Sandra Henderson Thurlow's book "Eden and Jensen."
“Jensen residents could hear explosions and see billowing smoke from freighters torpedoed by German U boats. in 1942.” SHT (Florida Photographic Archives via Sandra Henderson Thurlow’s book “Eden and Jensen.”

I love animals whether they walk, fly, hop, slither, swim, run, or trot…

As a young person growing up along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, one of my very finest memories is riding horses along the beaches of Hutchinson Island. My friend Michelle White whose father still lives on McArthur Boulevard, had horses at their ranch in Palm City and would often bring them to —keeping them under the shade at the “beach house.” Michelle and I would get up at the crack of dawn and ride these horses bareback along the beach. It was wondrous.  Obviously, the laws were not as restrictive then. We even got our picture in the Stuart News!

Stuart News photo ca 1980, Joseph Noble. Michelle White and Jacqui Thurlow ride along the beach Hutchinson Island.
Stuart News photo ca 1980, Joseph Noble. Michelle White and Jacqui Thurlow ride along the beach Hutchinson Island.(Sandra Thurlow’s photo archives)

So horses……

Today, I will share a story sent to me by blog reader Stan Field, A.K.A. Anthony Stevens who is a professional writer who lives in Rio and friend of my family.

When he sent me this excerpt about the beach horses of WWII, I wrote back: “I do hope none of the horses were hurt jumping off the Jensen Beach Bridge.” He assured me all were fine. Here is his amazing story:

Horse Patrols on Hutchinson Island
“Early in the war, it was decided that they needed to maintain regular patrols of the Atlantic beaches. Someone in Washington thought that horse patrols would be a good idea.

“In September 1942, horses were authorized for use by the beach patrol. The mounted portion of the patrol soon became the largest segment of the patrol. For example, one year after orders were given to use horses, there were 3,222 of the animals assigned to the Coast Guard. All came from the Army. The Army Remount Service provided all the riding gear required, while the Coast Guard provided the uniforms for the riders. A call went out for personnel and a mixed bag of people responded. Polo players, cowboys, former sheriffs, horse trainers, Army Reserve cavalrymen, jockeys, farm boys, rodeo riders and stunt men applied. Much of the mounted training took place at Elkins Park Training Station and Hilton Head, the sites of the dog training schools.” – US Coast Guard
One of these horse patrols groups was stationed on Hutchinson Island. What is not generally mentioned is one of those horrible snafus that always happen during wartime.
Well, they arranged for a large herd of horses to be delivered by the Florida East Coast Railroad and a corral and stables was built on Hutchinson Island, near the old wooden bridge in Jensen. Seaman from the Coast Guard base in Fort Pierce would be stationed there and at the House of Refuge and they would patrol the entire island.
Now since there were no roads on the island from Jensen north, this seemed like a great idea. The soft sand was murder on jeeps and mounted riders would be able to cut around swampy areas and investigate in the woods, if needed.
They asked for volunteers for the first herd and there was only one real cowboy in the base. There were only a few more who had pleasure riding experience.
Well, everyone was pretty excited when the big day came and several railroad cars were delivered to the siding just north of Jensen Beach Blvd. A temporary corral had been built there to hold them for inventory and basic tack was in the back of trucks, ready to mount the animals and ride them over to their permanent duty station, on the island.
There was an immediate problem when they opened the doors, however. In its infinite wisdom, the Government had decided that purchasing trained horses was too expensive. And since a lot of wild horses lived for free on Government land out west, they just rounded up a herd of wild ones, packed them onto cattle cars and shipped them to Jensen. Not one of them had ever been in close contact with a man before… much less a saddle.
Riding them to the island was out of the question. So the one loan cowpoke arranged a ‘drive’ and the entire community was drafted into helping with the operation.
Well, things seemed to be going pretty well, until they got to the old wooden bridge that led to the island. This was more than a mile and a quarter long, two narrow lanes wide and the decking has ½” gaps between each plank. The horses did NOT want to cross it!
About half of them were driven over by the shoving, shouting crowds behind. The other half jumped the sides of the bridge and the banks of the Indian River and swam for freedom. Most of the next couple of days was spent with the Pitchfords and other boat owners chasing them around the river and running them down on land. Eventually they all made it to the island and the serious breaking and training started.
The one loan cowhand and the base officers appealed to the locals for help once more and older cowhands, both male and female, volunteered to teach the Coast Guard people how to break and train the wild herd.

There is not a lot of information available on the mounted patrols of World War II. They did setup training facilities in Hilton Head, SC.” —-written by Anthony Stevens, in a letter to JTL August, 2015

Wow.  Can you imagine all those poor horses jumping off the bridge into the Indian River Lagoon? Crazy! And wild ones at that. Wonder what happened to them all after the war?

Well today horses are allowed on the beaches in St Lucie County and horseback riding is a very popular and extremely well rated experience. When my husband Ed flys the cub looking for pollution plumes in the Indian River Lagoon and area inlets, he often sees horseback riders from his plane. There is some romance left in the world…

—–Right here along the Indian River Lagoon…I wonder if any of those horses’ ancestors patrolled the beach? If only a horse could talk!

Horseback riding along the beaches of St Lucie County. Cover photo of website, 2015.
Horseback riding along the beaches of St Lucie County. Cover photo of website, 2015.

Beach Tours on Horseback: (http://www.beachtoursonhorseback.com)


US Coast Guard: (http://wow.uscgaux.info/content.php?unit=070-05-08&category=1334262365)

Cool blogs on horses and dogs used in WWII: (K9 http://www.k9history.com/WWII-uscg-beach-patrols.htm)