Explore Martin County’s Vibrant History

December 20, 2022 | Read Time: 4 minutes

House of Refuge

From pirates and pineapple farmers to railroad pioneers, Martin County’s vibrant coastal lifestyle has attracted residents and visitors alike since the very beginning of time. The area is filled with a deep and colorful history that spans countless years of transformation and community spirit. Let’s take a journey back in time to explore how Martin County became an exceptional destination.

Martin County - Pineapples

A Cherished Past, and an Even Brighter Future

Florida’s Treasure Coast received its nickname after Spanish Fleets that shipwrecked along the coast in the 1700s. Gold, silver, and jewels were deposited into the waters and beaches, making it an excellent area to search for buried treasure. Treasure hunters, however, aren’t the only ones who have struck gold along the Treasure Coast. Otto and Ernest, two of Martin County’s earliest settlers in the 1890s, found their fortunes in pineapple farming. Soon after, farmers from across the nation flocked to the area to create a life of their own.

The Indian River became a highway for millions of pineapples, citrus, fish, and more shipped north annually, and Jensen even became known as the “Pineapple Capital of the World.” Enticed by the area’s thriving coastal lifestyle, railroad pioneer Henry Flagler extended his Florida East Coast Railway system further south, initiating trading from New York to Key West. The railroad brought about a new wave of excitement to the area, as more and more people were attracted to settle down in this coastal community. Today, the Storie continues to unfold as innovative visionaries recognize the best is yet to come. Stay tuned to be among the first to have a glimpse of the next Chapter of Martin County history with a very unique community concept.

Preserving the Past for Future Generations

Today, Martin County has continued to grow into a world-class destination, but still stays humble to its historic roots. Residents have come together to preserve numerous historic buildings around the city that show the transformation of this tropical locale. Here are just a few of the cultural and historic landmarks that make Martin County irreplaceable.

Martin County House of Refuge

Photo Courtesy Of: House of Refuge

House of Refuge

Built in 1876, the House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar is Martin County’s oldest building, and the last remaining of ten cottages built along Florida’s coastline to provide shelter for shipwreck survivors. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum displays historical maritime artifacts, a model ship collection, shipwreck artifacts, and furnishings belonging to the House’s ‘Keeper’.

Martin County - Elliott Museum

Elliott Museum

Founded in 1960, the Elliott Museum showcases the ingenuity of local inventor Sterling Elliott and inspires creativity through history, art, and community culture. The two-story museum on Hutchinson Island is filled with something for every age and interest to enjoy, including a comprehensive assemblage of Model A trucks, the world’s largest collection of baseball cards, the history of local smugglers the Ashley Gang, and much more.

Stuart Heritage Museum

Housed in what was previously the Stuart Feed & Supply Store, the Stuart Heritage Museum celebrates and preserves the heritage, artifacts, and history of Stuart and its surrounding communities. Countless relics and artifacts span from the area’s Native American heritage up to the present day.

Martin County - Sea Turtle

Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center

Martin County’s storied history, however, spans far past the land. The area is home to one of the bio-diverse lagoon ecosystems in the entire Northern hemisphere. For residents, keeping clean water a priority issue and educating on these waterways is equally as crucial. The 57-acre Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center serves as a hands-on natural learning environment to inspire environmental stewardship of Florida’s marine life and local coastal ecosystems. With the help of over 250 volunteers, the team leads efforts in biodiversity research, long-term monitoring of water quality, and volunteer-driven restoration of oysters, seagrass, and mangroves throughout South Florida.

kayaking the st lucie river in martin county florida

A New Chapter in Preserving Martin County’s History

As Martin County continues to grow in popularity, residents have placed a high priority on clean water initiatives and open spaces that preserve the area’s future. Protecting these green spaces and creating new clean water initiatives are two central components of Storie, an innovative new community concept on tap for Martin County’s future. Storie, FL is a vision that has yet to be unveiled, but the designers are placing a high priority on creating a vibrant downtown, parks, educational opportunities, and plentiful outdoor activities for all Martin County residents to enjoy. To receive a copy of the Storie Time magazine with more details on the vision for this new community, or to be among the first to see the vision video upon its release, register your interest at StorieFL.com.

Storie Magazine Cover


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