House of Refuge at Gilbert's Bar
House of Refuge at Gilbert's Bar
(Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge)
301 S.E. MacArthur Boulevard
|Governing body||Local government Martin County, Florida|
|NRHP Reference #||74000651 |
|Added to NRHP||May 3, 1974|
The House of Refuge at Gilbert's Bar, also known as Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge, the House of Refuge Museum, or simply the House of Refuge, is an historic building located at 301 S.E. MacArthur Boulevard, on Hutchinson Island east of Stuart, Florida. It is the oldest surviving building in Martin County.
This House of Refuge is the last remaining of nearly a dozen shipwreck life-saving stations on Florida's Atlantic Coast. Built in 1876 to help stranded sailors, its long colorful history spans nearly 70 years. Today it is owned by the Martin County government and leased to the Martin County Historical Society, which operates it as a museum exhibiting life-saving equipment used over the years and showcasing the keeper's quarters, c. 1904. On May 3, 1974, the House of Refuge was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
National Register listing
- House of Refuge at Gilbert's Bar
- (added 1974 - Building - #74000651)
- Also known as Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge
- North of Bathtub Beach on Hutchinson Island east of Stuart, Florida, Stuart
- Historic Significance: Event
- Area of Significance: Social History
- Period of Significance: 1875-1899
- Owner: Local Gov't
- Historic Function: Domestic, Government
- Historic Sub-function: Hotel, Public Works
- Current Sub-function: Museum, Research Facility
The House of Refuge is situated on the coastal rocks of the Anastasia Formation, one of the most prominent geologic outcroppings along the entire Eastern seaboard. The house was one of ten houses of refuge commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for the United States Life-Saving Service as havens for shipwrecked sailors and travelers along the barren east coast of Florida. It is the only one that remains today.
It offered shelter to the survivors of the Georges Valentine shipwreck in 1904. Captain William E. Rea was the Keeper of the House of Refuge at the time and aided the seven survivors. On October 17, during the same storm the Spanish ship Cosme Calzado wrecked three miles north of the Georges Valentine, but fifteen of the sixteen men survived. The surviving crew joined the survivors of the Georges Valentine at the House of Refuge. The men later returned home via Jacksonville, Florida except for one: Edward Sarkenglov remained and became a local fisherman. Captain Rea and his wife lived in the House of Refuge until May 1907.
The facility also served as a lookout for enemy submarines in World War II. It was saved by the Historical Society of Martin County in 1955, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
With the permission of the Martin County Historical Society, Florida Ghost Team investigated this historic site in 2004. There were a couple of events during the investigation that rose suspicion of some paranormal activity.
The House of Refuge provides a look at turn of the 20th century living along the coast. Areas available for public viewing are the boathouse, kitchen, dining room, parlor, bedroom and a lookout tower constructed during World War II. New exhibit space includes a timeline of Hutchinson Island dating from 2000 BC to the hurricanes of 2004.
The naturally challenging and scenic location of the House of Refuge has served as the inspiration for a number of paintings and photographs. The late local artist Howard Schafer was commissioned to paint the House of Refuge as it looked after it was built in 1876. Limited-edition giclees of this print are available in our gift shop, as well as a variety of gifts, books, souvenirs, photos and artwork.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- [Borchure http://www.flheritage.com/archaeology/underwater/seamuseum/_docs/georges_brochure.pdf]
- Florida Ghost Team
- House of Refuge - official site
- Martin County listings at National Register of Historic Places
- Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs
- Elliott Museum / House of Refuge at Stuart / Martin County Chamber of Commerce
- Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge panoramic view from i-ota.net's Panoramas of the Treasure Coast, Kennedy Space Center, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, and Stuart
- Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge LSS at United States Coast Guard