Houses of Refuge in Florida

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The Biscayne House of Refuge was typical of the houses of refuge in Florida.
The Biscayne House of Refuge between 1915, when it became a United States Coast Guard station, and 1926, when it was badly damaged in the Great Miami Hurricane. The dormer was added, probably after 1915. The original attic only had windows at the gable ends.

The Houses of Refuge in Florida were a series of stations operated by the United States Life-Saving Service along the coast of Florida to rescue and shelter ship-wrecked sailors. Five houses were constructed on the east coast in 1876, with five more added in 1885. There were also two life-saving stations built, one just south of the Jupiter Inlet, the other on the Gulf coast on Santa Rosa Island near Pensacola, Florida. A house of refuge was planned for the Marquesas Keys, but was never put into commission. The houses were manned by civilian contractors who lived in the houses with their families. Most of these houses remained in service as life-saving stations until 1915 or later. Some of the locations became United States Coast Guard stations after the Life Saving Service was merged into the Coast Guard in 1915.

The houses were built of Florida pine, using 8x8 heartwood timbers for the foundation and frame. They were intended to withstand hurricanes, although at least two of them were destroyed by hurricanes in later years. The main floor was divided into four rooms, and a wide porch surrounded the building. The North room was the kitchen. Next was the dining room, living room and at the South end was the bedroom. All the stations were alike and all the Keepers used the rooms in the same manner. The station keeper's family occupied the main floor. The attic was a dormitory for ship-wrecked sailors, equipped with 20 cots with bedding and dried and salted provisions to feed 20 men for 10 days. While the houses were equipped with lifesaving equipment, they were intended as passive refuges for sailors who made it to land, and not as active lifesaving stations.[1][2][3]

Locations[edit]

Locations of Houses of Refuge in Florida

The houses of refuge in Florida were:

The Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge is the only original house of refuge still standing in Florida, and is now a museum, operated by the Historical Society Of Martin County. It is open to visitors and has various re-enactments and history programs year round. The 1907 replacement building at the Santa Rosa Life-Saving Station is still standing.[18][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charles W. Pierce (1970). Pioneer Life in Southeast Florida. University of Miami Press. p. 264. ISBN 0-87024-163-X. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Houses of Refuge". Palm Beach County Historical Society. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Station Smith's Creek Florida". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Mosquito Lagoon House of Refuge". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Chester Shoal House of Refuge". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Cape Malabar House of Refuge". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "Indian River House of Refuge". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Indian River Inlet House of Refuge". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Station Jupiter Inlet Florida". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Jupiter Inlet Lifesaving Station". Historical Society of Palm Beach County. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Orange Grove House of Refuge". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Fort Lauderdale House of Refuge". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Biscayne Bay House of Refuge". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Station Miami beach: Station History". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "Station Santa Rosa, Florida". U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "Santa Rosa Life-Saving Station". National Park Service. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge Museum URL retrieved 23 March 2010

External links[edit]