House of Refuge in Stuart

Built in 1876, Houses of Refuge were used in Florida instead of Lifesaving Stations because most shipwrecked sailors could make it to shore without being rescued. However, Florida was very sparsely populated at that time so that a shipwreck survivor would likely die from starvation or dehydration before finding assistance. Ten Houses of Refuge were built by the US Lifesaving Service along the east coast of Florida. Each was staffed with a keeper, and often his family, to watch for shipwreck survivors and give them temporary shelter and food until help and transportation could arrive. Gilbert’s Bar is the only remaining House of Refuge. It is located on Hutchinson Island, Florida. (Photo by Larry Myhre)

For the related story, read Hutchinson Island Beaches