Historic Markers Across Florida

Bethel Creek House of Refuge - 1876

Marker ID:  
Location: 4200 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach, FL
County: Indian River
Coordinates: N 27° 39.966    W 080° 21.554
  27.6661    -80.35923333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMXDHG


Bethel Creek House of Refuge

The 1st house of refuge on Florida's east coast was constructed on this site which later became part of the U.S. Lifesaving Service. Houses of Refuge were built about 20 miles apart and provided a safe haven for those shipwrecked along the desolate coast. They offered food and shelter to passengers and crew. Houses of Refuge were built exactly alike and included a main house, a cistern, and boat house. John Houston was the first keeper. Keepers had to be physically sound and able to read and write. In 1915, the Life Saving service became the U.S. Coast Guard. The house was destroyed by fire in January 1917 and replaced by a building that was removed in 1936. The Coast Guard closed the station in 1929. During World War II, the Coast Guard reopened the station and built a 40-foot observation tower to watch for submarines. This 8 acre site was transferred to the City of Vero Beach by the Federal Government in 1950 and the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycee's) began development of the park in 1956.

  Presented by
Florida Society Colonial Dames XVII Century
Ann Waggaman, President 2011-13..
28 January 2013