Historic Markers Across Florida

Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge

Marker ID: FLHM 
Location: SE MacArthur Blvd., Hutchinson Island. FL
County: St. Lucie
Coordinates: N 27° 12.000    W 080° 09.953
  27.2    -80.16588333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM7CVY


The House of Refuge at Gilbert´s Bar is the last remaining shipwreck lifesaving station in the United States. It was constructed in 1876 on the St. Lucie rocks of the Anastasia Formation, one of the most prominent geologic outcroppings along the entire Eastern seaboard. It is the oldest structure on the Treasure Coast, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The House of Refuge was originally one of ten houses commissioned by the U.S. Lifesaving Service, designated as havens for shipwrecked sailors and travelers along the sparsely populated Atlantic coastline of Florida. It played a critical role as a relief and lifesaving station in a time when sailing ships dominated world commerce. The historic structure has weathered many storms and provided needed shelter for shipwreck survivors, including those of the Georges Valentine, an Italian brigantine whose wreckage remains just 100 yards off the rocky shoreline, providing an ideal dive site.

The House of Refuge continues to withstand the test of time, while offering a fascinating look at a bygone lifestyle along the sea. The museum today has been restored to showcase historical lifesaving equipment and the Keeper´s living quarters as they were in 1904.

Daughters of the American Colonists, Florida State Society - 1976