Not only is Jupiter the oldest but also it may be the most well-known city on the Treasure Coast due, in part, to the abundance of waterways and parks in the town. Jupiter is destined to attract even more attention with the new 2,055-acre Abacoa project near Donald Ross Road and Military Trail that includes a Florida Atlantic University campus and a professional baseball stadium.
Jupiter has long been a vacation or a second home destination for people. When vast acres of former MacArthur Foundation land were developed in the 1980's, the golf and yacht club communities of Admirals Cove, Jonathan's Landing and Frenchman's Creek emerged, attracting residents in search of an upscale lifestyle. Also, having discovered an ideal place to raise children, more young families began to move into Jupiter.
The first "tourists"
to the Jupiter area were 16th
century Spanish explorers in search of treasure. The treasure they
discovered was not gold, but golden sunshine, beautiful beaches
and tranquil rivers in a lush semitropical setting.
visited the area in 1696 when he was shipwrecked on Hobe Sound
Beach. His ship, Reformation, was on a voyage from Jamaica to
Philadelphia when it was driven ashore in a hurricane. The state
park that now bears his name was known as Camp Murphy during World
War II and housed a radar training school.
Fort Jupiter Reservation was formed on 9,088 acres after the Seminole Indian War was fought on the Loxahatchee River in 1838. Between 1855 and 1859, one of the most famous and lasting landmarks in South Florida was constructed in the fort – the 105 foot Jupiter Lighthouse, which still warns ships of the dangerous coastal shoals.
The Lighthouse was darkened in 1861 by a band of Confederate sympathizers who dismantled and hid the light so Union ships could not spot the blockade runners. But in 1866, James Armour restored the light and it has only been darkened twice since that time. One two-hour period occurred when an intoxicated assistant forgot to turn the oil on, and during the 1928 hurricane, electrical power was shut off and an auxiliary diesel wouldn't start. Wind gusts reached 200 miles per hour during that hurricane, but Capt. Charles Seabrook, the keeper, could not allow the lighthouse to remain dark. He found the old oil lamps and because he was ill, his 16-year-old son, Franklin, climbed the swaying tower to hand turn the mantle throughout one of the worst storms in Florida's recorded history.
Jupiter/Tequesta was famous as the transportation center of southeast Florida. It was a wilderness traveled by Indian River steamers, sailboats, scows and narrow gauge trains and floating hotels. President Grover Cleveland and his wife fished from a floating hotel tied at a dock across from the lighthouse.
Pioneer children attended school aboard a school boat. It was a double ended lifeboat from the U.S. battleship "Maine".
The Celestial Railroad operated from 1888 to 1896 and stopped at stations named Jupiter, Juno, Venus and Mars along the seven-and-a-half mile trip. It was dismantled when Henry Flagler brought his Florida East Coast Railroad to the area.
Pioneer life in the 1800's included pine and cypress logging, fishing, farming pineapples, citrus, dairy herds and flowers.
The census in 1890 gave a population of 861 but, by 1910, the population had reached 17,510. Today the Jupiter/Tequesta population is about 50,000.
Please visit the Town of Jupiter's website, called the Jupiter History Web, to read more about our fascinating local history.