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Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge Museum

Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge Museum

Photo courtesy of the
Martin County Historical Society

    The House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar is the sole survivor of ten houses originally built in 1875 by the U.S. Life-Saving Service, a forerunner of the Coast Guard, to provide a safe haven for survivors of shipwrecks along the sparsely populated East Coast of Florida in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The House was operated by a Keeper (and often his wife) and was stocked with provisions to care for sailors who made it ashore following a shipwreck. After the turn of the century the House became a U.S. Coast Guard installation and played a vital role during the Second World War as a Navy lookout station. The Historical Society of Martin County operates the House of Refuge as a public museum. Copies of shipwreck reports can be viewed at the house along with a pictorial history of its various incarnations, artifacts from the navy history and early life saving equipment are also on display. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 PM until 4:00 PM, Sunday 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM.

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