Fun Day Trip From Vero Beach: The House of Refuge on Gilbert’s Bar

Dated: April 20 2021

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If you’re buying a home for sale in Vero Beach, you’ll be glad to know that in addition to sun, sea and sand, there are plenty of off-the wall and quirky attractions that locals love. Check out the House of Refuge on Gilbert’s bar, which is just one of special places you have to see at least once when you’re living in the area.

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About Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge

In June 1874, the U.S. Congress called for “houses of refuge” to be established along Florida’s sometimes treacherous coastlines to help people who were shipwrecked or otherwise lost – remember, this was long before radio communications between ships and lighthouses. A total of nine such houses of refuge were constructed over the next decade, and keepers lived in and maintained them. The keepers roamed the beaches and kept an eye out for stranded travelers (or really, anyone who was lost).

Only one of these houses of refuge remains today – it’s the House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar. It’s located on the southern tip of Hutchinson Island, and after the U.S. Coast Guard was established in 1915, it was used as a station for World War I. Then, during World War II, it served as a submarine lookout protecting the coast. 

The station was eventually decommissioned after the war because sturdier and safer ships were in the water by then, and lifeguard towers became increasingly common.

However, it stood the test of time. Although other houses of refuge were torn down or decimated by storms, a team of caregivers turned the House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar into a museum. In 1974, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places – a hundred years after Congress deemed it necessary. 

The museum is outfitted as it was in 1904, prior to either World War. 

How to Get to the House of Refuge on Gilbert’s Bar

The Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge is located just off A1A south of Stuart Beach. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for kids (and those under the age of 6 get in free). 

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Chip Boyer

Chip is the IT Manager for Alex MacWilliam Real Estate. He handles the technology needs of the company as well as helping agents in their day to day problem solving.....

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