10 Interesting facts about Sawfish Bay
10 interesting things about Sawfish Bay Park:
- The First Settlers. Native Americans about 5,000 years ago first settled the Sawfish Bay area, where the Loxahatchee River meets the Jupiter Inlet. The waterways were their highway system in and out of the Florida Everglades.
- The Heartbeat of Jupiter. That’s what Sawfish Bay was known as in the 1890s when Henry Flagler was building his railroad from Jacksonville to Key West. The railroad connected Jupiter, then a tiny river community, to Jacksonville and the rest of the northeast United States.
- Trains Brought Business. A train depot, a commercial wharf, post office, warehouses, general stores and an inn sprouted when the train arrived. Warehouses unloaded materials to build the historic railroad to Key West, then Florida’s populated city with 20,000 residents. The buildings were built on pilings so they could be reached by boat.
- What did the kids do? A lifeboat, which originally was the S.S. Maine from the Spanish American War, transported students to and from Jupiter’s first school. The boat operated from 1903 to 1911. The captain of the boat, and the school’s teacher, was Dr. Charles Jackson. He was an original homesteader on the Loxahatchee River.
- Where are those FEC tracks? Look toward Tequesta. Those tracks are the same now being planned by Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, for a high-speed rail from Miami to Orlando.
- What’s up with that new concrete building at Sawfish Bay Park? New public bathrooms – one for women and one for men – are being installed by the town for about $95,000. That’s good news for the fishermen, kayakers and paddle boarders. They now use an outhouse under the bridge.
- What’s that yellow Train Depot at Sawfish Bay Park? Demolition was planned for that former train depot built by Flagler in 1915. Recognizing an historic gem, Loxahatchee Guild and Jupiter officials convinced Tequesta to donate the depot to Jupiter. The train depot is one of only 8
of the original 65 left built by Flagler.
- An Early Morning Voyage. At 3 a.m. on a Saturday in 2012, the train depot was loaded on a truck. Traffic was shut down. The depot was shuttled from Tequesta to Sawfish Bay. Electricians, carpenters and roofers from Jupiter donated their time to restore the building. Plans call for making the depot a museum.
- What ever happened to Henry Flagler? Flagler fell down a flight of marble stairs in his Palm Beach home, called Whitehall, and died on May 20, 1913. He was 83 years old. On the day of his funeral three days later, every engine of the FEC railway stopped wherever it was for 10 minutes as a tribute.
- What’s so great about Sawfish Bay? Drop your kayak or paddle board in at Sawfish Bay, and you have quick and easy paddling to DuBois Park. On the way, be on the look out for sea turtles, manatees, starfish and other wildlife. Bird watchers can take a short trip to Fullerton Island, which only allows canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. Sightseers can enjoy a ride past the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.