Stuart

Stuart is a city and seat of Martin County, Florida. Located on Florida’s Atlantic East Coast known as the “Treasure Coast”, Stuart is the largest of four incorporated municipalities in Martin County. The estimated population of Stuart is 16,237 according to recent United States census estimates. Stuart is the 126th largest city in Florida based on official 2019 estimates from the US Census Bureau. Stuart is part of the Port St. Lucie, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Stuart is considered one of the best small towns in Florida to live and to visit because of its proximity to the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. Stuart also very good highly rated schools.

In the 18th century, several Spanish galleons were shipwrecked on the coast of Martin County. The shipwrecks were because of hurricanes, and the ships were carrying large amounts of gold and silver. Some of this treasure has since been recovered, and its presence resulted in naming the region the “Treasure Coast”.

In 1832, pirate Pedro Gilbert, who often used a sandbar off the coast of Martin County as a lure to unsuspecting ships, chased and caught the Mexican, a U.S. merchant ship. Although he attempted to burn the ship and kill the crew, they survived to report the incident, ultimately resulting in the capture and execution of Gilbert and his crew. The bar from which he lured his intended booty is named “Gilbert’s Bar” on nautical charts.

The Treasure Coast area that became Stuart was first settled by non-Native Americans in 1870. In 1875, a United States Lifesaving Station was established on Hutchinson Island, near Stuart. Today, the station is known as Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

From 1893 to 1895, the area was called Potsdam. This name was chosen by Otto Stypmann, a local landowner originally from Potsdam, Germany. Stypmann, with his brother Ernest, owned the land that would become downtown Stuart. Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway connected the area to Daytona Beach in 1892 and Miami in 1896.

Potsdam was renamed Stuart in 1895, in honor of Homer Hine (Jack) Stuart Jr., a local landowner who owned a 160 acres around the railway station.

When Stuart was incorporated as a town in 1914, it was located in Palm Beach County. In 1925, Stuart was chartered as a city and named the county seat of the newly created Martin County.

The city of Stuart is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World, because of the many sailfish found in the ocean off Martin County.

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