House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert's Bar

category : Museums
House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert's Bar As the oldest structure on the Treasure Coast (circa 1876), The House of Refuge Museum at Gilbert's Bar has weathered many storms and provided shelter for shipwreck survivors. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the House is a museum displaying historical maritime artifacts, personal items and furnishings belonging to the House's 'Keeper' and family, and a model ship collection. A handcrafted reproduction of a 150-yr-old surf boat is on display outside. The Boathouse, constructed in 1914 when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service to form the US Coast Guard, contains early life-saving equipment, nautical artifacts, and the Museum Store.

Tours, which provide a look at turn-of-the-century coastal living at the Refuge, include the boathouse living quarters and a WWII lookout tower. The House of Refuge is also for rent as a scenic seaside locale for everything from business gatherings to weddings.

The Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge first saw duty in 1876 as an U.S. Life Saving Service station on Florida's east coast. Authorized by Congress in June 1874, this structure served as an aid station to shipwreck victims for many years. The U.S. Coast Guard operated this site between 1914 and 1940. The U.S. Navy took control of the facility late in 1941 and, with U.S. Coast Guard personnel, operated coastal patrols to guard against U-boats and hostile aircraft. Coastguardsmen used the structure as quarters while manning the watchtower and patrolling the beach. While not boarded at this site, horses and dogs were employed in coastal patrol duties along the Atlantic Coast.

Deactivated in 1945, this last remaining Life Saving Station became the property of Martin County and, in 1969, became the House of Refuge Museum.

Admission: Adults - $ 5 Children (6 to 12 years) - $ 2; Under 6 years of age - Free
Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM; Sunday 1 PM to 4 PM
Address: 301 SE MacArthur Boulevard
Phone: 772-225-1875
Our Email:

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