Day Late and a Dollar Short – Jupiter Island

Day Late and a Dollar Short – Jupiter Island

Lorea Thomson
Posted by Lorea Thomson
Updated on
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Published in Communities

As they say, “a day late and a dollar short,” but in fact, we are years and years too late! Read on and be astonished about what you could buy for $1.00 back in the day. In 1821, land in Jupiter was sold for just $1.00 an acre! Florida became a formal state of the colonies in 1821 and a property-owner named Don Eusebio Gomez considered releasing acreage he owned.

In 1815, the King and Queen of Spain had awarded Don Eusebio Gomez 12,000 acres. The land was an area bordering the Indian and Loxahatchee Rivers, as well as a barrier island between the Jupiter Inlet and the St. Lucie Inlet.

The granted land to Gomez was for his “services to the crown.”  He was a merchant/shipper and a defender of St. Augustine. When Florida became a U.S. territory all the Spanish Land Grants, and the Gomez land was one of them, were challenged by the U.S. Government. The “Gomez Grant” was contested and was granted clear title by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Don Eusebio Grant had clear title and later sold 8,000 acres to Joseph Delespine. In 1822, Mr. Delespine sold 4,000 acres to Michael Lazarus for $4,000. In 1824, Mr. Lazarus sold his 4,000 acres for $50,000. Majority of the land was used for pineapple and cocoanut plantations.

Mr. Gomez moved to Cuba and left his remaining 4,000 acres, which included what would be Jupiter Island, unsold until 1892. Then Henry Flagler brought the railroad through the area and that meant the land boom was eminent. A group of English investors, known as the Indian River Association, bought all the unsold portions of the “Gomez Grant” and land from the pineapple growers and cocoanut growers. They built infrastructure including water plant, an electric plant and the first Hobe Sound Bridge. Jupiter Island was then completed. 

The beauty and tranquility of Jupiter Island and Hobe Sound is absolute. The Banyan trees on Bridge Road, Blowing Rocks Preserve, Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, the public beach on Bridge Road, the residents and their generosity, the list is endless. 

During the land boom of the 1920’s, Hobe Sound was renamed “Picture City” in the hopes of becoming the new “Hollywood”! Unfortunately, after the catastrophic hurricane of 1928, all hopes of “Picture City” were demolished and the quiet town of Hobe Sound was restored.

 

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