The little beach town of Hobe Sound has quite a few interesting features and tales you may never have heard of. Here are 10 interesting facts about beautiful Hobe Sound:
1. The town was named after the Native American tribe that resided in the area in the 1600s. The Jobe and Tequesta Indians (hence where the neighboring town of Tequesta also got its name) were discovered when a British cargo ship, The Reformation- carrying sugar, rum, beef and molasses from Jamaica to New England- sank off the north end of the Jupiter Inlet. Captain Jonathan Dickinson and his crew of 25 men befriended the natives and gave Hobe Sound its name in their honor in 1699.
2. In the early 1900s, Hobe Sound was also known as "Olympia" because the 12,000 acres of the Gomez Spanish Land [land in Hobe Sound granted by Spain to Don Eusebio Gomez for his "services to the crown"] was bought by the Olympia Improvement Corp. with the goal to create a Greek town where movies could be filmed and produced. They built a Greek-style school, installed architectural lamp posts, and named the streets after Greek and Roman gods which still bear them today, like Athena, Olympus, Mars, Apollo, Adonis, Mercury and Saturn streets, all around Zeus Park on the south side of Bridge Road. The dream ended at the start of the Great Depression in 1929.
3. The quiet town is home to the highest point in Florida. The point is called "Hobe Mountain," which is 86 feet above sea level! Pretty impressive for the flat state of Florida. Hobe Mountain is actually an ancient sand dune located in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Park visitors can climb to the top of Hobe Mountain where there is an observation tower offering an incredible panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean and western dune ridge.
4. The 260-mile Loxahatchee River also runs through Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound. The river was Florida's first to be federally-designated as a "National Wild and Scenic River."
5. Before WWII in the late 1930s, the land where the Jonathan Dickinson preserve is, was actually an Army training facility called "Camp Murphy." The 11,000-acre camp taught soldiers how to repair and operate military radars. It accommodated nearly 900 officers and 6,000 enlisted men, and incorporated nearly 1,000 buildings including a bank, movie theater, church and bowling alley. The base only operated for around 2 years, but the tens of thousands of men who passed through resulted in a 100% increase in the population of Martin County. Today, only one Camp Murphy building remains in Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
6. In 1930, the famous American trapper and hunter, Vincent "Trapper" Nelson, founded "Trapper Nelson's Zoo and Jungle Gardens" in an area of current-day Jonathan Dickinson State Park. He filled the zoo with wild animals he captured around the Loxahatchee River in order to make a living. The zoo became a huge tourist destination, even attracting famous boxer Gene Tunney and actor Gary Cooper. Known as the "Wildman of the Loxahatchee," Trapper also wrestled alligators and cared for local residents' exotic animals. When he died in 1968, the state acquired Trapper's land and today, the Trapper Nelson Interpretive Site is a part of Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
7. The popular Hobe Sound restaurant, Harry & the Natives, used to be a combination of a restaurant, motel and gas station called "The Cypress Cabins and Restaurant." It opened on Dec. 7, 1941, the same day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Some might think it would have a bad omen for business, but the tiny restaurant is still up and running, owned by the famous MacArthus family since 1952.
8. In 1997, then-president Bill Clinton took a nasty fall in Hobe Sound that was talked about around the country. Clinton was visiting pro golfer, Greg Norman, at his Jupiter Island home, where he missed a step and took a tumble that resulted in rushing him to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where doctors had to reattach a tendon that tore from his right kneecap. The fall was talked about on multiple news stations for quite a long time.
9. Hobe Sound has an appreciation for art with its "Mural Project" headed up by local artist Nadia Utto. Utto and 40 other artists along with the help of dozens of residents and visitors have completed nearly 20 murals around town with more to come. There are 2-hour tours where you can stop and see 17 large murals in the area, or you can pick up a "map of art" from the Chamber of Commerce and do a self-guided tour.
10. The barrier island next to Hobe Sound, Jupiter Island, is one of the most expensive areas in America, with the average home price at $5 million. Most homeowners here are among the rich and famous including former president George H.W. Bush, singer Celine Dion, country singer Alan Jackson, and pro golfers Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Greg Norman, Gary Player, Justin Thomas, Nick Price, and Lee Trevino.
See more about this history-filled town and its homes for sale on our Hobe Sound webpage.