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Official Guide to the Loxahatchee River and Jupiter Outdoors  

 Loxahatchee River .net -- Your Coastal Connection!

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Jupiter Inlet History
Including the Loxahatchee River

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1937 - Trapper Nelson opened Trapper Nelson's Zoo and Jungle Gardens at his camp on the Northwest fork of the Loxahatchee River.

1940/1945 - A Naval radio transmission & strategic tracking station was setup at the Lighthouse to monitor German U-boat activity.

1941 - A deeper, wide channel was dredged along the South jetty of the Jupiter Inlet.

1942 - Many cargo ships and tankers were sunk off our shores by German U-boats.  Some examples are the SS Republic and the Potero del Llano which were both sunk in the Jupiter Inlet area.  The oil tanker "Republic" sunk off Hobe Sound beach, Jupiter Island.  Around this time, many other allied ships were sunk off our coast, including 6 ships that were sunk in the vicinity of the Jupiter Inlet within 1 week!

1942/1944 - Camp Murphy was built and occupied by radar students (on the current location of Jonathan Dickinson State Park).

1942 - The Jupiter Inlet filled in with sand and was closed until 1947.

1947 - The Jupiter Inlet was dredged extensivily and was re-opened again for small craft navigation.

1947 - U.S. Army Base "Camp Murphy" was deactivated and the State of Florida acquired the property to create Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

1947 - Hurricane.

1948 - The U.S. Geological Survey team created their first "baseline" survey map of the Loxahatchee River and Jupiter Inlet region.

1949 - Hurricane.

1957 - Village of Tequesta incorporated.

1958 - The Southwest fork of the river was widened and dredged by construction of the C-18 canal.  A gated, flood-control structure (S-46) was installed; further reducing freshwater flow to the Northwest Fork of the river.

1959 - Jupiter Inlet Colony incorporated.

1962 - U.S. Coast Guard installed a LORAN station on the grounds of the Jupiter Lighthouse; this was later moved North to Hobe Sound.

1964 - Hurricane Isabell.

1966 - A Survey Report by the "U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1966" mentioned that the absence of a dependable, safe channel to the ocean through the Jupiter Inlet restricted recreational craft from full realization of potential boating benefits.  In rough seas many watercraft would divert their voyage up the Intracoastal Waterway to the Lake Worth Inlet or the Saint Lucie Inlet.

1966 - A "sand trap" was dredged 1,000 feet West of the entrance to the inlet.

1968 - Florida acquired Trapper Nelson's estate on the river.  This acquisition added over 850 acres to Jonathan Dickinson state park.  Trapper's property site was established as an interpretive site.

1970 - The Loxahatchee River-Lake Worth Creek Aquatic Preserve was established.

1971 - Loxahatchee River Environmental Control District was formed to preserve and protect the river.

1973 - U.S. Coast Guard begins a major renovation of the Jupiter Lighthouse.

1974 - Gated flood-control structure (G-92) was built in the C-18 canal (Southwest Fork) to increase the freshwater flow to the Northwest Fork of the river.

1975 - Alexander, T. R. and A. G. Crook documented the historical long-term migration of mangroves in areas that were formerly bald cypress.

1975 - The Jupiter Lighthouse placed on the the National Register of Historic Places.

1977 - The dredging of oyster bars under the railroad bridge helped to flush out the central embayment area of the river and its estuaries.

1977 - A Spanish Galleon was discovered off the coast of Juno Beach; the galleon dates back to the 1500's.

1979 - Hurricane David.

- Three channels were dredged in the central embayment area of the River to improve navigation.

1980s - The Lainhart and Masten Dams are reconstructed to maintain higher water levels in the upper portion of the Northwest Fork.

1983/1986 - The original Jupiter topo/waterway survey maps were updated by the U.S. Geological Survey teams during these years.

1984 - The Florida Department of Natural Resources reported that most bald cypress trees downstream of Kitching Creek are dead.

1985 - The upper portion of the Loxahatchee River was designated as Florida's first 'Wild and Scenic' river by the Federal government.

1987 - The lighthouse was automated with a one-thousand watt electic bulb that can be seen from up to 24 miles offshore.

1987 - Lifeguard Peter Leo discovered the remains of a spanish galleon off the Jupiter Inlet Beach during his early morning swim.

1988 - The Loxahatchee River Historical Museum opened.

1995 - The Tindell House, a riverfront cracker-style home built in 1892; was donated (and moved) to the Loxahatchee River Historical Museum by Anna Minear.

1995 - The Loxahatchee River District founded "Friends of the Loxahatchee River (a non-profit group), to provide a unique way for local citizens get involved and learn more about the Loxahatchee River and its many ecosystems.

1999 - Hurricane Irene.

2000 - Congress authorized funds for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the largest environmental restoration effort in our history.  CERP will enhance Everglades wetlands and associated lakes, rivers, and bays in the 16-county region of south Florida.  The Loxahatchee Watershed is included in Florida's CERP plan, and over time will benefit from this long term, large-scale project.  (

2001 - The Jupiter Inlet District began a restoration project to restore hydrology and enhance freshwater flow to the Northwest Fork of the river.  This project entailed closing "open" gaps in the natural winding path of the river; mostly in Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  This helped facilitate fresh water to flow and "flush out" individual creeks that became stagnant over time, due to the open gaps in the snaking river.

2003/2007 - The Loxahatchee River District’s Wildpine Ecological Lab conducted monthly seagrass monitoring at three sites located in the Loxahatchee River Estuary to establish a baseline of the seasonal growth habits of seagrass in the river.

2004 - Beginning in 2004, and over the next five years; almost 45,000 acres of land were purchased within the Loxahatchee River Watershed for restoration, under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

2004 - Hurricane Frances.

2004 - Hurricane Jeanne.

2005 - Hurricane Wilma.

2006 - South Florida Water Management District created the Restoration Plan for the Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River.

2008 - The River Center opened at Burt Reynolds Park in Jupiter.  This faciliy provides public education about the Loxahatchee River.

2008 - President George W. Bush signed a bill to protect the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, along with the surrounding 126 acres of land, as a federally designated "Outstanding Natural Area".

2009 - The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum opens a new permanent exhibit called "Five Thousand Years on the Loxahatchee".  This new exhibit filled eight rooms in the old 1939 U.S. Coast Guard building that has since been taken over by the museum and a cafe.

2009 - Many waterfront property owners and boaters were outraged as "almost overnight", the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commisson (FWC) changed their interpretation of existing 25 MPH speed zones and channel signage rules along the North and Northwest Forks of the river.  This prompted the Jupiter Inlet District to host a "town hall" style meeting between governing agencies and local citizens to workout a solution for the benefit of boaters, water skiers, and manatees.  The FWC expanded manatee "idle speed" zones without conducting surveys or studies to justify their actions.  Updates will be forthcoming.

2009 - New docks with concrete pilings were installed in the Jonathan Dickinson State Park canoe rental and concession area.

2009 - The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum opened up the recently renovated 1892 Tindall Pioneer Homestead exhibit on the lighthouse grounds.

2010 - The Jupiter Lighthouse celebrated its 150th anniversary on January 10, 2010.  The outside event was open to the public and included free museum and lighthouse tours, along with various presentations.  It was held on a cool, windy Sunday afternoon with local temperatures dipping into the 30's & 40's -- very cold for south Florida.  The public celebration ceremony, was hosted by the Loxahatchee River Historical Society, the Bureau of Land Management and Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area (JILONA) Partners.  On July 10, 2010, was the 150th anniversary celebration of the "lighting of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse", which was first lighted on July 10, 1860.

2010 - A new $2.4M bridge is built over the North Fork of the Loxahatchee River in Tequesta.  The new bridge was constructed approximately 5 feet higher than the original one to allow for larger vessels.

2010 - Oyster Restoration Project - federal stimulus money was used to revive the struggling oyster population in the Loxahatchee River.  About 30 million pounds of limestone and old shells were spread in shallow, sandy sections of the Loxahatchee Rivers' northwest fork.  The "cultch" material will be spread to make a 6-inch-thick, oyster base on about 5 acres of river bottom.  The rock and shells provide the nooks and crannies oysters need to create a "full-functioning filtering system", which will attract oysters, clean the water, and provide shelter for many species of sea life.

Note: this page will be updated regularly as new events unfold.  Anyone with comments or suggestions may email us at:


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