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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / State & Local / South
  • Language:English
  • Pages:216
  • eBook ISBN:9781618500267

Five Thousand Years on the Loxahatchee:

A Pictorial History of Jupiter-Tequesta, Florida

by James D. Snyder

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A documentary of life around the Loxahatchee River from the days of the Jeaga Indians, who lived on the riverfront, to the modern era. The history of this river watershed in South Florida is remarkably rich and robust, vibrant and even volatile.


    Aided by some 250 maps and photos, the book illuminates:

  • Untold generations of Indian villages, accumulating mounds along Jupiter Inlet that stretched for two hundred yards and twenty feet high—until they were trucked away to make roadbeds for the automotive age.
  • The newly-built lighthouse tower being climbed by Confederates to spot Union gunboats just outside Jupiter Inlet that might blockade their efforts to smuggle cotton and turpentine to the Bahamas.
  • How just three keepers and their families lived at the lighthouse in the mid-nineteenth century, shooting game from the tower, catching huge fish and coping with sporadic shipments of supplies by sea.
  • A tiny settlement in the 1890s that nonetheless attracted a telegraph office, a U.S. Weather Bureau outpost, a sea rescue station, a wireless radio post, a seven-mile railroad and a fleet of paddlewheel steamers.
  • A gritty town in Prohibition years that staved off poverty by bootlegging booze from the Bahamas, logging cypress, growing ferns for wholesale florists and shipping a seemingly endless supply of oysters to restaurant suppliers up north.
  • A war-torn town of just two hundred with a secret U-boat tracking station and a neighboring army base where 6,000 recruits learned the new science of radar.
  • A town that saw Allied ships torpedoed by U-boats and many of its residents helping to rescue stricken sailors at sea.

Finally, the book profiles a people who, during the modern era, keep battling those who would ditch, dam, drain and develop their precious Loxahatchee River in the name of progress.

About the author

Author Jim Snyder spent some thirty years as a Washington-based magazine editor/publisher until moving to Jupiter and discovering the wild and scenic Loxahatchee River.  

Says Snyder: "The first reason I decided to write this book was simply that no one had told the area’s long history between two covers. A later and better reason is that the deeper I waded into the subject, the more colorful events and courageous people I encountered. All towns have their fascinating characters, but in the Indians, fishermen, farmers, fortune seekers and fortune finders who underpin our history, we have far more than our share. As I learned how their lives revolved around that abundant giver of life—the Loxahatchee River—my growing appreciation and reverence for this great treasure filled me with a desire to instill the same feelings in others."

 Since becoming a Jupiter "river rat," author Snyder has served as chairman of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum and member of the Florida Historical Commission. He has also served on the boards of Friends of Jonathan Dickinson State Park and the Loxahatchee River District.