Washington Jenkins and his family in Fort Lauderdale’s first House of Refuge (1876-1883)

Washington Jenkins and his family in Fort Lauderdale's first House of Refuge (1876-1883)

In 1876, the Department of Treasury began constructing five Houses of Refuge for shipwrecked sailors every twenty-five miles along the Florida East Coast. The first House of Refuge in Fort Lauderdale was located along the beach about where Bonnet House and Gardens occupies a site as deep as the distance between the Intracoastal Waterway and A1A. Years later, the structure was moved south to the present-day strip of beach in front of Bahia Mar Yachting Center. This is the only known photograph of a Keeper and his family while in service. Courtesy, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society.

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