Monthly Archives: July 2019

House of Refuge, Hutchinson Island, Fla. (1876)

On June 20, 1874, Congress passed legislation calling for the construction of five sturdy, wood-framed Houses of Refuge to provide shelter and provisions for shipwrecked sailors along the desolate Florida east coast.  Under general superintendent Sumner Kimball, the United States Life-Saving Service embarked on plans for the construction of the houses, starting with House of Refuge No. 1 to be located thirteen miles north of the old Indian River Inlet at Bethel Creek, near present-day Vero Beach, and ending with House of Refuge No. 5, five miles north of Norris Cut on Biscayne Bay, about where present-day Lincoln Road ends at Miami Beach.