The Spirit of a House; the Spirit of a River; the Spirit of the Holidays, SLR/IRL

Sewall's Point Post Office ca. 1892. Photo courtesy of Historic Society of Martin County and Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
Sewall’s Point Post Office ca. 1890s. Photo courtesy of Historic Society of Martin County and Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

Certain photographs become imprinted in our minds, affecting us on an emotional level–conjuring up images and memories again and again….

One such photo for me is this late 1800s image of Captain Henry Sewall’s Post Office and home. The picture graces the cover of my mother’s book “Sewall’s Point, A History of a Peninsular Community on Florida’s Treasure Coast.” This photograph was often laid out on our family dining room table and we kids listened to mom tell stories of the house and the people from that era of history.

The first time I ever saw the photo it was like I was walking along the long, crooked dock myself to say “hello” or go pick up the mail. I could imagine a gentle breeze blowing, the sun shining, the birds flying over, the fish jumping,  and yes, maybe a mosquito or two….

In my imagination, I also thought about how happy I would be to say “hi” to the Sewalls and to maybe get some mail…My mother in her years of writing the books repeatedly pointed out how “lonely” it was for the pioneers, and that the  post office played a social role in the community as well as one of function.

With no roads, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon—were the roads—the only means of transportation to greet a neighbor, get supplies, or pick up the mail. The river brought  people tougher, just like it does today.

Yesterday, when I drove to today’s Stuart Post Office from Sewall’s Point to drop off Ed and my Christmas cards, I thought about how much things have changed.

But I have to say, that even though I did not recognize anyone at the post office, the holiday mood and bustle of mail led to many smiles just as it must have in the days of Captain Henry  Sewall. The post office, even with all of the world’s changes, still holds the heart of greeting and hellos especially during the holidays.


1889: Capt. Henry Sewall builds a house on Sewall’s Point

1891: Sewall’s Point post office established in the house

1913: The house is moved by barge to Port Sewall

2006: The house is moved by barge to Indian RiverSide Park with unanimous support from the Martin County Commission and advocacy of historian Sandra Thurlow, Stuart Heritage,  and others. A large donation is made to support the move by Mr. Fred Airs.

2012: Restoration of the house is completed/the house is listed as one of 11 properties on the Martin County Local Historic Register of Historic Places.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

Sewall House and Post Office tip of South Sewall's Point, ca 1892. HSMC
Sewall House and Post Office tip of South Sewall’s Point, ca 1890s. HSMC

All of Sandra Thurlow’s books can be purchased at the Stuart Heritage Museum ( on Flagler Avenue, the Elliott Museum, or ordered on Amazon.

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

About Jacqui:

Although born at Travis Air Base, California, Jacqui considers herself a native of Stuart, Florida, having moved there at eight months old. Her father’s family, originally from Syracuse, New York, has lived in Stuart since 1952. Her mother is a 5th generation Floridian from Gainesville.

Jacqui is journalism and German graduate of the University of Florida, and an education master’s graduate of the University of West Florida. She went on to teach both English and German and after a serious accident of breaking her neck, started selling real estate. In 2008 she ran for the Town of Sewall’s Point Commission and has served since 2008; She is former mayor. During this time she saw the opportunity to help showcase the work of a locally formed river group, the River Kidz, and this has been her passion ever. She incorporates youth/river education into her political work for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Jacqui is the treasurer/secretary of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council; has chaired the Florida League of Cities Environmental and Energy Committee; was chair, and long time member of the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments; is an alternate for the Water Resources Advisory Commission for the South Florida Water Management District; and a board member for Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation. She also serves as an (ex-officio) board member for the Rivers Coalition Defense Fund, and is head administrator for the River Kidz.Jacqui is a Daughter of the American Revolution.

Jacqui’s reach involves not only local, but state and federal government. In 2013,  she served on Senator Joe Negron’s panel for the Select Senate Hearing on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee. In 2014, she actively supported the elections of both Senator Joe Negron and Congressman Patrick Murphy who have both been strong supporters of Indian River Lagoon issues. In 2015, she is part of the Florida League Cities Treasure Coast Advocacy team. Jacqui received the Everglades Coalition’s prestigious 2015 “John V. Kabler Award” for “Grassroots Activism.” Most recently she has been recruited as a fellow by the University of Florida/IFAS’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute Class XV.Jacqui is running for Martin County Commissioner District 1, 2016.

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