By: Jarret Romanello, The St. Lucie Post
The St. Lucie Historical Society Inc. (SLHS) celebrated 100 years of the Fort Pierce Inlet at their last meeting of the season Thursday night at Elks Lodge # 1520 in Fort Pierce.
The Society promotes historical research and education through the St. Lucie Regional History Center and the Bud Adams-Cobb Cultural Center in Fort Pierce.
About 100 members met for dinner and to hear Ed Killer, Outdoors Columnist for Treasure Coast Newspapers, discuss the Inlet’s importance to the County. “The Inlet changed this whole town and region,” Killer told the audience.
The opening of the Inlet on May 8, 1921, and subsequent dredging projects led to the creation of the Port of Fort Pierce. “Fort Pierce City leaders and businessmen built a straighter, safer, and deeper Inlet,” Fort Pierce Mayor and SLHS member Linda Hudson said.
The Fort Pierce Inlet provides access between the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. It is an important route that’s brought economic opportunity and prosperity to the Treasure Coast for a century. “Without the Inlet, Fort Pierce would be landlocked,” Mayor Hudson told the St Lucie Post.
“The Inlet has brought many recreational and commercial fishing opportunities to the area,” history buff Brenda Summerlin, said. The Summerlin family has been a part of Fort Pierce’s fishing and marine construction community since the 1880s.
The late Herman Summerlin opened Summerlin Seven Seas Construction in the 1970s, and the family business continues today with his daughter Joy Yancy and brothers Roy and Sam Summerlin. “Our company remains successful because we have such a functional inlet,” Ms. Yancy told the St. Lucie Post.
Following dinner, President Nancy Bennett and Treasurer Bob Burdge raffled off fundraising prizes. Mike Brennan was the big winner of the 50/50 raffle, and Milissa Murray took home a beautiful gift basket.
Meetings will resume in September, but the Regional History Center and Bud Adams-Cobb Cultural Center are open year-round. Nancy Bennett says it’s a great place to take the family to learn about St. Lucie County’s history. “For nearly 70 years, SLHS has preserved the history of St. Lucie County to tell the story of the good people that live here. The museums are tributes to the pioneers that had the forethought to build a place where everyone wants to live and visit,” Bennett said.