Stuart in Martin County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
"Stuart is burning down!"
Historic Sailfish Trail
And sure enough, it was.
What happened, on the second floor of the J. B. McDonald Apartment House were apartments. A tenant, J. G. Moore, had lit an oil cooking stove in his apartment and left the room. The stove caught fire, setting his apartment and all the second floor ablaze. It quickly spread to the first floor where Lawton F. Geiger's Proprietary Drug Store and Ice Cream Parlor and the medical office of Dr. David M. Graham were located. Both places held containers of chemicals which began to explode and spread the fire.
By the end of the day much of the Potsdam area had burned, including the drug store, many homes, and the Methodist Church a devastating loss. Making the day slightly less tragic was the preservation of several residences, including the wood vernacular home to your right: the Thomas House.
Like many Stuart pioneers, George W. and Agatha Kickliter Thomas came
The house turned out to be the durable kind, not only surviving the fire but expanding over the years to include a side wing with a wide veranda and a second story with spectacular views of the river. The Thomas/Edenfield family lived in it until 1972.
The space in front of you was once what many considered the most important building in Stuart the Methodist Church. When the congregation outgrew its original building alongside the railroad tracks, they built an impressive new one complete with stained glass windows, a steeple and bell, and a separate social hall. Sadly, all were lost in the fire.
Considered a sign of progress and status in the young city, the community acted quickly to replace the church. With just $2,000 from insurance, residents raised over $10,000 to build an even more impressive building on the same site, completing the new, grander church just over a year later.
* As told to Ernie Lyons by Charlie Beyer in "The Great Fire, published in The Stuart News January 1, 1986.
(Top) The Thomas House showcased George W. Thomas'
(Center) Another notable building to survive the fire was the Christian Endeavor Hall on Albany Avenue. The building was the first Stuart Woman's Clubhouse and the City's first public library before being destroyed in the 1933 hurricane.
(Bottom) The thriving congregation of Stuart's Methodist Church built this beautiful block church at the corner of Albany Avenue and 2nd Street. It burned to rubble in the Great Fire of 1916.
Erected 2014 by Stuart Main Street. (Marker Number 4.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Churches & Religion • Disasters. A significant historical date for this entry is January 1, 1916.
Location. 27° 11.957′ N, 80° 15.354′ W. Marker is in Stuart, Florida, in Martin County. Marker is on Southwest Joan Jefferson Way. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 214 SW Joan Jefferson Way, Stuart FL 34994, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hello Girls! (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Passengers, Pay Phones and a Post Office (about 300 feet away); City of Stuart Water Tower (about 500 feet away); Lyric Theatre (about 500 feet away); A Great Place for a Vacation (about 600 feet away); Martin County Courthouse (approx. 0.3 miles away); Martin County Court House (approx. 0.3 miles away); A Healing Sanitarium (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Stuart.
More about this marker. It is part of the Historic Sailfish Trail, a series of sailfish sculptures in homage to Stuart's title as "Sailfish Capital of the World" with attached historical markers. They were erected in celebration of the centennial of the city's 1914 incorporation.
Also see . . .
1. Martin County Historical Vignettes - "The Devastating Fire of 1916 in Stuart". Much of Stuart's population was out of town when a cooking stove caused a conflagration that, luckily, caused no deaths or serious injuries. (Alice L. and Greg E. Luckhardt, TCPalm.com, posted July 19, 2012) (Submitted on March 16, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.)
2. Sailfish Historical Art Markers Downtown Stuart Florida. Local historian Alice Luckhardt hosts a 360-degree video tour of Stuart's five sailfish sculptures/historical markers. Viewers can manipulate the screen (using the cursor on a computer, a finger on a phone or tablet, or a VR headset) to view additional content. (Submitted on March 16, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 17, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 15, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 151 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 15, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.