“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Stuart in Martin County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

A Healing Sanitarium

Historic Sailfish Trail

A Healing Sanitarium Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, March 12, 2022
1. A Healing Sanitarium Marker
Inscription.  Back in the 1900s, Stuart locals were a healthy lot, and thanks to balmy temperatures, endless sunshine, and salty air, visiting northerners often found they regained their good health too. No wonder the entire region came to be known as “a healing sanitarium.”

Despite the general good health, the 1920s land boom and population increase led to the need for a local hospital, if only for emergencies and maternity cases. In 1926 Carroll Dunscombe donated the wood frame house across the pond from you on Coconut Avenue and 5th Street for a nonprofit hospital. $10,000 was raised for supplies, and in August the St. Lucie Sanitarium opened with a five-bed ward downstairs, plus five private rooms upstairs and a nursery.

With segregation denying African-Americans treatment at the sanitarium, a house rented in East Stuart in 1933 served as a separate hospital. During the Great Depression both facilities foundered financially as patients struggled to pay their bills.

The hospital survived and thrived. In 1937 the 1-acre pond named “Lake Janet” for Dunscombe's wife (later called “Hospital Lake” or “Hospital Pond”) overflowed when
A Healing Sanitarium Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, March 12, 2022
2. A Healing Sanitarium Marker
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ten inches of rain fell in a day. Undaunted, Dr. Van Williams Burns paddled to work in a rowboat. But by 1938 the community realized it needed a larger hospital to care for all citizens regardless of race.

William S. Barstow of Jupiter donated $100,000 to build a hospital on 6-and-a-half acres of city-owned land on the St. Lucie River. The Reed Family of Hobe Sound donated funds for equipment and many county citizens contributed to a building and operating fund. The new $150,000, 25-bed Martin County Hospital opened in March 1939 with a delivery room, nursery, lab, x-ray room and two operating rooms. The hospital is still in existence today as Martin Health System. The old St. Lucie Sanitarium returned to its previous life as a private residence.

(Top) A local pineapple grower, Carroll Dunscombe, donated this two-story house as a nonprofit hospital in the 1920s.
(Middle) The new Martin County Hospital replaced the St. Lucie Sanitarium in 1939.
(Bottom) Dr. Floyd Eurit was one of the first doctors to work at the St. Lucie Sanitarium.

For more local history, visit the Stuart Heritage Museum in the Stuart Feed Store building ( or the Elliott Museum (

Erected 2014 by Stuart Main
The St. Lucie Sanitorium image. Click for full size.
Via Stuart Heritage Museum
3. The St. Lucie Sanitorium
Street. (Marker Number 5.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansScience & Medicine. A significant historical year for this entry is 1926.
Location. 27° 11.814′ N, 80° 14.186′ W. Marker is in Stuart, Florida, in Martin County. Marker is on SE Palm Beach Road south of SE Ocean Boulevard (Florida Road A1A), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Stuart FL 34996, 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. Burn Brae Plantation – Krueger House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Martin County Courthouse (approx. 0.9 miles away); Martin County Court House (approx. 0.9 miles away); Lyric Theatre (approx. 1.1 miles away); A Great Place for a Vacation (approx. 1.1 miles away); City of Stuart Water Tower (approx. 1.1 miles away); Passengers, Pay Phones and a Post Office (approx. 1.1 miles away); Hello Girls! (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. Historical Vignettes of Martin County: Stuart's 1st hospital was St. Lucie Sanitarium. Newspaper article with more details about the initial hospital. (Alice L. and Greg E. Luckhardt,, posted May 30, 2012) (Submitted on March 15, 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
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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 16, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 15, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 97 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 15, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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Mar. 31, 2023