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An 1850s map of the Fort Jupiter reservation

An 1850s map of the Fort Jupiter reservation.

The area that includes the Town of Jupiter was called Jobe (Hoe-bay) by the Spanish, for the nearby Indian village. When the English arrived in 1763, they interpreted the name as Jove and referred to the area as Jupiter (in ancient mythology, Jove and Jupiter refer to the same god).

Fort Jupiter was built in 1838 after a battle with Seminole Indians on the Loxahatchee River. The 9,088-acre Jupiter Military Reservation that was created around it in 1855 included the site of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and the location of the second Fort Jupiter where the Fort Jupiter Post Office was activated from 1855 to 1856, during the Third Seminole War. The garrison’s chronic illness and the inlet’s tendency to close made the fort too difficult to man or supply and it was closed in 1860.

Lighthouse keeper James Armour opened the Jupiter Post Office briefly during 1884. Three years of inactivity followed before Mary Moore “Mollie” Carlin reestablished the office in 1887 at the Jupiter Lifesaving Station, where her husband, Charles Carlin, was the keeper. 

The DuBois house was built on top of the ancient Indian mound in 1898

The DuBois house was built on top of the
ancient Indian mound in 1898.

The DuBois family is one of Jupiter’s pioneer families; their former homestead, on the south side of Jupiter Inlet once known as Stone’s Point, is now part of Palm Beach County’s DuBois Park and reveals much about life in early Jupiter. John Rue DuBois, the eldest son of Harry and Susan Sanders DuBois, carefully preserved artifacts found on their property, which were later examined by the Florida State Museum.

Jupiter was the northernmost stop on the 7.5-mile “Celestial Railroad” line that had once served as the last link for travelers to Lake Worth. After boating down the Indian River, they would take the train to the head of Lake Worth in Juno where they would once again board a boat for destinations further south. When Henry Flagler ran his Florida East Coast Railway west of the Lake Worth Creek on its route to West Palm Beach, two paddlewheel steamboats that had frequented the Indian River were no longer necessary and they rotted away where they had been beached. Local historian Bessie DuBois said, “Early settlers of the Fort Jupiter reservation used the stateroom windows and doors in their shacks. The steamers gradually rusted away … relics of a priceless era.” 

The school boat was a lifeboat from the USS Maine

The school boat was a lifeboat from the
USS Maine.

In 1900 the population of the Jupiter area was 145. In 1905 Rev. Dr. Charles P. Jackson started an elementary school for white children in Neptune. At that time Jupiter referred to the area east of Lake Worth Creek (the Intracoastal Waterway) and Neptune was the designation for the area and the post office along the Florida East Coast Railroad. The Neptune post office was consolidated into Jupiter in 1908. A converted lifeboat from the battleship U.S.S. Maine served as school “bus” for the children. A ferry service across the Loxahatchee River started in 1894 was replaced by a bridge in 1911, when a new two-story school added grades seven through ten. West Palm Beach was the closest town for students to complete high school for many years. 

In 1916 to 1917, a group of nine British aviators used Jupiter as a training “ground” for three small seaplanes – a crew of three assigned to each. Because the Jupiter Inlet remained closed during their stay, the planes were able to park on the river side of the beach. The aviators erected tents there to get out of the sun, but lived with Mr. and Mrs. Walter Savage, who contracted with the U. S. Government to provide them room and board. A windsock added to the flagpole on the Carlin House dock assisted with wind direction during the many landings and takeoffs practiced each day. 

When John DuBois married Bessie Wilson in 1924, they stayed on at his family’s house on Jupiter Inlet. They later recalled how Seminole Indians had often come to town in covered wagons pulled by oxen or horses and camped out near today’s Center Street. The Indians came to trade with local merchants; their contact with others was mainly to sell them venison and berries. John DuBois said the Seminoles seemed to know when schools of large fish were trapped in the inlet by changing tides; they would spear them from

In 1925 the Town of Jupiter was incorporated. A year later, the federal highway was completed to Miami, and a new bridge went up across the Loxahatchee River.

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