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Jupiter Inlet Lifesaving Station

Although the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was a tremendous aid to sailors, the Jupiter Inlet area still experienced a great number of shipwrecks. When the U. S. Lifesaving Service built the last four houses of refuge in 1886, it also established a lifesaving station a mile south of the inlet, present Carlin Park, to provide more active assistance than its houses of refuge could.

Captain Charles R. Carlin

Irishman Charles R. Carlin arrived
in Jupiter in 1871. Courtesy
Loxahatchee River Historical Society.

Captain Charles Robert Carlin,  born in Ireland to English parents, had served as assistant keeper at the Jupiter Lighthouse under James Armour, who recommended him to run the new station. Carlin worked alone during the summer, but in the winter, he supervised a six-man crew, including his son Charles William Carlin and Henry “Harry” Dubois, who stayed until the station closed in 1896. The “surfmen” worked in six-hour shifts, taking turns patrolling the beach and looking into the distance from the crow’s nest above the two-story station. Carlin kept their skills sharp, practicing rescue techniques with the surfboat and lifesaving tools at their disposal. 

Carlin’s family lived with him at the station until 1888, when they built a house west of the present Dubois Park. His wife, Mary Moorer “Mollie” Joyner Carlin, gave food and shelter to increasingly more people, until she ran it as the Carlin House. Mollie Carlin also served as postmistress and raised their seven children. She had considerable help from Adam “Old Daddy” Bryant, a former slave, and his family; Bryant had followed Mollie’s family from South Carolina to Florida.


Mary Carlin.
Courtesy Carlin White.

By 1896 many vessels could avoid the ocean, due to the reworking of the inland waters (now the Intracoastal Waterway), and many people traveled on Flagler’s railroad. The Jupiter Lifesaving Station closed after its crew had performed a decade of courageous rescues. The Seminole Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) placed an historical marker on the site, including the names of Capt. Carlin and his crew.



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