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Hobe Sound -- Harbor Island

Object Details

Harbor Island is a barrier island created when Hobe Sound was dredged circa 1911-12 that was left undeveloped until the 1960's although there were plans to build a yacht club for the residents of Jupiter Island on the other side of the foot bridge. Limestone retaining seawalls were the only structural changes made in the early years of ownership. Initially a fragile landscape with native mangroves and palm by the 1960's the island was an eyesore with overgrown exotic invasives including Brazilian pepper and Australian pine. Permelia Reed, the principle owner of the Hobe Sound Company, initiated development by having a Japanese-style bridge built and hiring landscape architect Richard K. Webel. In 1967 the island was given to the Jupiter Island Garden Club who in 1968 stated their goal "To create a garden setting not only horticulturally beautiful but educational as well, preserving the native flora and augmenting this with related and more unusual plant material so that all who come can learn as well as enjoy". The island was cleared of undesirable plants, limestone and shell amalgam rock was brought over for walkways, the limestone sea wall was reinforced with mangrove stands, and 86,000 square feet of sub-tropical gardens were planted. However salt spray and damaging winds destroyed some plants that had been chosen and there was devastating destruction by Hurricane Frances in 2004. The replanted island includes several varieties of palm and mangrove, bromeliads, orchids, black olive, sea grape, asparagus fern, crinum lilies, and oyster plant. Wildlife that can be seen includes manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, pelicans, bald eagles, ospreys, egrets, herons, red shouldered hawks and barred owls. Webel's contributions included a circle and fountain dedicated to garden club founder Lady Ramsay, a plan for a gazebo that was never built, and a rock pool. Members have donated ornaments and sculptures, memorial bricks, a pet memorial and benches, and use the garden island for all types of milestone celebrations as well as for quiet walks. Persons associated with the garden include: William Moore Angas, member of the Indian River Association (former owners, 1904-1923); Olympia Improvement Corporation (former owners, 1923-c1927); Mary Duke Biddle (former owner, c1927-1933); Hobe Sound Company and members Joseph V. and Permelia Reed (former owners, 1933-1967); Jupiter Island Garden Club (owners, 1967- ); Richard K. Webel (1900-2000), Innocenti & Webel (landscape architect, 1966); S.M.I. Landscape Architecture, Inc. (landscape architects, 2014).
Jupiter Island Garden Club
Landscape architect
Innocenti & Webel
Collection Creator
Garden Club of America
United States of America -- Florida -- Martin County -- Hobe Sound
Harbor Island (Hobe Sound, Florida)
Gardens -- Florida -- Hobe Sound
Jupiter Island Garden Club
Landscape architect
Innocenti & Webel
See more items in
The Garden Club of America collection
The Garden Club of America collection / Series 1: United States Garden Images / Florida
A project to describe images in this finding aid received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care Initiative, administered by the National Collections Program.
Archival Repository
Archives of American Gardens
AAG.GCA, File FL144
Archival materials
Collection Citation
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
Collection Rights
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens:
This property is featured in Ripe for Change: Garden-Based Learning in Schools by Jane S. Hirschi, published by Harvard Education Press, 2015; "Is Boston the Next Urban Farming Paradise?" by Oset Babur, published in The Guardian, April 16, 2017.
Scope and Contents
28 digital images (2018), 6 prints (1992) and 2 file folders with "The History of Harbor Island-the First 100 Years" by Philip F. Lund, Jupiter Island Historical Society Historian.
Collection Restrictions
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens:
Large EAD
Record ID
Hobe Sound -- Harbor Island
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