Best Florida Retirement: Jensen Beach Pirates and Pineapple
Pineapple History in East Coast Florida
Walletpop has named Jensen Beach as one of the Top 20 Cities for Retirement in Florida, particularly for its affordability.
The city is located about 70 miles south of Melbourne, the Number One pick for Florida retirement, down the Florida east coast. This part of the coast is called the Treasure Coast, recalling pirate vessels of the 17th Century.
In 1881, pineapple plantations began to proliferate around today's Jensen Beach and gave rise to the town of Jensen.
This business was aided in 1884 when the railroads came through to provide quicker transport of pineapples to the marketplace. Although no longer a large contributor to the local economy, this fruit is honored yearly each November with the Pineapple Festival in the Historic Downtown Area. The festival provides entertainment, music, rides, regional foods, and a Bahamian Marketplace.
Pineapples and other regional dishes are brought in from Eleuthera, Bahamas for the festival. It's name is Greek for "Freedom" and the town has been a sister city of Jensen Beach in the past.
The Bahamians of Eleuthera began a pineapple celebration of their own in recent years -- The fruit is a symbol of hospitality to them, and they are glad to send shipments to the Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival, along with additional food items and musicians.
Trailer Life, Established 1938
The town of Jensen Beach is unincorporated, but contains an incorporated town inside its borders. This is Ocean Breeze Park, whose leaders claim, "We enjoy one of the lowest electric utility rates in the state.".
The incorporated community is totally a mobile home park and all residents live in trailers, many of them double-wides.
All these homes likely less expensive than houses and probably incur lower property taxes, which is useful in retirement living. Sand dunes and its shopping center, Ocean Park Plaza, are some of the local attractions.
The Ocean Breeze Park Mayor at this writing, Dorothy Geeben, is 101 years old (reference: MSNBC.com) and about 67% of the residents are over age 64 and fairly active. Another advantage of the community is that mail is delivered right to the door and not at curbside mail boxes like much of the surrounding areas, so residents do not have to walk in order to pick up their mail.
Jensen Beach Links
- The Elliott Museum - Let Your Mind Soar | Stuart Florida Museum
- House of Refuge at Gilberts Bar
Oldest building in the county. The House of Refuge at Gilberts Bar is the last remaining shipwreck lifesaving station in the United States.
- The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum - History of Naval Special Warfare and SEAL Teams
The only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to the elite warriors of Naval Special Warfare. Complete information on Navy SEAL training and history.
- Treasure Coast Square Mall
Treasure Coast Pirate Fest
Treasure Coast Pirate Fest
600 N Indian River Dr, Fort Pierce, FL 34950.
Festival, Living History Encampment and Re-enaction, Treasure Hunt with Mermaids, and Pirate's Ball held annually during the first week of February.
Background: Native Americans and Spaniards
The first residents on Jensen Beach were the early Ais Native Americans, largely a fishing society that loved the coastal waters and their wildlife. They were happy in the abundance of the New World.
In 1565 or earlier, the Spanish arrived in this area and constructed forts along local rivers near the Atlantic Coast. Later, Spanish ships full of treasure arrived, as did pirates.
James Hutchinson was able to receive a land grant from the Spanish over 200 years later in 1807 to raise hogs (unsuccessfully) on the Indian River. The current Hutchinson Beach is named after him and is a major tourist and vacation attraction.
The Seminole Nation moved into the territory before after the Spanish and other settlers. They included African Americans among their members. However,the Armed Occupation Act of 1842 permitted white settlers to develop the land from Sewall’s Point on the south to the Sebastian River to the north (today's Treasure Coast), displacing the Seminoles.
John L. Jensen was a Danish import from W. Va, and pineapple grower (1881, see above). The town of Jensen Beach was named in honor of his success.
Businesses such as fishing and canning grew after pineapple growing declined and by 1960, finance was also becoming a major industry. Healthcare, Tourism, and Finance are large industries today.
The Jensen Beach Community Redevelopment Plan currently targets new growth in the residential, commercial, and tourist sectors of industry on the nearby St. Lucie River in an ongoing campaign to grow an expanding economy.
Sustainability and Wildlife
Jensen Beach is a large center for sea turtle nesting places and these areas of the waterfront are blocked off from he public in order to protect the turtles and their incubating eggs. In fact, the areas combine to be known as Jensen Sea Turtle Beach.
The local Environmental Studies Center is involved in several projects for wetlands and sea creatures and includes children in field trips and Family Day activities for awareness of the environment.
Water and Land Recreation
A new 62-parking-slot boat ramp was constructed at Jensen Beach on the Indian River. No fee is charged for launching boats from the ramp, which is located next to the US Sailing Center in Martin County. Sail boats and motor boats coexist with little problem.
Fishing is also popular in the area and children's' fishing clubs as well as a sail-fishing organization for adults are available. Biking, swimming, and hiking are other attractions, as are surfing, golf, and tennis.
Old Home Week is held at the local Elliot Museum in September each year, offering a celebration of historical archived materials that include photos from founding families.
Jensen Beach lies between busier Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, In the summer, many Northerners that came to Jensen Beach for the winter return north, providing a quiet atmosphere and a substantial amount of lodging available.
Important Local Services
Martin Memorial Health Systems operates two hospitals, three medical centers and several clinic within the county and nearby Jensen Beach.
- Jupiter Medical Center
- Martin Memorial Health Systems
- St Lucie Medical Center
- Treasure Coast Medical - located at the Treasure Coast Mall
Some Local Retirement Options
- Assisted Living, Independent Living, Port St. Lucie, Assisted Living FL, Independent Living Florida
- Emeritus at Jensen Beach - Jensen Beach, Florida Retirement and Assisted Living Community - Emeritus
Pet-friendly retirement living set on 10 acres overlooking the Indian River at one of the premier assisted living and Alzheimer's care communites on Florida's east coast with 146 senior apartments.
- Retirement Center, Nursing Care, Restorative Care Center, Ocean Palms Retirement Center of Stuart, S
Apartments at Ocean Palms Retirement Center of Stuart located in Stuart, Florida, are offered on a rental basis providing a beautifully appointed home and a full complement of services plus amenities.
- Residence of Stuart: 1048 NW Fork Rd, Stuart, FL 34994
Retirement Jobs, Regular Jobs
Around 4,000 jobs are available in and around Jensen Beach on any day. The local employment market reflects the high number of seniors living in the communities with a large number of Healthcare job openings.
Tourism is also a large industry in the area. Leading advertisers of jobs around Jensen Beach include:
Largest numbers of employment vacancies occur in:
- Occupational Therapists
- Physical Therapists
- Registered Nurses (RNs)
- Speech Therapists
- Physical Therapy Assistants
- Sales Representatives
- Speech Language Pathologists
- Assistant Managers, many fields
- Financial Advisors
Top Companies Hiring All Year
- Jupiter Medical Center
- St. Lucie Medical Center
- Winn-Dixie Grocery Stores
- Indian River State College: 4-year degrees and adult high school education programs.
- R.E. Garrison: CDL Truck Drivers
- PTRS: Occupational and Physical Therapists
- Martin Memorial Medical Center
- Family Dollar and Dollar General: Clerks, salespeople, managers.
- US National Guard and US Air Guard
- Martin Country Public Schools
- PerSmart, PetCo, Home Depot: Retail sales jobs.
- Fast Food: McDonald s, Sonic, Checkers/Rally's, Cracker Barrel, Chili's, Perkins
© 2010 Patty Inglish MS