Saturday, September 27, 2014

Exploring Jupiter Without a Spaceship

While Roger Dean Stadium has a lot to offer the baseball fan to keep him busy, Jupiter, Florida has other charms to enchant the visitor. Before we head over to the beachfront, we are going to head North for a little over a mile on Interstate 95 to the part of town on West side of the highway called Jupiter Farms. It is the home of Riverbend Park and the adjoining Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park.

As a side note, Jupiter was not really named for the god you might expect-except that it was, kind of.. The Native American called the place Hobe. The Spaniards who settled it, corrupted the name to Jobe. Then the English came along. They misheard the name as Jove, Jove is Latin for Jupiter. and that's what they called the place: Jupiter.

A Battlefield

The parks have the usual amenities for a county park. picnic tables and place to picnic or play sports. in a environment of cypress trees, palmettos and grasslands that are typical of Central Florida. Unlike most county parks, this one has a battlefield.   Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park is a historical site that features a battlefield from the Second Seminole Indian War..

Forming as a tribe in the early 170'0's, the Seminole were comprised of  Native Americans from Northern Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Perhaps feeling an affinity caused by white oppression, they also accepted into their ranks a some former and runaway slaves as well. In fact, the name Seminole comes from a corruption of the Spanish word "cimarrón" or "runaway". The Seminole were a fiercely independent people whom the Untied States wanted to corral onto reservation land in Oklahoma. The Seminole resisted over the course of the 3 wars with the United States in the mid 1800's. Ultimately most of the Seminole people would be relocated to Oklahoma, but a small group managed to successfully hideout in the Everglades and remained in Florida,

Two of the last battles of the Second Seminole Indian War, the Battles of the Loxahatchee River occurred here on the Loxahatchee River in January of 1838. It was a marginal victory for the Seminole against United States forces. The battlefield had been lost to time, certainly not being remembered as a victorious site for the United States, but recent excavations proved the site was were the battle was fought and it now the site is a memorial to those who fought there.

Seminole War in Everglades (Wikimedia Commons)

Leaving the parks, we pull onto W. Indiantown Rd, heading East towards the mouth of the Loxahatchee River.The drive starts with some fairly barren open country before turning into a long row of strip malls, fast food and gas stations. Functional, but frankly, boring. Our destination should make it worth stalling a bit before returning to the Interstate. We are heading to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. Along the way we will be passing the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum, Burt Reynolds was a longtime resident of Jupiter, In the interest of time we will give Burt Reynolds a pass and continue to the Lighthouse.

A Lighthouse

Jupiter Lighthouse (Flickr User Venture Minimalists/CC)

Jupiter Inlet is the mouth of the Loxahatchee River. The 7.6 mile long Loxahatchee River, that runs through North Everglade forests is a designated United States Wild and Scenic area,

The Jupiter Beach area is called the "Treasure Coast" to designate its location between the "Gold Coast" of the Miami area and the "Space Coast" to the North. Off shore a series of dangerous reefs extend past the offshore Islands.

In 1854 the mouth of the Jupiter inlet silted over and the US Army Corps of Engineers made plans to dredge a new channel. This would allow access to the Loxahatchee, but perhaps more importantly, the Indian River and its Northward passage sheltered from the offshore reefs and storms, The Lighthouse was built to aid mariners in finding the channel  into the inlet and began operation in 1860.

A grand structure, the Jupiter Lighthouse tower is 105 tall sitting on a rise that places it 146 feet above sea level. It is on a tip of land where the Loxahatchee River and the Indian River meet. The Indian River is a main tributary for quite some way North as part of the Intercoastal Waterway, a 1200 mile system of waterways that run up the Southeast coast of the United States. The lighthouse has been hit by several hurricanes and a few earthquakes, but she still stands proudly.

Jupiter has always been kind of an "end of the road" kind of town. Trains and telegraphs did not get there until the 1890's. Other than as a crossroads for water channels, it wasn't really "on the way" to anything in early Florida, But those water channels were very important and early on Jupiter was an important center for marine communications along the Central Florida Atlantic Coast.

The light was put out for the duration of the Civil war, but in 1866 it was re-lit and a Coast Guard life saving station was established there. In 1891, a U.S Weather Bureau and signal station were set up nearby and in 1905 the U.S. Navy would set up a wireless telegraph station as well.

By World War II the wireless telegraph equipment had been greatly updated. It had been operating since the mid 1930's as Radio Compass Station at Jupiter broadcasting and receiving weather and other communications with ships in the area. With the threat of German U-Boats offshore a very threat, the station became a a radio-location monitoring station. The U-Boats needed to surface at least once daily to take on oxygen and to radio status to Berlin. It was these radio communication that were intercepted allowing U.S Navy destroyers to attack and destroy the submarines.

In 1973, the at that point 113 year old lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places. 1994, the Loxahatchee River Historical Society (which had been founded in 1973 and had been running a historical museum across the Loxahatchee River at Burt Reynolds park since 1988) signed a lease with the Coast guard to provide maintenance and offer public tours. The Society also obtained the out buildings used by the Navy in World War II to be used as Visitor Center. Getting to work a complete renovation of the facility was completed in 1999.

The lighthouse and it surrounding are so scenic that in 2008, President Bush created the "Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area", giving the area National Monument status and protecting it for perpetuity. The area around the light house is home to a great many bird such as herons and ospreys. But the mote unusual animal to be found here are the manatee, an large and famously peaceful mammal that swim lazily in the rivers around the lighthouse.

The endangered manatee can be found around Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse (Flckr User NOAA's National Ocean Service/CC

Playlist Additions

The obvious place to start in looking for additions to this weeks playlist is Jupiter. The first Jupiter songs that came to mind were Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me) by Train which won a Grammy and Hey Jupiter by Tori Amos which had some chart success in the 1990's. I didn't go with the obvious  here. Part of my mission here is to turn you, my lucky readers, onto new music that maybe you have not previously been exposed to. So I went for less common tracks.

Jupiter: The Planet (Flickr User tonynetone/CC)
Los Lobos kicks off the festivities with the song Jupiter Or The Moon from their album Tin Can Trust.. It heavy tones begin our journey into the solar system. The song is a longing lament asking why the narrator was left in love. The singer cries out to Jupiter or the moon to tell him why he was left alone. Sad song.

Jupiter Rising, our next song, is some ambient techno house music from a Brooklyn artist called ADR. Half of a duo called Gatekeeper, ADR is Aaron David Ross.  Jupiter Rising came to me via a free album download on Amazon. I have no idea the popularity of Gatekeeper or ADR in the electronic music scene, I suspect they are fairly unknown because it was a bit of challenge looking up info on the song. The song does have a has a nice spacey feel and I like it.

Surf music was loosely tied to hot rods and flying saucer rock and roll. Surf revivalists The Metalunas give us as rocking number with Jupiter Doo-Dah from their space thmed album X-Minus-One. Surf rock never grows old to me, I must admit. Sadly I could not find anyone posting Jupiter Doo-Dah, so instead I added Celluloid Planetoid, another track from that album, to the video playlist. Hey, I make the rules so I can break the rules! Besides they're not really rules, they're really more like guidelines, savvy?

Seminoles come up twice in my music collection. Tampa Red, who we found out more about on Route 66, start us off with his Seminole BluesInternet Archive does not provide a year for this recording, but other research suggests 1937.
I'm a junk bond king playing Seminole Bingo (Flickr User stevendamron/CC)

Seminole Bingo is the next addition to our playlist. Written by Warren Zevon, we have David Lindley performing this saga of a washed out junk bond king who is living a white trash life in a double wide trailer in Florida. He whiles away his time playing Bingo at the Seminole bingo hall, where he remains a loser. His numbers never quite coming up,

Nickel Creek bring their bluegrass inspired acoustic flair to the subjecy of lighthouses with their longest track at 5 minutes long. The Lighthouse's Tale is a tragic one. Narrated by the lighthouse it's the story of a  lighthouse keeper is engaged to be married to a beautiful young woman. She is called to go to sea, where there is a terrible storm. The ship she is in crashes to the rocks and the lighthouse keeper finds her body and buries her. Shattered with grief he lights the lighthouse's lamp one more time, then runs off its  edge taking his own life. The song ends with the lighthouse ironically still saving lives even after he perhaps took two lives itself.

Friendly lighthouse keeper (Flickr User Kathleen Conklin/CC)
Portland musician, Cal Scott is a very talented musician who does frequent work on public television and documentary soundtracks. He is also the music director for The Trail Band, a group composed of members of 1980's hit makers Quarterflash and other virtuoso Portland musicians.  In addition to those duties Call also performs as a duet with the talented Irish fiddle player Kevin Burke. The song The Lighthouse Waltz is their contribution to today's playlist. The song has a certain lonely quality that fits the title. The only YouTube video of the song I could find makes up in charm what it lacks in polish. Cal Scott and Kevin Burke play the song in the kitchen of the house of a cute 5 year old violinist who considers The Lighthouse Waltz to be her favorite song.

To close out the music this week, we have a well known track from the soundtrack of the movie A Clockwork Orange. I Want To Marry A Lighthouse Keeper is a fun little song that sounds like it could have come from the 1920's. In reality, it is a re recording of a song by psychedelic folk act Sunforest from their 1969 album Sound Of SunforestI guess it must have been sort of a Winchester Cathedral kind of thing. The video that i found to accompany the addition is a wacky student project that made me smile. I hope you like it too.

Signing Off and Coming Attractions

There is still a bit more for us to see before we leave Jupiter and continue North on our journey. We will get into that in few weeks when we return to Florida. But for now, thanks you for traveling with us and until we meet again, keep your light shining!

Mileage Stats

Route 66: 0 Miles/1 State/694 Tracks/166 Videos/31 Posts

Highway 101: 22 Miles/2 Countries/1 State/512 Tracks/205 Videos/23 Posts

Interstate 95: 92 Miles/1 State/38 Tracks/78 Videos/9 Posts

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