Sawfish Bay, first inhabited by Native Americans over 5,000 years ago, played an important role in the settlement of this area. Sarah Gleason, wife of the infamous carpetbagger William H. Gleason, acquired over 12,000 acres of "school land" in Florida from the government in 1884. Sarah sold 122 acres, including this site to Lydia Moss the same year.
By 1894, Henry Flagler had built his Florida East Coast Railroad through Jupiter, moving the center of commerce from the south side of Jupiter Inlet to this area near the railroad, called Neptune and West Jupiter. Fred Cabot acquired this property about the same time and paved many Dade County streets with the shell from his shell mounds.
In 1895, Cabot donated this lot with a new building, which he sold to the Dade County Board of Instruction, both to be used for a school where the children were transported with an old lifeboat named Maine until 1911. Killed in a railroad accident in 1896, Fred was buried next to the ancient oak tree that still marks the property. He was moved to Jupiter Cemetery in 1908.
The first Jupiter F.E.C. Railroad Depot, Flagler's wharf, the Bowers, Whidden and Doster stores, the Cabot House, the Wayside Inn, and several other buildings were once located on this property. It was erroneously called the Ziegler school after Ida Ziegler purchased the property from the School Board in 1910.
Sarah Gleason, her husband William Henry Gleason and William H. Hunt were all in on the "deal" to relieve the state of all this property, which was put into their various names. Lydia Pierce Moss was the widow of Joseph Henry Moss, Asst. Keeper at Jupiter Inlet Light Station, who was born in the Bahamas and died at the lighthouse in 1885.
When Flagler wasn't able to purchase the Jupiter & Lake Worth Railroad (Celestial Railroad) nearer to Jupiter Inlet, he bypassed Gleason's " Village of Jupiter", now Suni Sands, to build his Florida East Coast Railroad further west. Flagler built the first Jupiter Depot on the east side of the tracks next to the river. He also built a spur track and warehouse on the NE point of the Sawfish Bay Park location. This was used to offload railroad cars and construction materials for Flagler's extension southward, and his hotels.
The commerce of little Jupiter had to move here as well, and is now known as Sawfish Bay Park held many types of stores and warehouses, most built on pilings so they could be accessed by boat. In the late 1940's, the area got a gas station, which evolved into a marina. The local commercial fisherman used this marina, which later expanded to include a restaurant.
There was a large shell mound on the property that Fred Cabot removed to pave roads. The brand new building was on the property when Fred donated the land and sold the building to the Board of Education to be used as a school in 1895. The school was used until 1911 when the "new" school on Town Hall Avenue was almost completed. This building became the home of the Zieglers many years later when an addition was added. Ida's son John became 1st mayor of Jupiter in 1925 for 7 months, so the home was called the "Mayor's house" for a time. Lynn Drake has the School Board minutes detailing the transactions.
SAWFISH BAY PARK RESEARCH
13 January 2005
Compiled and researched by Lynn Lasseter Drake
Historical Researcher & Genealogist, specializing in
Jupiter area history.
Sawfish Bay Park located on Alt. A1A (Glynn Mayo Hwy) on the East side of Alt. A1A bridge, between Riverside Drive and Center Street.
Notes on Fred Cabot:
Fred Mortimer Cabot II was an enterprising fellow, born in Georgia in 1857. A widower himself, he married a distant widowed cousin, Eliza Cabot Kyle in January of 1889 near Birmingham, Alabama.
Around 1893, Fred and Eliza purchased the northern end of the Lydia Moss property, southeast of the first railroad depot, where he built a small building. This was the old Ziegler property, now Sawfish Park on Alt. A1A. The land around the depot had a huge shell mound. Fred thought this would be a good investment and removed all of it to build roads in St. Augustine and Palm Beach.
In 1894 he had the contract for supplying ties for the new FEC Railroad. His camp was about two miles below the Loxahatchee River located in the flat pine woods. The November 4, 1894 issue of “The Gazetteer” announced that F.M. Cabot was to build a hotel in Jupiter. He built a commodious house, or hotel called The Cabot House just west of the Jupiter Station in 1894. It burned in 1903 and an oleander was all that marked the spot well up into the 1900's.
Eliza Cabot’s oldest daughter, Iza Ola Kyle, married John H. Grant in November of 1896. John and Fred were both members of the Jupiter Lifesaving Station Crew, under Capt. Charles R. Carlin. In the "1896 Directory, Guide and History of Dade County Florida", Fred is listed as "General Contractor, Jupiter, is well known in South Florida, both personally and through his business. He did the shelling of the streets here, and now has the contract for cutting through the first part of the unfinished portion of the canal, at the north end of Lake Worth, and also has the contract from the government for re-opening the River Inlet at Jupiter which, through the action of the tides, has during the past three years been completely closed. Both of these contracts will be completed before January, 1897".
But it wasn’t to be. In December of 1896 Fred was killed in a railroad accident near his home. It is said that he tried to jump the train and missed. He was first interred on the Cabot homestead under the old live oak tree just west of his small building which later became the Zeigler home and then a school from 1901 to 1911. His son, Fred Cabot III had his body transferred to Jupiter Cemetery in 1908. His was one of the first three burials at the "new" Jupiter Cemetery, now Riverside Memorial Park.