House of Refuge

The House of Refuge is the only one remaining of ten built in 1876 by the US Treasury Department. These houses provided havens for sailors and shipwreck victims from along Florida's coast. Keepers and their families provided food, medical attention and a safe place to stay as part of the US Life-Saving Service.

In 1915 the Service merged with the US Revenue Cutter Service to form the US Coast Guard. Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge was commissioned as US Coast Guard Station #207. It remained active during WWII. A tower was built to scan the waters for German U-boats after freighters were torpedoed off the Treasure Coast in 1942. In April of 1945, the Gilbert's Bar Coast Guard Station was decommissioned after long and distinguished service.

Today the House of Refuge Museum remains as Martin County's oldest structure. Listed on numerous historic registries, the museum brings to life its rich maritime and American History. Interpretive signage allows for self-guided tours with informative and fascinating guided tours available as well. See entries to the Keepers' Logs, read shipwreck reports, and experience "life at the House" by viewing the equipment and furnishings of the time.

Constructed on the "St. Lucie Rocks", an outcropping of the Anastasia Formation, the setting for this museum is exquisite. Its ocean side location with unparalleled views makes it an ideal venue for weddings, business dinners, fundraising galas and any other special event.

Divers delight in exploring the wreck of the Georges Valentine located just off shore. The Georges Valentine is one of only a few designated underwater archaeological sites. See the photos and read the accounts at the House of Refuge.

Truly an experience for every member of the family!


Average Visit Time

1 - 2 hours

Guest Information

Family Friendly