Ruth Stanbridge was named to serve as the President of the Indian River County Historical Society during 2019. Stanbridge, a 36-year Charter Member of the Society, has held a variety of positions with the Historical Society since 1983.
Asked about the greatest accomplishments of the Historical Society Stanbridge said “Rescuing Jungle Trail from being abandoned to land developers and seeing our organization continue to embrace that old road for the last 30 years has been a great accomplishment for a group of passionate volunteers.” Jungle Trail is a celebrated public greenway, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in the 1920s on the barrier island, the 7.8-mile Jungle Trail passes through hammocks of palms, sea grape and other coastal wetland species. Stanbridge further commented that “Rescuing the old road provided a later opportunity for the Historic Society to rally local groups and Indian River County to acquire upland property to protect Pelican Island. This provided an upland viewing area in time for the island’s centennial celebration.” Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s first wildlife refuge, was established in 1903 by President Teddy Roosevelt to protect birds from feather hunters. “I sincerely believe without the Historical Society involvement that would never have happened” said Stanbridge.
Stanbridge currently serves as County Historian, appointed in January 1997.
With a background in natural history, she retired from the State of Florida Office of Environmental Services, then served on the Indian River County Planning and Zoning Commission. She was later elected to serve Indian River County District 2 as a Commissioner on Board of County Commissioners.
Stanbridge follows Carolyn Bayless who served as President of the Historical Society for three years. Bayless stated she is “Most proud of the increased public awareness and knowledge of the goals and achievements of the Historical Society.” During her tenure as President of the Historical Society, the organization produced six of the Vero Beach Historical Series of mini-documentaries about the history of the area. Carolyn serves as a docent at the Hallstrom House and as a speaker for the Historical Society. “Increased education about our role in the community has led to an increase in our membership as well as more requests for the expertise and archives of the organization” Bayless added.
For over thirty years, the Indian River County Historical Society has contributed to preserving the historical and environmental resources of Indian River County, the Indian River Lagoon area, and the State of Florida. The Historical Society office is located in the 1903 Vero Beach Railroad Station on 14th Avenue in historic downtown Vero Beach. In addition to the railroad station property, the organization owns, operates and maintains the 1918 Hallstrom House on Old Dixie Highway. Both of these properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are open to the public.
For more information or to volunteer with the Historical Society, call 772-778-3435 or email firstname.lastname@example.org