Saturday, February 22, 2014

2/22/14 Report - Vero Beach History, Driftwood Inn, McKee Jungle Gardens, Sherds, and Driftwood

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Source of photo:
Sometimes the obvious is completely overlooked.  Most of you know about the major 1715 wreck beaches, but did you know that in years past Spanish cobs have been found right on the beach in the center of Vero Beach?  Some were found directly in front of the Holiday Inn. 

But what I wanted to mention today is a place that is right in the middle of Vero Beach that is listed on the National Historic Register - the Driftwood Inn.

It was created in the 1930s by Waldo Sexton, partly from driftwood found along the beach.

The cannons that you can see on the property today were said to be dug up on the same property. 

If you've never been there, I think you'll enjoy seeing Sexton's fascinating collection of beach combed items and antiques that decorate the unique local landmark.

Also, you might be interested to learn that Art McKee, who I've mentioned in the past along with the treasure museum that he had down in the Keys, started McKee's Jungle Gardens near Vero back in the 20s.

You can learn more about those by using these links.

I received some responses from readers about the items found by Eva S that I posted a couple of days ago.  First, William M. did not see any evidence of Native American pieces among the finds.

Bill S. sent the following.

Hi, Treasure Guide!

Concerning the post on 2/21 with photos of materials found by Eva S, I find the photo of what appears to be earthenware ceramic sherds with a green glaze, or what is left of a green glaze, interesting. The photo has a penny in the center for scale; I think it was the 4th or 5th photo down from the top.

I have seen a large number of earthenware ceramic sherds from the 1715 wrecks. All are either unglazed (or the glaze has been completely worn off), or have traces of red glaze. None has any green glaze, or traces of green, at all. The sherds I examined are primarily from two 1715 wreck sites, but I am convinced they are representative of what has been found all along the cost at 1715 sites.

I read a paper a while back on the history of Spanish colonial period olive jars, by Dr John Goggins. He was an archaeologist or anthropologist from Florida, and his study concentrated around the cache of complete jars found on a 17th century wreck site in the Bahamas. This paper indicated green glazes were more common in the 17th century than in the 18th. So, if Eva's finds are earthenware ceramics, and if they are from the Spanish colonial era, they may pre-date the 1715 fleet.

They are interesting finds, regardless. Thanks for sharing them in your blog!

Thanks Bill and William for sharing your observations.  It really helps!  People love to learn more about the things they see on the beach.

I'm one that believes in making good use of what you have.  I like preserving old items and making new items out of old items.  As a result I like to pick odd things up on the beach that might have some value or use. 

It seems strange to me that people will spend their day looking for coins and pick up a few cents here and there but pass up other items that are actually worth more.  That is one reason that I mention things like sea glass.  It has value too and can be more valuable than modern clad - not that economic value is the big thing for me.  Sometimes it is just an item that is unique or that I like or that I can use of make into something else.

Anyhow, one thing that I sometimes pick up is driftwood.  I sometimes make things from driftwood but was not aware that of the market for driftwood. 

If you look on eBay, for example, you'll see many pieces for sale.  Driftwood is used in aquariums, both fish and reptile, as well as used in crafts. 

Furniture and other items are also made of distressed or reclaimed wood.  That makes sense to me.  I like the look of wood, especially old weathered wood.

I was just surprised to learn how big the market is for driftwood and thought you might want to take another look at the wood you see on the beach. 

I've done posts before on old shipwreck wood that rarely but occasionally washes up after a storm.  Sometimes it will still have spikes, nails, or sheathing.

Don't forget that you can search old posts in this blog (there are really a lot of them) by using the blog search box.

On the Treasure Coast we still have around a three foot surf.  That will be decreasing very slightly for a few days.  Don't expect beach detecting conditions to improve in that time period.

Happy hunting,