Downtown on the rebound
Downtown Fort Pierce began a decline in the 1970s as suburban malls and strip malls drew away customers. One unsuccessful response was the closing of Second Street between Avenue A and Orange Avenue and the construction of planters and pavilions in the 1980s, creating an outdoor mall that eliminated valuable parking spaces. Downtown is now enjoying a renaissance. FLORIDA MEMORY PROJECT

Downtown on the rebound

When I was a child growing up in Fort Pierce, I lived just a few blocks from downtown, and it became a sort of secondary playground when things got dull in the neighborhood. Mostly, I liked to ride my three-speed Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle to the Fort Pierce newsstand in the old Fort Pierce Hotel building, which had a wide selection of comic books and candy.

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The Guitar Maker
Jeff Warner is seated atop a dog house he made from an old boat hull as he enjoys the yard with his dogs, Moogley and Mad Dog. After moving to Florida, Warner began working with local companies Maverick and Twin Vee, where he merged his loves of boats and building things. ANTHONY INSWASTY PHOTOS

The Guitar Maker

Many people find themselves lounging on the couch after a long workday, but then there’s boatbuilder Jeff Warner, who spends his free time building guitars and ukuleles. A “mad scientist” of sorts, Warner was always taking toys apart and tinkering with things from a very young age. His father fostered his interest in mechanics and restoration.

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The CITIZEN SCIENTIST
Susan Hamburger inspects a palmetto during a hike in the Ancient Oaks Preserve at Weldon Lewis Park on Oleander Avenue. ANTHONY INSWASTY

The CITIZEN SCIENTIST

After Susan Hamburger retired from academic life and moved to Fort Pierce a few years ago, she did what she describes as a 180-degree turn, pivoting from her background in English and history to a new avocation as a citizen-scientist who is passionate about protecting the environment.

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The JAZZ MUSICIAN
Gene Hull retired from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines 18 years ago. The former entertainment director moved north from Miami, landing in Fort Pierce. ANTHONY INSWASTY PHOTOS

The JAZZ MUSICIAN

For Gene Hull, it all started back in 1893, when his maternal grandfather came to America from Italy. His grandfather made and played his own mandolins and later made sure his daughter (Hull’s mother) learned to play piano.

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Reviving Zora’s Legacy
Hurston was known for her short stories and essays. She published several books while alive and her works continue to be released posthumously. ANTHONY INSWASTY PHOTOS

Reviving Zora’s Legacy

A foundation is working to open a community center that will pay tribute to writer Zora Neale Hurston and her time in Fort Pierce

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Seeded in faith
Baby brother Joseph Guettler, right, the youngest of George F. and Christine Guettler’s eight children, gets his sister, Mary Elizabeth Noelke, laughing as the two and brother, George E. Guettler, met to talk about their parents’ devotion to their Catholic faith and to recollect stories of their childhood. ANTHONY INSWASTY

Seeded in faith

On acres of land along Delaware Avenue where cows once grazed and roosters crowed, now stands the bastion of Catholicism in St. Lucie County: St. Anastasia Grade School, John Carroll High School and St. Anastasia Church, the first parish in St. Lucie County. All thanks to a generous act of faith by George F. and Christine Guettler.

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500 and counting
All of the children and grandchildren of Edward and Elizabeth Guettler gathered around them on Delaware Avenue in the 1940s as the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their growing family. More than 500 Guettlers attended a 1993 reunion at St. Anastasia Church.

500 and counting

When Edward and Elizabeth Guettler and seven of their children left Minnesota to join sons George Frank and Leo in sunny Fort Pierce, little did anyone in the city know how this one family would grow and reach out to so many residents in so many ways.

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Landmark St. Anastasia building may be school once again
St. Anastasia Catholic School was built in 1914 on Orange Avenue in Fort Pierce. The three-story stone structure was not used as a Catholic school until 1926, when three Sisters of St. Dominic from Adrian, Michigan, arrived to teach the students.

Landmark St. Anastasia building may be school once again

If these walls could talk is an oft-used phrase regarding old buildings and the St. Anastasia School in Fort Pierce is no exception. It has been more than 50 years since the laughter of children and the joy of learning, mixed with the corrections from teachers, were heard in its halls and classrooms. u

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Downtown Renaissance
New restaurants, retail, office, residential development and a hotel are coming to downtown Fort Pierce under the King’s Landing plan that would develop the grassy area shown in this photo. These additions have been described as being potentially “transformative” in breathing new life into the city’s historic core. JOE SWEAT/CITY OF FORT PIERCE

Downtown Renaissance

A massive residential and retail complex, combined with the arrival of new businesses, will transform the heart of Fort Pierce

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