A piece of Old Florida

Fort Pierce, FL – The signs tell the story. An old plank has a hand-carved inscription that says, "Orchid Isle. The Jones' Dick and Mary." It is nailed to a tree in front of a vacant white bungalow and next to a boarded-up fruit stand. Across the unpaved road is a new sign with neat white printing on a brown background. It says, "Jones Pier. Historic Preservation and Conservation Area. Purchased by Indian River County." This 16-acre property on the Jungle Trail once was owned by Richard Milton Jones, who died March 26 at the age of 92. It was in his family for more than 100 years. Citrus was grown and sold here. A long pier into the Indian River Lagoon was a stopping place for yachts on their way north or south on the Intracoastal Waterway. The county bought the property in 2008. Dick Jones and his wife, the late Mary Jones, stayed on as caretakers. My father, Carl Janensch, a seasonal resident of Vero Beach, liked to visit and talk with Dick Jones. My father arrived by car or in his old power boat. Both he and Dick Jones hated to see Old Florida taken over by condos and malls. Indian River County plans to make the property a public park, with hiking trails and a boat launch. As long as it retains its Old Florida character, Dick Jones and my father would approve. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.

Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.