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Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Bleach Yard ( the Bleech Yard ) AKA Hobe Mountain

Old landmark in Hobe Sound Florida.  High hill visible from the sea, with large white areas or patches.  Which are actually white sand.  Or used to be. Or it might actually be in Jensen Beach.

On an old map

Discussion of the matter found here and here and in an old book
And in from A Concise Natural History of East and West Florida
 By Bernard Romans

Manuscript calling it Hobe Mountain from the Spanish River papers, 1984
Other significant landmarks were the high sand dunes a few miles north of each inlet on the edge of their sounds. Romans describes the largest one as the Bleach Yard "full of white spots," and "the first of note from the Neversinks in the Jerseys." It was called Las Ropa Tendida by the Spanish because the white spots resembled "clothes stretched out to dry."

The 86-foot sand dune, a relic of the last ice age when it stood on the ocean shore, is now called Hobe Mountain in Dickinson State Park. Romans mistakenly places it north of St. Lucie Inlet where another dune, once known as Mt. Elizabeth, is located on the campus of Florida Institute of Technology.

Daniel F. Austin

From the ocean at the Jupiter Inlet one of the most remarkable natural features inland is a
hill called "Hobe Mountain." This hill is within the Jonathan Dickinson State Park, and is presently topped with a platform that makes a convenient place to survey the surrounding countryside. Few who visit the site realize the role in history this promontory has played.

Although the naming of the hill dates from the first Spanish occupation of Florida (1513-1763), most of the early Spanish maps contain too little detail for this inland feature. Still, it was known at an early date to the Spanish mariners as an important landmark for determining their position along the coast. One of the first references to the site was given by Calderon, the Bishop of Cuba, in 1675. Yet, it was the maps from the English Period (1763-1783) that brought into common usage the name for the hill.

The first English surveys down the eastern coast of Peninsular Florida were made in the early 1760s by W. G. DeBrahm and Bernard Romans. While DeBrahm had a tendency to give sites new names, usually commemorating rich or powerful people in Europe, Romans attempted to retain the old Spanish place names. It is from the Romans' survey that we learn that the tall hill north of Jupiter was ". . . the hill by the Spaniards called Ropas Tendidas, and by us . . . (called) Bleach Yard." On their map of 1776 Sayer & Bennett wrote: "the Bleach Yard a High Hill full of white spots remarkable Land Mark." These commentaries are consistent with the later historical record that Bleach Yard was also the place called by the Spanish "Ropas Estendias." This idea, according to Vignoles in 1823, was ". . .from the large spots of land uncovered by vegetation, presenting to the coasting mariner the appearance of linen spread out on the hills. . ." Both the names "Beach Yard" and "Ropas Estendias" continued in use well into the Second Seminole "War and appeared on the Hood map of 1838 and the Tanner map of 1839.

Another old name for the same site was apparently given first by Stork in 1767 as "Baldhead Mount."  This appelation appeared sporadically on subsequent maps, as on the Jefferys map of 1792, and the Gauld map of 1794. Following this time period it seems to have been dropped. Even this descriptor alludes to a hill with areas open of vegetation so that it seemed bald. These names give some of the natural history of this particular site. First, they all refer to a high hill which was either bare on top or had many open spots that showed between the vegetation. The vegetation of these high ridges and hills was then and continues to be scrub. This is a pine woods dominated by several plants adapted to living under stressful conditions. The trees are scrub pines  (Pinus clausa), and the understory of shrub layer is made up of a variety of oaks (Quercus spp.), saw palmetto and a shrub called rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides). Some think that this habitat may have occupied these sandy hills for about 15,000 years or even longer. One of the striking features of this hill today is that there are only a few open spots of white sand visible from any angle. Even from the ocean where early surveyors and explorers would have seen it, the site appears as a dark green hill.

This suggests that it was changed markedly since at least the middle 17OOs. The change has been a maturing of the scrub vegetation so that it has closed in the white sandy spots and made them green. A time-frame for the change is still not very good, since it is not possible to determine when the final shift occurred. Indeed, we do not know for sure that it has occurred only once. Still, the hill continued to be called Bleach Yard or Ropas Estendias in the late 1830s. Perhaps it was a change that occurred after that time.

Such an interpretation of the disappearance of the white spots is further supported by a shift in the location of a place called Bleach Yard. In the 184Os a place on Lake Worth began to be labeled "Bleach Yard Haulover." Other sites in the region were not named with anything resembling this. Through the Third Seminole War the Lake Worth site continued to be called "Bleach Yard Haulover" and appeared, for example, on the Ives Military map of 1856. On later maps the terms Bleach Yard and Ropas Estendias finally disappeared.

Although it has not been possible to pin down the time "Hobe Mountain" began to be used, it possibly dates from near the beginning of Jonathan Dickinson State Park. The first part of this name is clear enough in its origin, having come from the Indians the early European visitors found there - - the Jobe. This name has seen various renditions on maps, from Hobe to Hoe-bay.

English map-makers saw this as a reference to the Greek Diety Jobe, and Anglicized it to "Jupiter."

The name Jupiter is now applied only to a town and inlet. The second word "mountain" may seem out of place in the flatlands of peninsular Florida, but historically it is not.

Many of the early 16OOs and 17OOs Spanish maps depict a range of mountains down the center of the peninsula. While these have been shown to be fictitious, the elevation of Hobe Mountain does make it distinctive from the surrounding lands. Although an average elevation in that part of Martin County may be about 20 feet, Hobe Mountain reaches up to 86 feet. Surely this seemed like a mountain to people more familiar with elevations ranging from sea level to about thirty feet.
  Location on Google maps

This may be the actual historical site, the highest point in Jensen Beach.

Meanwhile, completely unrelated
Interesting circular beach mounds on Google maps

The mounds below are not the Bleech Yard, but ancient Indian mounds, as yet undisturbed. 

I found them while searching for the Bleech Yard.  Yet another thing not found on Wikipedia/

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