The Floridian town of Jupiter rose to recent popularity as the setting for the fictional cult-classic American Horror Story: Freak Show. Although the real history of Jupiter is not quite as sordid, it is one filled with wonder and intrigue all the same. From the deep blue water drops of Jupiter Inlet to the stark red of the Jupiter Lighthouse against that sheer wash of tropical sky—here’s a look at what makes Jupiter the 12th Best Beach Town in America.
Before we begin, a brief history lesson is in order. Although recently incorporated in 1925, the history of Jupiter begins long before the recent past with the inhabitation of the Hobe Tribe of the Loxahatchee River. Jupiter was indirectly named after the Hobe Tribe themselves through a series of misspellings and misinterpretations. Hobe became Jove which was later interpreted as shorthand for the Latin jovialis, or (when Anglicized) “of Jupiter.” The rest is quite literally history.
In previous entries, we’ve touched on the history of Palm Beach County and the significance of the battle at Jupiter Inlet but not yet perhaps Jupiter’s most iconic landmark—the Jupiter Lighthouse. In 1853, a proposal before Congress to build a lighthouse at Jupiter Inlet was approved, and construction began. The chosen site of the lighthouse is one of interest and novelty, as the Jupiter Inlet was once a popular meeting place for the native tribes of the time. Surveyors took note of this and suggested the Inlet as the home of what would become the jewel of Jupiter when it was officially lit on July 10th, 1860.
The Jupiter Inlet and Lighthouse served as historically significant sites throughout time, most notably during WWII. Back in the 1940s, the military made use of communication stations at the Lighthouse by creating a secret surveillance station, “Station J,” to listen for German U-boats that were sinking ships off of Florida’s east coast. Ten years later in the 1950s, the Air Force established missile tracking stations — the first of their kind south of Cape Canaveral — offering a greater range of detection.
After the war, the Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and soon began offering tours to the public a couple of decades later. Today, the lighthouse stands proudly with her lamp beaming for miles and miles. Although one of six proposed lighthouse projects, the Lighthouse at Jupiter Inlet has captured the hearts of all who see her.
Today, Jupiter is/was home to a small population of celebrities, such as: Olivia Newton John of Grease (1978); American singer Perry Como whose Jupiter home was recently torn down in 2011; Kid Rock, Tiger Woods, and even Lars from Metallica. If Jupiter was cool enough for these rad folks, imagine it through your eyes.