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Stuart, Florida
Downtown Stuart
Downtown Stuart
Sailfish Capital of the World
Location in Martin County and the state of Florida
Location in Martin County and the state of Florida
Country United States
State Florida
County Martin
City 1914
 • Type Commission-Manager
 • Total 9.53 sq mi (24.67 km2)
 • Land 7.05 sq mi (18.25 km2)
 • Water 2.48 sq mi (6.42 km2)
10 ft (3 m)
 • Total 17,425
 • Density 2,472.68/sq mi (954.69/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 772
FIPS code 12-68875
GNIS feature ID 0291756
Website City of Stuart Website

Stuart is a city in and the seat of Martin County, Florida, United States. Located on Florida's Treasure Coast, Stuart is the largest of four incorporated municipalities in Martin County. The estimated population is 16,237 according to the most recent United States census estimates. Stuart is the 126th largest city in Florida based on official 2019 estimates from the US Census Bureau. It is part of the Port St. Lucie, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Stuart is frequently cited as one of the best small towns to visit in the U.S., in large part because of its proximity to the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon.


In the 18th century, several Spanish galleons were shipwrecked in the Martin County area of Florida's Treasure Coast. The multiple wrecks were reportedly the result of a hurricane, and the ships were carrying unknown quantities of gold and silver. Some of this treasure has since been recovered, and its presence resulted in the region's name.

Dudley - Bessey House, Stuart, Florida 002
The historic Dudley-Bessey House on SW Atlanta Avenue is now a yacht brokerage office

In 1832, pirate Pedro Gilbert, who often used a sandbar off the coast as a lure to unsuspecting prey, chased and caught the Mexican, a U.S. merchant ship. Although he attempted to burn the ship and kill the crew, they survived to report the incident, ultimately resulting in the capture and execution of Gilbert and his crew. The bar from which is lured his intended booty is named "Gilbert's Bar" on nautical charts.

OldMartinCountyFlaCourthouse 012
The Old Martin County Courthouse, built in 1937, now the Courthouse Cultural Center

The Treasure Coast area that became Stuart was first settled by non-Native Americans in 1870. In 1875, a United States Lifesaving Station was established on Hutchinson Island, near Stuart. Today, the station is known as Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stuart riverwalk before damage from Hurricane Jeanne

From 1893-1895, the area was called Potsdam. This name was chosen by Otto Stypmann, a local landowner originally from Potsdam, Germany. Stypmann, with his brother Ernest, owned the land that would become downtown Stuart. Potsdam was renamed Stuart in 1895, after the establishment of the Florida East Coast Railway, in honor of Homer Hine Stuart, Jr., another local landowner.

When Stuart was incorporated as a town in 1914, it was located in Palm Beach County. In 1925, Stuart was chartered as a city and named the county seat of the newly created Martin County.

The city of Stuart is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World, because of the many sailfish found in the ocean off Martin County.

From 1871 to 2005, 19 hurricanes passed through Stuart, including Isbell (1964), Frances (2004), Jeanne (2004), and Wilma (2005).


Stuart is located at 27°11′32″N 80°14′35″W / 27.192163°N 80.243001°W / 27.192163; -80.243001.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.5 square miles (22 km2), of which 6.3 square miles (16 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) is water.


According to the Köppen climate classification, Stuart has a tropical climate closely bordering on a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers, with frequent rainfall, and warm, dry winters. Located near the northern end of a true tropical climate, Stuart has a noticeably seasonal precipitation pattern, with June through September being the wettest months, and the dry season from November through April.

Summers (May through October) feature typical tropical-type weather conditions, with hot temperatures, intense sun, and frequent (daily) thundershowers that build in the daytime heat. High temperatures are typically in the upper 80s to low 90s. The city's coastal location prevents temperatures from becoming very hot, though heat indices are often over 100 °F. There are 76 days of 90+ °F highs annually. On average, 96 °F is the highest temperature recorded each summer. Late summer brings an increased threat of tropical storms and hurricanes, though landfalls are rare. Several major hurricanes have impacted Stuart since 1900, with Hurricane David in 1979 and hurricanes Frances and Jeanne caused moderate damage to the area in 2004.

Winter (November through April) or the dry season brings much cooler and drier air masses, and humidity and dew points fall considerably. Winters can become quite dry, and by late winter (March) there is often high fire danger and even residential water use restriction. Average daytime highs in the winter/dry season are from 73 °F to 77 °F, though occasional strong cold fronts bring brief rainfall followed by cooler temperatures, with highs in the 50s °F for a few days each winter. Low temperatures fall rarely fall below 40 °F, and most winters are frost-free. The first cold front of the season usually occurs in October or November, when the first low below 60 °F usually occurs. Though weather during this time is generally more mild, mid winter highs can still hit 80 °F or higher on occasion.

Climate data for Stuart, Florida
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
Average high °F (°C) 73.5
Average low °F (°C) 54.7
Record low °F (°C) 23
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.59
Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.7 8.2 9.7 8.8 10.0 15.6 17.5 16.6 16.8 14.3 10.2 9.4 145.8
Source: [1]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 778
1930 1,924 147.3%
1940 2,438 26.7%
1950 2,912 19.4%
1960 4,791 64.5%
1970 4,820 0.6%
1980 9,467 96.4%
1990 11,936 26.1%
2000 14,633 22.6%
2010 15,593 6.6%
2020 17,425 11.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Stuart racial composition
(Hispanics excluded from racial categories)
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 11,905 68.32%
Black or African American (NH) 1,945 11.16%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 23 0.13%
Asian (NH) 277 1.59%
Pacific Islander (NH) 2 0.01%
Some Other Race (NH) 81 0.46%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 570 3.27%
Hispanic or Latino 2,622 15.05%
Total 17,425

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 17,425 people, 7,263 households, and 3,562 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 15,593 people, 7,220 households, and 3,422 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,320.5 per square mile (896.0/km2). There were 8,777 housing units at an average density of 1,391.9 per square mile (537.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.30% White, 12.33% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.97% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.29% of the population.

There were 7,220 households, out of which 15.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.7% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.6% were non-families. 46.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 26.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.88 and the average family size was 2.60.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 14.5% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 32.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,954, and the median income for a family was $47,736. Males had a median income of $29,151 versus $23,125 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,020. About 7.8% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.5% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over. Stuart is publicly seen as a new coming old city, starting a new boom in its local economy with construction of a new bridge, rise of new buildings and roadways being restored.

The cost of living in Stuart is 88, on a relative scale where the U.S. average is represented by 100.

Cost of Living Stuart U.S.
Overall 88 100
Food 105 100
Utilities 97 100
Housing 55 100



Witham Field is a public-use airport located one mile southeast of the central business district.

US Route 1 passes northwest-southeast through Stuart. The coastal route A1A heads east from Stuart towards Hutchinson Island, and the road heads southeast out of Stuart. Florida State Road 76 heads south from the city, and Florida State Road 714 heads west from the city.

Stuart has a yacht club and several marinas serving private crafts of various sizes.

Local transit is provided by the county.

Until 1968 the Florida East Coast Railway operated Jacksonville to Miami service, with a station stop in Stuart. Until 1963 long distance passenger trains included the Illinois Central Railroad's City of Miami and the Louisville & Nashville Railroad's South Wind both heading from Chicago; and they included the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad's East Coast Champion, the Havana Special, and the winter-only Florida Special originating from New York.

The Brightline passenger rail company is extending to the Space Coast and Orlando, north from the West Palm Beach terminus of its West Palm Beach - Miami service. Fort Pierce and Stuart have been jockeying for position as the Treasure Coast station for a return of passenger service, with Stuart edging out ahead.

Neighborhoods inside city limits

  • St. Lucie Estates
  • Towne Park
  • Windermere
  • Indian Pines
  • The Crossings
  • Parkview
  • Astorwood
  • Ocean Boulevard area
  • Downtown Stuart
  • North River Shores
  • Palm Lake Park
  • Willoughby Golf Club
  • Golden Gate
  • East Stuart
  • Sarita Heights

Points of interest

Stuart Heritage 002
Stuart Heritage Museum
  • Audubon of Martin County
  • Lyric Theatre
  • Stuart Heritage Museum
  • Elliott Museum
  • The Barn Theatre
  • Geoffrey C. Smith Galleries
  • Tropical Ranch Botanical Garden


Stuart in popular culture

In 1973, the movie Little Laura and Big John, a highly fictionalized version of the true story of John Ashley and Laura Upthegrove, was filmed in Stuart.


Stuart hosts one of the two Florida Department of Health offices in Martin County, the other being in Indiantown.

Various businesses cater to tourists, such as fishing charters, boating charters, sailing, cruises, SCUBA and snorkeling, and nature tours.

Top employers

According to the city's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the Stuart area are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Martin Health System 2,825
2 Martin County School District 2,566
3 Martin County 1,566
4 Publix 1,276
5 State of Florida 637
6 iVox Solutions 532
7 TurboCombustor Technology 420
8 Winn-Dixie 329
9 Liberator Medical Supply 319
10 Florida Power & Light 303


Public education in Stuart is administered by the Martin County School District.

Notable people

  • Dan Bakkedahl, correspondent on The Daily Show
  • Paul Bley, jazz pianist
  • Cynthia S. Burnett-Haney (1840–1932), educator, lecturer, temperance reformer, newspaper editor; Haney Circle in Stuart was named after her
  • Nelson Burton Jr., professional bowler and longtime TV analyst
  • James Gould Cozzens, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
  • James Davis, professional football player
  • Ralph Evinrude, CEO of Outboard Motor Company with a test facility in Stuart, married Frances Langford and retired to Jensen Beach.
  • Derek Fathauer, professional golfer who currently plays on the PGA Tour
  • Cleveland Gary, professional football player
  • Whitney Gaskell, novelist
  • Ed Hearn, Major League Baseball player and motivational speaker
  • Davy Jones, musician with The Monkees.
  • Chris Marquette, actor
  • John McHale, player and executive in Major League Baseball
  • Corey McIntyre, professional football player
  • Rusty Meacham, former Major League Baseball player
  • Nicole Melichar, professional tennis player
  • Vaughn Monroe, big band singer
  • Zack Mosley, cartoonist and creator of The Adventures of Smilin' Jack
  • Scott Proctor, pitcher for the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization
  • Judge Reinhold, actor
  • Kathy Rinaldi, professional tennis player
  • Lee Rinker, PGA Tour Golf player
  • Roger Schank, leading visionary in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and learning theory
  • Will Sheehey, professional basketball player

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Stuart (Florida) para niños

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