The Indian River County Historical Society, Inc., established in 1983, is a private, non-profit organization with a simple mission statement to save, preserve, and restore the historical and environmental resources of Indian River County. In order to accomplish this, the Society works with state and local governments, organizations, foundations, and citizens to raise monies for historical preservation projects and educational programs.
For over twenty years, the Indian River County Historical Society has contributed to preserving the historical and environmental resources of Indian River County, the Indian River Lagoon area, and the State of Florida. From advocacy leadership to countywide programs, the Society has continued good stewardship and sound educational practices. Some of our most successful projects have been:
- Saving Jungle Trail" a 7.5-mile greenway
- Managing a countywide historic marker program
- Participating in historical property surveys for Vero Beach, Indian River County, and Fellsmere
- Launching a countywide archaeological survey for Indian River County
- Listing a number of historic places and sites on the National Register
- And publishing numerous articles, brochures, and an official history book, A History of Indian River County, "A Sense of Place."
The Indian River County Historical Society has acquired these historic properties for the public to enjoy:
- 1903 Vero Beach Railroad Station in downtown Vero Beach purchased for $1.00.
- 1918 Hallstrom House and five adjoining acres on Old Dixie Highway in south county bequest from a Society member.
Both of these properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are open to the public. A description of these unique properties and the story on how the Society obtained them can be found in the enclosure, or by viewing our Properties page.
Each of these historic buildings, in their own way, offers a distinct look at the history of Indian River County and its rich heritage. They also offer destination points for children, their teachers, and parents to understand and study the history of Indian River County and Florida.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Carolyn Bayless, President
Carolyn moved to Vero Beach in 1977 from Boca Raton with her husband Fred and daughter Victoria. She taught 38 years in the public school system. Upon retirement, she worked part-time for FAU supervising student teachers and as an Educational Consultant for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt text books. Currently Carolyn works with the Learning Alliance when she and her family are not traveling in Europe. Her newest project is to partner with Indian River Schools to bring local history to students.
Mary Frances Womack, Vice President
Mary Frances considers herself a native of IRC since her family moved to Vero Beach when she was 3 weeks old. Attending Vero Beach High School. She became involved in volunteering while in a service club her sophmore year. She taught school in Vero for two years before taking up the life of a gypsy with her husband and living in New York, Connecticut, Texas, North Carolina, and on the west coast of Florida. In 1988, her family moved back to Vero where she re-established high school contacts, began volunteering and continued her career with the Longaberger Company. She currently volunteers at Hospice House, Florida Baptist Retirement Center, the Hallstrom House, and an in-home Bible study. She is excited to be a part of the IRCHS serving with a fabulous group of volunteers who love Vero and want to reach the community to preserve our history here.
Ruth Ann Jacobs, Treasurer
Lynne Glass, Secretary
Ruth Stanbridge, County Historian
Ruth is a Charter Member since the Society's incorporation in 1983 holding positions of President, Vice President and Project Manager. She currently serves as County Historian (appointed, January 1997) for Indian River County. With a background in natural history, Ruth retired from State of Florida Office of Environmental Services, then served on the County Planning and Zoning Commission and as District 2 Commissioner on Board of County Commissioner. Ruth also finds the time for her historical research and grant writing business. Ruth's historical successes include saving and restoring the Vero Beach RR Station, saving Jungle Trail, restoring the Hallstrom Farmstead's main house, and writing "Special Places." Although born in South Carolina, Ruth has been in Indian River County since the 7th grade, sharing her love of history, particularly the rich and diverse history of Indian River County
Kristina was born in Stockholm Sweden. Primary school in Sweden, Canada and the US. Higher education in US and Sweden. Kristina and her husband settled in NJ, where she kept her RE Broker license for over 30 years and Notary Public for over 25. She had a career with the New Jersey Dept. of Transportation for 25 years and retired in 2008. She held various titles with the Right of Way Division, she also ran the Appraisal Bureau for a period, and worked with the 3 District offices to bring apprentice appraisers to the point of passing their general license.
Her leisure time invovlement always included gardening, Swedish organization and traveling. As an officer's wife she was president of the garden club and the antique club. She has been a member for 40 + years of the ASHM (American Swedish Historical Museum) and sat on the Board of Directors for two terms. There is a Midsummer Club within the museum which a small group of Swedish speaking women started in the mid 80's to keep that tradition alive. It has been a great sucess every year since and she acted as its President for a few years. The Vasa Order of American and SACC (Swedish American Chamber of Commerce) in Philadelphia also holds her interest and involvement. She is a founding member of SACC and still remains on the Board of Directors.
Vero Beach is her permanent home and she is happy to have joined and become involved with the IRC Historical Society and McKee Botanical Gardens.
There is also a group of Swedish women in this area and she hopes to have them become more active. Most are gone over the summer, but return in the Fall. They are part of SWEA (Sewdish Women's Educational Association) an international organization. It is a support group on many levels for Swedish speaking women all over the world. They are a great source of information to help with the Hallstrom House.
Kelly has lived in Indian River County since 2011. After studying art at UCLA, she became interested in historic preservation and was a member of the Los Angeles Conservancy (9 years), the Lighthouse Society (3 years), and the San Pedro Bay Historical Society (2 years). She is a docent at the Hallstrom House and enjoys art, photography and cooking.
Pat Luther was born in Fort Pierce before WWII was over. His mother came to Florida when she was 11 years old, settling with her family in Sebastian, Fl. Pat served in the military during the Viet Nam era in the U. S. Army and returned to Vero Beach to be with his family. Pat loves the simple towns where he was raised (Wabasso and Vero) as well as antiques and is now one of them! Pat is a Vero business owner but his passion is grilling for large crowds. Another of his passions is the history and preservation of old things in Indian River County.
John Woods, Technology Advisor
Anna Brady, Historical Advisor
Robin Pelensky, Landscape Architect
Pat has a background which includes a BFA Professional Actors Training Program, Ohio University, and graduate studies from the University of South Carolina. She has lived in FL since 1986. She has served with the Vero Beach Theatre Guild as an actor, director and Board member and is currently writing one woman show on Ruth Hallstrom.
Pat is employed with the Diocese of Palm Beach at Holy Cross Church as the Volunteer coordinator. She is married to Dr. Daniel Kroger.
Linda Luther is a 6th generation Floridian. She was born in Vero Beach and a lover of her own Vero Beach and Wabasso history in Indian River County. Her grandfather was on the committee that went to Tallahassee to establish Indian River County from St. Lucie. She is married to Pat Luther (a childhood friend) and a mother/grandmother of two more generations of native Floridians. She has a degree in History from University of Central Florida. She is a part of the history of Indian River County! Her parents were active in the Indian River Historical Society from it’s beginning, and she is following their example.