We call our area the "Treasure Coast." But it has not always been that way, as Paul Janensch reports in this Treasure Coast Essay.
By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch
Fort Pierce, FL – Who dreamed up the name "Treasure Coast?" For a while, this stretch of Florida oceanfront was called the "Tropical Coast," which could apply to a lot of places. It was well known that Spanish galleons carrying gold, silver and jewels were wrecked offshore in 1715. But the term "Treasure Coast" did not catch on until the 1960s when it started appearing in the media and in the names of local businesses. How come? It looks like the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers have solved this whodunit - or I should say who-named it. Clues led to John J, Schumann Jr., who was publisher of the Press Journal in Vero Beach before his family sold the newspaper to Scripps. Schumann, now 78, said he thinks he and his editor, Harry Schultz, popularized the term after treasure hunters found gold and silver from the Spanish fleet. The discovery attracted the attention of the national media. Schumann said that to the south was the Gold Coast, and to the north was the Space Coast, so this should be the Treasure Coast. The Spanish ships went down off what is now Indian River County and St. Lucie County. But Martin County was brought under the Treasure Coast umbrella. And that is how we came to be called the "Treasure Coast." Sure beats the "Tropical Coast." 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.