The original Banner Lake Club (BLC) Clubhouse building was first built in 1939 by residents of Jupiter Island to serve as a social gathering place for the Island employees who primarily lived in the Banner Lake Community. The Club also served as a hurricane shelter when needed. Banner Lake Club was first chartered in 1938 as a social club.
The Banner Lake Club (BLC) Clubhouse building was used for many community programs over the years. In 2006, a partnership was formed with Martin County Parks & Recreation (MCPR) to operate a County sponsored after school and summer program called BLAST (Banner Lake After School Time) at the BLC. The BLC decided to take full responsibility for the program by hiring a full time Program Director in May 2015, additional staff was hired, and the transition was made to take over the program on October 1, 2015.
Since taking over the Program and hiring our own BLAST Program Director, many improvements were made and our years running the BLAST Program has been highly successful. The Program continues to improve. The children in the Program include students from age 5 to 18 years old. We have a strong Teen Program that was improved over the past several years and is continuing to grow with three extended hour nights a week. The children in the BLAST Program are currently provided with homework hour, tutoring, physical fitness, soccer, golf, tennis, gardening, and other enrichment programs. The teens are very involved with their programming which keeps them busy and out of trouble.
The Community Center also serves as a Food Pantry on the first and third Friday morning of the month, a Soup Kitchen on Friday evening’s, and a Meals on Wheels Senior Meal Program for lunch Monday thru Friday. BLC also has many Meetings and Community Events that are held throughout the year. Our facility is also available for rentals on weekends. More space was needed to keep providing the services to our community, so a Fundraising Campaign went underway, and a New Community Center was planned to be constructed adjacent to our original Clubhouse building with construction commencement of June 2018 and completion of September 2019.
The new Banner Lake Community Center was completed September 2019. The Banner Lake Academy officially opened August 2019. It is a private school with no cost to families. In its first year, the Academy hired four teachers serving one classroom for kindergarten and one for 1st grade, with up to 12 students per grade. The students get individualized instruction to help them learn in a smaller classroom setting. 2nd grade was added in 2020, and then a 3rd grade the following year. In addition to academics, the program includes music and physical education. Phase 2 of construction began in December 2020 to add the Academy wing to the Banner Lake Community Center and was completed August 2021. The old Clubhouse was newly renovated in 2020 and has become our new Teen Center, and an Outreach room will be reconstructed in the back of the building.
Historical Banner Lake Community
Mr. and Mrs. William S. Barstow (Francoise Duclos Barstow) were one of a group of early estate owners of Jupiter Island. In 1928 while returning home on their yacht from Miami, the Barstow’s first beheld the beauty of Jupiter Island. The impulse by the couple to explore the island resulted in Mrs. Barstow noticing the Delespine Road sign. She had known her great grandfather previously owned property in Florida, but she never knew where.
A records search revealed her ancestor Dr. Joseph Delespine made the first recorded sale from the original Gomez Grant.
At the young age of 21, William Slocum Barstow was an active participant in a scientific revolution. While in his senior year at Columbia University he “switched his field of study from chemistry to electricity” the forerunner study area to today’s electrical engineering.
Within a short period he was selected by Thomas Alva Edison to construct and supervise Edison plants in New York and New Jersey. By 1889 Mr. Barstow had become the electrical engineer of Edison Illuminating Company. He went to Europe to study electrical engineering as it existed, to broaden his knowledge of the new emerging technology. By 1901 he was a leading consultant in the field and had founded the W.S. Barstow & Co. Inc.
He was at his career peak the president of 30 light, power and gas companies and a close advisor to Thomas Alva Edison one of the greatest scientific minds ever. In 1929 just 6 months before the stock market crash, he sold his entire holdings for the sum of 50 million dollars.
In 1931 he and his wife established a philanthropic firm. Mrs. Francoise Melanie Duclos his wife was the daughter of a prominent New York architect, she was very active in over 46 charities some of which provided technical training for under privileged children.
Three very impactful building donations were made by the Barstow’s. All three made an indelible footprint in Martin County for years to come, all completed in 1939. The first significant building is Martin Memorial Hospital; the others were Christ Memorial Chapel on Jupiter Island and The Banner Lake Club. William Barstow also raised money for the building of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Stuart. It is the Banner Lake Club, building project for which the local petition for Historical designation is respectfully submitted.
The Banner Lake Club site is located within the Banner Lake Community and sits at the highest point of any property within the community. “The Club” rests a short distance from the shore line of the Banner Lake. Banner Lake was named after Newton Banner a prominent real estate owner and Jupiter Island resident who helped develop mainland Hobe Sound.
The Banner Lake Club was a generous donation to the community residents, that would achieve an incredible potential and what a magnificent donation it turned out to be.
The Banner Lake Club originated as a vision to establish a building for the African American, workers from Jupiter Island and the surrounding Hobe Sound locality to have a place to meet for social functions, as a youth recreational facility and as a hurricane shelter.
Hugh Callen was both the designer and contractor for the building from beginning to end.
The June 28, 1938 article in THE STUART DAILY NEWS paper, quoted him stating the “building will serve as a recreational facility and as a double purpose, a storm proof refuge in the time of a hurricane”. The column was titled “The Banner Lake Club marked an entirely new effort in Martin County for the betterment of negro recreational facilities and social events”.
Documents and conversations with pioneers from the community support the intent of the building was to serve as a “social gathering place” for the Jupiter Island employees who resided in the community. Within a short period of time the “Banner Lake Club” and the impact of the building would begin to provide immeasurable dividends to the residents, exceeding its initial purpose and thereby meeting the needs of the community. This rings true today over eighty years later. The Banner Lake Club has been a spring board to the aspirations of students and young adults from the community. Many went on to achieve remarkable careers as, teachers, lawyers, doctors, government employees and the military.
The design concept, foundation and building construction technique, “a solid concrete poured facility” proved to be exceptionally beneficial to the community residents, this allowed for the building to serve as a neighborhood hurricane shelter. When the powerful Atlantic hurricanes threatened to devastate homes and lives, families gathered there and prepared for the hurricanes, strengthening the fabric of the community. Many of the homes were subpar-simple wooden constructed and no match for hurricane force winds.
In the early 1940’s generous donations of the Jupiter Island Chest (today’s Hobe Sound Community Chest) paved way for the building to have a paid program/ youth director. Hobe Sound Community Chest and funds from the Joseph V. Reed, “Banner Lake Village Trust” (managed by John Duberg) “provided funds to the building and to the community”.
This provided the opportunity for continuous activities and after school positive interaction, through team sports and games. The building held summer camps during the hot summer months. Youth Director-Bennie Williams of Atlanta preceded, Youth Director- Marion “M.L.” Hurst, also from Atlanta.
Mr. Hurst organized the youth baseball program; it was one of the best on the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County. Winning numerous championship competitions and amassing an incredible amount of trophies. The facility served as a summer job site location for low income youth, enabling youth in the community to have employment, assist their parents to purchase school clothing and other necessary items. Banner Lake served as the “swimming pool”.