Fort Pierce, often called the Sunrise City, has been the hub of St. Lucie County, Florida for over 100 years. Situated on the “Treasure Coast,” named after the famed sinking of a Spanish treasure fleet in 1715, Fort Pierce is one of the oldest communities on the east coast of Florida. Incorporated in 1901, the city grew from 300 pioneers to approximately 41,000 residents today and encompasses approximately 29 square miles.
Most Idyllic and Historic Main Street
In 2015, Fort Pierce was named one of USA Today’s Most Idyllic and Historic Main Streets in America.
USA Today applauded Fort Pierce’s downtown in its Aug. 11, 2014, edition in an article headlined, “Idyllic and historic main streets across the USA.” Here is the entry that appeared in the newspaper: Fort Pierce, a Treasure Coast “Old Florida” town, cooled by breezes off the Indian River, won the 2011 Best Main Street designation from the National Trust. Swaying palm trees line the sidewalks, and the atmosphere evokes the early 1900’s when the city came into its own. Period Spanish architecture punctuates the downtown area, the star of which is the historic Sunrise Theatre. The Saturday Farmer’s Market is a must.
Fort Pierce’s downtown Main Street has been named No. 1 on a consumer-advocacy group’s list of “50 Best Small Town Main Streets” in America.
The honor was given by Top Value Reviews, which ranked Fort Pierce top among cities with a population of 60,000. Fort Pierce was one of only two Florida cities named on the list and it beat out notable quaint small towns such as Nantucket, Mass., and Steamboat Springs, Colo. “It was a surprise to us and what an honor to be chosen over 2,000 other Main Street programs across the country,” says Doris Tillman, who has been executive director of Main Street Fort Pierce Inc. for the past 24 years. “It is not about the people who run Main Street. It is about all the people who have so much belief in bettering ourselves. It is the community and the city and the people always ready to support and help you.”
The Farmers Market, Sunrise Theatre, art galleries and restaurants are all point scorers used by Top Value Reviews, which also rates, appliances, cameras, cars, clothing, musical instruments, toys, tools and martial arts among other consumer products. Also scoring points for the city were seven National Register of Historic Places locations downtown or nearby including the Sunrise Theatre, Moore’s Creek Bridge and the site Fort Pierce is named for, the original Army post during the Seminole War.
“We think Fort Pierce is on the verge of being discovered,” Mayor Linda Hudson says. “With our downtown, the beaches and the fishing, you can see why we are No. 1. We still have that small-town feel.”