House of Refuge
ChronoPoints is a lab at UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training to digitally documenting mid-century structures and artifacts.
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House of Refuge

House of Refuge
House of Refuge in Stuart
House of Refuge West View
House of Refuge - West View
Intensity Render - House of Refuge Site Laser Scan
Intensity Render - House of Refuge Site Laser Scan
House of Refuge Site Laser Scan Locations
House of Refuge Site Laser Scan Locations

Stuart, Florida a



January 2020



Laser Scanning


The House of Refuge (or House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar) in Stuart, Florida, is the last surviving of ten stranded mariner shelter houses built in the late 19th Century. The structure was constructed in 1876 by the U.S. Life Saving Service in response to the stranding of sailors during a storm in 1873 when shipwreck survivors failed to find a place to seek assistance. As the second House of Refuge built, the building began functioning in its designed purpose on December 1, 1876, with the occupancy by its first keeper Fred Whitehead and ceased as a mariner refuge in December of 1940.


The House stands much as it was constructed as a two-story building, with downstairs living quarters for the keeper and one large room upstairs for stranded sailors. The original clapboard siding has been covered with shingles, and a few additional modifications have been made as well. After ceasing operations as a sheltering building, the Coast Guard operated it as a watch station for German U-boats. Martin County purchased the House of Refuge in 1955 and permitted the Martin County Historical Society to operate it as a museum. The house and the remainder of the site, including cisterns, two additional buildings, and a wooden watchtower, continue to be operated as a museum.


The ChronoPoints team spent a day in January 2020 laser scanning this structure’s interior and exterior.


Be certain to click the Point Cloud tab at the top of the page for a full 3D representation of the House of Refuge.


ChronoPoints would like to thank the House of Refuge for their permission to scan the site and Jessica Robkin for coordinating the project with the House of Refuge.


A few tools that will enable you to enhance the point cloud based on your computer’s performance.  Everyone should increase the POINT BUDGET all the way to the right.  If you are on a computer with good graphics, select HIGH QUALITY for the splat quality. You can rotate the point cloud with your mouse.