When Hardy Jackson's grandmother and aunt went looking for a beach getaway, the main criteria was that it be close to
Seagrove founder Cube McGee was selling his Gulf-front lots for $1,000 and the ones set back from the beach for $500. So, the women bought two for $500 each.
The year was 1954 and Hardy was 13.
"She figured there was nothing in front or between her and the water, so, that was as good as Gulf front," says
McGee had two house plans and
"It was un-air-conditioned and we could sit on front porch and listen to the waves at night," said
At that time, there was no 30A and the family had to come south down the beach road known now as 395, then turn right onto Forest or at McGee's house on Grove before turning left onto the narrow sandy trail to get to their house.
Water was from a well that McGee controlled and there was a septic tank. The only heat was from a fireplace.
"The water had a sulfur taste but it made great coffee," said
In 1956 nothing was here for a young man to do and
"It was desolate and my granny would put me to work doing chores," he said.
Back then, no one went to the beach in the middle of the day, he said.
"It was so hot. We went to the beach at 8 a.m., came home at 10, had lunch, took a nap, then went back at 4 and swam. The Gulf was pristine in the 50s. Kids played board games when it rained. There was a radio, but no TV until the 1970s. We used to fish off the beach and chase crabs. It was bucolic and peaceful. Nobody cared if you had flashlights on the beach then. I used to sleep on front porch to hear the surf," he remembers. "We had to go to
"I was so happy to get my driver's license so I could go to
A little cafe was also built in the 60s where the Wheelhouse used to be.
McGee opened up
"All I remember is how desolate it was," he said.
In 1975 Hurricane Eloise took the roof off the first half of the house.
Since then he has enclosed the front porch, built another bedroom on the back, and added air conditioning.
"Robert Davis wanted everyone to have a front porch at
His beach house now rests on popular 30A and overlooks the busy bike path.