Martin County was formed in 1925 with the southern part coming out of Palm Beach County and the northern part coming out of St. Lucie County. The county was named after John W. Martin, who was Florida’s governor from 1925 through 1929.
When the county was established, the shores of Lake Okeechobee formed its western contour. The borders of Hendry, Okeechobee and Glades counties also followed the same shoreline. Historically Palm Beach County claimed the entire lake surface as its own. This was beneficial in terms of distribution of federal and state highway funds. Martin County state representative William Ralph Scott from Stuart got a bill initiated to divided the lake with the adjacent counties, so that the distribution of state funds would be more equitable for creating and maintaining roads. All of the bordering counties agreed that this change would be more just and supported it being ratified, except for Palm Beach County. Palm Beach County representatives later gave a jug of water to Representative William Scott, to represent all of the water that was left to Palm Beach County by Bill Scott. Stuart Heritage now has this jug.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the total area of the county is 753 square miles, with 543 square miles being land and the rest of it being water. By land area, it is Florida’s fifth-largest county, and in total area is the fifty-third largest.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that the Martin County Shore Protection Protection nourishes around 3.75 miles of beach which extends from St. Lucie County line and then south to Martin County’s Stuart Public Beach Park. The project includes restoring a 35-foot-wide protective berm and primary dune. This project has a renourishment interval every 7 years.
The most recent renourishment for the Martin County Shore Project occurred in May 2013. A Coastal Emergency and Flood Control component was included due to impacts that were incurred in 2012 with Hurricane Sandy. The next renourishment project is scheduled to take place in 2019. The total cost for the project is estimated to be $69.8 million, with the U.S. Federal Government paying $32.5 million of it.