The Port of Fort Pierce is located on the south central shores of Florida's Atlantic Coast some 77 kilometers north-northwest of the Port of Palm Beach and over 200 kilometers east-southeast of the Port of Tampa (on Florida's Gulf Coast). Known as the "Sunrise City," the Port of Fort Pierce is part of the Port St. Lucie, Florida, metropolitan area. In 2008, about 41 thousand people lived in the Port of Fort Pierce, and more than 400 thousand lived in the metropolitan area.
The Port of Fort Pierce is one of the oldest communities on Florida's east coast. In 1837, Lt. Benjamin K. Pierce constructed a fort there to headquarter the U.S. Army during the Seminole Indian War.
After the war, the deepwater Port of Fort Pierce won commercial traffic that would make it the economic center of what is called Florida's Treasure Coast. Its major industries were fishing and fish processing as well as growing citrus fruits and pineapples. In the heart of citrus country, the Port of Fort Pierce was at one time the main exporter of grapefruit to Europe and the Far East.
The Port of Fort Pierce was incorporated in 1901. The railway arrived in the 1920s to expand the Port of Fort Pierce's reach. Today, the Port of Fort Pierce is at the hub of highway, rail, and air transportation routes that reach across south Florida.
The Port of Fort Pierce's waterfront is a historic district thought of by many to be a model of "Main Street City." The city is involved in many revitalization and urban development activities with an eye to maintaining its historic appeal.
The Port of Fort Pierce is home to the Smithsonian Institute Marine Station, the St. Lucie County Regional History Center, the Manatee Observation and Education Center, the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, and top-ranked Indian River State College.
While commercial exports are not a significant part of the city's economy today, the Port of Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County are still leaders in the State's production of grapefruit. Several juice companies are based there, including the famous Tropicana.
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