The Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge was one of ten U. S. Life-Saving facilities built along the desolate east coast of Florida between 1876 and 1886. Houses of Refuge, manned by a keeper and his family, were unique to Florida because the population was not sufficient to support a typical life-saving station with a crew. Houses of Refuge were to provide shelter and sustenance to shipwreck survivors and help them return to civilization. Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge is now a museum, operated by the Historical Society of Martin County.
The Thurlows have taken the most significant photographs and chronicled significant events and personalities connected with the three eras of the building, first as a House of Refuge in a wilderness, its years as a U. S. Coast Guard Station and it more that half a century as a museum. The 104 page book contains over 60 photographs.