In 1895, Jensen was named the “Pineapple Capital of the World” for shipping out over 1,000,000 boxes of pineapples. The town was the largest in the area, serving as a social center with the largest hotel south of St Augustine named the Al fresco Hotel.
In addition to the Hotel, Jensen had a local school, post office, bowling alley, churches, cemeteries, bakery, grocery and dry goods store, meat market, town hall, bank, barbershop, livery stable, boat shop, masonic lodge and the train depot.
Jensen’s thriving success included more than Pineapples though. A local business man by the name of R.R. Ricou operated his entire fishing operation out of Jensen. In addition to the 100 fishing boats he maintained in downtown Jensen, he had fleets from Canaveral to the keys, all along the entire Florida east coast.
In 1908 a devastating fire destroyed almost everything in the downtown district. Fortunately no one was injured but the town was in ruins and stood a real chance of never recovering.
R.R. Ricou was good friends with Henry Flagler. Together they made an agreement to help save and revitalize Jensen. If Flagler agreed to build a new fire proof train depot, Ricou would build a large building referred to as a “Brick Block” to support local commerce. They both stayed true to their word and played the key role in Jensen’s survival to this day.
Today the train depot, once considered the finest on the east coast, is no longer around but the Brick Block still stands proudly defining the landscape of old downtown Jensen Beach.
The Jensen Beach Inn occupies the second floor of the Old Brick Block, known as the R.R. Ricou building.