I’m so sorry Frances Langford!

If Frances Langford was alive I’m pretty sure she would have been a River Warrior. She loved Martin County and loved this corner of the universe I live in.

Everything around here has her name on it. She had died a few years before I got here but she was everywhere here on the ancient sand dunes where we all share sacred ground.

This is a special place.

 

Frances Langford and her first husband Jon Hall In 1948, donated , 20 acres of land near her estate in Jensen Beach, Florida, to the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, which named it Langford Hall Park. Located at 2369 N.E. Dixie Highway, just south of the Stuart Welcome Arch, it is known today simply as Langford Park and is one of the county’s major parks.

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After leaving Hollywood life, she kept up her pastimes of boating and sport fishing. As a nightclub singer in 1955, she married Outboard Marine Corporation President Ralph Evinrude. They lived on her estate in Jensen Beach and built a Polynesian-themed restaurant and marina on the Indian River they named The Frances Langford Outrigger Resort, where Langford frequently performed. Locals and celebrities flocked to the site. Evinrude died in 1986. In 1994, she married Harold C. Stuart, who had served as Assistant Secretary for Civil Affairs of the United States Air Force (1949-51) under President Harry S. Truman. They spent the summers in Canada on Georgian Island and journeyed to the Island from their home in Florida aboard their 110-foot yacht “The Chanticleer”, which was a popular tourist attraction when moored at the Outrigger Resort. Stuart survived Langford (who had no children) and died in 2007 at the age of 94.

Langford was a supportive member of the Jensen Beach community and constantly donated money to the community. She was a great philanthropist and her generosity to the Florida Oceanographic Society located on Hutchinson Island, Stuart, Florida was well known. The site provides education and research of the ocean, reefs and environment in the Florida area.

She died at her Jensen Beach home at age 92 from congestive heart failure. According to her wishes, she was cremated and the ashes strewn off the coast of Florida near her residence. In 2006, the Frances Langford Heart Center, made possible by a bequest from her estate, opened at Martin Memorial Hospital in Stuart, Florida.”

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Area prior to demolition and devistation

 

Work cleared to begin on Langford Landing development in Rio

“Once owned by philanthropist and old-Hollywood actress Frances Langford, the St. Lucie River waterfront property is zoned low-density residential with a maximum 1.4 units per acre. Other than six existing houses, the land is vacant, according to Martin County Growth Management.

Commissioner Sarah Heard on Tuesday said the project has the potential to be a “beautiful property we can all be proud of,” but urged the developers to keep the environment in mind.

“(Ten) acres is all we’re guaranteed?” Heard asked about a designated preserve area. “It would be a crime to get rid of some of these old-growth oaks and so forth.”

The crime has been committed. The developer’s have no respect for Frances, the people of Martin County, the heritage, or the history.

They are rapists of the land.

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Destruction at Langford’s Landing Photo: Rebecca Fatzinger

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Every tree pulled out photo by Julie Williams

 

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Total destruction photo by Julie Williams

Here are all the amazing things she did for Martin County.

Frances Langford’s legacy: In the mood for loving Martin County

Martin Health System: $6.3 million, including $5 million for the Frances Langford Heart Center

Elliott Museum: $3 million in 2007 plus $500,000 in 2008 toward construction of new museum, which includes Frances Langford Cafe

Martin County: Land for Langford Park in Jensen Beach and the Rio Skate Park, plus beautification on portions of State Road 708, value $300,000

Martin County Council on Aging: $2.5 million for Frances Langford Theatre & Audtiorium at the Charles and Rae Kane Senior Center

Florida Oceanographic Society: Beach home that sold for $600,000 in 1989, plus $50,000 for visitors center and annual contributions totaling more than $1 million

Florida Institute of Technology: (now site of Indian RiverSide Park) Two marine science laboratory buildings and a marine research dock and pier valued $1 million.

Martin County Historical Society: $2 million plus costumes and other memorabilia

(see article for the rest)

I feel like this gorgeous piece of land should have been made into something wonderful in memory of the woman who made our little corner of the universe her home and did so much for us.

This is not just an insult. It’s a slap in the face of Frances and all of us that live here.

Nothing was honored or handled with care.

If our county cannot be respectful to one of it’s greatest benefactors I hardly doubt it can be respectful to the rest of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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74 comments on “I’m so sorry Frances Langford!

  1. It confuses me why such an anti-development, ordinance happy county can allow something like that within their codes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • cyndilenz says:

      You got me. This is what we are trying to find out. Hardly a comment by the newspaper. I’m working on a blog about the company right now. not good people. also an issue with coyotes now because they lost their home.

      Like

      • Woe ! I think the county codes need some work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • marjiejordsn says:

        Cyndi PLEASE URGE concerned citizens over the clearing of the Langford Estate to attend the Commission meeting Tuesday march 8 at 9 am, it is located in the red brick County building next to the Fresh market. I will be speaking for my 3 minutes and can clear up a lot of questions being asked about this project. The Commission needs to change the tree protection laws which legally allowed this total clearing.

        Like

      • cyndilenz says:

        i have a friend looking at our tree ordinance and she used to work with architects so she understands laws and stuff like that and she said ours is really confusing.

        Like

  2. Tony Beonde says:

    What did you expect from developers? While Rick Scott was running the biggest medicare fraud in history these guys run the biggest land grab/shill games going. Follow the stench of money and you will get right to the heart of it. Whose palms got greased? Politicians, developers, and lawyers make interesting bed partners.

    Like

  3. Jimmy Cooper says:

    This has nothing to do with Rick Scott, Martin County is controlled by Democrats!

    Like

    • cyndilenz says:

      jimmy. i don’t think i said any thing about rick scott. not really about the dems, most of the commission are Republicans and voting wise Republicans have the upper hand.

      Like

  4. Alan Brech says:

    If there are State permits involved, such as a Water Management Agency, then a historical & archaeological resource survey would have to be conducted in advance of land disturbance. Check the permitting docs at the local Engineering Dept. and then contact the Division of Historical Resources Compliance Review Section (headed by Timothy Parsons). It won’t ever stop development, but it might add weight to a preservationist sentiment, and it’s the law anyway (Section 267 of the Florida Statutes).

    Like

  5. Josh says:

    Get rid of heard and fielding. They are a plague to this county and are destroying it. There is nothing but nursing homes being built on every corner it seems. Everything else is turning to crap.

    Like

  6. Jade Stanton says:

    My family knew Frances very well, and she loved it here. Her house was on a beautiful property away from the street with a view of the river. This article makes me miss her, and wish everyone could have known her so we could have her same love and passion for our home. Thanks for this article!!!!

    Like

  7. D says:

    Disgusting disregard, developers win again

    Like

  8. Jody Lebel says:

    I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner once at the Evinrude estate. We walked around picking up peacock feathers after dinner. I’ve also been on the Chanticleer. I actually babysat the home when everyone was on vacation. The tour boat would go by and I’d hear the speakers talking about Francis Langford and Bob Hope. I found Mr. Evinrude to be a charming man, while Francis was a bit more reserved. I didn’t know she had donated so much to the Jensen Beach community and I am saddened that greed has picked her property clean. Such a shame. You can’t undo these things and Jensen Beach has shown a lack of respect that leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. I have to wonder how many others will not donate or support the area because of it. Welcome to the Karma Cafe. There are no menus. Everyone gets what they deserve. Except for Francis maybe.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. carol ball says:

    I’m also saddened by the lack of care given to a beautiful piece of property

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Sheila Stephens says:

    This is a very well researched and written article. Full of history about Martin County and its people. So very saddened though for the reason it had to be written.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Bill Murphy says:

    Awesome article. So sad that it has to be written. Another piece of Martin County gone forever. Each day we inch closer to being Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County.

    Liked by 2 people

    • cyndilenz says:

      you got that right. we are all going to have to visit our county commissioners and write letters so this never happens again. WE ARE NOT PALM BEACH COUNTY and we need to make sure they understand

      Like

      • marjiejordsn says:

        I am in touch with Jaquie Thurlow Lippish who also blogged about the situation . I will speak to her about a strategy going forward, after today’s article in the Stuart News there is a lot of interest. I can’t thank you enough for your concern for this.
        Marjorie Jordan

        Like

      • cyndilenz says:

        Great. Jacque is dear friend. We need her to be commissioner. I was planning on blogging even before I saw the article. They did very little research on the company that is over there. Believe me when I tell you the information is not hard to find. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and share this stuff with us.

        Like

  12. Beth Schumer says:

    I live a block over from this land… I have heard now homeless animals crying…. this land was RAPED!! There is no other words for it… no regard for nature or wildlife…absolutely shameful and disrespectful of all this wonderful things this woman did for our town! Shame on you Martin County for allowing this to happen!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. cyndilenz says:

    Thank you everyone for responding on the blog and all the stories and information. I have more info coming.

    Like

  14. Richard Smith says:

    The county commission now is working on getting rid of the old golf courses red and white courses to make room for expanding the airport. These courses are on the list of historic golf courses of Florida. Built in the 1920s and being the only municipal course in our county. The only courses which are affordable for residents and kids to play while walking. Please get involved with saving both courses all 36 holes of golf.

    Like

  15. BIll Murphy says:

    I have seen them late at night on north sewalls point road. I thought I was seeing things. They look like dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. James Lydon says:

    Start with the Trust Fiduciaries that managed Frances Langford’will. The same thing happened with a prior sale of her property after it was divided upon her death. There were charges but I am not sure how they were resolved. Typically the developers sub contract the clearing and relieve themselves of any responsibility if something goes wrong, WINK WINK!

    There were specific guidelines instituted by Frances in her Trust as to how the sale’s and status of the property were to be conducted, to the best of my recollection.

    A search of the Stuart News Archives, or any other search engine should recover the past development violation articles.

    Good luck with your endeavor!

    Like

    • cyndilenz says:

      James thank you. wink wink will follow up

      Like

    • Wendy says:

      James I was going to say the same thing! Didn’t they have to replant a bunch of trees when it happened? It looked ridiculous because they were all planted in rows, not at all like the natural growth that was there. How is it that these developers were able to completely clear everything!? Perhaps they are going to have to replant with mature trees? I hope so!

      Like

  17. Don in Miami says:

    I find it hard to believe that Martin County has no tree protection ordinance like Miami-Dade and Broward have. Miami-Dade’s has been weakened time and time again over the years but they still fine people for butchering trees and removing trees. Broward’s code is tougher and you can easily see that there is more tree canopy in Broward compared to Miami-Dade. How could your county’s politicians and administrators allow such rape and devastation of the land like this? Some politicians need to be recalled for allowing this to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a shame.France’s Langford was a wonderful, beautiful woman who’s wishes should be respected.After everything she did for Martin county! Really folks,nothing like burying the dead!Shame on Martin county!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. tina tower says:

    I’m the lady who accidentally got one of the female peacocks on my moving truck.. she is still here and everyone in the neighborhood loves her.. but she is lonely.. do you think we could get a male for her?? from the Langford Peas

    Like

  20. Kat says:

    While I can acknowledge that the history in this article was enlightening and rich in content, I have to wonder why there is so much anger behind this. How are any of you to know what a woman who has since passed on, would have wanted. One can ASSUME, but you know what people say about assuming. Did anyone ever think that maybe she would be eager to welcome a beautiful new community to house her neighbors and friends? Whoever said Martin County is growing, you’re correct. Martin County is growing, and if you want to stay in a small town and hold on to your small town mentality, go right ahead but doing that is not going to stop the growth of our beloved town. With that growth comes the demand for more housing options to accommodate. I can agree that it’s a shame that its at the expense of untouched land, but that is the pitfalls of having our town expand. (p.s. by our town expanding and our population growing, that means more income to our small local businesses, more community members to be used as resources, and more people working in our industries that are necessary i.e. health fields, etc.) So before you are so quick to assume what someone would want, just because YOU don’t agree with the building there, maybe explore all angles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cyndilenz says:

      The issue is not the growth. The issue is the way it’s being done. There are some wonderful places that have been built using the land around them like schooner place i think its called in rocky point is fabulous. They left the trees intact build a really lovely community. No one wants no growth. We want responsible growth. The other thing is is the company is building has a lot of issues. So new people will move up here and not be happy because of the issues with the housing. I have to spoken to people who knew Frances and she thought there should condo’s there. It doesn’t some the right to rape the land. This all goes along with the other issues we have here. Like the 200 sober homes and multiple treatment centers. Read my past blog and i’ll have another coming out in the next few days.
      We had people coming here when we had clean water. . You can’t go in the lagoon. You can’t. Then we’re gonna have 32 trains all hours of the day and night. and just a month someone was shooting up heroin in my corner store. we don’t builders that do not have respect for the land. we don’t want builders that do a shotty job. We certainly don’t want junkies shooting up at our corner stores and we don’t need 32 trains a day. This area, where the langford land is, where I live btw has gone down the drain in the last six years. wouldn’t even think about going to Cumberlands at night time. its frightening. we need good small businesses. we could take a lesson from Sarasota took a part of town that was falling apart and made it super funky. I lived in Rockport Mass which one of funkiest tourist places in the world. We have 30 thousand people in the winter and a hundred thous in the summer not counting the day visitors. Small businesses did great. One guy walter dyer made so much money he decided to throw it out an airplane one day. I have been back and they have growth but careful growth that took into consideration the area because that also is very special ecologically and its still a wonderful place to live. right now all the coyotes that live on that land displaced and are killing animals in my neighborhood.
      Now if we had clean water thats a great industry but we don’t. The other thing I’m horrified to say but when I call to get work done most of the workmen if they even bother to answer the phone, show up stoned or drunk, take total advantage, then you tell them to come and they don’t, something i was warned about when I moved here. Someone stole my fishing poles from the side of my house. We have a huge drug and alcohol problem here and not just no help but people are constantly driving around drunk. yes please bring your children here!
      when i moved here. I was in love with the place and the people. I left palm beach county because it was out of control. I was told the commissioners really care about the county. I could go on and on. It breaks my hearts. but one last thing. Your opinion is always welcome here what ever it is. It is what it is. But I also a right to an opinion. People need to wake up around here before its too late because no one will move to place with filthy polluted water, junkies , sub standard housing – we’re on the way to being what we were before Palm Beach county.

      Like

    • cyndilenz says:

      just a question. why would think i assumed anything? I live right here. I know people who knew her and I spoke to them. Did you go to Jacqui Thurlow Lippishs blog a person that has lived here her entire life and say the same thing to her? we don’t have any mental health services to speak of. our own people get five minutes and a prescription written. I work in health care. I just this went to Berry Fresh and fruits and roots and i loved them so much I can’t wait to back! We have ground floor farm and all kinds of people doing amazing things. From farm to table, healthy foods, a sustainable environment. we have the best fruit stand around. we have awesome parks. Lots of Yoga and people wanted to do that. Paddleboarders, kyackers people want to play in clean water that won’t kill them. I spend a lot of time in Boulder, Colorado. My sister lives there and my parents died there. It’s an awesome place. Lots of good coffee, always someplace fun to eat, places to go, lots of shopping like out own main street in stuart. They had a huge influx of people from California. My brother in law is a builder of green houses (not the plant ones but the houses with all the green amenities) . The town in incredible. They have all kinds of growth but you wouldn’t even really know it the way they build. One of my friends was part of the city planning committee. They have one long street like our federal hwy with the big box stores and the rest are little businesses and a downtown walking only area called Pearl Street. They also have open spaces that the citizens bought and are free for all. There was an issue because people were bringing dogs into the open spaces and there was a big fight between the dog owners and the environmentalists who didn’t want dogs up there. So after they fought they were brought together and all dogs going in the open spaces had to being able to come on a recall. They went to city hall and for ten bucks they got a thing for their collars. I know this because I wrote a huge article for a dog magazine while I was there taking care of my sick parents. It was an amazing lesson in how a town that loved their town can come together and make things work. This is what I expect from Martin County. In the last election Ron Rose riled up all the fireman because they didn’t have a training center here in town. He wanted to built one. Well the truth of matter is they have one right up road in Ft Piece that is state of the art. It’s fabulous. I went there for training. So again we have to responsible. You want people to come here so we have jobs. Get rid of the junkies, build awesome cool housing, have great workmen that are not drunk or stoned or both.

      Like

    • Kelly Jordan Nelson says:

      We knew her well. My father managed her stocks and investments and personal
      Affairs for her and for Mr Stuart. We often had her at our home and my parents lived on her estate while building their new home. We don’t need to “research” to know what her wishes were…she told us. There, I just saved everyone hours of “fact finding” even though assumptions would have been just fine. If you have any brain in your head it would be apparent that a woman who built a carefully protected paradise and cared so deeply about her beautiful land would not want it clear cut and raped by a second rate developer. Duh! Certain assumptions can be safely made in life…parents would not want their children
      Murdered it is safe to assume…and this, too, is a place where safe assumptions can accurately be made. Consider that before making idiotic comments about “maybe this is a good thing”. Pfft! Yes. I will take the fall as the one saying what we all want to say when we read your comments. Not trying to be disrespectful but this is a very emotional issue for those of us who knew Frances and who care about the environment. Please use your head and think about others before you say things like this in the future Kat.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Kelly Jordan Nelson says:

      We knew her well and knew from her mouth to our ears what her wishes were. My father managed her investments and estate planning prior to her and Harold’s deaths. We often had her at my parents home and spent time With her on her yacht “Chanticleer”. My parents lived on her estate while building their new home nearby. No assumptions needed to know what she would want. I will say that your comment is quite insensitive (and dare I say slightly ignorant?) to the impassioned people who knew and loved Frances and her beautiful estate. An intelligent and informed person can easily make safe assumptions that a woman who cared so deeply about preserving and nourishing and RESPONSIBLY developing her lands would NOT approve of clear cut devistation. Like it is safe to assume a parent would not want their child murdered after their death, you can safely assume she would not have wanted her land murdered. Duh! For you it is an assumption, for us it is a known FACT. Please think before you post such insensitive and uninformed drivel in the future.

      Like

      • cyndilenz says:

        Kelly. Thank you so much. It really makes a difference to know people who knew her heart. I’m going to be working on another piece can I use this as a quote?

        Like

  21. Andrew says:

    Cynthia is an idiot relocatell the coyotes. Really are your sure it’s not a bobat lol. And if your cats can’t hide good enough ha there dead. Sucks to be them . Maybe you should relocate. Where are you from who are you.

    Like

    • cyndilenz says:

      we do have some kind of big cat here but people have seen the coyotes. There is a page call about me.

      Like

    • cyndilenz says:

      I’m not sure if they can be relocated. Some people sent me some info and I need to go read it.

      Like

    • Kelly Jordan Nelson says:

      I love when people who cannot spell or use proper diction call others idiots. #irony Be polite please Andrew and consider utilizing spell check and a grammatical guide before commenting, it will give more weight to your words. You may also want to be a bit more kind to someone who’s cat was killed, regardless of circumstances.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Don osteen says:

    Sadly enough most of you commenting are living in homes that were built on that same type of prestige property but I don’t hear you decrying that.
    Don Osteen Jr
    8th generation Floridian

    Like

    • cyndilenz says:

      my house was built in 1968 maybe it was but that was a long time ago.
      and it’s not the building the disregard for the land and the animals that lived on it. if you wanna go back its sacred ground that the AISs indians lived on.but this is the issue. you didn’t read what I wrote or even have a clue what I’m talking about. im not for no growth. I’m for responsible growt5h and so far what I have seen around here is awful. the piece of property by the bridge in jensen, the people i know that are business owners around here said it looks nothing like what they were shown. those new houses going in by baker rd. ugly. we could have a really cool county but its being destroyed.

      Like

    • cyndilenz says:

      its certainly not prestige property with a polluted river and lagoon. and it won’t be. i hope these people are warned ahead of time about the discharges. I wasn’t.

      Like

    • Kelly Jordan Nelson says:

      I can comment as a daughter of one of “those living on prestige property and say their lagoon was carefully preserved as well as much of the old growth canopy during development and it adds value to the homes and significant beauty to the neighborhood there.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Allen Falk says:

    I find it odd that as a homeowner I needed to follow the code a pull a permit to remove one dying palm tree yet developers do not need to completely survey the property and get a permit to bulldoze trees. If they did pull a permit then everyone knew of this careless and unnecessary loss

    Like

  24. Marjorie Jordan says:

    I read about the votes in an article in the Stuart News archives while researching the sale of the property. It stated that Herd and Smith voted against it so evidently everyone else voted for it. I forget the exact headline but I am sure you can find it.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Kelly Jordan Nelson says:

    Cyndi Lenz you have permission to use my words as you like. Please email me a link to the new article and I’ll keep the word spreading! Thank you for this and all you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. […] a blog post that I wrote a little while back called  I’m so sorry Frances Langford I got a huge amount of views and comments. The general consensus is we are not happy with what […]

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