Golden Memories : The Story of the St. Lucie Historical Society
by Patricia Foreman (President 2002-2004)

The St. Lucie Historical Society began as a committee of the St. Lucie County Library Association, Inc. E. C. Collins, President of the St. Lucie County Library Association had appointed a group to serve as a historical committee. David Fee was the chairman, others on the committee included: Mrs. Jo Humphries, Mrs. Verne Kretschmer, Mrs. Ora S. Burney, Mr. L. W. Halbe, Mr. W. I. Fee, Mrs. Helen DeFriest, Mrs. Clare Register, Mrs. Emma Saunders, Mrs. Pearl Chew, Mr. Dewey Crawford, Miss Betty Summerlin and Mr. Collins.

The initial meeting was held at the old Community Center after the regular Library Association meeting. The meeting place was at the old USO building located where SunTrust Bank’s parking lot is today, on the east side of Indian River Drive.

Thus, on Tuesday evening, November 18, 1952 the St. Lucie Historical Society held its organizational meeting. This group resolved to organize a society, and decided that membership would be $1.00 per year. Meetings were to be held on the third Tuesday of each month. Mr. Crawford was made Vice-Chairman.
Will Fee

William FeeWill Fee was first to offer his dollar and is said to have autographed it as a memento of the occasion. In December, finding they had a mutual desire to preserve the rich heritage of the local community sixty-one charter members were listed. Another committee was appointed to evaluate and accept pieces for a future museum.

 

CHARTER MEMBERS-December 1952

Mr.& Mrs. Fred Alispaw
Mr. & Mrs. R.V. Ankeny
Mrs. Loyal Barnard
Mr.& Mrs. R.E. Burney
Mr. & Mrs. Thaddeus C. Campbell
Pearl Chew
Annie Brown Cobb
Ernestine Collins
Mr.& Mrs. E C. Collins Jr.
Marilla B. Collins
Dewey Crawford
Mrs. T.J. Crow
Judge Flem C. Dame
Mrs. Lillian B. Deatrick
Mrs. E.P. Defriest, Sr.
Mr. & Mrs. Harry Edge
Charles S. Emerson
R.H. Escott (Life Member)
Bonnie Fee
Mr.& Mrs. David Fee
David Fee Jr.
Letha Fee
Susan Fee
William I. Fee
James T. Gay
Sam Gay
Raphael Griffin
Mr. Frank Hagel
James Halbe
Mr. & Mrs. L.W Halbe
W.W. Hatcher
Mrs. J.L Hoeflich
Mrs. B.K Humphries
Lane Jennings
Mr. & Mrs. Henry M. Jernigan
Mr. & Mrs. Albert E. Kretschmer
Jack Leibman
Mrs. Edith Luke
David Eugene Odom
Mrs. Helen O’Hea
Olive Dame Peterson
O.C. Peterson
Broward Poppell
George Putnam
Mrs Dorothy Putnam
Mr. & Mrs. Alton A. Register
Fanny Richards
Gustaf Ringdahl
Mrs. Orra S. Rogers
Fletcher Russell
Mrs. Frances T. Sharpe
John Sloan
Mr. & Mrs. Vernon Sloan

At the December 16, 1952 meeting Mr. Escott volunteered to purchase a plaque raised from the U.S.S. Maine for donation to the Society. (When the plaque arrived in March 1953, Mr. Escott was given an honorary life membership.) During this meeting a nominating committee was established consisting of Mrs. Humfries, Mrs. Burney and Mrs. DeFriest.

The committees recommendations were accepted at the January 20, 1953 meeting and the first officers and board members were:

Mr. David Fee- President
Mr. Dewey Crawford- 1st Vice President
Mr. E. C. Collins- 2nd Vice President
Mrs. Alton Register- Secretary
Mr. L. W. Halbe- Treasurer
Mrs. Pearl Chew- Historian
Mrs. Kretschmer
Mrs. Burney
Mrs Humpries
Mr. Will Fee
Mrs. DeFriest
Mrs. Saunders
Miss Summerlin

The name “St. Lucie Historical Society” was reported in our Historical Quarterly as being chosen by Mr. L.B. Halbe and Mr. Dewey Crawford. Both Halbe and Dewey were able lawyers. They thought that if we limited the organization- by calling it the “St. Lucie County Historical Society”, it would not attract as many members as an area organization would. During 1953 the “new” library building was finished and the opening dedication was in 1954 so perhaps everyone was busy with the library at that time, as there were no meetings from August 1953 to June 1955.

By June of 1955 no charter had yet been drawn and at the July meeting Ed Dennison offered to prepare the charter for the Society. Old Historical Quarterly articles report that L.B. Halbe and Mr. Dewey Crawford also worked on getting the charter.

In August two new officers were installed. Mr. Halbe as President and Mr. Rupert Smith as Treasurer. After October of that year, the meetings were changed to the first Tuesday of the month. On November 25, 1955 a charter was granted by Judge. A. O. Kannek.

At that time the purpose of the St. Lucie Historical Society was to encourage and inspire the on-going interest of residents and visitors in the rich heritage of the local community. Emphasis was placed on our County history but also includes the State of Florida’s unique beginnings.

In February 1956 acquisition of the Lowell Hill photography negatives were discussed. It was hoped that “Bean” Backus, a long time friend of the Hill family, might intercede to try and get them for the Society. On June 12, 1956, by-laws were adopted. A board of twelve new directors were chosen. At that same meeting Mrs. Adeline Scharfscwerdt was made Program Committee Chairman. The first record of a “program” was at the August 1956 meeting. Mr. Phillip Platts and Mrs. Clarence Summerlin spoke about early settlers. Other speakers that year were: Judge Sumner, Mrs Tyler and Mr. D. H. Saunders,

Mr. Walter Hellier began to preside as President on August 8, 1957. Mrs. Barbara Ferson was the speaker at that meeting.

In these early years meetings were held at the library around a meeting table. In 1956 a number of meetings were adjourned for the lack of a quorum. Occasionally the meetings were held at members homes. Later meetings were held at the old Southland Cafeteria on 4th Street. Monthly dinner meetings held there with guest speakers and programs helped the Society begin to grow. Just before the Southland closed the Society meetings were moved to the Tradewinds Cafeteria in Searstown. Some of the programs at that time were taped. Meetings began to be held at the Western Steer Steakhouse in the early 80’s.

In May of 1958 Judge Angus Sumner spoke about the capture, killing and burial of four members of the infamous “Ashley Gang”. He showed the pistol and a bullet-riddled $5.00 bill taken from the body of John Ashley.

C.E. Bennett offered in 1958, the use of his “tape recording machine” to tape talks by our speakers. They were to be typed in quadruplicate, one copy going to the county library and one to go to the Florida Historical Society, which had sent us 40 back issues of their Historical Journals in 1952.

The members of the Society met in November 1958 for a covered dish Thanksgiving dinner at the home of Earl Sumners. Dr. Adrian Sample, then president, provided the turkeys for this dinner and for others which were held in November for several years. The following month, Mrs. Carrie Holmes was our speaker along with her daughter, Addie Emerson. Mrs. Holmes was 92 years old at the time.

Our January 1959 speaker was Charlton W. Tebeau, author and Professor of History at the University of Miami, and 73 members were in attendance. In later meetings that year Howard E.C. Hawkins who came from St. Augustine spoke about the F.E.C. Railway. A life time teacher in the Fort Pierce Schools and faithful member of the Society, Adelaide Scharfschwerdt spoke on early schools in the county. Adelaide also served as program chairman for several years and gave a number of programs herself. For the 1959-60 season Mrs. C. E. Bennett became President.

Francis (Fanny) Richards spoke in March of 1960 on the arrival of her grand-father Thomas E. Richards in Eden in 1879 as well as the beginnings of pineapple raising “on the ridge”. Mrs. Howard Taylor, formerly Ethel Fultz, spoke about Spruce Bluff, a place on the north fork of the St. Lucie River (Port St. Lucie), where her father had settled. Some of the graves located there are family members. Ed Merritt had placed a family monument there, and it had been recently vandalized.

The 1960-1961 season brought Mr. John D. Almond Jr. as President. Noted speakers for that year including: Dr. Thelma Peters of Dade Jr. College, Mrs. Bessie DuBois of Jupiter, Mr. William Boehmer and Mr. Charles L. Pierce. Local speakers included P.K. Platts, son of the first doctor in Fort Pierce, spoke of his father’s early days here. Thad Carlton of the Carlton cattle family spoke on the cattle business, and recollections of when drives to Orlando and Punta Rassa lasted from four days to a week. Robert Jernigan spoke on guns and showed items found at the site of the old Fort Pierce.

It would be nearly impossible to separate the histories of the St. Lucie Historical Society, the Historical Commission and the County Historical Museum. Each group shares the same purposes and people.

In May of 1961, after almost a decade of successful activity, the St. Lucie Historical Society petitioned the Board of County Commissioners to create the Historical Commission. Florida law enacted in 1953 specified that such a governmental board was necessary for the collecting, recording and arranging of artifacts and the Society was having many pioneer items offered to them. That year our President was D.H. Saunders.

On September 3, 1963 while C.E Bennett was the Society President, the Historical Commission was created. It consisted of the following members: W. F.”Fannie” Richards- Chairman, Roger Poitras- Secretary, Mrs. Marjorie Silver (later Alder), Mrs. George Cox, N. William Jorgensen, Walter R. Hellier and D.H.”Banty” Saunders.

The Commission now consists of one member appointed by each of the County Commissioners, plus one member from each historical group in the county and several at-large members, for a total of 15 members. The structure of the Historical Commission is scheduled to be changed in 2004-2005. The Commission is not funded by the County, but achieves funding through community support and by selling advertising in its publication, “History Alive”. The Historical Commission had control of the Museum until late 1986, when direct County control was transferred to the Recreation and Parks Department.

During the early years various businesses offered space for the storage or display of the many items given to the Society by local families. Temporary space was provided in the Fort Pierce Utility Building. In nine months a Spanish treasure’s display exhibited there drew 11,500 visitors.

The Society President in 1963 was W. F. Richards. Meetings after March 1964 were conducted under the direction of the next President Ora Cox, at the Tradewinds Cafeteria located on the corner west of the Publix store in Searstown. Soon our meetings overcrowded the Tradewinds and they asked us to come on a different night.

In May 1965 new officers included:

1965-1966

John Almond-President
Charles Cogburn- 1st Vice President
Walter Hellier- 2nd Vice President
Earl Sumner- Treasurer
Mrs. George Cox- Secretary
D.H. “Banty” Saunders
Mrs. L. F. Emerson
Mrs. John DuBois
Dewey Crawford

1966-1967

Charles S. Cogburn-President
John D.Almond Jr.-1st Vice-President
Mrs. L.F. Emerson-Secretary
Linnie Mae Hoskins-Glatz-Treasurer
D.H. “Banty” Saunders-Program Chairman
Mrs. T.J.”Annie” Cobb
Dewey Crawford
Mildred Haines
James W. Normand
Leilia Rieley
Dr. Adrian M. Sample
Mrs. Earl Sumner
Florence Teal

1967-1968

Charles S. Cogburn-President
Raymond Saunders-1st Vice-President
Sam Lawder-2nd Vice-President
James W. Normand-Secretary
N.W. “Bill” Saunders-Treasurer
John D. Almond Jr.
Vivian Davis
Addie Emerson
Walter R. Hellier
Lelia Rieley
Dr. Adrian M. Sample

It was announced at the September 1967 meeting that we now had a “home” for the museum. With help from City Commissioner and manager of station WARN, Sam Lawder the Society had 24 tape recordings of meetings and conversations with old timers. At the April 18, 1968 meeting held at the Trade Winds Cafeteria, the following Board of Directors were named:

1968-1969

John D. Almond Jr.-President
Sam Lawder-1st Vice President
W.F.”Fanny” Richards-2nd Vice President
Florence Teal-Secretary
Annie Brown Cobb-Treasurer
C.H. Combs
Vivian Davis
Walter Hellier
N.W. “Bill” Jogenson
A.A. Marks
Olive Peterson
Raymond Saunders

By 1968 under President J. D. Almond Jr., many of the artifacts were housed in space provided by William G. Tye at #133 in the Arcade Building on 4th Street. In these early years even more items were stored in the Refrigeration Terminal owned by Dorothy Binney Palmer…and more space was needed.

The current St. Lucie County Historical Museum building, at 414 Seaway Drive, had been built by the U.S. government as a Motor Pool for the Amphibious Base which was located in Fort Pierce during World War II. When no longer needed for that purpose, it was turned over to the county. The county used it as the Mosquito Control Center. After a new Mosquito Control Center was built, our present building became available.

The efforts of Mr. Bob Gladwin, then Commodore of the Sea Scout Ship Edwin S. Binney, and Mrs. Addie Emerson, both of whom were members of the Historical Society as well as the Historical Commission led to a five year lease being signed in June of 1968.

The move from the Arcade Building to Seaway Drive was accomplished with lots of help, a great deal of this help came from Sea Scouts. The “cleaning” of the building was a back breaking labor of love on the part of many volunteers.

Mrs. Vivian Davis, a local school teacher and artist, was persuaded to paint murals to serve as background for the various exhibition areas depicting the life of the early community. As interior restorations have taken place through the years, most of these murals have disappeared.

John D. Almond served two more terms as President in 1968 and 1969. The St. Lucie County Historical Museum officially opened on September 17, 1968. Through the years many members of pioneer families have been involved in activities of the Society, the Commission and the Museum.

Mrs. Addie Emerson was the first Museum Director. Her salary was $100 per month. She was followed by Iva Jean Sherman (Maddox) from 1980-82. Iva Jean recalls that at that time there were no screen doors, and the main doors were propped open to ease the heat. Visitors at that time included all the little creatures that lived in the area. Part of the daily activities included chasing them out before closing. In the mid-70’s Bob Gladwin installed a photographic dark room and a decade later a costume room and photo lab were created.

Ed McCarron became the Museum Director after Mrs. Sherman left to continue her studies, he stayed 2 years. In June of 1985 the much appreciated air conditioning was installed. That same summer the Treasure Room was created and the Register/Gardner house was moved to the property.

The next director was Scott Loehr from 1985-88. In 1987 the small gift shop area blossomed into the “Pineapple Patch”, under the guidance of Mrs. Marion Ames. Mr. Ed Swanson became Superintendent of Museums just in time to oversee the massive building program of 1989. In June and July of 1990, while David Helms accomplished preliminary construction, Bob Drumm designed interior renovations. A renovation of the main museum and the creation of the train room and the vehicle sheds were completed in 1991.

The Museum currently operates under the supervision of the St. Lucie Cultural Affairs Office directed by Mr. Jon Ward. Ms. Patti Raffensberger is the Special Facilities Manager. The staff includes: Iva Jean Maddox-Superintendent, DeeDee Roberts-Supervisor, Ann Sinnott who oversees educational activities, other employees includes Una Wera, Roz Monahan and Norma Brand. Numerous volunteers assist in the day to day operations of the facility and many others participate in special activities.

Other activities include the presentation of timely special events and occasional fund-raisers. The Museum Gift Shop is the on-going financial arm of the Society. Profits are used to support the programs and projects of the Museum.

Rueben Carlton served as President in 1970 followed by two term President Vivian Davis in 1971 and 1972. In 1973 our President was Mrs. Albert McClintock.

1974-1975

Isabel McClintock- President
Edith Reed- 1st Vice President
Helen DeFiest- 2nd Vice President
Addie Emerson- Secretary
R.C. Boynton- Treasurer
Vivian Davis
Lee Keen
William Taylor
Robert Gladwin
Cornelia Keen
Albert McClintock
Raymond Saunders

1975-1976

Maude Coffee- President
Martha Sutton- 1st Vice President
William Taylor- 2nd Vice President
Ruby Hawkins- Secretary
Mrs. E.C. Burrows- Treasurer
Cornelia King
Helen DeFriest
Edith Reed
Raymond Saunders
Claude Davis
Harold Ankeny
Astor Summerlin

1976-1977

Maude Coffee- President
Roland Poppell- 1st Vice President
Fred Glaeser- 2nd Vice President
Claudia Taylor- Secretary
R.C. Boynton- Treasurer
Addie Emerson
Claude Davis
R.R. Varnes
Florence Teal
Vivian Davis
Raymond Saunders
Ruby Hawkins

Through the 70’s museum staffers and Society members conducted historical tours. Our bicentennial project in 1976 was the publication of the Pictorial History of St. Lucie County which was largely funded by Sun Bank. It was illustrated with photographs from negatives of the Hill Photographic Concern. In that year an effort was made by the Society to get the Federal Post Office to put out a postage stamp honoring Benjamin Pierce.

1977-1978

Kyle Van Landingham-President
Roland Poppell-1st Vice-President & President
Claude Davis-2nd Vice-President
R.C.”Buddy” Boynton-Treasurer
Addie H. Emerson-Secretary
Harold Ankeny
Maude Coffee
Vivian Davis
Bill Mims
Marjorie Smithers
Aster Summerlin
Florence Teal
Regnald Varnes

At the June meeting of 1977 the Board raised the price of membership to $3.00 and $5.00 for couples. The Treasurer’s report that month indicated a balance of $106.18 in the General account and $1,736.46 in the Book and Stationary account. The Society was asked to participate in the activities of the Dedication of the County Civic Center and Court House Complex on November 11-13, 1977. Most of the programs in 1977 were concerning the early forts and the Indian wars. Life Memberships were given to Mrs. Maude Coffee and Mr. Charles Miley. President Kyle Van Landingham resigned as President in February of 1978 as he was appointed County Attorney of Okeechobee County.

1978-1979

Lucille Rights-President
Roland Popell-1st Vice President
Claude Davis-2nd Vice President
R.C. Boynton-Treasurer
Addie H. Emerson-Secretary
Vivian Davis
Gregory Luke
Bill Mims
Marjorie Smithers
Florence Teal
Kyle Van Landingham
Regnald Varnes

A letter from the University of Florida was read at the June 20, 1978 meeting asking for contributions for a Scholarship in the memory of Zora Neale Hurston, Black teacher and writer who lived and taught school in Ft. Pierce and who is buried here. A collection was taken at the meeting and brought in $21.00. At the February 20, 1979 meeting a letter from Doroty Binney Palmer was read, she lamented the rapid growth of progress and the loss of Florida’s natural beauty. She declined our request to make a tape of her experiences of early St. Lucie County. At the April meeting a special greeting was given to the newly wed Mr. Regnald Varnes and Miss Cornelia Keen Varnes, they are both staffers at the Museum. Also at that meeting a copy of the book “Our Worthy Commander” was presented to Miss Roberta Rights for designing a banner for the Society. The banner relates or symbolizes the history of the County. Center-gold Spanish coin, background-blue waters of the Indian River, old Fort Pierce at the base of the coin, with fringe on the bottom to represent the fishnets used in our waters.

1979-1980

Lucille Rights-President
Claude Davie-1st Vice President
Gregory Luke-2nd Vice President
R.C. Boynton-Treasurer
Marjorie Smithers-Treasurer
Donald Moore-Secretary
Montra Davis
Addie H. Emerson
Ruby Hawkins
Bill Mims
Betty Ptacek
Marjorie Smithers
Florence Teal
Kyle Van Landingham
Olive Dame Peterson
Regnald Varnes
Hazel Woolard

R.C. Boyton resigned at the November 16, 1979 meeting and Olive Dame Peterson was appointed to the Board. At the January 1980 meeting Bill Mims resigned and Betty Ptacek was appointed to the Board. The Society participated in the 75th-Diamond Jubilee of the Cucumber Festival on January 19-20,1980 by selling Conch Chowder, coffee, cold drinks doughnuts and plants. In April of 1980 our Society joined the Florida Historical Society and the Florida Historical Confederation.

1980-1981

Greg Luke-President
Donald Moore-1st Vice President
Lucille Right-2nd Vice-President
Marjorie Smithers-Treasurer
Betty Ptacek-Secretary
Montra Davis
Deche Hamill
Ruby Hawkins
Ann Lott
Virginia McSurley
Olive Dame Peterson
Jack Roberts
Iva Jean Sherman
Hazel Woolard

Addie Emerson retired from the Museum and the Society hosted a party. Much discussion was done in the fall of 1980 over a historical dig which was being done in Sebastian. Members from our Society who were taking an active part in the dig included Lucille Rights, Annie Nobles Miller, Josephine Futch, Pete and Olive Peterson. Thirty old homes and buildings were visited and plaques placed on them. Board members Virginia McSurley and Ann Lott resigned in December 1980, Deche Hamill and Jack Roberts were appointed in March of 1981 to finish their terms.

1981-1982

Greg Luke-President
Donald Moore-1st Vice President
Iva Jean Sherman-2nd Vice-President
Marjorie Smithers-Treasurer
Betty Ptacek-Secretary
Montra Davis
Bob Gladwin
Deche Hamill
Ruby Hawkins
Olive Dame Peterson
Lucille Rights
Jack Roberts
Hazel Woolard

The Society donated $100 to the local Youth History Fair in November of 1981. At that same meeting the decision was made to establish a fund to purchase and maintain a living historical home representative of the area.

In May of 1982 there were 72 members including 5 life memberships. A picnic was also held in May at the home of Christine and Bob Gladwin. Each attendee received a Key Lime tree as a remembrance of the event.

1982-1983

Jack Roberts-President
Marge Smithers-1st Vice President
Charles White-2nd Vice-President
Deche Hamill-Treasurer
Helen Ritchie-Secretary
Alice Edgell
Addie Emerson
Greg Luke
Olive Dame Peterson
Betty Ptacek
Lucille Rights

September of 1982 brought the resignation of Iva Jean Sherman as Museum Director, Dane Jones took her place until November, when he reigned due to poor health. Addie Emerson was named as temporary Director. In December of 1982 there were 104 members including 5 life members. It was also announced in December that Ed McCarron was hired as the new Museum Director. The Society focused on membership and by June 1983 had added an additional 97 members. Dues at that time were $3.00 and $5.00 per couple. Meetings were being held at the Western Steer Steakhouse.

1983-1984

Charles “Buck” White- President
Carla Parrish- 1st Vice President
Alice Edgell- 2nd Vice-President
Deche Hamill-Treasurer
Helen Ritchie-Secretary
Addie Holmes Emerson- Historian
Ruby Hawkins- Historian
John Durham
Bob Gladwin
Greg Luke
Ed McCarron
O.C. Peterson
Olive Peterson
Betty Ptacek
Catherine Rights
Lucille R. Rights
Cynthia Putnam-Trefelner
Bob Tylander

Several fund raising events where held to support the Cobb House Project. These included Bake sales, plant sales, Christmas card sales, rummage sales and an antique clothes fashion show held in September 1983 at the Pelican Yacht Club.

The Peter P. Cobb House was moved on December 20, 1983, from its original site on Indian River Drive to its new location next to the Historical Museum. The cost to move the house was $6,400 and the contract to move it was signed with Grover Fletcher of Roseland in November. (Sadly it burned to the ground on November 16, 1984).

To Addie

On November 2, 1983, Addie Holmes Emerson died peacefully in her sleep. Born a cattleman’s daughter in Ft. Drum, 82 years ago, she shared the memories of those early days with us: the welcoming ranch house, visiting Indians with Polly Parker, and cow camps with hard working cowboys on the open range.

The Holmes family moved to Ft. Pierce when Addie was seven years old because her parents desired a good education for their children. She attended the old wooden school on North 2nd Street near Cobbs Store. When the new modern yellow brick school on Delaware Avenue opened in 1915, Addie was there.

Her Family operated Holmes Casino and Pool where most of Fort Pierce youths learned to swim. And Addie was there.

She grew up, married Linsey Emerson, raised her children Tom and Pugie, worked with her church and community in Fort Pierce, and stored memories. But in 1968 when she became Director of the St. Lucie County Historical Museum, she helped put all those memories back into life. And for thousands of adults and children, visitors and residents, she was Mrs. St. Lucie History because she lived that history, remembered that history and told all of us “how it was”. And we knew it would never be that way again.

1984-1985

Marjorie Smithers-President
Catherine Rights-President
Helen Richie- 1st Vice President
Alyce C. Edgell-2nd Vice President
Carla Parrish- Recording Secretary
Allerdyce A. Hamill- Treasurer
Ruby Hawkins- Historian
Robert Tylander
Buck White
Phyllis Kennon

Dues are raised to single membership at $5.00 and $8.00 for couples and there were 350 active members.

To Marjorie Smither- President

Marge served on the Historical Society board for about 10 years. In past years she had served as Treasurer. Marge accepted the office of President and was installed in June 1984, when she conducted her first and last regular membership meeting. During the summer she held several board meetings, and initiated plans for the coming year. Feeling exhausted, she entered the Daystar home in Fort Lauderdale. After the Cobb house was destroyed by fire, she resigned due to health reasons. On November 28, 1984 she passed away.

1985-1986

Catherine Rights- President
Carla Parrish- 1st Vice President
Deche Hammill- 2nd Vice President
Marion Ames-Recording Secretary
Joe Mannion- Recording Secretary
Carmen Peterson-Corresponding Secretary
Christine Gladwin- Treasurer
Ruby Hawkins- Historian
Betty Lou Wells- Parliamentarian
Rachael Cook
William Guthrie
Alice Edgell
Scott Loehr
Marge Oliver
O.C. Peterson
Honey Trefelner
Robert Tylander

The Gardner House is moved to the Historical Museum property on July 18th 1985. Meetings are held with Taylor Publishing as work begins on our book. Membership rises to 397 by December of 1985. A rummage sale in June raises $1,700 for restoration of the Gardner House.

At the September 18, 1985 general meeting, Scott Loehr the new Museum Director, and his wife Diane were introduced to the membership. At the October 15, 1985 meeting Marion Ames is introduced as the new Recording Secretary, as Mr. Mannion has moved to Fort Worth. With the current membership reported as 397 at the November 19, 1985 meeting, it was noted with regret that Annie Brown Cobb who was from one of Fort Pierce’s early families had passed away during the past month. Honorary Life memberships were given to the Gardner family members at that meeting as well.

1986-1987

David Cleveland- President
Catherine Rights 1st Vice- President
Diane Loehr- 2nd Vice President
Marion Ames-Recording Secretary
Carmen Peterson- Corresponding Secretary
Christine Gladwin-Treasurer
Ruby Hawkins- Historian
Marge Oliver- Parliamentarian
Rachel Cook
Alyce Edgall
W.S. “Stu” Godfrey
William Guthrie
Joan Lobe
Betty Ptacek
Honey Trefelner
Bob Tylander

A Cracker Party and auction at the Gardner House was held on November 8th. A fun and profitable event, resulting in $2574.91 for the Historical Society’s use. Other activities for the year included one hundred and forty-nine volunteer hours which were given by members manning the St. Lucie Historical Society booth at the County Fair.

Robert U. Gladwin gave the Museum 200 glass plates from the Hill collection which he had kept for many years. He had been alerted to them by Mrs. Dorothy Gortner, when her cousin Catheryn had come to clean up the studio.

The Membership Directory published during this season states that the following have received Life Memberships: Walter Hellier*, D. Howard “Banty” Saunders*, Vivian Davis, Billy Osceola*, Robert U. Gladwin, Kyle VanLandingham, Addie Holmes Emerson*, Maude Coffee, Charles S. Miley*. (*Deceased) Honorary Memberships have been awarded to Mr. & Mrs. Maurice “Buddy” Gardner, son Dan Gardner and Mr. James Spooner.

1987-1988

David M. Cleveland- President
Richard D. Schmidt- 1st Vice President
Alyce C. Edgell- 2nd Vice President
Virginia Spiotto- Recording Secretary
Joan Lobe- Corresponding Secretary
Marge Oliver- Treasurer
Ruby Hawkins- Historian
Christine Gladwin- Parliamentarian
W.S. “Stu” Godfrey
Robert D. Tylander
Marion Ames
Diane Loehr
Robert Terry Jr.
Justine Roberts

Yearly dues are raised to $7.00 for individuals and $10.00 for couples. The membership stood at 283 for the year, possibly affected by the lack of a regular meeting place at that time.

A cookbook entitled “Tasty Treasures” was published in the spring. This cookbook included a look at bygone years and a copy of an original drawing by local Marine artist Bruce Elliott graced the cover. There was also a “Cracker” recipe section. The first historical Calendar of Saint Lucie County was printed for 1988. After 27 months and some $60,000 (cash and in-kind services) the Gardner House opened.

To Robert U. “Bob” Gladwin

Robert U. “Bob” Gladwin passed away on November 20th, 1988. His years of service with the Sea Scouts, the St. Lucie Historical Society, The Historical Commission and the St. Lucie County Historical Museum touched many lives. Bob’s diligence, dreams and hard work have helped produce a place where our past can be preserved and revered, so that all of us can go on to a brighter, more informed future.

1988-1989

Richard Schmidt-President
Ed Swanson- 1st Vice President
Cathy Rights Browning- 2nd Vice President
Bridgette Abernathy- Treasurer
Jeanette Wilus- Secretary
Christine Gladwin- Parlimentarian
Rudy Hawkins- Historian
David Cleveland
Melody Edwards
E. L. Adams
W. S. Godfrey
Justine Roberts

A new meeting place, the First Christian Church was established in September of 1988. Meetings were held on the third Tuesday and meals were provided for $6.00 each. There was also a 1989 Historical Calendar printed, just before Christmas.

1989-1990

Dick Schmidt- President
Hertha Bisher- 1st Vice President
Justine Roberts- 2nd Vice President
Jeanette Willis- Recording Secretary
Bridget Abernathy- Treasurer
Cathy Gladwin- Corresponding Secretary
Edith Luke- Historian
George Gibbons
Larry Adams
Bob Ames
Cathy Browning
Alyce Edgell
Christine Gladwin
Jim Heffelfinger
Elsa Sickler

Plans for the Bob Gladwin Memorial Garden were launched. The first tree for the garden was purchased in memory of life member Vivian Davis from donations made in her memory. Her murals graced the walls of the Museum. The estimated cost for the Garden was $4,000. The Society lost several active members in 1989, including; William “Bill” Taylor, Maude Coffee, Martha Stoudt, and Minnie Brook. Other plans set in motion in 1989 include the “Train Room” construction.

In the spring of 1990 the St. Lucie Historical Society booth at the St. Lucie County Fair took a Rosette! This award is given for “Best of Theme” which was “Something to Remember”. Rachel Cook, Chairperson, did a lot of research on the history of the St. Lucie County Fair through the years, from its beginning in 1965. Using this material she put together an excellent outline of the growth and development of the Fair. With the help of Ed Swanson (Museum Director) and Allan King (Registrar). This outline formed the backdrop for the St. Lucie Historical Society Booth.

1990-1991

John Helseth- President
Hertha Bisher- 1st Vice President
George Gibbons- 2nd Vice President
Jeanette Willis- Recording Secretary
Cathy Gladwin- Corresponding Secretary
Allardyce Hamill- Treasurer
Elsa Sickler- Parliamentarian
Alyce Edgell- Historian
Bridgett Abernathy- Cookbook Committee
L.B. “Jim” Heffelfinger- Publicity
Dick Schmidt- Fire Engine Muster
Hertha Bisher- 1st Vice President
Larry Adams
Bob Ames
Cathy Browning
Christine Gladwin
Pat Hughes

Several fund raising events are held by the Society to try and raise $10,000, which was the anticipated cost of the Bob Gladwin Memorial Garden. These events included a fish fry in June, and a Cracker Party in October, featuring Seminole food.

1991-1992

John Helseth- President
Catherine Browning- 1st Vice President
George Gibbons- 2nd Vice President
Jo Anne Holman- Recording Secretary
Allardyce Hamill- Treasurer
Jeanette Willis- Corresponding Secretary
Elsa Sickler- Parliamentarian
Alyce Edgell- Historian
Bridgett Abernathy- Cookbook Committee
L.B. “Jim” Heffelfinger- Publicity
Dick Schmidt- Fire Engine Muster
Hertha Bisher
Larry Adams
Kathy Gladwin
Donald Studholme

 

To Maurice “Buddy” Gardner

Fort Pierce lost one of its finest in November 1991, when Maurice “Buddy” Gardner was taken by death. “Buddy” was a life member of the Historical Society, and he and his family donated the Gardner House to the Museum. He came to Fort Pierce in 1923. This is where he met and married his childhood sweetheart, Bertha Boese. She was the love of his life. They were married for 57 years before his death. They owned the Gardner House for 50 years, living in it for 47 years. He worked for Dr. Mandaville, who was an Optician for 16 years. In 1949 he made a career change and went to work for the city of Fort Pierce in the Utilities Collections Department, where he stayed for 20 years. “Buddy” will be missed a lot, but every time any of us look at the Gardner House, we can think about “Buddy” and his family and all the many happy hours they spent there.
The Dedication of the Memorial Garden was held on September 21, 1991. Other events included a “fire Engine Muster/Antique Car Show” held in October and a Cracker Party at the home of Dale and Cynthia Trefelner on November 16.

 

To Buck (Charles) White

Buck (Charles) White, past president of the St. Lucie Historical Society, died on April 13, 1992 of pancreatic cancer. After retiring from the Federal Government in Washington D.C., Buck moved to Fort Pierce around 1980, and was active in many political and social organizations.

During his two year term as president, Buck organized and had printed the first Membership Directory for this Society, took an active role with the St. Lucie County Historical Commission in moving the Cobb House to the Museum, and tried to meet and greet, or speak to each member at our dinner meetings.

1992-1993

Catherine Browning- President

The Society cleverly commemorated its 40th anniversary at its November 17, 1992 meeting with a fashion show depicting the styles of clothing worn in our area. Starting with an 1837 soldier and his lady (Bob Whitelay and Nellie Hallstrom), an early settler’s (Charles Gibbons and Hertha Bisher), Seminole warrior and squaw (Ed Swanson and Helen King), F.E.C. conductor and female passenger (Allan King and DeeDee Roberts), with Captain Richards (George Gibbons) seeing her off. Joe College in a racoon coat with a flapper girl (Allan King and Nellie Hallstrom), the Ashley gang (Charles and George Gibbons), and lastly a 1943 U.S. Navy sailor and his bobby-socked girlfriend (Stan and Margaret Wisniewski). Narrated by Ada Coats Williams and written by Ed Swanson and Allan King.
1993-1994

Alyce Edgell- President
Elsa Sickler- 1st Vice President
Deche Hamill- Treasurer
Marion Reed- Recording Secretary
Jeanette Willis- Corresponding Secretary
Marcie Hake- Parliamentarian
Frances Gibbons
Hertha Bisher- Commission Representative
Jack Meany
Larry Adams
Carolyn Jones
Lorena Bussey
Thomas Eliassen
Wendell K. Bishop
Lurene Gibbons

Membership was at 325 in March of 1994. Dennis Dawson agreed to chair the St. Lucie County History Fair. In February the Society honored the Museum volunteers with a dinner and awards. The Society lost six members in as many months these included Preston Burnett, Mary Coleman, George Gibbons and Bruce Roberts.

In the Spring of 1994, Alyce Cleveland Edgell our Society President, and her husband Robert Charles Edgell were lost in a double tragedy. Alyce had been an active participant in the Society, as well as the editor of the Historical Quarterly. Both these dedicated people poured their hearts into the preservation and promotion of our local history.

To Alyce Cleveland and Robert Charles Edgell

In the Spring of 1994, Alyce Cleveland Edgell our Society President, and her husband Robert Charles Edgell were lost in a double tragedy. Alyce had been an active participant in the Society, as well as the editor of the Historical Quarterly. Both these dedicated people poured their hearts into the preservation and promotion of our local history.

1994-1995

Carolyn Jones- President
Wendy Bishop- 1st Vice President
Lurene Gibbons- 2nd Vice President
Deche Hamill- Treasurer
Marion Reed- Recording Secretary
Jeanette Willis- Corresponding Secretary
Marcie Hale- Parlimentarian
Larry Adams
Hertha Bishop- Commission Representative
Lorena Bussey
Tom Eliassen
Charles Gibbons
Frances Gibbons
John (Jack) Meany
Elsa Sickler

The long awaited 192 page, 300,000 word, over 300 photo, Backus print covered – A Portrait of St. Lucie County, Florida by Lucille Reiley Rights is completed. Publication is made possible with the help of Riverside Bank. Retail price is set at $30.00.

The Memorial Garden benefits by the addition of the “Florindia” mule watering trough. Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Neill, the trough had been on the Edwin and Alice Stead Binney home site, bounded on the north by Indrio Road.

Sale of the First Christian Church brought to a close our many years of meeting there. We presented them with a plaque in appreciation for their hospitality. Fortunately, the Elks Club manager LeRoy Lamb made room for us at the same price.

 

To Jack Meany

The St. Lucie Historical Society Board as well as the Museum lost a productive friend in January of 1995. Jack Meany, in his commitment to the Museum also involved his wife Carolyn. He was a superb modeler and assisted in the efforts to recreate the town of Fort Pierce in scale for the Museum. Jack was thoughtful and considerate with much concern for the welfare of the museum.

 

1995-1996

Carolyn Jones- President
Wendy Bishop- 1st Vice President
Carolyn Meany- 2nd Vice President
Deche Hamill- Treasurer
Marion Reed- Recording Secretary
Kathy Gladwin- Corresponding Secretary
Marcie Hale- Parliamentarian
Lorena Bussey
Tom Eliassen
Charles Gibbons
Lurene Gibbons
Alma Carraway
Fern Blessing
Harold Holtsburg
Donald Moore

1996-1997

Carolyn Jones- President
Wendy Bishop-1st Vice President
Carolyn Meany 2nd Vice President
Marion Reed- Recording Secretary
Deche Hamill-Treasurer
Larry Adams
Ferne Blessing
Lorena Bussey
Cathy Gladwin
Dennis Dawson
Tom Eliassen
Havert Fenn
Charles Gibbons
Lurene Gibbons
Marcia Hale
Harold Holtsburg
Harvey Smallman

1997-1998

Dennis Dawson- President
Wendy Bishop- 1st Vice President
Carolyn Meany 2nd Vice President
Allardyce Hamill- Treasurer
Marion Reed- Recording Secretary
Kathy Gladwin- Corresponding Secretary
Marcie Hale- Parliamentarian
Lorena Bussey- Historian
Larry Adams
Ferne Blessing
Havert Fenn
Charles Gibbons
Lurene Gibbons
Harold Holtsberg
Carolyn Jones
Harvey Smallman

Our Society had a booth at Party in the Park in November. A very festive Christmas Party was held at the Gardner House. During the Christmas event an auction of commissioned watercolors of historical sites in the County were offered as well as a painting by Susan Cassens. The Society paid $1,000 toward the fee for the Tuskegee Airman Exhibit to be shown at the Museum. Mr. Charles Hill Jr., who was a member of this famous group spoke at our January 20, 1998 meeting. He and his wife who had served as a 1st Lieutenant in the WACS now live in Port St. Lucie. An adult History Camp was held in the spring.

1998-1999

Dennis Dawson- President
Marion Reed-Recording Secretary
Allardyce Hamill- Treasurer
Wendy Bishop
Ferne Blessing
Lorena Bussey
Judith Cox
Havert Fenn
Charles Gibbons
Kathy Gladwin
Marcie Hale
Harold Holtsberg
Maggie Minchew
Harvey Smallman
George Sparling

Ed Swanson announced he would be leaving on the 23rd of October 1998, and a new director had not been found at that time.

The Society worked with the Florida Humanities Council to produce a video on the life of Zora Hurston. In May 1999, the Society joined the Confederation for the Preservation and Restoration of Historic Sites.

1999-2000

Dennis Dawson- President
Wendy Bishop- 1st Vice President
Maggie Minchew- 2nd Vice President
Allardyce Hamill- Treasurer
Marion Reed- Recording Secretary
Kathy Gladwin- Corresponding Secretary
Marcie Hale- Parliamentarian
Lorena Bussey- Historian
Bill Blessing
Ferne Blessing
Debby Brothers
Charles Croghan
Havert Fenn
Charles Gibbons
Harold Holtsberg
Harvey Smallman
George Sparling

The Society participated in “Party in the Park” and co-sponsored the “Arts Along These Waters” cultural festival. The Society hosted a volunteer dinner, which was well received. Bill and Ferne Blessing, managers of the Pineapple Patch are forced to resign from their position due to Bill’s ill health. Meetings were changed from the third Tuesday to the third Thursday of the month.

2000-2001

Dennis Dawson- President
Maggie Minchew- 2nd Vice President
Allardyce Hamill- Treasurer
Glenn Carraway- Recording Secretary
Deborah Brothers- Corresponding Secretary
Charles Croghan- Parliamentarian
Rosetta Carraway- Historian
Kathy Gladwin
Harold Holtsberg
Rosalind Monahan
Harvey Smallman
LaRue Smallman
George Sparling
Jane Sparling

2001-2002

Dennis Dawson- President
Maggie Minchew- 2nd Vice President
Allardyce Hamill- Treasurer
Glenn Carraway- Recording Secretary
Deborah Brothers- Corresponding Secretary
Charles Crogan- Parliamentarian
Rosetta Carraway- Historian
Rosalind Monahan
Patricia A. Foreman
George Sparling
Harvey Smallman
LaRue Smallman
Jane Sparling
Lorena Bussey
Marlene Sherwin

Board member Pat Foreman designed our booth at “Party In The Park VII”. Held November 3, 2001 at Ft. Pierce Inlet State Recreation Area. The theme of the event, was of course, trees.

Society members participated in and enjoyed the “Freedom Schooner Amistad Visit” held December 6-15, 2001. Our County Historical Museum lent space for the visiting Amistad Exhibit. Close to 5000 people enjoyed a free tour through the ship as well as the Historical Museum.

East Coast Lumber celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a special exhibit, which opened on May 10, 2002.

Historical Society Board of Directors prepare culinary delights for members and special guests who attended the East Coast Lumber Exhibit opening.
L-R Deche Hamill, Kitty Hooper, Lorena Bussey, Pat Foreman, Rosetta Carraway.

2002-2003

Patricia A. Foreman- President
Charles Croghan-1st Vice President
Maggie Minchew-2nd Vice President
Allardyce Hamill-Treasurer
Marion Reed-Recording Secretary
Marcie Hale-Parliamentarian
Tom Baumker-Historian
Lorena Bussey
Harold Holtsberg
Kitty Hooper
Rosalind Monahan
Marlene Sherwin
Michael Simone
LaRue Smallman
George Sparling
Jane Sparling

In May 2002 during the transition month, money was put aside for a new mannequin of Benjamin Pierce to be placed in the Museum Fort Room. In addition that month we held a reception at the Museum for the opening of the East Coast Lumber Centennial Exhibit.

Due to the efforts of Roz Monahan throughout the 2002-2003 season, we enjoyed a slate of exceptional speakers and special guests. The season’s speakers were: George Blythe, Jim Moses, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Mike Colton and Ken Linstad, Michael Simpson with his Lincoln Park Academy Quartet, Jennifer Futch-Nash, Havert Fenn, Ramon Trias and Dr.Mulanax.

Our Society also participated in outside events. These events are a great opportunity for exposure of the Society’s purposes and communicates our commitment to the community. During this season we had booths at: Party in the Park, the Port Saint Lucie Fall Festival and the Port St. Lucie Historical Society’s Cowhunters and Native Americans Event. This past season we have developed 10 history “story boards”, which can be used for several years at educational or exhibiting events.

The Society began two new “projects” this season. We awarded a Scholarship to a student attending Indian River Community College and hope to have the funds to do so each year. As we have for many years we again sponsored the local schools History Fair, but in February 2003 we awarded the first place winners Honorary Membership in the Society. Other activities of the Society included Museum events: Family Fun Day in conjunction with the opening of the “More than the Mouse Exhibit” and the Girl Scout “Her Story”.

We worked with author Ada Coates Williams in an attempt to republish her A Brief History of St. Lucie County. She has put that project on hold until she is able to get a release from Arcadia Publishing, who published her latest book.

2003-2004

Patricia A. Foreman-President
Rosalind Monahan-1st Vice President
Charles Croghan-2nd Vice President
Charlotte “Fran” Mee-Treasurer
Jeanette Willis-Recording Secretary
Maggie Minchew-Corresponding Secretary
Harold Holtsberg-Parliamentarian
Lorena Bussey-Historian
Tom Baumker
Cathy Gladwin
Allardyce Hamill
Kitty Hooper
Michael Simone
Marlene Sherwin
George Sparling
Jane Sparling

On September 2, 2003 the Society was informed that a final distribution of $263,333.33 from the Ruth Hallstrom Trust would be transferred to our AG Edwards account by way of SunTrust stock. The Society will be forever grateful to our special benefactor.

The October Board meeting brought a request from Education Specialist Anne Sinnott and $500. was allocated for the Museums History on Tour (HOT) traveling trunk program. The Society participated in a very rainy Party in the Park event in the fall of 2003, we were one of the lucky groups, as we were in a covered area.

Three new name plaques were placed in the Memorial Garden in the spring of 2004, Donald Studholme, Ruth Hallstrom and Charles Gibbons. The Society also financed a historical video of Ms. Carlton Humphries presentation about cow hunter history, which was presented at one of the Museum’ educational programs for volunteers.

A scholarship for $1,800 was awarded to Nicole Andreoli a senior at Westwood High for the fall semester at IRCC.

2004-2005

Nancy Bennett
Lorena Bussey
Dell Cook
Charles Croghan
Patricia Foreman
Elinor Gersony
Kathy Gladwin
Allardyce Hamill
Harold Holtsberg
Kitty Hooper
James Macomber
Maggie Minchew
Rosalind Monahan
Marlene Sherwin
Michael Simone

2005-2006

President- Brad Culverhouse
1st Vice President- Dennis Dawson
2nd Vice President- Dell Cook
Recording Secretary- Susan Stans
Corresponding Secretary- Nancy Bennett
Treasurer- Deche Hamill
Parliamentarian- Harold Holtsberg
Historian- Lorena Bussey
Richard Goff
Kitty Hooper
James Macomber
Marilyn Minix
Rosalind Monahan
Michael Simone
Betsy Yates

2006-2007

President- Brad Culverhouse
1st Vice President- Dell Cook
2nd Vice President- Charles Croghan
Recording Secretary- Cynthis Putnam Crankshaw
Corresponding Secretary- Nancy Bennett
Treasurer- Naomi Bernstein
Parliamentarian- Harold Holtsberg
Historian- Lorena Bussey
Dennis Dawson
Richard Goff
Kitty Hooper
James Macomber
Marilyn Minix
Michael Simone

2007-2008

President- Brad Culverhouse
1st Vice President- John Culverhouse
2nd Vice President- Sue Favorite
Recording Secretary- Deborah Billis
Corresponding Secretary/Treasurer- Cynthia Putnam Crankshaw
Parliamentarian- Dorran Russell
Historian- Jack Favorite

Board of Directors:

Lisa Bell
Nancy Bennett
Kitty Hooper
Lorena Bussey
Marilyn Minix
Cynthia Putnam Crankshaw
Michael Simone
Joe Crankshaw
Brad Culverhouse
John Culverhouse
Jack Favorite
Sue Favorite
Harold Holtsberg
Maggie Minchew
Dorran Russell

2008-2009

President: Brad Culverhouse
First Vice President: John Culverhouse
Second Vice President: Sue Favorite
Secretary: Deborah Billis
Treasurer: Cynthia Putnam Crankshaw
Parliamentarian: Maggie Minchew
Historian/Chaplain: Jack Favorite
Quarterly Editor: Charles Croghan

Board of Directors:
Lisa Bell
Nancy Bennett
Deborah Billis Lorena Bussey
Cynthia Putnam Crankshaw
Joe Crankshaw
Brad Culverhouse
John Culverhouse
Jack Favorite
Sue Favorite
Maggie Minchew
Marilyn Minix
Michael Simone
Johnny H. Stram, Jr.

2010-2011

President: Nancy Bennett
First Vice President: John Gordon
Second Vice President: Sue Favorite
Secretary: Deborah Billis
Corresponding Secretary: Robyn Hutchinson
Treasurer: Cynthia Putnam Crankshaw
Parliamentarian: Maggie Minchew
Historian/Chaplain: Jack Favorite
Quarterly Editor: Charles Croghan

Board of Directors:
Nancy Bennett
Deborah Billis
Bob Burdge
Lorena Bussey
Cynthia Putnam Crankshaw
Joe Crankshaw
Brad Culverhouse
John Culverhouse
Jack Favorite
Sue Favorite
John Gordon
Maggie Minchew
Marilyn Minix
Lucille Rights
Wes Taylor