Francis Langford’s Peacocks Along the Indian River Lagoon….

Peacock sits in Francis Langford's Royal Poinciana Tree. Photo gift to Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch from worker on Mrs Langford's Estate, 2005.
Peacock sits in Francis Langford’s Royal Poinciana Tree, Rio. Photo, gift to Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch from worker on Mrs Langford’s Estate, 2005.

My father’s parents, Tom and Jane Thurlow, moved to the warm breezes of Stuart, Florida, along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon in 1952. They were coming from the cold winds and snow of Syracuse, New York. My grandfather was no “spring chicken;” he was 46 years old.

My grandparents have passed now, but I remember multiple conversations with them when in my youth when they would take me to “Francis Langford’s Polynesian Outrigger Resort,” today’s Dolphin Bar, on the north edge of Sewall’s Point in Jensen. During these special outings I would always ask the same question:

How was it that you moved to Stuart?

My grandparents racing their beloved sailboat. (Family photos, 1950s, Thurlow.)
My grandparents racing their beloved sailboat. (Family photos, 1950s, Thurlow.)

My grandparents would look at each other and smile, and then my grandfather would talk about how he refused to shovel anymore show, and how one day after great thought, he put aside his law practice, hooked the “Lightning” sail boat to the back of the station wagon; put my grandmother and the two young kids in the car…Oh yes, along with the dog, “Tanya,” a great dane; a mother cat with two kittens in box; and “Mary B,” my great grandmother, and drove down to Stuart, an area they had raced sailboats before….their beloved hobby.

About this time my grandmother would chime in that once while in Jensen, they went to “Francis Langford’s Outrigger Resort,” which reminded them of where they had been married, Bermuda, and John Hall, who played “Tarzan,” and Francis Langford, who had sung to the troops in World War II, and was a famous movie star of their era, owned the restaurant back then….. My aging, beautiful, grandmother, with a smile on her face, then told the story of Francis Langford and John Hall’s pink Cadillac, and how one night after a few cocktails, the couple drove them around the few roads of Jensen and Stuart in the 1950s. What fun! According to my grandmother, after the “ride” in the pink Cadillac,  they “were hooked,” and moved to Stuart soon after in 1952.

Francis Langford and husband Jon Hall, who played the role of Tarzan. (Public AP photo.)
Francis Langford and husband John Hall, who played the role of Tarzan. (Public AP photo.)

After my grandparents passed away, the legend of Francis Langford and the remnants of her Polynesian Outrigger Resort, took on an even greater romanticism in my mind. For me,  the essence of this era and my grandparents were symbolized in the Francis Langford’s remaining peacocks I would often see prancing around Jensen—- all of which are descendents of a pair which she brought to Jensen in the 1940s.

You may remember, that in 2001, some people in Rio/Jensen complained about her 100 or so peacocks that roamed freely on her 60 acres and often jumped, flew or walked to neighboring Sewall’s Point. Often, 707 would be backed up as drivers stopped to allow the menagerie  to slowly pass…

Peacock showing his feathers. Public photo.
Peacock dispalying  his feathers. Public photo.
A n afternoon visitor, 2008, Sewall's Point. (Photo JTL)
An afternoon visitor, 2008, Sewall’s Point. (Photo JTL)
Peahen in Sewall's Point at my house on Ed's car, 2008. Photo JTL.
Peacock in Sewall’s Point at my house on Ed’s car, 2008. Photo JTL.
Young peachick. Photo JTL 2008.
Young peachick. Photo JTL 2008.

The famous actress and philanthropist is quoted as saying in a 2001 Stuart News article:

“You just can’t keep them caged up. They are all around and I love them. They are part of my family….”

I used to see the peacocks all the time, but rarely today. In fact,  I used to see them right in here in Sewall’s Point, for years, until the US mailman accidentally ran over the male in the Archipelago and the remaining females and chicks were eaten by bobcats. The peahens even laid eggs in my yard one year.

I wish they would come back….even though they are an invasive bird, they hold a special meaning for me.

Peahen eggs in Sewall's Point, 2008.
Peahen eggs in Sewall’s Point, 2008.
Peachicks very much resemble baby chickens...(Photo JTL 2008)
Peachicks very much resemble baby chickens…(Photo JTL 2008)

So if you would, if you are passing along 707 in Rio and see the striking indigo blue of some local peafowl or some trailing yellow chicks, please stop, and let them cross the road. And when you have to wait, think about a bygone era of the Indian River Lagoon that included pink Cadillacs, Francis Langford, peacocks, and “Tarzan” as your chauffeur.

 

Sign in Rio.
Sign in Rio.

_____________

Florida Times Union: (http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/apnews/stories/060801/D7CGI3M81.html)

Peafowl: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peafowl)

17 thoughts on “Francis Langford’s Peacocks Along the Indian River Lagoon….

    1. James A. Skeoch December 17, 2014 at 7:23 AM Edit
      Hi,
      Brings back memories. I use to be Francis Langfords Dockmaster. Great Job
      She was a great boss.

      Jim Skeoch

      Reply
      Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch December 17, 2014 at 8:17 AM Edit
      Such a wonderful thing to hear from you James! Thanks so much. It must have been something to know Mrs Langford and the property up close.

      Reply

      Like

      1. 4 thoughts on “Francis Langford’s Peacocks Along the Indian River Lagoon….”

        Billy Gibson December 16, 2014 at 4:05 PM Edit
        Great story, Jacqui.

        Reply
        Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch December 16, 2014 at 7:17 PM Edit
        Thank you Billy!

        Reply
        James A. Skeoch December 17, 2014 at 7:23 AM Edit
        Hi,
        Brings back memories. I use to be Francis Langfords Dockmaster. Great Job
        She was a great boss.

        Jim Skeoch

        Reply
        Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch December 17, 2014 at 8:17 AM Edit
        Such a wonderful thing to hear from you James! Thanks so much. It must have been something to know Mrs Langford and the property up close.

        Reply

        Like

    2. HELP PLEASE – We recently moved into our new home and found it strange that a peacock who we had never seen showed up about the same time as we moved in.. the neighbors all thought it was our pet… we thought it must have family around here but in over two months we have seen no other peacock and this hen she looks in our windows and follows us around… then I thought OH NO! We rented our U-haul in Rio! what if she was on the truck unseen and we have ripped her away from her family… she is alone here and I am afraid someone will kill her or hurt her… is there anyone who tracks the peacocks in Rio and would know if they are missing a female and how we might return her to Rio?? please contact me via email if you can help… tinamtower@hotmail.com Thank you Tina

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tina peacocks are very territorial and do fly off and start new groups. Sometimes they fly away and if you bring them back the others hen peck them….I will try to a name of someone you can call. Until then you have a new friend! 🙂 A male may follow. Under the law they are wild and protected so we are not allowed to move them. Worst case scenario you could call animal control. They may have some advice. I will look and good luck!!1 JAcqui

        Like

  1. Thank you to my Facebook friends who interacted on this post. Obviously we all love Francis’ peacocks!

    7:20 PM 12-16-14

    Teague Taylor, Sarah Gerring Feeney, Debi Potter and 48 others like this.
    5 shares

    Edie Brewer So beautiful
    8 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Sunni Kittrell Ashforth I LOVE this story Jacqui!! My parents left the cold snow of upstate NY as well for beautiful Stuart/Jensen Beach and I am so grateful for that move! Thank you for sharing this story of your grandparents and your memories of Francis Langford~it was always such a treat when my parents took us there! What a special place!
    7 hrs · Unlike · 3

    Darcey McNiff Thompson The peahen that adopted us is one of my favorite memories of Sewalls Point. My boys will always have that memory and about a 1000 pictures.
    6 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Lisa Jefferson Great story!Jon Hall also starred in the TV series “Ramar of the Jungle”-a long ago favorite.I love the colors in this picture.
    6 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Patty Childs This is one of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen, Jacqui! I wish you would print it!!! I’d be first in line!…Loved the article, too! I have many memories of the Outrigger and your grandparents!!! xo
    6 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Nicole Matlack Mader Yay!!!! You remind one of a beautiful peacock lady!!!!
    6 hrs · Unlike · 2

    Nicole Lebel I, too, have wonderful memories of the peacocks and of Francis Langford. My mother used to work with Sally Slater, Francis’ daughter, and eventually became great friends with her and we would often go to the estate to visit or take care of Sally’s dogs while she was traveling. At one time in the corner of my bedroom I had a vase FULL of peacock feathers collected from walking the property. I miss seeing the old blue and white Chanticleer out in the water next to the Outrigger. I recall eating Thanksgiving dinner with Sally and Francis Langford and family on the back deck of her beautiful home. My husband goes into Jensen daily (Rio) and sees a few “Rio Chickens” still around! It adds charm and a joy to Rio that will never be surpassed and I smile EVERY TIME I pass through and hear the call of a peacock!!
    6 hrs · Unlike · 3

    AnnaMarie Wintercorn Beautiful photo and story! Our memories and thoughts will continually keep our loved ones alive in our hearts.
    6 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch I will see if I can print it and I will let you know Patty Childs. It is a spectacular photograph and real. Love all the wonderful comments and memories. Thank you.
    4 hrs · Like

    Cristina Maldonado This is great!
    4 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Ellen McCormick Thank you Jacqui for all of your posts because they do bring back such wonderful memories. We also considered Frances Langford’s a special treat Sunni and one of my favorite Stuart memories. So blessed to grow up there
    3 hrs · Unlike · 2

    Rebecca Fatzinger WOW!!!!!..that is the BEST peacock picture Ive ever seen!!!.BEAUTIFUL!!
    3 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Cathy Schwarz-Saraduke Great photo
    2 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch Awesome love for Francis Langford’s peacocks. I will get the photo copied! I spoke at the MC commission today as Langford Landing is finally moving forward. This is the development of her old property. We ask that they leave the peacocks and old oak trees!
    5 mins · Edited · Like
    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

    Write a comment…

    Like

  2. Comments from second blog posted on same subject I deleted

    Submitted on 2014/12/17 at 6:13 PM
    That makes me cry even now.

    James A. Skeoch
    jskeoch@aol.com
    104.9.57.108
    Submitted on 2014/12/17 at 2:41 PM | In reply to Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.
    Hi,
    Hope all is well.
    Mrs. Langford was a wonderful person. I remember her funeral. Her favorite song was “I’m in the mood for love.” They played it at the end. Not a dry eye in the place including my own.
    Jim

    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
    jacquithurlowlippisch.wordpress.com
    jthurlow@me.com
    50.138.23.67
    Submitted on 2014/12/17 at 8:17 AM | In reply to James A. Skeoch.
    Such a wonderful thing to hear from you James! Thanks so much. It must have been something to know Mrs Langford and the property up close.

    James A. Skeoch
    jskeoch@aol.com
    104.9.57.108
    Submitted on 2014/12/17 at 7:23 AM
    Hi,
    Brings back memories. I use to be Francis Langfords Dockmaster. Great Job
    She was a great boss.

    Jim Skeoch

    Unapprove | Reply | Quick Edit | Edit | History | Spam | Trash
    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
    jacquithurlowlippisch.wordpress.com
    jthurlow@me.com
    50.138.23.67
    Submitted on 2014/12/16 at 7:17 PM | In reply to Billy Gibson.
    Thank you Billy!

    Billy Gibson
    https://www.facebook.com/motorizedkayak
    motorizedkayak@gmail.com
    76.110.55.221
    Submitted on 2014/12/16 at 4:05 PM
    Great story, Jacqui.

    Likes and Shares
    Show likes.

    Show sharing buttons.

    Like

  3. Hey we know were they are and hate them they loud distrustful and a menice to society. I would love to bring them back to you. Seriously I will pay for trappers to bring them back to you.

    Like

  4. Hey we know were they are they loud can’t sleep past the 5am distructful and a menice to society. I would love to bring them back to you. Seriously I will pay for trappers to bring them back to you.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s