As we all know, movie star and local philanthropists, Frances Langford, was and is very loved in Martin County. Nonetheless, recently her 53 acre river estate, in Rio, was mowed down for development to create ironically “Langford’s Landing.” Yes, it was legal, but what a shame. What a crime of local history. Part of that history included Frances’ flock of peacocks.
Invasive or not, Frances brought the exotic birds to her property in the 1940s and they had been happily living here ever since. They became part of the cultural landscape of the Rio area. Over the years the county even erected signs warning drivers about the birds.
After Frances’ death in 2005 there were tougher times for the peacocks, peahens, and peachicks but they managed to survive. They had become “wild” living off the land although some residents would joyfully feed them. Kind of like cardinals…. 🙂
Sometimes stopping traffic as they lollygagg across State Road 707, the birds cause smiles and sometimes cursing and horn blowing from drivers. Inconvenient? Maybe— but so cool! So local! So “Frances”…..a reminder of her philanthropic spirit and love for our area with every sighting!
Of course since the 53 acres has been clear-cut and scraped the peacocks have lost their home base habitat. Did anyone even think about this? I mentioned it at a county commission meeting years ago. Perhaps the county thought no one would notice when the birds fell on hard times or were possibly eradicated?
This was not the case. Not along the Indian River Lagoon…not in the land of River Warriors.
Yesterday there was a great win for the spirit of Frances Langford and the peacocks when resident Toni Rummo used social media to inform the public that a bank and real estate agency had “ordered the trapping of the peacocks at 1547 SW Sottlong Avenue.”
The house is in foreclosure and the cleaning people were apparently put off by all the birds. This led to the trapping or quote for such. According to Rummo some birds were trapped but after the outcry the others were left alone. Even the media, Sheriff’s department, and Martin County Commission got involved. It was crazy!
Than you to Toni Rummo and the others! Just to follow up, I spoke to Bill Dean head of Century 21 on Hutchinson Island whose company was incorrectly linked with the sale and he said it was a day like no other. The phone rang off the hook!
At the end of the conversation I said: “But isn’t it great? The love of Frances Langford and the people standing up for her spirit?”
We laughed. I recommended having a gin and tonic in her honor.
Thank you Toni for the peacock win! It was a win for the people of Rio. A win for the spirit of Frances Langford, and a win for the spirit of St Lucie River/ Indian River Lagoon!