Tag Archives: aerial photos Frances Langford Estate

“Scraped and Pillaged,” the Former Frances Langford Estate, SLR/IRL

Former Langford Estate, 1-20-16 Photo by Ed Lippisch.
Former Langford Estate, 1-20-16 Photo by Ed Lippisch.

Today I continue documentation of the former Frances Langford Estate, the 53 acres bordering Mount Pisgah and the Town of Sewall’s Point. Mount Pisgah, at 57 feet, is the highest point in the region along the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon.

I have written on this topic extensively already. Perhaps, too much. So I’ll keep it short and just say, once again…”There has to be a better way to develop property with such historical significance, and once, such tremendous natural beauty.”

Yes—- this type of development is within the law, but is it within our conscience? What was Martin County and the Commission thinking when they approved this transfer? How can we stop this from happening again? Can we?

Anyway—I did recently visit the site and the “Engineer of Record” assured me the high bluff will not be leveled to allow for more homes as is rumored.

“It is the lot’s majestic view of the water that we want…” he said. Six will face the river. You can see that lots are small compared to Sewall’s Point.

Personally, I think it would have looked even more majestic if some of Mrs Langford’s  world-famous tropical vegetation and pond had been left and the lots were not so crammed in.

In conclusion, here are some photos for “the record.”

Thank you to my husband, Ed Lippisch for taking the aerials. All were taken yesterday, January 20th, 2016.

Oh, by the way, when I was leaving I noticed the documents stated that the cleared land had to be “seeded” within 30 days. We’re getting close. The lot was cleared at Christmas.  I bet they put in sod. From tropical paradise to sodded conformity. What a loss.

Front of Langford Landing today. (Photo JTL)
Front of Langford Landing today 1-19-16. (Photo JTL)
Langford home stands on barren hill. (Photo JTL)
Langford home stands on barren hill 1-19-16. (Photo JTL)
The subdivision Langford Landing. 6 houses will be located on bluff overlooking the St Lucie River. (Documents on site)
The subdivision Langford Landing. 6 houses will be located on bluff overlooking the St Lucie River. (Documents on site)
A 60 boat marina will be put in. The submerged lands went with the property.
A 60 boat marina will be put in. The submerged lands went with the property.
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Development documents for subdivision being put on property: Langford’s Landing:
(https://documents.martin.fl.us/Documents2010/content/Agenda_Items/gmd/2015/8D1-2014-12-16%20Langford%20Landing%20Final%20Site%20Plan.pdf)

Previous blog post on topic:(http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2016/01/04/langford-landing-a-tribute-to-the-late-frances-langford-st-lucie-riverindian-river-lagoon/)

Frances Langford Property– time capsule flights– 1940, 1974, 1952, 1958…SLR/IRL

 

Frances Langford poses here with her first husband, Jon Hall.
Frances Langford poses here with her first husband, Jon Hall.

Today I am featuring two more time line videos on Frances Langford’s property created by my brother Todd Thurlow. Through viewing history, we get a better understanding of how we got to where we are today…

Langford Property 1940 to 1974

(https://youtu.be/9joOtGz2D44)
Langford Property Flyover 1940, 1952 and 1958

(https://youtu.be/bb224nq_ehU)

“Langford Landing,” a Tribute to the Late Frances Langford? St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Frances Langford and Ralph Eventide photographed before their trademark Tiki Hut and pond, Jensen Beach Estate, 1961. (Photo Aurthur Ruhnke with permission of historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow)
Frances Langford and Ralph Evenrude photographed before their trademark Tiki Hut and pond, Jensen Beach Estate, 1961. (Photo Arthur Ruhnke with permission of historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow)
Frances Langford
Frances Langford as young movie star. April 4, 1913 – July 11, 2005 

“I am sure the new development will be re-landscaped very beautifully, but it is hard to see the once serene property so desecrated.” –Local historian, Sandra Thurlow, 2016

“Frances Langford,” the name is as beautiful as the woman. She is a legend here in Martin County and much of the world. No one has been more generous, loving, and appreciative  towards our community. A true philanthropist, her name graces buildings, parks, and centers from the Indian River Lagoon to Indiantown.

As a singer and movie star, she is best known for “entertaining the troops” during World War II aside Bob Hope. Through her family, young Frances was exposed to Jensen Beach, and later, after the war, came back to create her dream:  “Frances Langford’s Polynesian Outrigger Resort.” It sat along the beautiful St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon just north of Sewall’s Point.

Over time, inspired by her travels, Frances and her husbands created a tropical paradise known far and wide. Cottages, a restaurant, a marina, palm trees, rare foliage, freshwater ponds, peacocks, and even swans graced the property. Famous movie stars often visited. She gave Martin County a reputation and she put it on the map. She made Martin County’s Jensen Beach her permanent home.

Frances chose to build her personal residence near Mount Pisgah, the highest point of the peninsula. Lore has it that pirates and Indians once lived here too, standing on the high bluff looking for passing ships in the ocean. The property is steeped in beauty, history, and mystery. Sadly, in the end, the remaining 53 acre parcel was treated like any other piece of real estate.

After a long wait since the 2008 Great Recession, the property is finally being developed ironically as “Langford Landing.” The manner in which this is being done has taken most us by surprise.

Is it really necessary to remove every beloved palm tree, stately strangler fig, and blade of grass? Surely Frances thought some of her legacy might stand. It has not. The majority of the property has been scraped clean for new development. My sister said it best: “Jacqui, from the water, it looks like the property has been Napalmed.”

There has to be—-a better way.

the Tiki Hut and pond, Frances feeding her swans. (Aurthur Ruhnke courtesy o Sandra Thurlow, 1961)
The Tiki Hut, bridge and pond, Frances feeding her swans. Many fundraisers were held here and many movie starts attended “in the day.” (Arthur Ruhnke courtesy o Sandra Thurlow, 1961)
Langford Estate 1961. Aurthur Ruhnke.
Langford Estate 1961. (Arthur Ruhnke/ST)
Langford Estate 1961.
Langford Estate 1961. (Arthur Ruhnke/ST)
View of estate from river by kayaker. This photo was sent to me from a Facebook friend.
View of estate from river by kayaker. This photo was sent to me by a Facebook friend.

Video of Ed and my flight over Langford Estate 1-1-16, juxtaposed to historic photographs, created by Todd Thurlow. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuUVlsk9TXs&list=PLDaNwdmfhj15bmGNQaGhog9QpkQPAXl06&index=1)

Tiki hut in ruins 2016. (Rebecca Fatainger.)
Tiki hut in ruins 2016. (Rebecca Fatzinger)
Around the pond, 2015. (Photo by Rebecca Fatzinger)
Around the pond, palm trees lay in a heap. 2015. (Photo by Rebecca Fatzinger)
Today, photo of Langford property by Rebecca Fatzinger.
Today in 2015/16 photo of Langford property by (Rebecca Fatzinger)
The grounds 2015. Rebecca Fatzinger.
The grounds 2015/16  (Rebecca Fatzinger)
Estate sold for development. (Courtesy Todd Thurlow)
Estate sold for development. (Courtesy Todd Thurlow/Google Earth)
Scared clean, Frances Langford estate today. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch)
From the air–history scraped clean, 1-1-16, Frances Langford’s estate after all foliage has been removed. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch and Ed Lippisch )
Langford Estate 12-3-16. (Photo by Todd Thurlow)
Langford Estate seen from the St Lucie River, 12-3-16. (Photo by Todd Thurlow)
Photo of Frances Langford's peacock on her estate...1980s. (A gift to me from her housekeeper)
Photo of one of Frances Langford’s peacocks on her estate, 1980s. (A gift to me from her housekeeper 2006.)
Young Frances. Public photo.
Young Frances. Public photo.
Frances in her later years.
Frances in her later years.

Development documents Langford’s Landing:

(https://documents.martin.fl.us/Documents2010/content/Agenda_Items/gmd/2015/8D1-2014-12-16%20Langford%20Landing%20Final%20Site%20Plan.pdf)

Frances Langford: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Langford)