Emile Gruppe’s “The Hut,” and the Heart of Frances Langford, SLR/IRL


Frances Langford's hut as portrayed by Gruppe.
Frances Langford’s tiki hut on her estate as portrayed by Emile Gruppe. (unsigned)

Sometimes things are a mystery and reveal themselves slowly through many days…such is the story of black and white sketch of “The Hut” you see above.

I first saw the piece in an email dated January 14th, 2016, sent to me by my mother, historian Sandra Thurlow. Her email read: “I came across this in a box of treasures. It was an invitation to a joint birthday party for Talley Crary, Frances Langford Stuart, and Jane Merrell. I guess it was “The, with a capital, Hut.” Mom

Prior to receiving this email I had traveled on a yacht up the St Lucie River with my next door neighbor Mr Rohloff—this was two days after Christmas. This was when Ed and I  saw up close the destruction of the former Langford Estate. Cleared to the bone.

Scared clean, Frances Langford estate today. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch)
Scared clean, Frances Langford estate today. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch)
the Tiki Hut and pond, Frances feeding her swans. (Aurthur Ruhnke courtesy o Sandra Thurlow, 1961)
the Tiki Hut and pond, Frances feeding her swans. (Aurthur Ruhnke courtesy o Sandra Thurlow, 1961)

When the captain of Mr Rohloff’s yacht heard me gasping as I saw Mrs Langford’s wrecked estate he told me he used to live on there, and was married there, and that he actually worked for Mrs Langford for some time. His name is Rick Copeland. Captain Copland continued to talk about Mrs Langford  throughout the trip and told stories of what a remarkable person she was.

He told a story that as she was aging she gathered all the painting of Emile Gruppe who she and her husband collected and gave them to the artist’ son. “These were very expensive paintings……” She wanted to make certain they were given to the right place and appreciated….

Now fast forward to last weekend. I attended an Environmental Studies Luncheon and sat next to Matt Kelly, who oversees the real estate for Martin Health Systems and years ago was my swimming coach. He took his phone out showing me the same ‘The Hut” piece going back in an email to the son of Emile Grippe and with my sister who works for MHS.

It’s a small world and the heart of Frances Langford lives on!

By just doing a quick search on the internet I found an article about an art show in 2013 in Naples of these Langford/Evenrude paintings! The Gruppe family is very famous and there were three generations of paintings as you will read.

It would be fun if I could find more of the the paintings to share. Here’s one I found. Mrs Langford called her house along the St Lucie River, the “River House,”—maybe this is hers?

Emile Grippe
Emile Grippe
Frances Langford publicly photo.
Frances Langford publicly photo.

Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch

About Jacqui:

Although born at Travis Air Base, California, Jacqui considers herself a native of Stuart, Florida, having moved there at eight months old. Her father’s family, originally from Syracuse, New York, has lived in Stuart since 1952. Her mother is a 5th generation Floridian from Gainesville.

Jacqui is journalism and German graduate of the University of Florida, and an education master’s graduate of the University of West Florida. She went on to teach both English and German and after a serious accident of breaking her neck, started selling real estate. In 2008 she ran for the Town of Sewall’s Point Commission and has served since 2008; She is former mayor. During this time she saw the opportunity to help showcase the work of a locally formed river group, the River Kidz, and this has been her passion ever. She incorporates youth/river education into her political work for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Jacqui is the treasurer/secretary of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council; has chaired the Florida League of Cities Environmental and Energy Committee; was chair, and long time member of the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments; is an alternate for the Water Resources Advisory Commission for the South Florida Water Management District; and a board member for Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation. She also serves as an (ex-officio) board member for the Rivers Coalition Defense Fund, and is head administrator for the River Kidz.Jacqui is a Daughter of the American Revolution.

Jacqui’s reach involves not only local, but state and federal government. In 2013,  she served on Senator Joe Negron’s panel for the Select Senate Hearing on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee. In 2014, she actively supported the elections of both Senator Joe Negron and Congressman Patrick Murphy who have both been strong supporters of Indian River Lagoon issues. In 2015, she is part of the Florida League Cities Treasure Coast Advocacy team. Jacqui received the Everglades Coalition’s prestigious 2015 “John V. Kabler Award” for “Grassroots Activism.” Most recently she has been recruited as a fellow by the University of Florida/IFAS’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute Class XV.Jacqui is running for Martin County Commissioner District 1, 2016.




Post Info

  • Posted 8 years ago

Read More

The Insider's Guide to Florida's Treasure Coast


Receive the latest tips, information, & news!