Power to the Peacocks! The Spirit of Frances Langford, SLR/IRL

Frances Langford publicly photo.
Frances Langford publicly photo.
Standing before a giant photo of Frances Langford at Florida Oceanographic event 2013. (Photo Ed Lippisch)
Standing before a giant photo of Frances Langford at Florida Oceanographic’s event 2013. (Photo Ed Lippisch)
The former Langford Estate, cleared for development of Langford's Landing, 2015. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch and Ed Lippisch)
The former Langford Estate, cleared for development of Langford’s Landing, 2015. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch and Ed Lippisch)
Local celebrity Frances Langford stands next to a pen containing peacocks on her property in Rio. The peacocks roamed freely on her land while she was alive.
Local celebrity, Frances Langford, in her later years stands next to a pen containing peacocks on her property in Rio. The peacocks roamed freely on her land while she was alive. (Public photo)
Sign in Rio.
Sign in Rio.

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!

One of Frances Langford's peacocks in a royal poinciana tree on her estate.
One of Frances Langford’s peacocks in a royal poinciana tree on her estate.
Rainbow over Langford Estate 2014. (Photo JTL)
Rainbow over Langford Estate 2014. (Photo JTL)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Langford

Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch

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.

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