Port St. Lucie Historical Society

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For the third year, members of the Port St. Lucie Historical Society were among the judges at the St. Lucie County Schools' History Day. Deb Mock (shown right handing her results to the School Board's Liz Pruitt), Dennis Grabhorn and Mary Dodge were on deck Jan. 12, 2017, at Indian River State College. The Society will make a special award of its book, Port St. Lucie at 50: A City for All People to a selected entry. Dennis, Deb and Dianne Aguiar are on tap to be judges at Project Citizen on Jan. 20, 2017.


Would you like a presentation by the PSL Historical Society for your organization? Drop us a note at info@pslhistory.org.


In progress ...
In the future ...
  • Recruit and train volunteers to share history with the public through researching archives and creating displays
  • Form a Speakers Bureau knowledgeable about various segments of our past

Answers to the quiz above:

A. Ais native people were here when the Spanish arrived in Florida. There is evidence of their habitation along the river in the southern part of the city through the 1700s.

B. The influential Charles T. McCarty became a rancher in St. Lucie County in the late 1800s. His 3,100-acre ranch came within city boundaries in 2012 and is the proposed side of a "water farm" to meet future needs..

C. John Enos Fultz settled Spruce Bluff on the banks of the St. Lucie River in 1891 to begin a pineapple plantation. When freezes killed the pineapple crops he moved to Fort Pierce and become the first St. Lucie County Clerk of the Court.

D. Internationally known fishing guide Burt Pruitt opened his "fishing farm" in the early 1940s. He led a colorful and sometimes violent life before selling his land along Westmoreland Boulevard to General Development Corp. in the 1970s.

E. Much of the land that became PSL belonged to long-time ranchers. Alto "Bud" Adams recalls early days in this YouTube video.

F. Christine Williams is the owner of the city's oldest business. Her parents opened the Shell Bazaar in 1953, eight years before the city was founded.

G. Publisher Gardner Cowles filed a plat in 1953 for what would become River Park. He sold his land to GDC and remained active in the company.

H. GDC was a subsidiary of the Mackle Company. The three Mackle Brothers were successful builders and were developing eight communities in Florida.

I. William B. McChesney was the first elected mayor of the city. Initially, the City Council had been appointed by GDC and then become elected. For several years, the Council voted on who would become mayor.

J. Ed Werder was the first police chief after the city took over law enforcement duties from the St. Lucie County Sheriff in 1980.

K. City Councilwoman Paula Lewis (later County Commissioner) and historian Cynthia Putnam-Trefelner (shown), along with columnist Strelsa Schreiber and County Clerk JoAnn Holcomb, founded The Port St. Lucie Historical Society in 1996.

L. Patricia Christensen was elected the city's first woman mayor in 2006 and is the mother of the first pair of twins born in PSL.

Read more about our history at our Virtual Museum and for even more of the story, get our book, Port St. Lucie at 50: A City for All People.



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Updated 1/1/17