VIRTUAL MUSEUM EXHIBITS
Burt Pruitt's Fishin' Farm had lots of tales to tell
Developers who came in the late 1950s to what is now Port St. Lucie met Burt Pruitt, a colorful and crusty guide who owned a fishing camp on the shores of the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. They probably were unaware of the violence in his, and the location’s, past.
Old newspaper articles about this local pioneer reveal more than tales of his pet alligators, visiting millionaire fishermen and a river alive with rolling tarpon. They tell of three fatal shootings and other troubling family problems.
The area we know as Port St. Lucie was once mostly large ranches, as was much of St. Lucie County outside of Fort Pierce. The best known of the area's early ranchers were the late Alto "Bud" Adams Jr.(left) and his father, Judge Alto Adams. In late 2015, former City Councilwoman Michelle Berger interviewed Bud, as he asks to be called, and his son Robbie about the Adams Ranch and its part in the area's enviroment. Click to see this interview on YouTube.
In the open-range days, Adams cattle were among those grazing on PSL grass. Though none of the land that became the Adams Ranch was purchased to be part of Port St. Lucie, his knowledge and memories give a glimpse into what might have been here before developers. His stewardship is an example of how agricultural and urban interests can work together to enrich each other.
Interviews with Bud and other old-time area ranchers are part of the docu-drama DVD professionally produced for the city's 50th anniversary: City of Dreams).
Port St. Lucie inherited an historic treasure when the 3,100 acres of the McCarty Ranch came into its boundaries in late 2012. The city’s McCarty Ranch Preserve was named to recognize and honor the locally and statewide influential McCarty family. Charles Tobin McCarty, known as C.T., began growing pineapples in St. Lucie County during the 1880s, and the McCarty family eventually expanded their St. Lucie County land holdings to accommodate their growing citrus farming and cattle ranching ventures. The family ran cattle on the ranch for many years, selling the last piece of it in 2004. C.T. McCarty was mourned thorouhout Florida when he was shot and killed over a real estate misunderstanding in 1907as he left a Fort Pierce barber shop. Click for more.
The family’s influence extended throughout Florida, with C.T.’s grandson Dan becoming the state’s 31st governor in 1953. C.T.’s other grandson John managed the family ranch for many years and was keenly aware of its value to future generations as an environmental resource and potential water supply.
The North Fork of the St. Lucie River so resembled the Amazon that it was used for stunt shots in the James Bond (Roger Moore) film Moonraker, released in 1979. Star Roger Moore watched as a stuntman took his role while boats were blown up along the the river. The scene lasted an estimated 30 seconds in the film. To see shots of the river from the film, visit IMDB for the speedboat in action and the sail plane.