Port St. Lucie Historical Society News

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PSL Magazine features Westmoreland Property and its future

An article in the Port St. Lucie edtion of Indian River Magazine in the fall of 2016 outlines the City's current thinking on the historic property adjacent to the its Botanical Gardens. The area includes the Burt Pruitt Fish Camp site, which drew sports fishers from around the world. The PSL Historical Society feels it is the perfect place of for a museum about the city's past to share with residents and visitors of all ages. Read the article.

Rotary Youth Exchange Student receives gift of PSL history

Nabilah Khalil Noorani, a Rotary Youth Exchange Student spending a school year in the city, recently received a gift package from the Port St. Lucie Historical Society that included two copies each of our history book published for the 50th Anniversary of the city, a DVD of the docudrama City of Dreams and a CD of the original soundtrack. One pack is for her and the other is for her family in Daman, India.

Nabilah is a junior at St. Lucie West Centennial High School and hopes to be journalist or peace ambassador representing her country. Her hobbies are singing, reading, writing and speaking. She is shown here in her blazer with pins and badges she has collected in her visits through Rotary. Her elder sister is currently pursuing her Master of Engineering degree at Purdue University in Indiana.

Nabilah was staying with society board member Patricia Christensen (left). Board Chair Richard McAfoos is on the right.

100s of students vie in annual St. Lucie County Schools History Fair

The auditeria of Palm Pointe Research School at Tradition was packed with exhibits Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, as students vied in the county History Fair to be chosen to take their presentations to thestate finals in Tallahassee in May. The four other categories -- research paper, websites, documentariesand performances -- took place elsewhere in the school.

The theme this year was Leadership and Legacy in History.The rules for the entries are those of the National History Day organization.

The Port St. Lucie Historical Society was asked to provide some of the many judges for the day. Board members Jolien Caraballo, Dennis Grabhorn and Mary Dodge volunteered. Joining them was society member and former teacher, Beth Gessner (right).


St. Lucie County Chamber's Leadership class gets a taste of PSL History

For more than 30 years, the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce has been providing Leadership St. Lucie, a series of classes for participants chosen as those who can provide proactive leadership within the county. This year, on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, for the first time, the Port St. Lucie Historical Society was invited to provide a brief session on the city's history.

The program looks for candidates who are committed to the welfare of the community and want to assume responsibility for its leadership. A series of discussions and site visits are developed to expose participants to the greatest challenges and opportunities facing the community today.

The two-year program began in January with a mandatory orientation and one-day Team Building session.The classnow meets once a month for 10 full-day programs. The second year participants will design the sessions for the next class and participate on a chamber committee. This year's class is unsually large, with 35 students.Chair Richard McAfoos, Board Member Patricia Christensen and Secretary Mary Dodge represented the Society.

3 PSL Historical Society members help judge School District projects

Hundreds of seventh grade students in the St. Lucie County Public School District displayed their Project Citizen boards and supporting materials at Indian River State College's Kight Center on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Three volunteers from the PSL Historical Society were among the 19 judges who viewed and rated the 28 entries on 21 points.

The three top entries and a "wild card" will be prepared to be sent to Tallahassee to be displayed in the Capitol building in further competition. The project is sponsored by The Florida Law Related Education Association.

Shown left is PSL Historical Society board member Dennis Grabhorn with Kristie Lickliter of the School District. Right is School Board member Debbie Hawley (left) with historical society board member Patricia Christensen. Also participating was Mary Dodge of the historical society, who was teamed with School Board Chairman Donna Mills.

Temple Beth El Israel Men's Club invtes PSL Historical Society to speak

About 50 persons attended a presentation Jan. 11, 2015, to the Men's Club at Temple Beth El Israel in St. Lucie West. Society chair Richard McAfoos and board member Dennis Grabhorn led the discussion and showed a few minutes of the docudrama done for the city's 50th anniversary in 2011, as time did not allow for more. The possibility of showing it at a later movie night was mentioned. In the meantime, members were encouraged to find the DVD City of Dreams and other Society products at the display at Shell Bazaar or from the website gift shop.


Students give top marks to PSL History Adult Learning Class at IRSC

Students were few but enthusiastic in their evaluation of the two-session adult education class given in October 2014 for the Fielden Institute of Indian River State College at the Strelsa Schrieber Center on the St. Lucie West campus.

In the college-sponsored evaluation, respondents said the course was informative, enjoyable and well-organized. They also strongly agreed they would recommend the course to others, so stay tuned for future offerings.

Aided by persons who witnessed and have participated in making the city's history, Port St. Lucie Historiical Society members presented slides and discussion about the days before the city came on the scene and various key points of growth since its incorporation in 1961.

The history book produced for the city's anniversary, Port St. Lucie at 50: A City for All People, is being used as text, The first class gave the students a chance to hear some firsthand accounts of historical events and trends within the city. The class continued in the second session with the professionally produced 90-minuted docudrama City of Dreams, further discussion and a question-and-answer session.

The course is presented by society Chair Richard McAfoos and Secretary Mary Dodge, with aid from board members Dennis Grabhorn and Patricia Chirstensen and society member Beth Gessner as well as archeologist and author Lucille Rights, former City Council member Chris Cooper and City Planner Patti Tobin.

In the Commmunity: PSL Historical Society at Cascade Men's Club

The Port St. Lucie Historical Society's Richard McAfoos and Dennis Grabhorn made a presentation to the Cascades Men's Club in St. Lucie West on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, at 9 a.m.. More than 100 of the club's members gathered for their monthly meeting, where they feature guest speakers on topics of interest to their members.

On this occasion they wanted to learn about the PSLHS and its activities. We provided them with a narrative of who we are and what we do, we viewed the music video of City Within a Dream, our city's theme song, and viewed the promotional video of Port St. Lucie used by the City, Chamber of Commerce, EDC and others, and previewed the first three minutes of our City of Dreams docudrama. We concluded with a Q&A sessions which elicited a number of interesting comments.

Showtime! Docudrama DVD shown at Savanna Club Theatre

The Port St. Lucie Historical Society's docudrama DVD City of Dreams was shown Sunday, July 27, 2014, in the beautiful Savanna Club Theatre for members of the community's homeowners association and guests. One-hundred sixty people turned out for a free screening of the award-winning 50th anniversary project, which was produced by the Society.The evening included a 50/50 drawing, merchandise sales and desserts and punch. The movie was well received with much praise for its overall production quality.

St. Lucie Schools receive 50 history books & docudrama DVDs

.FORT PIERCE: The Port St. Lucie Historical Society in partnership with the Port St. Lucie Downtown Lions Club gifted 50 history books, Port St. Lucie at 50, and 50 DVDs of the docudrama City of Dreams to the St. Lucie Public School District during the Jan. 9, 2014, principals meeting in Fort Pierce,. The items are for permanent use in all of the schools' media centers.

The gift, valued at $2,750, was a joint effort of the Lions Club, which raised the seed money, and the society, which provided the books and DVDs at cost. Both organizations have worked together for some time to bring this project to fruition, noting that they strongly support our public schools' mission of quality education.

The books and DVDs commemorate Port St. Lucie's 50th Anniversary, which took place April 27, 2011. The next challenging project for the society is to raise significant funds to place the history book in certain classrooms in the district. Contributions for the project can be made through the society's website pslhistory.org/wish.html , by calling 772.337.5698 or by mail to P.O. Box 7146, Port St. Lucie, 34985.

Pictured: (L-R) Greg Smith, President of Port St. Lucie Downtown Lions Club, Superintendent Genelle Zoratti Yost, School Board Member Kathryn Hensley, Richard McAfoos, Chair of the Port St. Lucie Historical Society. (Click photo for larger version)

Historical Society appears at Hometown Lunchfest

Lunch was served on the City Hall Municipal complex grounds for city employees and the people of Port St. Lucie on Sept.26, 2013, at the first Hometown Lunchfest. The PSL Historical Society had a booth offering membership information and chances to win a package of the book, “Port St. Lucie at 50: A City for All People,” and “City of Dreams,” a docudrama DVD commemorating the life, times and people of Port St. Lucie and a CD of the original music from the documentary, written and scored by Mark Barnes.

Mark performed at the event. Christine Williams, shown left with city employee John Lamplough. and other Board members manned the booth. Shown right are Chair Richard McAfoos, City Council Member Ron Bowen and Utility Systems Director Jesus Merejo. City departments also set up booths and food was available from a number of lunch trucks.



Gov. Scott receives history book and DVD

Port St. Lucie Mayor JoAnn Faiella and Florida Gov. Rick Scott chat with patrons at Tin Fish restaurant in Port St. Lucie in July 2013. After their lunch, the Mayor presented the Governor with Port St. Lucie’s 50th anniversary book, “Port St. Lucie at 50: A City for All People,” and “City of Dreams,” a docudrama DVD commemorating the life, times and people of Port St. Lucie. (Photo: City of PSL)


Society Supports Freedom Fest

Annually the Port St. Lucie Historical Society's board and friends attend the Freedom Fest to support the City's event and celebrate the 4th of July Holiday. Shown, left to right, are Society Chair Richard McAfoos, Port St. Lucie Police Chief John Bolduc and City Councilman Ron Bowen.




Randy Green honored for 6 years service to Society

Randy Green, former Vice President of the Port St. Lucie Historical Society, recently received a plaque comemmorating his service to the group from 2007 to 2013. Green resigned in January. Making the presentation is Chair Richard McAfoos.





PSL Historical Society meets with City about museum site

A planning meeting was held Monday afternoon, March 4, 2013, in City Hall to discuss a possible future city historical museum site. Left to right are Building Code Adminstrator Joel Dramis, PSLHS Chair Richard McAfoos, Special Assistant the City Manager Dan Kleman and Acting City Manager Jeff Bremer.



PSL Historical Society raises money for Boys & Girls Club

A “Farewell Tribute to Councilman Jack Kelly” sponsored by the Port St. Lucie Historical Society resulted in a $2,569 check to the Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County Recovery Fund. The fund is dedicated to maintaining the club’s Chuck Hill Unit outreach facility in Port St. Lucie.

Any proceeds remaining from the event held in early December were promised to benefit one of Kelly’s favorite charities, the Boys & Girls Club. Kelly and St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara lived up to their promises to shave their heads and mustaches when the goal of $150,000 was raised early in 2013.

At the presentation of the check on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens, event co-sponsors Port St. Lucie City Councilwoman Michelle Berger and Society Chair Richard McAfoos praised the generous donors from the area.

Taking part in the presentation at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens were (l to r) William Armstead, Boys & Girls Club President-elect; St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara; Melanie Wiles, the club’s Director of Development; former Port St. Lucie City Councilman Jack Kelly; Port St. Lucie City Councilwoman Michelle Berger;  Bonnie Cruz, Administrative Assistant to the Mayor & City Council; Port St. Lucie Historical Society Chair Richard McAfoos.

Composer Mark Barnes wins Indie Music Channel Award with docudrama theme

Hollywood, California -- Multiple award-winning composer and producer Mark Barnes of Port St. Lucie, (ThE BaD BoY oF ChilL OuT) was awarded the Best Easy Listening Male Artist at the 1st Annual Indie Music Channel Awards.

His work for the city’s 50th anniversary docudrama, City of Dreams, was part of his entry.

Barnes won the award for his original songs “A City Within a Dream”, the theme song for the award-winning docudrama film City of Dreams, a 50-year history of the city of Port St. Lucie, Florida, and for “Gabby’s Song”, a tribute in honor of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

City of Dreams was a joint production of the Port St. Lucie Historical Society and the City of Port St. Lucie for the city’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

The awards ceremony, which took place April 29, 2012 in the Foundation Room at the renowned House of Blues on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, honored outstanding artists of the Indie Music Channel and was attended by industry leaders in all areas of Music, Film and Television. (read more)

Society benefits from and wins
at Spirit of Sandpiper Golf Tourney

Area golfers hit the beautiful links at the Club Med-Sandpiper Resort at 8 a.m., Saturday, April 14, 2012, in an event co-hosted by the resort and the Coaltion of Sandpiper Bay Associations. The Port St. Lucie Historical Society was the feature charity participant. Lunch followed, with full access to the resort's sumptious buffets. The event gave participants a chance to see the resort's extensive grounds and facilities, which have been recently upgraded.

The Society's team, (l to r) Dennis Grabhorn, Sandi Rodriguez, Larry Kilburn and Dylan Kelley, won the four-person scramble grand sweep. A total of about $2,000 in prizes were awarded.

Speaking engagements ...


Richard McAfoos making presentation to 60+ retirees of  of U.S. Peace Corps at their 50th Anniversarycelebration and with Susan Mazer, event organizer


Presentation to Downtown Lions Club, March 23, 2013. Richard McAfoos (l) with the club President, Dr. Alan Sigel (left) and McAfoos speaking at Rotary Club luncheon

Rancher Bud Adams receives book and DVD

OCT. 24, 2011 -- Naturalist and rancher Alto "Bud" Adams, center, received a complimentary copy of the Society's book, Port St. Lucie at 50: A City for All People, and the award winning DVD City of Dreams in appreciation for the use of his ranch. A crew spent a full day in March 2010 filming at the ranch during the making of the DVD. Adams is shown with his grand-daughter LeeAnn Adams, right, and Society Chair Richard McAfoos, left.




PORT ST. LUCIE For two years, Stan Hicks has collected newspaper clippings and old photos, storing the items at his home for the Port St. Lucie Historical Society.

He's collected about 1,400 items, including a shovel used at a groundbreaking, old photos and maps. The hope was that the group and its archives would find a permanent home. That dream recently came true when the St. Lucie County Commission gave the go-ahead to let the historical society use a room in the St. Lucie County annex on Walton Road.

The public is invited to get a glimpse of the society's home during the monthly meeting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday in the second floor conference room at 1664 S.E. Walton Road. It's not much, the group's co-chairman Richard McAfoos said, just a simple 10-by-12-foot room in the county annex. But it opens a new world for the organization.

"It gives us a real mailing address, and now we're going to have a telephone," McAfoos said. "I know this sounds simplistic, but we're a charitable, nonprofit that's struggling to get by."

Whether they are struggling isn't the issue for McAfoos. He simply wants to teach people the importance of the society, and because it isn't as old as its neighbors, that goal can be a challenge. "People look at us askew and say, 'What do you mean history? This is a young city.' But we are history. History is happening every day," he said.

To make the historical society more visible, McAfoos, a retired business owner and lodging industry administrator, is working to get more involved in the community. The group has joined Mayor Patricia Christensen's effort to organize the city's 50th anniversary in 2011.

It's too early to discuss ideas being considered for the anniversary, but the society has grown to become an important resource to learn about the city's past, Christensen said. "The historical society is doing a phenomenal job at collecting historical documents and memos, so in the future, it will be easy for anyone who wants to research the history of Port St. Lucie," she said. Those archives include recorded oral histories and file cabinets filled with pictures and clippings. Hicks, the organization's treasurer, is spearheading the effort and has been scanning the items into a computer. The archives are online on the group's Web site at www.pslhistory.org.

Most of the requests come through e-mail from residents, doctoral candidates and possibly grade-school students. "We have to be geared for all levels of researchers and need to make it as easy as possible," Hicks said.

The effort of creating a higher visibility and accessibility has concerned some of the longtime members. It hasn't left a lot of time to do what members like to do the most. "We're creating a high profile, and it's tough because we have some of our treasured members who like to sit around and chat about history," McAfoos said. To fill that need, McAfoos said the members are creating Pioneer Gatherings, where people can meet at someone's house and remember Port St. Lucie in its early years. The gatherings are still in the planning stages and are expected to start this spring.

The hope is to remember the past while growing to educate the community about the city's history. And the nearly 50 members of the organization are a large part of that, McAfoos said.

"Our members are our treasures," he said. "They're the support. The lifeblood of our organization."

Port St. Lucie Historical Society reorganizes its board

October 1, 2007 -- Randy Green and Richard McAfoos have been elected Co-Chairpersons of the Port St. Lucie Historical Society, Inc. Joan Beyer was elected Vice-Chairperson and Secretary, while Stan Hicks remains Treasurer. The other Board members are Tom Minch, Marge Organ and (outgoing Chairperson) Christine Williams. The group is a not-for-profit / charitable [ 501 (c)(3) ] organization.

Established in 1997, the mission of the Port St. Lucie Historical Society, Inc. is to stimulate greater government, business and public awareness and appreciation of the importance of the history of Port St. Lucie to our people. A computer data base file collects information about the historical archives inventory that is being collected with summaries displayed on the Society's website at www.pslhistory.org . The Society also initiated its Oral History Program on November 1, 2006, with excerpts airing regularly on PSL TV 20. The Society relies solely on membership and donations to finance and promote its mission.

Speakers are available for local organizations to hear about the activities of the Society. Call 878-4712 for further information.

Mayor Patricia Christensen meets with PSL Historical Society board

October 1, 2007  -- Guest speakers at the September meeting of the Port St. Lucie Historical Society, Inc. were PSL Mayor Patricia Christensen and Dr. Jeff Fox. Christensen, a member of the Society, emphasized the value of preserving Port St. Lucie’ss evolving history for future generations and the need of a high visibility role for the Society. Dr. Fox was the first dentist in Port St. Lucie, arriving here in 1976 when the population was only around 5,000.

Christensen predicted the need for a future Port St. Lucie Historical Museum to complement other educational and cultural resources in our vibrant city. The Board of Directors is planning future projects and activities of the Society and can provide a spokesperson to speak with area organizations