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St. Lucie Historical Society, Inc.

St. Lucie County Historical Museum Guide

The People Room

Faces From The Past



    A.E. "Bean" Backus was a sickly child born in Fort Pierce in 1906.  He had natural talent and began painting portraits by the age of six.  Many business in town commissioned his work while he was still a young man.  His beautiful landscapes were sought after and still hang in many government buildings as well as in private collections.  For a time Bean shared a studio with artist and author Don Blanding.  After selling his studio on Moore's Creek to the city, "Bean" worked with and inspired other local artists at his "new" studio.  This "new" studio was an old home built by Dr. Platts in 1896, located on the corner of second and Avenue C.

    Alfed Hair one of a group of black artists who studied with Bean.  These artists sold their pictures along the roadways of South Florida.  The artists are now known as the Highwaymen.  Their works are sought by art enthusiasts as well as folk culture  collectors.


    Zora Neale Hurston, a noted author, made her home for a time on School Court and is buried in Fort Pierce.  She claimed to have been born in Eatonville, but family records indicate she was born in Alabama in 1891.  Her marriage to Herbert Sheen, a medical student and her long time fiancÚ, failed within 3 months in 1927.  Her stories had an unique style, from which she gained fame as a black folklorist and playwright, during the Harlem Renaissance.


    Miss Lucy Jane Beville taught school.  Her students included Ruby and Aden Summerlin, and Sue and Bill Russell.  Her classroom was made of Sabal palm fronds in 1891. 


 Two Saint Lucie County residents became Governor of the State of Florida.  Ossian B. Hart who came to the area following the Armed Occupation Act and Daniel Thomas McCarty, whose grandfather, Charles Tobin McCarty had relocated the family to the area in 1888.

    Twenty six men signed a petition which led to the formation of the city of Fort Pierce.  Among them was Ed Edge.


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