COMING SATURDAY: TREASURE COAST HISTORY FESTIVAL
The Treasure Coast history festival is coming to downtown Fort
Pierce this Saturday, Jan. 14.
The festival, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature presentations on
Treasure Coast historical events and an Authors Alley that will enable
the public to meet many of the region’s leading authors and historians. A
wide selection of books on the region’s history will be available for
sale. Admission to the festival
The festival features historical tours by trolley, ghost-walking
tours and various re-enactments and exhibitions, including an Old Florida
cattle camp. The festival will be held on Second Street between Orange and
Atlantic avenues in front of the Sunrise Theatre, 117 S. Second St.
Sponsored by Main Street Fort Pierce, the Sunrise Theatre and Indian River
Magazine, the festival is intended to give newcomers a better sense of the
region’s history while reacquainting old-timers with details of the
Treasure Coast’s best-known stories.
The historical presentations, which are also free of charge, will be held
in the Sunrise Theatre Black Box on the following schedule:
10 a.m. — A gathering of students of famed author Zora Neale Hurston. The
author of “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and an inspiration to “The Color
Purple” author Alice Walker, Hurston spent her final days in Fort Pierce
working various jobs, including teaching English at Lincoln Park Academy
11 a.m. — A discussion of the Binney, Putnam and Chapman families of Fort
Pierce by author Sally Putnam Chapman. Her family members include: Edwin
Binney, inventor of Crayola Crayons who later retired to Fort Pierce. He was
was the driving force behind the dredging of the Fort Pierce Inlet and the
construction of the Port of Fort Pierce. Binney’s daughter, Dorothy Binney
Putnam, who became one of the region’s leading philanthropists.
Binney’s son-in-law, the famous New York publisher George Putnam who would
later marry aviatrix Amelia Earhart. Earhart’s secret flight to Fort
Pierce in the 1930s will also be discussed.
Noon — A talk by Vero Beach’s Al Grover, who will recall the trip he made
across the Atlantic Ocean in 1985 in a small outboard-powered boat he
designed. The feat, entered in the Guinness Book of World Records, made
him the first and only person to ever cross the Atlantic in an outboard
1 p.m. — An appearance by members of the Tommie family, descendants of
Seminole royalty and perhaps the oldest family on the Treasure Coast.
1:30 p.m. — Research and remembrances of Lucia Zora, an early 20th-century
circus performer who retired to Fort Pierce. An animal trainer once billed
as “the bravest woman in the world,” Zora now lies buried in an unmarked
grave in a Fort Pierce cemetery.
2 p.m. — A presentation by private investigator Warren Sonne, who
retraced the steps of the famed Ashley Gang that roamed the Treasure Coast
in the early 1900s, robbing banks and railroads and leaving lawlessness in
The festival will also include ghost walking tours hosted by Larry Lawson,
a paranormal investigator. Main Street Fort Pierce will provide trolley
rides to historical sites in Fort Pierce at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Cost of the
trolley rides is $10 per person.
Throughout the day, historical re-enactor Jim Odell will portray Col.
Benjamin Pierce, the brother of President Franklin Pierce and founder of
the fort that gave the city its name. Storyteller and rancher Joyce Teague
will set up a genuine early Florida cattle camp and will recall the days
of the free range.
The Authors Alley will be held a across from the Sunrise Theatre in the
historical St. Lucie County Bank Building.
Authors who will be available for signings and have books available
include Rick Crary, author of “A Treasure We Call Home”
author of books on the histories of Stuart, Sewall’s Point, Jensen Beach
and the House of Refuge
Catherine Enns Grigas, author of “Journey of the
Janie Gould, author of “Floridays, Stories of Florida Under
Gloria Taylor Weinberg, author of “A Homicide in Hooker’s
Allen Balogh, author of “Black Sails 1715,” an historical
novel about the sinking of the treasure fleet off this coast 300 years
Lucille Rights, author of “A Portrait of St. Lucie County.”
Terry Howard, who has written a trio of books about commercial fishing in
the region, will also be featured, as well as many other local authors.
Other Features of Authors Alley
The Authors Alley will also feature rare access to the collections of the
Florida Classics Library, which specializes in the sale of out-of-print
books. Books available from the Florida Classics Library include
“Florida’s Ashley Gang,” “Florida’s Golden Galleons,” “Jonathan
Dickinson’s Journal,” “Pieces of Eight,” “Search for the Atocha,: and many
The festival also includes a wide variety of arts, crafts and food
vendors, including a genuine Summerlin fish fry. The local jazz trio,
Double A&V, will also be playing.
For more information about the festival, call 772.940.9005 or email