Port St. Lucie, historical society working to restore Peacock House and Hunting Lodge

Catie Wegman Treasure Coast NewspapersPublished 9:00 AM EDT Sep 22, 2020PORT ST. LUCIE — Design plans for the

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PORT ST. LUCIE — Design plans for the historic Peacock Hunting Lodge in Westmoreland Park have been completed, but plans to renovate the Peacock House and a timeline of both projects are still being worked out. 

Every room and bathroom in the hunting lodge, originally built in 1952, will be renovated to fix damages accumulated over the years, said the city's project manager Jennifer Davis. Other additions include:

  • Updating building code standards
  • Installing an electric lift for disabled persons
  • Restoring the lodge's formerly open porch 

A gift shop, office and meeting spaces for the county's historical society, and a Port St Lucie history museum will be featured in the hunting lodge once repairs are finished, Davis said. 

"It’s a good opportunity for us to tell our history," she said. "I just think it’s a nice way to tell that story at this site."

Port St. Lucie and the St. Lucie Historical Society entered into a 10-year lease agreement, approved by the Port St. Lucie City Council Sept. 14, that maintains the city's ownership of the house and hunting lodge but allows the historical society to rent the structures once renovated for $1 annually, Davis said.

The historical society will contribute $200 toward utility costs starting one year after the building receives its occupancy certification, she added. Fees may be revisited once plans for the Peacock House are finalized. 

More: Why the Peacock House and Hunting Lodge important enough to move, restore?

The city is responsible for funding repairs and has applied for state grants to offset costs through the state's Division of Historic Resources. Should none become available, Davis said money from the general and special assessment district funds would be used. 

Davis is hoping construction will begin within a year, she said, but the project is still in the procurement process. 

History behind the houses

Oliver L. Peacock Sr. and his namesake son, often referred to as Sonny, are among the founding fathers credited with the creation of Port St. Lucie. The Peacock family owned a 4,614-acre ranch in what is now known as St. Lucie West. 

The Peacock House was built on Okeechobee Road in Fort Pierce by the late county historian Ada Coates Williams, who gifted it to Sonny Peacock, according to Port St. Lucie Historical Society documents. 

Peacock, whose wife was named Ann, moved the house to his family's ranch on Glades Cut Off Road in Port St. Lucie in 1968, placing it beside the hunting lodge he'd already built on the property in 1952, historical society records and newspaper archives show. 

The family lost some of its land in 1960 when the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District sued to take an unknown amount of acreage for a canal-widening project, according to a Fort Pierce newspaper article. 

The Peacock House and Lodge survived the ongoing development of St. Lucie West throughout the 1980s and 1990s.Unknown residents lived in the Peacock House until 2006, when it was abandoned, and the lodge was used for storage until 2015, the historical society documents show.

The city eventually had to decide whether to demolish or relocate the buildings and moved the house and hunting lodge to Westmoreland Park in September 2018 after both were deemed historic by the state. 

In March 2019, both buildings received new roofs, foundations and a fresh coat of exterior paint, according to the project timeline. 

Catie Wegman is a community reporter who also produces "Ask Catie," an occasional feature to find answers to your burning questions about anything and everything — the more bizarre the better. Support her work with a TCPalm subscription. Contact her at catie.wegman@tcpalm.com or 772-221-4211 and follow her @Catie_Wegman on Twitter and @catiewegman1 on Facebook. 

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