The history of Port St Lucie is what every Floridian wants to know. Nestled in the heart of Florida’s Treasure Coast, Port St Lucie is a growing urban area that still maintains the essence of ‘the real Florida.’ Indeed, the city is rich in culture, historical museums & attractions, and significant history. Today, it is the 8th largest city in Florida with a residing population of 222, 960 residents. Just as the city is rich in beautiful places, monuments, Lucie river, beaches, and Lucie historical society, and attractions, it is also affluent in history. Moreover, Port St Lucie in Sunshine State, Florida, is also known for its motto, ‘the city for all ages’ and a famous tourist destination. The city was primarily English but it had a surging black community with deep historical roots.
Moreover, the city takes up 120 square miles in St Lucie County on Florida’s east coast, which is about 50 miles from West Palm Beach. Indeed, the city is prominent for its lovely historical attractions and beautiful sightseeing. Let’s now discover its evolution by tracing the history of Port St Lucie.
Digging Into The History Of Port St Lucie, FL
In the 1950s, Port St Lucie was an uninhabited land that was primarily composed of a few farms, a fishing camp, and scattered businesses. In 1958, the General Development Corporation, the largest land development company, invested a hefty amount in developing Port St Lucie into an advanced colony. The city was incorporated on April 27, 1961, and with no residents, since then, it has become the third most populous city in South Florida and the eighth-largest city in Florida. Instantaneously, the city started following land marketing, sales, and settlements in 1961. Undoubtedly, the city started having enormous developments that made it the first significant community in south Florida.
A few years later, the population further boomed in St Lucie West, which tripled in size between 1980 and 1990. The significant developments in the city started providing ample opportunities for citizens to prosper. Presently, the city has transitioned from a small town or a developing housing community to an entirely new city, one of the most flourishing and progressive cities in the Sunshine State, Florida.
How did Port St Lucie Get Its Name?
Historians believe that the name ‘Saint Lucie’ was first given to this area by the Spanish. Basically, the name was given when the Spanish started constructing a fort on December 13, 1567. It was a Spanish religious festival – the feast day of the Roman Catholic Saint Lucia that gave birth to the name of the city Port Saint Lucie Florida. Historically, it was the beginning of the 16th century when Florida was colonized like many other territories in America. Back then, the land was under Spanish rule, so the English version was not in use. It started developing only after the city became independent from the rule of Spain.
Further, the Saint Lucia colony was established somewhere between Vero Beach and Stuart around 1567. According to an old Spanish map, this land is identified as Santa Lucia. Florida was under Spanish rule from 1789 to 1819. The Anglo-Saxon version, ‘St Lucie’, didn’t become official to identify the area until the 1900s. Moreover, Seminoles (Creek Indians from Alabama and Georgia) and many runaway slaves from different parts of the regions began to settle on the Treasure Coast.
Does The City Have a ‘Port’?
Today, many Floridians and non-Floridians are asking the question, ‘ why is the word ‘port’ in the city’s name if there is no port in the city? It is quite puzzling. However, to understand this anecdote, we must go back to the 1950s, where it all started. In the 1950s, General Development Corporation and the developers of Port St Lucie developed the first significant community known as Port Charlotte on the Gulf Coast. Later, it became GDC’s marketing plan to add ‘Port’ in the names of all the major developments they had planned for Florida.
Many other plans under the pipeline needed to be executed, but unfortunately, the company went bankrupt at the end of the 20th century. The company filed for bankruptcy in 1991 for the development of Port Malabar (currently a part of Palm Bay), Port LaBelle, Port St John, Port Charlotte, and North Port.
Major Transition: From A City Without Residents To Megacity
There was a time when Port St. Lucie was a city with no residents. In 1961 only 250 homes were built in the River Park area, as per the Port St Lucie Historical Society. Then the General Development Corp asked the state legislature to integrate the 70 miles of inhabited land into Port St Lucie. Approving residents was necessary to make them a part of the new land. However, the hundreds of River Park residents in the 1000-acre land rejected the incorporation in Port St Lucie and remain even today as a part of unincorporated St Lucie County.
Further, the State Representative Rupert Smith’s introduction of the passage of House Bill No. 953 and signed by Gov. Bryant Farris on April 26, 1961, Port St Lucie became a city without residents. However, today the city is the most populous in the state of Florida and offers career growth opportunities to people living here. Moreover, the city attracts people for its low crime rate, abundant open space, and diverse housing stock. Famous Florida’s turnpike, shopping centres, Lucie botanical gardens, and digital domain park attract state residents and tourists every year. The major shopping centres like Vero Beach Outlets, Palm Beach Outlets, and Florida Mall attract several families in the city to shop prodigiously. If you’re a nature lover, the city also has beautiful parks and gardens.