Devastation and destruction of Frances Langford property: Finally some transparency


Beloved Martin County icon, Frances Langford (Source: IMDb)

Finally some transparency thanks to the research of Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor:

In view of the public outcry about the devastation of the land and habitat, re-grading the shoreline, and complete destruction of the beautiful character of the old Frances Langford property, I wanted to point out that the owner/developer of the property is Meritage Homes, which is headquartered at 8800 East Raintree Drive, Suite 300, Scottsdale, Arizona 85260.  The chairman and chief executive officer is Steven J. Hilton.  Check out the website at


The site contractor (also the general contractor and underground contractor for Langford Landing) is H & J Contracting of Wellington, Florida, which is owned by Harry Rusbridge, one of the partners in the Lake Point rockpit project who is suing Martin County, the South Florida Water Management District, and Maggy Hurchalla.  Mr. Rusbridge owns the Lake Point property with Jud Laird, George Lindemann, Jr. (who served time in federal prison for having his show horse, Charisma, killed to collect insurance proceeds), and George Lindemann, Sr.  The Lake Point entities have made significant campaign contributions over the years to developer-friendly commissioners and commission candidates.


Local professionals involved in the Langford Landing project are the “environmental consultant” (who also is the environmental consultant for the Lake Point project), EW Consultants owned by Ed Weinberg; the landscape architect, Lucido & Associates, which includes Morris Crady; and the engineer of record, the MilCor Group owned by Melissa G. Corbett.

Biographical information of beloved Martin County icon Frances Langford, from the Internet Movie Database:

Date of Birth 4 April 1913, Lakeland, Florida, USA

Date of Death 11 July 2005, Jensen Beach, Florida, USA (congestive heart failure)

Birth Name Frances Newbern

Nickname Sweetheart of the Fighting Fronts

Height 5′ (1.52 m)

Frances Langford won fame on radio (primarily as Bob Hope’s vocalist, later sparring comically with Don Ameche as “The Bickersons”), via recordings and in the movies. In spite of the fact that she played mostly in minor musicals (plus appearing occasionally in “A” productions, including Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), This Is the Army (1943) and The Glenn Miller Story (1954)), she introduced major songs like “I’m in the Mood for Love” in Every Night at Eight (1935), “You are My Lucky Star” and “Broadway Rhythm” in Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935), Cole Porter’s “Easy to Love” in Born to Dance (1936) and “Hooray for Hollywood” in Hollywood Hotel (1937)


Harold Stuart (18 November 1994 – 11 July 2005) (her death)

Ralph Evinrude (6 October 1955 – 1986) (his death)

Jon Hall (4 June 1934 – 1955) (divorced)

She gave her last public concert in 1966 during a tour for the US forces in Vietnam.

Former daughter-in-law of actor Felix Locher.

Teamed up with Don Ameche on radio and on record albums as a battling married couple in the “The Bickersons” (called “Drene Time” when program was sponsored by Drene Shampoo [1946-1947]).

Her steamy rendition of “I’m in the Mood for Love” (from her movie Every Night at Eight (1935)) was her trademark, and captivated soldiers when she was part of Bob Hope’s USO tours during World War II.

She divorced first husband Jon Hall but they remained friends until his suicide in 1979; she was left a widow in 1986 by second husband Ralph Evinrude, whose family made the famous outboard motors; third husband Harold Stuart, a former assistant secretary of the Air Force under President Truman, survived her. She had no children.

Frances was very fond of fishing and enjoyed her last years on a 57-acre estate in Rio, Fla. She and husband Harold spent much of their time on a yacht called “The Chanticleer.” Among her many charitable causes included the Florida Oceanographic Society on Hutchinson Island, where a visitor center is named for her.

During one of their USO tours, she and Bob Hope were forced to leap out of a jeep to avoid fire from a German fighter plane. They both jumped to safety in a culvert, with Frances landing on top of Bob. Another time they spent the night in the basement of a hotel in Algiers as bombs burst above them.

Teamed up with Don Ameche on radio and on record albums as a battling married couple in “The Bickersons”.

According to Bob Hope, the biggest laugh he ever heard from an audience occurred in 1944 at a USO show for young Marine troops on a remote South Pacific island. When Frances Langford sang the first line of her song, “I’m in the Mood for Love”, a Marine in the audience stood up and shouted, “You’ve come to the right place, honey!”.

In 1953, Frances again entertained troops with the USO, this time in Korea.

She was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 1525 Vine Street and for Motion Pictures at 1500 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.

During World War II, she wrote a weekly column for Hearst Newspapers called “Purple Heart Diary,” in which she described her USO visits to wounded soldiers in hospitals in the U.S. and overseas. She used the column to provide a “voice” for the soldiers, relaying their feelings, gripes, and complaints to the general public.

While on a USO tour with Bob Hope in the South Pacific, she was invited to take a ride in a U.S. army fighter plane. During the flight over South Pacific islands, the fighter pilot spotted a Japanese cargo ship. The “tour flight” had to be put on hold while the pilot strafed the ship, while Frances Langford sat “completely terrified” in the back seat.

Personal Quotes:

“Entertaining the troops was the greatest thing in my life. We were there just to do our job, to help make them laugh and be happy if they could.” (January 2002)

“I’d sing a song, and I could just see the guys getting this faraway expression. I knew they were going home in their minds.” — Interview, 2000


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