The Governor’s House (McCarty House) Early History
We would like to thank Curtis Boyd for providing access to The Governor’s House (also known as the McCarty House). He granted us the unrestricted opportunity to investigate and research, which we took advantage of on multiple occasions. Without his support and patience, we would not have been able to conduct such an extensive and complete investigation. Hopefully, the documentation captured there will help to further the field of Paranormal Research.
The McCarty Family has been one of the most influential families in both Fort Pierce and the state of Florida since they arrived in the region. They boast a long line of lawyers, councilmen, civic leaders, state representatives and even the only governor to hail from Saint Lucie County. Along with the many public offices they have held, the family was also instrumental in creating the pineapple, citrus and cattle industries which this area was famous for long before condos on the beach.
With such an illustrious past, it should come as no surprise that the family was responsible for building the well-known house stationed on a high bluff overlooking the Indian River Lagoon, originally positioned just south of what was then the town. C.T. McCarty (the local patriarch of the family) commissioned the building as a wedding present for his oldest son, Daniel, and Daniel’s new bride. The year was 1905, and the undertaking quickly gained the attention of the community, as seen in the clipping below, taken from the front page of the St. Lucie Tribune in June of 1905.
Though little information is known about the building, much of the history of the family who resided there is of interest. Only two years after the completion of the house, the first in a string of tragic events took place involving the home. Early on a January morning in 1907, local resident W.C. Rawlinson waited calmly in the street for P.P. Cobb to show for his daily breakfast. Angered over a land deal gone bad, Rawlinson planned to kill Cobb, but as fate would have it, Cobb had risen early and had eaten before Rawlinson arrived to carry out his plan.
Frustrated when he was unable to locate Cobb, Rawlinson’s attention was drawn by the arrival of C.T. McCarty, who was walking into the barber for his daily shave. McCarty was Cobb’s attorney and, in Rawlinson’s eyes, just as much to blame for the current misfortune Rawlinson found himself facing. When McCarty exited the barber’s shop, Rawlinson moved into place behind him and coolly shot him in the back three times.
His deed done, Rawlinson casually walked down the street whistling while twirling his gun. He proceeded directly to the butcher’s shop, then owned by the county sheriff. He set his gun on the counter and surrendered to Sheriff Dan Carlton. Amazingly, McCarty was not killed instantly, even though one of the bullets had entered his brain. He was attended to by two local physicians. In an attempt to make him more comfortable, McCarty was moved from the doctors office to his son’s home, where the doctors continued to operate in a desperate measure to remove the bullet from his head. McCarty was awake and talking during their efforts. In a tragic ending to the day’s violence, C.T. McCarty succumbed to his wounds and at 1:45 p.m. died in the home of his son.
In 1909, a mere two years following the death of the family’s patriarch, a small announcement in local paper highlighted another tragic event which had taken place in the home: the birth and death of an infant. The McCarty’s baby girl lived only four short hours.
Thirteen years passed before tragedy once again struck the family. In April of 1922, C.T. McCarty’s son, Danial McCarty Sr. had been feeling poorly for a few weeks. On Friday April 14th, he woke and, as was his norm, went to work in his citrus groves, only to return home shortly thereafter complaining of chest pains. At around 2:00 p.m. the doctors was called, but it was to no avail. Daniel T. McCarty passed away at 4:15 p.m. on Friday, April 14th in his home at the age of 42.
30 years later, his son, Daniel T. McCarty Jr. would die while holding office as governor of the State of Florida. He was 41 years old and died of a heart condition.
Despite the tragedies they faced, the family continued to flourish and the stately house on the bluff remained in their possession until the mid-1980′s. It then became a series of law offices, surviving all that life threw its way until, in 2004 and 2005 the area was subjected to a series of hurricanes that, combined with old age and odd building additions dealt a death blow to the grand old home.
Several attempts were made to save the house, which had long been accepted by residents as a local landmark, but estimates to move it from it’s location were well over $1 million; the cost to modernize, renovate and restore the structure would have far exceeded that amount. After several years of legal struggles, the owner was finally given permission to have the building razed.
I can tell you that no one wanted that building saved more than our group, but after spending countless hours inside, we came to realize that it just wasn’t feasible. The cost was too high and the structure itself was not sound enough to give a base to start from. In order to restore the structure, the entire building would have had to have been dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.
The house was torn down on a cold December morning in 2010. The owner, Curtis Boyd, took a lot of heat in the local news and from local historical groups at the time for allowing the demolition, yet after several discussions with him, we can state—without a doubt—that if another option would have presented itself, the house would still be standing today.