Mt. Elizabeth and the surrounding property were purchased by explorer William Henry Racey in the late 1850's. In 1891, his son, Charles Racey, built a three-story wood-frame house on the mound for his family and started a pineapple and citrus plantation on the property. The Racey family sold the property to a New York Judge after the home burned to the ground in 1921.
The Leach Family and Tuckahoe
In 1936, Atlanta businessman Willaford Leach and his wife Anne Bates Leach, a Coca-Cola heiress, purchased Mt. Elizabeth and the surrounding property and built the Mediterranean Revival home that exists today. Named "Tuckahoe," the estate was completed in 1939 with the latest in architectural design for that time. Sitting on approximately 54 acres of riverfront woodland and rolling lawns, Tuckahoe was the hub of social life in Martin Country and the setting for countless parties attended by the local social set and WWII soldiers from Camp Murphy. Mrs. Leach, who helped organize The Garden Club of Stuart, donated funds for The Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital, affiliated with Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami.
St. Joseph Novitiate and College
In the early 1950's, the Leaches decided to move to Palm Beach and sold the property to the Catholic Church. The estate became a novitiate of the Sisters
of St. Joseph and the mansion was used as a dormitory. In 1966, the admission of lay students began and the school would become Florida's only two-year liberal arts college. Economic difficulties resulted in the closing of the school in 1972.
Florida Institute of Technology (FIT)
FIT purchased the property in 1972 and it became the site of a four-year college offering advanced degrees in marine related subjects. The mansion became the administration building and student center. FIT was an important part of the community for 14 years until operating expenses forced the closing of the school in 1986.
Indian RiverSide Park
Following the FIT closure, Tuckahoe and the surrounding property stood vacant until local community leaders led a successful referendum drive to encourage Martin County to purchase the property. In 1997, the property became the site of this park. Restoration of The Mansion was completed in 2009.
National Historic Registry
The Mansion at Tuckahoe was placed on The National Register of Historic Places in November 2005 with the help of the Friends of Mount Elizabeth.