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Our Dec. 13, 2012, column described the boxing matches the American Legion Post 12 held in an indoor arena, with bleachers for about 2,000 built in the late 1920s on the north side of Clematis Street, near the Florida East Coast Railway crossing.
What we didn’t show you was a photograph of the place. We had to settle for one of boxing at a club on Palm Beach. In fact, we’ve searched high and low for an image from the West Palm Beach venue, without luck.
The picture seen here came to us by way of Leonard (“Buddy”) and Rosanne Bush, of West Palm Beach, who themselves can’t remember how it came into their hands. It says on the back, “photo by Herb Davies.”
Buddy, now 84, isn’t one of the guys in the ring, but he recalls boxing there in 1939 at the ripe old age of 11.
“My first fight ,” he recalled, “was with a redheaded boy from Lake Worth who a few years back retired as a judge, name Tom Johnson. And I lost.”
He means “Red” Johnson, born in 1927, who was a Palm Beach County Circuit Judge from 1976 to 1992 as well as a state senator, a Palm Beach County State Attorney, and a municipal judge. Buddy recalled he won the first round and Johnson the next two. “Red” died at 77 in 2004.
“He used to go down to Clematis Street and fight,” son Bill Johnson, a West Palm Beach lawyer, recalled. “When he was older, he had a crooked nose.”
The photo itself has buried treasures. The Al-far Creamery was a major dairy downtown. And the Howard Johnson’s at “So. Dixie & Belvedere” was across the street from where the Palm Beach Post now stands.
The American Legion sponsored the Friday fights “to get the kids off the streets,” especially older teens, Buddy Bush recalled.
Buddy’s in the “Bush Brothers” family, which has been in the meat business in Palm Beach County for nearly nine decades.
He said he boxed four or five times each summer. The gloves were heavy for maximum protection, but that “you got tired, as a kid, just slapping at the other one.”
He said two pals fought along with him: Harold Clarence Cook, also a “Buddy,” and George Shahin. Cook was killed in Vietnam. Shahin went to the Marines and lives in the Miami area.
Buddy said the place was huge and hot and the crowds were big, but at that young age, “you didn’t have any fear. Just foolishness.”
He said he doesn’t remember anyone getting hurt and that the fights were “a family affair. My dad would take all of us down. It was a great program. I’ve been in the Legion for many years and they’ve always done good work.”
Undated photograph, probably from late 1930s or early 1940s, of boxing matches the American Legion Post 12 held in an indoor arena, with bleachers for about 2,000 built in the late 1920s on the north side of Clematis Street, near the Florida East Coast Railway crossing. (Photo courtesy of Leonard “Buddy” and Roseanne Bush)
Leonard “Buddy” Bush boxed at age 11 at the American Legion venue on Clematis Street in West Pam Beach. (Photo courtesy of Roseanne Bush)
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Campaign poster from the successful 1974 beach purchase bond issue. (Palm Beach Post file photo)
In 1988 The Palm Beach Post examined the status of public access to beaches in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
Where's the beach? The Palm Beach Post, October 23, 1988, page 1F by HistoricPalmBeach
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Arizona Star Tales from the Morgue
Today in Dallas photo history
Tales from the Morgue
The Lively Morgue from The New York Times
The Digs from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Portland through the Decades and Portland then and now from the Portland Oregonian
Past Times from the Raleigh News & Observer
From the Vault from the San Antonio News Express
Pages from the Past from the Scranton Times Tribune)
Behind The Curtain from the Springfield State Journal-Register
Back in the Day and The Virginian-Pilot Archives on Facebook
From the Archives The Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times has Archives homepage
In the early 1900s tuberculosis was among the top two leading causes of death in the United States (the other was pneumonia and influenza, classified as a single category). The death rate from TB was about the same as the current rate for cancer or heart disease, the two current leading causes of death in the U.S. Tuberculosis remained in the top 10 until the 1950s, when antibiotic treatment was developed.
The name tuberculosis comes from tuber, the botanical term for a rounded growth of a stem such as a potato, which is what lesions caused by the disease resemble.
1885 – The first tuberculosis sanitarium in the nation is established at Lake Saranac, N.Y. By the 1950s, there were more than 800, with more than 70,000 beds. By the mid-1970s, the number of beds had dropped to fewer than 10,000.
1915 – The Florida death rate from tuberculosis is 153.7 per 100,000 residents.
1935 – House Bill 854 authorizes the Florida Tuberculosis Board to establish and oversee state-run TB hospitals.
1938 – The Central Florida Tuberculosis Hospital, the first of four state hospitals, opens in Orlando.
1946 – The Florida death rate from tuberculosis is 29.5 per 100,000.
1950 – The Southeast Florida State Sanatorium opens in Lantana. The hospital was renamed in 1969 for Adrian Glenn — known as A.G. — Holley, a Panhandle hardware store owner and a longtime member of the state’s tuberculosis board. When the 500-bed hospital opened the town of Lantana had 773 residents, and there were more than 600 tuberculosis hospitals in the U.S.
1951 – Aug. 30, Investigation into “unrest” at the Lantana hospital when patients complain about bad food and conditions that made them feel more like prisoners than patients.
1952 – The Southwest Tuberculosis Hospital in Tampa and W.T. Edwards Tuberculosis Hospital in Tallahassee open. Later that year the Florida Bureau of Tuberculosis Control announces a nearly 50 percent drop in TB deaths since 1920, and predicts that someday tuberculosis will be a relatively minor public health problem. Bureau director C.M. Sharp attributes the progress to more treatment facilities, educational projects and “increased standards of living among Florida residents.”
1955 – Florida tuberculosis death rate is 7.8 per 100,000.
1956 – Sarasota Herald-Tribune profiles W.T. Edwards, “the father of Florida’s tuberculosis hospitals” and chair of the state board from its inception in 1935 until 1957.
1957 – Controversy over length of hospitalization of TB patients results in firing of Southwest Florida Tuberculosis Hospital medical director Frank Cline Jr. and resignation of longtime state tuberculosis board chairman W.T. Edwards.
1959 – Bill to abolish state tuberculosis board fails.
1964 – Florida tuberculosis death rate is 3.7 per 100,000.
1969 – A sweeping governmental reorganization plan consolidates hundreds of state boards into several new departments, including the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, which takes over the role of the tuberculosis board.
1974 – Tampa tuberculosis hospital closes, leaving A.G. Holley as the only TB hospital in Florida.
1982- Florida health officials consider closing Holley because of budget shortfalls, but decide to keep it open because they have no alternative plan for dealing with TB patients.
Mid-1980s – Tuberculosis rates increase again, mainly because of financing cuts to prevention and treatment programs and the emergence of HIV/AIDS. People infected with HIV have a much higher risk of developing active TB. The number of TB cases in Florida peaked in 1994.
1985 – “Admitted killer” Willie Johnson walked out of an unguarded door at A.G. Holley Hospital. Johnson had been found innocent by reason of insanity in a 1978 shooting death and was a resident of a Miami halfway house program temporarily housed at the hospital.
1987 – A.G. Holley patient Woodrow Hayes files a federal lawsuit saying he was being held at the hospital against his will. Hayes was released shortly after he filed the suit, which was settled in 1988 and spurred the legislature to update the law on involuntary commitment for tuberculosis patients.
1976 – Beds and staff at A.G. Holley reduced to serve a maximum of 150 patients.
1991 – A plan to close the Lantana tuberculosis hospital fails. The final bill trims a mere $1,000 from the hospital’s budget and requires HRS to present a report to the Legislature by February on alternatives to closing the hospital.
2008 – The legislature directs the Department of Health to find a new way to treat tuberculosis patients while outsourcing their management to a private vendor. When no qualified vendors came forward, the legislature in 2010 orders the Department of Health to develop a plan to find community hospitals willing to care for patients. That approach never was implemented.
2012 – The state closes the A.G. Holley Hospital.
Compiled by Palm Beach Post staff researcher Michelle Quigley
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Camp Murphy in southern Martin County was established in 1942 as the home of the Southern Signal Corps School for radar operation instruction during the early years of World War II.
We’ve been fortunate enough to receive a dozen copies of the camp’s weekly newspaper from a Wisconsin reader whose father was stationed at Camp Murphy.
The newspapers provide a wonderful snapshot of life at the camp during the last three months of 1943. We’ve scanned them so you can read every page online here.
Camp Murphy Message, October 1, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, October 8, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, October 15, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, October 22, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, October 29, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, November 5, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, November 12, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, November 26, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, December 3, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, December 10, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, December 17, 1943
Camp Murphy Message, December 24, 1943
Posted 2 years, 7 months ago. 5 comments