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Canal not deemed historic

Last week we told you about the turning basin at Howard Park in West Palm Beach and the stub canal that connected it eventually to Lake Okeechobee. Here’s more:

The basin and canal lost favor as a produce and passenger operation when a railroad line and motor highway to the Glades opened in the mid-1920s. The 1928 hurricane destroyed the docks and slips.

State representative and former city commissioner Mary Brandenburg, who lives in the neighborhood, served on the city’s historic preservation board in 1997 and wrote the pitch for getting the canal and basin on the National Register of Historic Places. She says the effort went to the state’s historic preservation board, which opted not to recommend it for the national register, ending that attempt.

But the city did later landscape the area around the pond, and installed a marker in the northwest corner of Howard Park to tell the history of the turning basin, said Joan Goldberg, the city’s cultural affairs adviser.

The pond is also the site of one of only two known on-duty deaths of Palm Beach County firefighters. On June 23, 1941, West Palm Beach Fire Capt. Harry Juergen, 41, drowned when a boat capsized during a training exercise. The other death was in 1967, when Oscar Gustav Strand, 65, of Juno Beach, a firefighter for the area volunteer fire department which is now part of Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, was struck by a motorist as he directed traffic at a brush fire in the northern part of the county.

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Posted in Eliot Kleinberg August 31, 2005 at 11:50 am.

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