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Dreyfoos has rich history on ‘The Hill’

Teens now attending the Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts might not know the legacy of the historic complex on “The Hill.”

Forty years ago this week, on Sept. 1, 1970, the original Palm Beach High changed its name to Twin Lakes. The moniker was shortlived, and the complex shut soon after. But it was too important to let go.

Let’s revisit a 2004 column:

Twin Lakes formed for all the right reasons, but it had a less than charmed life. For decades, white students had attended Palm Beach High, while blacks attended Roosevelt, about 2 miles to the north.

In the fall of 1970, pressed by the U.S. Supreme Court, Palm Beach County integrated the schools. Forced to create a single entity, school officials named the two campuses “Twin Lakes North” and “Twin Lakes South.”

The old Roosevelt High eventually became a middle school.

“Twin Lakes High” finally closed in June 1988.

It briefly operated as Palm Beach Lakes High until that school’s new campus opened Jan. 30, 1989, then shut down again.

For years, it stood vacant. A total of $29.5 million was spent to renovate the buildings. The Dreyfoos school opened in 1997.

The May 2004 column had said logic suggested “Twin Lakes” referred to Lake Mangonia, which fronted Roosevelt, and Clear Lake, near Palm Beach High.

That prompted a call from Polly Kelly called in Lake Worth. She’d been Palm Beach High’s treasurer from 1967 to 1988.

Polly said our conjecture was correct. She said a committee comprising faculty from the two schools was struggling with a name when she told her friend, Willie Mays Jr., who headed the committee, “Willie, I have the perfect name. Twin Lakes School. Just look at the map.”

In July of this year, Polly, now 88, said she was thrilled that the complex is still standing strong, saying, “It’s very precious.”

No longer with us, sadly, is Dr. Reginald J. Stambaugh, who died in 2007. He often was our primary source on Palm Beach High and strived to save its buildings.

Arnold Clark of Ferrin Signs hangs a banner announcing The End of an Era party that was held on the football field in May 1988 honoring the history of Palm Beach High School and Twin Lakes High School. Forty years ago this week the original Palm Beach High changed its name to Twin Lakes.

Palm Beach High School in 1940 (Palm Beach Post file photo)

In 2008, in honor of the school’s 100th anniversary, The Palm Beach Post produced 100 Years on the Hill, a video documenting the history of the school. Click on the image above to see the video at CLIK/HEAR, the multimedia, photography, video showcase of The Palm Beach Post.

For more information: Palm Beach High Alumni and Historical Association

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Posted in Black Palm Beach Blog and Eliot Kleinberg September 2, 2010 at 9:04 am.


5 Replies

  1. Beth Dix Sep 2nd 2010

    My husband Robert and I both attended Twin Lakes High School. I was Beth Baker at the time. In fact, we met in the Algebra 2 class that was taught by Willie Mays Jr. We graduated in 1972 and were married in 1974. Both of us loved our years at Twin Lakes High and the fond memories we had of falling in love “on the Hill”.

  2. Hi graduated in 1972, too. Was there during the transition from Palm Beach High to Twin Lakes High. Memorable years with good friends. Now working in NYC at Jazz at Lincoln Center. I remember Algebra teacher Mr. Mays, English teacher Ms. Abbott and the days of busing. Miss ya’ll.

  3. D Carver Jun 12th 2011

    I remember the year they integrated Palm Beach High. The Blacks were so violent and such a ain to try to get along with, my brother and I dropped out of public schools and went to a private school. A son of the Segregated South, I will forever have very bad memories of integration and the Blacks. We lived through a nightmare.

  4. To:
    D. Carter
    After all these years, all you can remember about Palm beach and High School is blacks. You’ve got to be black.

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