Black history month
This Week in History
West Palm Beach
World War II
Nathaniel J. Adams Park at 568 15th Street in West Palm Beach was named for the man who formed West Palm’s first Boy Scout troop for blacks. He died at age 73 in January 1982. The park was named in 1983.
When Nathaniel J. Adams went to an awards program of the Exchange Club of South West Palm Beach in April 1976, he expected to see his daughter presented with an award. Instead, Adams himself was given the group’s Book of Golden Deeds award for community service. A resident of West Palm Beach, Adams served 30 years with the Gulfstream Council for the boy Scouts and had been active in several other charitable and civic groups. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
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Tags: African Americans, parks, place names, West Palm Beach
We’re wrapping up our 13th year of Post Time.
Our first column was in Jan, 19, 2000, and this is number 676!
We couldn’t do it without your great inquiries. Keep ‘em coming!
In honor of our anniversary, let’s revisit one of our earliest columns, in February 2000.
Q: Who is Santaluces High School, west of Lantana, named for?
A: “Santaluces” is a name given to a local Indian group by Europeans that probably was a corruption of Santa Lucia, the same person for whom St. Lucie County is named.
Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Aviles established the Santa Lucia settlement, at a spot identified as either St. Lucie Inlet or Jupiter Inlet, on Dec. 13, 1565, the feast day of Santa Lucia.
According to legend, she was born in the fourth century in Sicily of noble parents, made a vow of virginity, and was executed as a Christian after she was turned in by a spurned suitor. Fort Santa Lucia was abandoned by March 1566.
Other name origins that most either presume to be Seminole or haven’t a clue about:
Calusa/Caloosa (neighborhood, school, park): The Calusa, who lived mostly in southwest Florida, predated the Seminoles by centuries.
Manalapan: Actually named for a town in New Jersey.
Tequesta: Another group that predated the Seminoles, they lived along the southeast coast, mostly in the Miami area
Yamato: Named for a short-lived Japanese colony that operated in the Boca Raton-Delray Beach area in the early 20th century.
And some that really are Seminole:
Okeechobee: big water
Hypoluxo (island, town, road): Water all around, can’t get out (original name of Lake Worth, which was once a closed-in freshwater lake.)
Okeeheelee (park, middle school): good water
Cholee (Cholee Park, Cholee Lake Elementary): pine tree
Loxahatchee (wildlife refuge, river, neighborhood): turtle river
Pahokee: grassy waters
Have I missed some?
Happy New Year!
Tags: place names
Last week we listed the people honored in 2000 when the state instituted the Great Floridians 2000 program of markers, which still are scattered across our region. Here’s a list by town, with location, for the Treasure Coast, as well as additional honorees.
Joseph Verner Reed and Permelia Pryor Reed: conservationists. (Town Hall, 103 Bunker Hill Road)
R.R. Ricou: fishing business owner and civic leader. (Ricou Building, 1899 N.E. Jensen Beach Blvd.)
Morris Raiford Johns: pineapple grower, deputy sheriff. (County Cultural Arts Center, East Ocean Bouklevard)
Walter Kitching: banker, justice of the peace, philanthropist. (Former home, 210 Atlanta Ave.)
George W. Parks: businessman, bank founder, councilman, mayor. (Stuart Feed Store, 161 S.W. Flagler Ave.)
James R. Pomeroy: educator, county politician, postmaster, businessman. (County Cultural Arts Center, East Ocean Boulevard)
Albert E. “Bean” Backus: self-taught painter. (Backus Gallery and Museum, 50 N. Indian River Drive)
Dr. Clem C. Benton: founder, Fort Pierce Memorial Hospital. (Benton Building, 337 N. U.S. 1)
Zora Neale Hurston: writer and folklorist. (Hurston Home, 1734 Avenue L)
Daniel T. McCarty: Florida’s 31st Governor (1952-1953) and the first from “South Florida.” (McCarty Middle School, 1201 Mississippi Ave.)
Peter Raulerson: postmaster, mayor, county commissioner and school trustee. (City Hall, 55 S.E. Third Ave.)
The state later named additional Great Floridians, some already in the list above. Here are the rest of local honorees, along with date of designation:
Capt. David McCampbell, Lake Worth (2010). The U.S. Navy’s all-time leading ace, and Medal of Honor recipient, died in 1996; the terminal at Palm Beach International Airport is named for him.
Marshall E. “Doc” Rinker Sr., West Palm Beach (2011) founder of Rinker Materials, the largest producer of ready-mix concrete and block in Florida; he became a generous contributor to cultural and educational institutions. He died in 1996.
Tags: people, place names
A dozen years ago, as a new century began, the state instituted the Great Floridians 2000 program of markers, which still are scattered across our region.
Here’s a list by town, with location, for Palm Beach County.
Thomas Farrar Fleming Jr.: bank founder, instrumental in establishment of Florida Atlantic University. (Boca Raton City Hall. 201 W. Palmetto Park Road)
Charles W. Pierce: barefoot mailman, author of Pioneer Life in South Florida, the seminal memoir of the region pre-Flagler. (Old post office site, 523 E. Ocean Ave.)
Bernard Preston Thomas (above): artist and painter of Western scenes. (Boynton Beach Woman’s Club, 1919 S. Federal Highway).
Calhoun Yancey “C.Y.” Byrd: lawyer, city councilman, city attorney, county commissioner. (City Attorney’s Office, 200 N.W. First Ave.)
Dr. John Robert Cason Jr.: minister, founder of Methodist Children’s Home, school board member, municipal court judge. (Cason Cottage, 5 N.E. First St.)
Marshall DeWitt: farmer , agricultural leader, city councilman, mayor, Delray Beach Historical Society founder. (City Hall, 100 N.W. First Ave.)
Barbara Dodge Smith: Chamber of Commerce president, city commissioner, preswident of Delray Beach Community Child Care Center. (City Hall, 100 N.W. First Ave.)
Solomon David Spady, above: teacher and principal for 34 years. (Spady House, 170 N.W. Fifth Ave.)
Bessie Wilson DuBois: pioneer and historian. (DuBois Park, Jupiter Inlet)
Henry Morrison Flagler (above): “The Godfather of Florida” (Flagler Museum, Whitehall)
West Palm Beach
Edward R. Bradley, above: philanthropist, owner of iconic Palm Beach casino. (E.R. Bradley’s, 104 Clematis St.)
Dr. Joseph Wiley Jenkins, above: pharmacist. (Historic Jenkins House, 815 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.)
Marvin U. Mounts, above: agricultural leader. (Mounts Botanical Garden, 531 N. Military Trail)
Dr. Thomas Rudolph Vickers, above: A black health care provider. (Vickers House community resource center, 811 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.)
Tags: people, place names
The Kravis Center turns 20 this week.
The 10.6-acre complex “on the hill” at Okeechobee Boulevard and Tamarind Avenue, west of downtown West Palm Beach, has become such an icon that few bother to still use its formal name: Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
There’s the 2,195-seat Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. Concert Hall, the 289-seat Rinker Playhouse, the 170-seat Helen K. Persson Hall and the capacity-1,400 outdoor Michael and Andrew Gosman Amphitheatre.
The $100 million center has become an important stop on the national culture circuit, hosting touring Broadway shows, Frank Sinatra and violinist Itzhak Perlman, as well as local institutions.
Some had criticized the wisdom of placing a mecca to high society in a decaying neighborhood. But it would serve as the jewel for CityPlace’s revitalization.
And it would be neighbor to Dreyfoos’ other obsession. His largess helped save the original Palm Beach High School and convert it to a school of the arts that bears his name.
Dreyfoos, who gave $5 million to the Kravis Center, retired as chairman in 2007.
The dream of a performing arts center had started more modestly, back in 1980, with the idea of just a small theater in Currie Park. Neighbors blocked that. Ed Eissey, then president of Palm Beach Community College — now Palm Beach State College — scored a $10 million education grant to begin a $30 million center.
By 1985, the price had nearly doubled to $55 million. Four months after the January 1989 groundbreaking at the school’s Lake Worth campus, the theater was moved to its downtown site.
The center opened Sept. 19, 1992, in a spectacular dedication ceremony — crowned with the announcement that the $55 million price tag had been paid in full.
Board Chairman Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. addressed some 2,100 supporters and cut a giant gold bow draped over the stage. In attendance: the Oklahoma oilman and benefactor for whom the theater is named. Kravis, who had wintered in Palm Beach for decades, would die just a year later, in October 1993.
The formal grand opening would be Nov. 28, 1992, at a $1,000-ahead gala. The master of ceremonies: local product Burt Reynolds, who gushed: “Is this a miracle or what?”
The Kravis Center under construction in 1990. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
The steel framework and concrete structure of the lobby of the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, with a view of the city skyline to the east, in July 1991. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
David Miller of Iron Workers Local 402 fastens the ceiling dome to the top of the Kravis Center in 1991. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
Maestro Ulf Bjorlin, who died in 1993, ‘conducted’ the pouring of the concrete for the orchestra pit of the Kravis Center during a media tour of the construction site in 1989. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
Against a backdrop of unfinished balconies and private boxes in April 1991, Ballet Florida dancers rehearse on the Dravis Center stage while children from the School of Ballet Florida watch. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
Tags: buildings, celebrities, photos, place names