Monthly Archives: July 2015

Visiting Henry Flagler’s “paradise” on Florida’s east coast

The Everglades along I-75, with a typical south Florida summer sky above

The Everglades along I-75, with a typical south Florida summer sky above–clouds gathering for an eventual thunderstorm

Sorry to have disappeared for a month! We just returned from our own road trip around the vast state of Oregon, taking in places like Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, Hell’s Canyon, Wallowa Lake, the John Day Fossil Beds, & Crater Lake and Upper Klamath Lake. From Upper Klamath Lake, we veered down into northwest California to take in the majestic beauty of the giant coastal redwoods there, before traveling up about two-thirds of the Oregon Coast. Once the dust settles, I will put together a post with my top 10-15 images from our trip.

Meanwhile, I will leave you with a little post I started, before leaving on vacation, about a jaunt we took to the Florida’s east coast not long ago…to Lake Worth, a fun, friendly, and eclectic little town wedged between Palm Beach to the north and Boynton Beach to the south. Lovely beach, fun downtown shops and restaurants, fabulous little Mexican food stand called Lupita’s, and plenty of nature and water activities. We stayed at a B&B called the Mango Inn, which was very peaceful and pleasant and within easy walking distance to the downtown and the lagoon. The signature breakfast dish “mango-stuffed French toast” proved to be disappointingly soggy, but perhaps the chef just had a bad day.

If you feel like taking a hike (we didn’t, given what time of year it is), you could easily walk to the ocean beach, which is clean and well cared for, by heading over the big bridge that crosses the 22-mile-long Lake Worth lagoon and deposits you close to the public beach parking lot. The old, historic casino building there has been renovated and offers a cool and pleasant spot to shop for souvenirs, grab an ice cream, or sit down for a meal.

casino

The Casino today as viewed from the pier

The Casino on the beach

The Casino on the beach, 1930s?

If you like to fish, the Lake Worth pier supposedly gets you closer to the Gulf Stream than anywhere else on Florida’s east coast; we saw some very big fish swimming below. The Snook Islands restoration project is underway in the Lake Worth lagoon which is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. The fishing is supposed to be very good here as well. We gave it a try one evening and walked away empty-handed, but have heard good things about the location. You can launch a kayak from this spot too. Studies of the lagoon and its inlets over the last twenty years have registered a whopping 261 species of fish!

Day's fishing, Palm Beach, Fla. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Day’s fishing, Palm Beach, Fla. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

But the Lake Worth area of yesteryear was considerably different. While the fishing was probably just as good, if not far better, the population was vastly smaller. In 1920—only about 1,100. Today some 35,000 live in this small town which is surrounded on three sides by a sprawling metropolitan area that includes over five million people.

For a glimpse of how this area of Florida looked 100 or so years ago, you can view the Library of Congress images to the left and below. Most were taken in Palm Beach which is adjacent to where the town of Lake Worth lies today. The 1890 map below shows Lake Worth, the town, positioned north of Palm Beach, but today’s town is definitely to the south. But back in 1890, the entire area around the twenty-two-mile-long Lake Worth lagoon, was referred to as Lake Worth, so I suppose it did not really matter where the mapmaker plopped their little Lake Worth circle on the map.The current town was incorporated in 1912, twenty-two years after this map was created.

Township map of Peninsular Florida issued by the Associated Railway Land Department of Florida. 1890 ... Copyright, 1890, for the Associated Railway Land Department of Florida, By D.H. Elliott, General Land Agent. Matthews, Northrup & Co., Buffalo, New York.---segment showing Lake Worth and Palm Beach on the East Coast (Credit: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection - www.davidrumsey.com)

Township map of Peninsular Florida issued by the Associated Railway Land Department of Florida. 1890 … Copyright, 1890, for the Associated Railway Land Department of Florida, By D.H. Elliott, General Land Agent. Matthews, Northrup & Co., Buffalo, New York.—segment showing Lake Worth and Palm Beach on the East Coast                                                    (Credit: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection – http://www.davidrumsey.com)

In 1892, millionaire oil tycoon/industrialist Henry Flagler discovered this corner of Florida, declaring it “paradise” and deciding that it would make an ideal tourist destination for super-wealthy northerners (such as the Wm. A. Rockefeller family—see clipping below). And, with that, the ‘Flagler Era,’ which was well underway in places further north in Florida, stretched south to encompass Lake Worth. In 1894, his east coast railway was extended south to reach West Palm Beach, ensuring a steady flow of tourists. That coincided with the grand opening of his Royal Poinciana Hotel, a luxurious winter haven on the barrier islands on the Atlantic side of the lagoon, where the beaches are. You can see pictures of the Royal Poinciana Hotel below; it was built to face the lagoon. A train track constructed over Lake Worth lagoon delivered guests straight to the hotel. Gargantuan in size (allegedly becoming the largest wooden structure in the world), it was able to accommodate up to two thousand guests; bellhops made deliveries on bicycles. A daily three-mile walk could be achieved just by traversing the hotel’s labyrinth of corridors. Two years later, Flagler opened the nearby Palm Beach Inn (today known as the Breakers, so named because of its position on the beach where the sound of waves breaking can be heard). It has undergone numerous renovations over the years and is still welcoming guests today.

1926-movie-poster

Poster for 1926 film starring Bebe Daniels: The Palm Beach Girl

Like many massive and grand Victorian hotels, the Royal Poinciana Hotel did not survive. It fell into decline in the 1920s and a 1928 hurricane and the 1929 stock market finished it off. The palatial hotel, an icon of the Gilded Age, was demolished in 1935.

I’d love to travel back in time to catch a glimpse of life in and around the hotel during its heyday, and of early Palm Beach / Lake Worth in general. Unfortunately, it appears that hardly any films exist from that period. Two directed by accomplished actress Pearl F. White (1889-1938), one in 1916 (Island of Happiness) and one in 1917 (Isle of Tomorrow), have apparently been lost—for an interesting article about them, click here. Also lost to the sands of time was the 1926 film starring actress Bebe Daniels, The Palm Beach Girl. It and some other early films (all lost, apart from one which is in a private collection) were mentioned in the Palm Beach Past blog. For that article, please click here. Perhaps Hollywood will some day produce a film that captures that era, in all its grandeur. Until then, I guess we just have to view the existing images and use our imaginations!

CLICK ON THE FIRST IMAGE, AND THEN USE THE ARROWS; for an interesting article containing more images and information about early Palm Beach, click here.

TO VIEW AS A SLIDE SHOW, CLICK ON THE FIRST IMAGE, AND THEN USE THE ARROWS.

Categories: Advertisements, Florida, Nature, Rockefeller Wm A. | Tags: , | Leave a comment

A 1915 Brodhead family road trip

Cover

1915 AUTOMOBILE TRIPS AND SIGHT-SEEING GUIDE (Used with permission of mapsofpa.com)

I love the little morsels that can be gleaned from old newspapers (and the fact that old newspapers published personal tidbits that would never make it into today’s papers). Here’s a little morsel about a road trip taken in October 1915 by three of A. J. Brodhead & Ophelia Easton Brodhead‘s surviving adult children: Garret Brodhead (67), Jean Struthers (Brodhead) Blakslee (57), and Charlotte Elizabeth (Brodhead) Burk (60).

Trenton Evening Times' Flemington news section --- 24 October 1915

Trenton Evening Times‘ Flemington news section — 24 October 1915

Along for the ride were their brother James Easton Brodhead‘s wife (Harriet Locklin Boyd) and youngest son (Nathaniel Boyd Brodhead – 24), Garret’s wife Annie Kocher, Jean’s husband Charles Blakslee, and Charlotte’s husband Franklin C. Burk. Destination — Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This was two years after the 50th anniversary events took place at the historic battleground.

Charlotte E. Brodhead Burk

Charlotte E. (Brodhead) Burk

Jean Struthers Brodhead

Jean Struthers (Brodhead) Blakslee

Garret Brodhead

Garret Brodhead

Overland Model 82 Touring 1915 |Source: Wikimedia: contributed by author Lglswe on 2008-08-09

Overland Model 82 Touring 1915 |Source: Wikimedia: contributed by author Lglswe on 2008-08-09

The distance from Flemington to Gettysburg is about 168 miles. Today, it’s a 2-hour and 40-minute journey. Back in 1915 (see map below—click to enlarge), I imagine it must have taken quite a bit longer given road conditions and vehicle capabilities. Of course, we don’t know what they were driving. I perused the vehicles showcased on the Early American Automobile website, which has many amazing vehicles on display, and my eyes settled on the 1915 Overland Model 82 Touring Automobile. Imagine taking a road trip over the roads of that era in a setup like that. An earlier vehicle, the 1909 Thomas Flyer 6/40 Touring car, is shown inset to give you an idea of what a packed touring car could look like. They could really ‘pack ’em in’—the more the merrier, I suppose, especially since getting stuck in muddy unpaved roads was more of a possibility back then, and you’d need plenty of man- and woman-power to get out of a jam. But hopefully the weather was fine and dry and the Brodhead contingent had only to admire the autumn leaves and the splendid scenery as they made their way to Gettysburg!

Overland automobile 1909

Advertisement for the Overland 1909

Osborne Auto Party, Salt Lake City, 1909. Car is a 1909 Thomas Flyer 6/40 Touring car with optional wind screen. (Source: WIkimedia Commons, Photographer:Shipler Commercial Photographers; Shipler, Harry. First published circa 1909.

Osborne Auto Party, Salt Lake City, 1909. Car is a 1909 Thomas Flyer 6/40 Touring car with optional wind screen. (Source: WIkimedia Commons, Photographer:Shipler Commercial Photographers; Shipler, Harry. First published circa 1909.

 The Official Automobile Bluebook 1914, Volume 3 New Jersey-Pennsylvania and Southeast

Map (cropped) – from The Official Automobile Bluebook 1914, Volume 3 ,New Jersey-Pennsylvania and Southeast. I’ve added pink arrows to highlight the two locations. (Used with permission of mapsofpa.com)

The below clip is from YouTube (published by manowaradmiral on June 7, 2012). If you go to the YouTube page the contributor has posted a lengthy, interesting description of the 1915 Overland Model 80’s specifications and capabilities. Click here.

An aerial view of Gettysburg from the observation tower on Oak Hill, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 1909. Caption [back side of the post card] reads:

An aerial view of Gettysburg from the observation tower on Oak Hill, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 1909. Caption [back side of the post card] reads: “Immediate foreground was scene of first day’s Battle; across the plain Ewell hurled the main body of his corps on the Federal column, which was driven through the Streets of Gettysburg, but reformed on the unconquered heights of Cemetery Hill. Culps Hill shows to the left: Cemetery Hill in centre background; The Round Tops to the right.” Postcard number: 221. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Devil's Den — Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Dansk: Devils Den, Library of Congress,LC-USZ62-40269, foto fra 1909 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Devil’s Den — Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Dansk: Devils Den, Library of Congress,LC-USZ62-40269, foto from 1909 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Postcard collection of the Presbyterian Historical Society (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Postcard collection of the Presbyterian Historical Society (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Categories: Auto touring, Brodhead, Flemington, Gettysburg, New Jersey, Pennsylvania | 2 Comments

Fishing Pike County, Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1877

Image from p 46 of The Determined Angler and the Brook Trout by Charles Bradford (NY & London: GP Putnam's Sons, 1916)

Image from p 46 of The Determined Angler and the Brook Trout by Charles Bradford (NY & London: GP Putnam’s Sons, 1916)

I don’t know what the fishing is like today in Pike County, PA, but here is an 1877 article from The Country, Vol I & II describing the experiences of one visitor to that area from April 1-4, 1877. During those 4 days, this visitor caught 400 fish weighing 45 pounds and brought back to New York 234 fish that “scaled 33 pounds honest weight.” Roughly 88 of them were between 8 – 13.5 inches in length; the other 150 or so, he said, were small trout, but not “fingerlings” — “fat as butter and excellent eating.”  Obviously these were the days before any limits were introduced! Today he’d be able to walk away with just 5 trout per day, and each would have to be at least 7 inches long.

I love the great outdoors and that includes “escaping mentally” to the great outdoors of yesteryear to imagine what things must have been like in a certain location at a certain point in time. If you’re like me, and you enjoy fishing, perhaps you will find this article of interest too. Present-day fishermen and women in Pike Co., feel free to comment about your experiences fishing in that part of PA.

Happy 4th of July, All!
fishing1fishing2fishing3The Country, weekly journal, Vol 1-2, pub. 1877

Credit: Google Books

Categories: Brodhead, Dingman, Fishing, Fourth of July, Hobbies and Pastimes, Nature, Pennsylvania, Pike Co. | 6 Comments

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