In May of 2008, Don Kiselewski and Steve Cohen, along with a handful of others, which included Arline Kiselewski, Maria Mamlouk, Irene Pedrick and Linda Smith, incorporated the Palm Beach Gardens Historical Society, Inc. It is a non-profit, non-governmental, volunteer organization. A board of directors was established and at one of their first meetings, a mission statement was adopted.
The mission of the Palm Beach Gardens Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the rich history of the City of Palm Beach Gardens for the education and enjoyment of current and future generations.
Immediately upon incorporation, documents were filed to obtain a 501(c)3, designating the Society as a charitable organization, which was granted in November 2008. In addition, approval from the State of Florida was granted allowing the Society to solicit funds and it was designated a Florida Tax free status.
The Society started a series of enrichment lectures to capture past experiences that add to the collection of historical knowledge of the city.
Nancy Kriplen spoke on March 25, 2008, and as the first Enrichment speaker of the Society, she told stories from her recently published book, "The Eccentric Billionaire," about John D. MacArthur. The program was held in the Lakeside Recreation Center, with 35 people attending.
On September 24, 2008, Peter Bergle, the Fire Marshall of the City of Palm Beach Gardens, spoke on the history of the fire service in the city. This Enrichment Program was held at Lakeside Recreation Center.
Dr. Edward Eissey, educator and past principal of numerous schools within the city, spoke on October 22, 2008, on the educational aspects of the city's beginnings. The Enrichment Program was held at Lakeside Recreation Center.
Former Mayor Walter Wiley presented an Enrichment Program where he shared the governmental experiences which occurred in the early days of development in the city. The Enrichment Program was held at Lakeside Recreation Center on January 28, 2009.
The Society started a “Living History” program to preserve, on video, the people of the community who have made contributions to make our city what it is today. Don Kiselewski continues interviewing these significant individuals while capturing the conversations on video.
Attics and closets started to be cleaned of memorabilia of the city’s history that has been collected over the years. Historical items are being donated to the archiving committee. The Society appreciates and welcomes any and all items of the city’s history.
A get acquainted “Taste of History” luncheon was held on March 8, 2009, at the Bonnette Hunting Lodge, with 100 members and guests in attendance. Alix Bonnette related details of the history of the Hunt Club and its many celebrity guests.
Because of the current economic situation, the archiving committee was restricted in the time allowed to work with documents in the City's Lakeside Center where the archiving of city documents had started. It became apparent that the Society needed its own space to move ahead with its mission statement. With this purpose in mind, the Society worked with Pastor Tom Mullins of Christ Fellowship to develop a joint use arrangement for their Outreach building located on the South Campus of their facility, for historical purposes.
On May 27, 2009, at 7:00 PM, at the first enrichment presentation at the Society's new facility, which is located at 5312 Northlake Blvd., on the South side of the street across from the entrance to the main Christ Fellowship campus on the North side, the speaker was Sherman Adler. Sherman was one of John D. MacArthur’s trusted advisors in the development of Palm Beach Gardens. He also directed the production company that produced the numerous TV shows such as Gentle Ben, Flipper and Treasure Island, which were filmed in the area.
On June 20,2009, from 1–3 PM the Society celebrated the 50th Birthday of the city, with an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony at its new home. A special exhibit of MacArthur photos was part of the Founder’s Day festivities.
The membership has been growing steadily. Everyone joining the Society from incorporation until the end of calendar year 2009 is considered a “Founding Member.”
Tom Cairns, Chief Coordinator of Forbes Properties, was the Enrichment Program speaker on September 23, 2009. He was joined by Steve Cohen and Rick Warner, former MacArthur Foundation executives, who jointly presented the history behind the development and implementation of the Gardens Mall.
Harvey Oyer, III presented his new children’s book on the early history of his family here in South Florida on October 13, 2009, titled, "The Adventures of Charlie Pierce; The American Jungle." After the presentation he held a book signing. Pictured with him are Pam Kessler, Arline Kiselewski and Sandy Mast.
Every enrichment program speaker's name is engraved on the Society's recognitions plaque. Pictured is Don Kiselewski presenting the Enrichment Program plaque to Debi Murray and Tony Marconi for their presentation, from the archives of Palm Beach County, with stories and photos of early Palm Beach. The Enrichment Program was presented on November 11, 2009.
The Society participated in the celebration of the City's 50th Birthday with a display of memorabilia that it had acquired.
On December 9, 2009, a look back at our city's holiday history was presented in a DVD presentation of the Hetzel Brothers Christmas Pageant. The DVD was narrated by 12-year old Kelly Chase. Wayne Hetzel, who was just a boy when the pageant was displayed at the entrance to the city, spoke about his many memories of the pageant that first was held some 40 years ago.
At the January 13, 2010, Enrichment Program, Jim Ponce, acclaimed by the Palm Beach Town Council as the "Only two legged historical landmark," presented a history of Palm Beach. He delighted everyone during his presentation with stories of Henry Morrison Flagler and his influence on Palm Beach.
The Society is collaborating, with the City’s Art in Public Places and Parks and Recreation Department, in the planning and development of the “History Walk” that is to be constructed at the south end of the Lake Catherine Park. The walk will be constructed within the Palm Beach Gardens Woman’s Club Honor Park.
Acknowledging their addition to the Enrichment Program plaque are Hank Gonzalez, Lorian Brownlee and Barry Russal who presented the history of the Spotlight Players on February 10, 2010. Not only did they bring back the memories of the Spotlight Players, but also donated memorabilia items to the Society.
On March 10, 2010, the Enrichment Pogram revolved around the history and development of Seacoast Utilities, the entity that has provided water and sewer services to the city since its beginning. Andrea Holmes, who was celebrating her 42 years with the utility, related many interesting stories of the early days when the utility was under MacArthur's control.
Christy Murphy, Ann Shilling, Amy Stepper and Christy Wolnevitz of the Palm Beach Gardens Recreation Department spoke about the History of Recreation in the City at the April 14, 2010, program. The Department started with its first Director Woody Dukes and a jungle gym and has progressed to one of the most outstanding City Recreation Departments in the Nation.
The History of the Palm Beach Gardens Woman's Club, the oldest volunteer organization in the city, which began in 1967, was presented by Past President Arline Kiselewski on May 12, 2010. Her visual presentation outlined the many projects that built the nucleus of volunteer involvement in the city. At the end of the program, the Woman's Club donated their vast collections of scrap books and memorabilia to the Society. The collection captures more than four decades the city's 50 years of existance.
From June 4 through July 8, 2010, the Society, in conjunction with the City, presented a photography display of the highlights of the city's first 51 years. A Founders Day reception was held in the City Hall Lobby on June 17, 2010, where the display was presented. This reception culminated the birthday celebration event.
Enrichment Programs recessed over the summer months.
The City's Long Range Development Plan which was published in 1970, was transferred to a DVD and presented at the September 8, 2010, program. Mayors Walt Wiley and Jim DeLonga, along with Bob Sellers, who was chairman of the City's Planning and Zoning Committee as well as Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee, were introduced by Mayor Don Kiselewski who stated, "They were there. . . the founding fathers so to speak, of our city's growth pattern. Not everything was followed according to plan, but it framed the city's future growth."
North County District Commissioner Karen Marcus spoke at the October 13, 2010, Enrichment Program. A native of North Palm Beach, who was in the first Palm Beach Gardens High School graduating Class, related numerous stories about the early years in the area. In one she described how her dad, during his business activities, used to fly a helicopter from Miami to Cape Canaveral and would land the chopper in a vacant lot up the street from their house to drop off his weekly laundry. A truly descriptive picture of just how open the north county area was in the early days. As one of the longest serving County Commissioners, she also spoke of the activities and other issues that have affected the north county area.
Frank Gillette spoke of Pratt & Whitney's 50 years of History and its contributions to Palm Beach County, Florida. His audio/visual program on November 10, 2010, filled the meeting room with past and present Pratt employees.
The Society held a Holiday Open House on December 8, 2010. Highlights of the evening included video memories of the Hetzel Brothers Christmas Pageant, a video presentation of the City's Art in Public Places, and a collection of photos which are slated for insertion in the book that the Society has since published on the history of the Gardens. Linda Smith, Society Archivist, was responsible for the presentation.
Former local television newsman, Bob Nichols, spoke at the January 12, 2011, Enrichment Program. He related stories of his involvement with John D. MacArthur and the local media. Bob and his dad were both employees of Channel 12 when it was owned by MacArthur. A recipient of a TV Emmy Award, Bob was the official spokesman for election headquarters when the challenges of the "hanging chads" were determining the fate of the Bush v. Gore Presidential Race.
"The Last Egret," was reviewed by its author, Harvey E. Oyer, III, at the February 9, 2011, Enrichment Program. Harvey is a fifth generation descendant of the Pierce Family of Florida. As the author of several children's books on the true history of our area, this book was chosen by the Palm Beach County School District this year for its first ever, "Read Together Program," where all 4th graders in the County read the same book simultaneously. This included the participation of 15,000 students from 109 Public and 21 Private Schools.
Golf and the History of the Professional Golfers' Association of America was the title of Kelly Elbin's Enrichment Program on March 9, 2011. As the Director of Publications and Communications, of the PGA of America, Kelly enlightened the Society on the role that the PGA played by moving to the area and making the Gardens "The World Headquarters of Golf." In addition to a video presentation, memorabilia from the past along with the Wanamaker Trophy, was displayed for the benefit of the Society.
The Society revisited a truly amazing event that occured on May 1, 1981, which was depicted, in a DVD presentation of, "The House that Buz Built." The program that was presented on April 13, 2011, captured the amazing construction of a 3-Bedroom, 2.5 Bath home which started from a raw piece of ground on Hickory Drive. It was completed in 7:32 hours, setting a Guinness Book World Record. Buz DiVosta lead a team of 500 volunteer builders and craftsmen who donated labor and material toward this effort. The house was auctioned off to the highest bidder, with the $155,000 proceeds being donated to the City for the construction of the City's swimming pool.
Highlights of the restoration of the County's oldest structure, the Jupiter Lighthouse, was the subject of Bob Boyd's presentation at the May 11, 2011, program. Bob detailed the original construction elements and the details involved in the restoration process to keep the structure as original as possible since its construction 150 years ago.
To celebrate this years Founders Day, the Society chose to take their first field trip on June 18, 2011. The motor coach trip included travel to Martin County's House of Refuge, where those attending were personally guided through the facility being informed about the role the house played in the survival of shipwrecked sailors on boats that went aground around Gilbert's Bar.
Continuing on to Indiantown, the group enjoyed lunch and a personal presentation by Jonnie Flewelling, the daughter of the owner of the century old Landmark Seminole Inn. She shared colorful stories of Indiantown's history and the notable people associated with the Inn.
Enrichment Programs recess over the summer months. However, the Society continues to flourish as it prepares for another year ahead.
Chief Stephen Stepp, Police Chief of the City of Palm Beach Gardens, opened our fall season of enrichment programs on September 14, 2011. He spoke about the history of the department and its growth. Most interesting were his comments during a CD presentation on the various chiefs that preceded him since 1965 when the city was turned over to the residents. He also presented the early "true" police blotters which contained the actions of our volunteer police department. We've also come along way in the vehicles that we use to chase the bad guys.
The Honorable Robert (Bert) Premuroso, Vice Mayor of the City of Palm Beach Gardens brought back many memories of the early days in Palm Beach Gardens during his talk about "Growing Up in the Gardens," at the October 2011 Enrichment Program. Bert's family moved to the Gardens in 1967 when he was 3 years old, and he has never left, except to go off to college. He and his wife and family now live right next door to the home where he grew up. Bert's talk became a most interesting Q&A session with him asking questions that all started out with, "Do you remember what was located at . . . . ?" Many of the answers caused smiles on the faces of the oldtimers and looks of amazement from the newcomers. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.
On October 21, 2011, the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated a historical marker at the entrance to the City of Palm Beach Gardens on MacArthur Blvd. at Northlake Blvd. The marker tells the story of the beginning of the city in 1959 and the efforts of the city's founder, John D. MacArthur, in having the banyan trees planted at this location. These trees have been a living symbol of the city, so it was only fitting that the city's first historical marker be at this location. Pictured are members of the Historical Society who attended the event.
On November 9th, 2011, Ed Chase, then CEO and President of the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, presented a detailed history of the Chamber, starting with the Riviera Beach Chamber in the 1960s, which grew to include Lake Park and North Palm Beach. In the early 1980s, Palm Beach Gardens started its Chamber, which later joined the other Chambers to became the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce. Ed spoke to the Chamber's many areas of involvement, but emphasized its largest effort, Arti Gras, which now draws an attendance of over 120,000 visitors. The Chamber boasts some 800 members and is still growing.
On November 12, 2011, the Society conducted its Fall field trip to Delray Beach's Historic Districts and the Morikami Gardens. Highlights of the trip included a guided tour on Lolly the Trolly through five of the City's Historic Districts, a delicious Japanese Bento Box lunch and a self guided tour of the beautiful gardens. Delray Beach is celebrating its 100 anniversary of existence, however it wasn't officially incorporated until 1927. Pictured is Cason Cottage, constructed in 1915.
On December 14, 2011, Dr. Linnie Sue Comerford painted verbal pictures of early life here in Palm Beach County. . . highlighting the foods and other elements that shaped the true Florida Pioneer spirit. She spoke to the uniqueness of the menu that was driven by the availability of native vegetables, fruits and wildlife, with no celebration being considered a success unless there was Opossum Pie. Her slide presentation covered the development of the county from its beginnings with the Seminoles Chickees to the current Breakers Hotel.
Mayor David Levy presented the "State of our City" at our January 11, 2012 enrichment meeting. He did an excellent job of putting things into perspective as to where our city was, where it is now and, more importantly, where we are headed in the future. In addition to the Mayor, all four of the other Council Members were present at the meeting and contributed comments.
Richard Procyk, Author and Historian, at our February 8, 2012, enrichment program, was presented via DVD. He showed a full hour of the most intriguing history of the Seminole impact on our area which was recorded at the Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park. This is where the Second Seminole war took place. His in-depth knowledge comes from his 20 years of personal involvement of exploring the area and researching the events that took place there. Those in attendance were spellbound by the detailed information about the individuals involved and their reasoning behind the events.
Christian Davenport, Palm Beach County Archeologist, stirred our imaginations at our March 2012 Enrichment Program. He took us for a look back at what was happening in our area thousands of years ago, long before the pyramids were built. He has been involved in the discovery of some 30 archeological sites here in Palm Beach County. Most sites were in the form of shell mounds which contained artifacts of the various Indian tribes that inhabited the area. The Corbet Wildlife Area contains numerous indications of our prehistoric ancestors. Most interesting is a site, which isn't easily accessible except by air boat, where shell pathways radiate from a center mound, each capped by a semi circle.
Library History Month was celebrated on April 11, 2012 with a joint meeting of the Historical Society and Friends of the Library. It was held at the Gardens Library, which is the largest in the Palm Beach County system. John J. Callahan, III, Director of the County Library System presented a wonderful overview of the current involvements of the county libraries as well as the history of the Gardens Library from its beginning in a 700 Sq.Ft. store front in the Tanglewood Plaza to its current edifice on Campus drive.
On May 9, 2012, Eliot Kleinberg gave the most enlighting presentation of the events and activities that were taking place related to the Civil War. Eliot is an author and historian for the Palm Beach Post who writes an award winning column on historical events. He spoke on the various battleground sites around our country that he has visited with his family and the effects these visits have had on his sons who have been able to put the Civil War in perspective because of these experiences. We were all enciched by his presentation.
Michele Williams, PhD., RPA presented a truly fascinating talk on just what is hidden below the surface of the water just off our shore. She embellished the circumstances of the demise of totally different types of ships that that came to rest on the bottom of the ocean. Her talk highlighted the different preservation areas that have been established to protect the various sunken vessels while allowing divers to enjoy diving on the wrecks. Her talk was presented to an overflowing audience that truly enjoyed her presentation in June 2012.
Special Note: Prior to Dr. Williams presentation. Dr. Linnie Sue Comerford presented the Society with a bust of Sir Harry Oakes, one of the early land owners in Northern Palm Beach County, who at one time owned the majority of land in Lake Park, North Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. Sue George of Okeechobee came across the bust in the attic of a home she had purchased and gifted it to Linnie Sue and then she in turn gave it to the Society.
On June 30, 2012, Society members and guests experienced the food culture of Lake Worth and Lantana on their private "Taste of History Culinary Tour." They visited numerous locations in the two cities, sampling ethnic foods that have influenced the lifestyles of the residents of these cities. Lori Dorant, Director of the Taste of History Tours, guided the group through these eating experiences, which included English Scones, Guatemalan Burritos, Australian Pavlova and other tasty tidbits. She also arranged the opening of the Lake Worth Museum which has been closed for sometime and, in addition, arranged for a visit to the Little Red Schoolhouse, which had been closed. It never was a school but did have many varied uses in its past.
The Society programs recessed for the Summer.Mark Hendrickson, the City's forester, presented a most interesting talk at our September 12, 2012, enrichment program. He focused on the various actions and reactions that have taken place in the last 40-years of our city's history as landscaping has added to the character of our city. His greatest emphasis was not on the various codes and ordinances that have been enacted by the City Council, but rather what appears to be an ongoing competition of the various Developers to enhance their projects' landscaping above and beyond that of their competitors and as required by the City. This has lead to the beautiful tree canopy for the city. Most interesting is that, as the city continues to develop, more than 50% of the land area is committed to landscaped open space.
Linda Smith, Susy Bryant, Maria Mamlouk, Irene Pedrick, Arling Kiselewski and Don Kiselewski, authors of the Palm Beach Gardens Book gather for a book signing at Costco on September 29, 2012.
Dr. Scott McFarland presented a most interesting program on the History of the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center at the October 10, 2012 enrichment program. His emphasis was on the great contribution the center has made to our area in the treatment of heart conditions. He also spoke about his continuing role in emergency room treatment. Those present received an excellent viewpoint on the importance of the Medical Center to our community.
Members on their field trip gather at the site of a historic street light, one of four still remaining from their original installation in 1929. This was just one of the many interesting areas visited during the "Taste of History" tour of Boynton Beach.
Emergency Management was the subject of Sheridan "Butch" Truesdale's presentation at the November 2012 enrichment program. Butch covered a number of situations into which the County's emergency teams have been thrust, including tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, erosion and even the election hanging chads. He spoke of the numerous times, during emergencies, that the management teams had to hunker down in their windowless building .
Society members traveled to the Everglades on December 1, 2012, to learn of the history of sugar production and its impact on our area. They were the personal guests of the Fanjul family, who escorted them on a tour of the cane growing area and the processing and refining facility at their Okeelanta plant. This is just one of the facilities in the Florida Crystals group.
Playing the role of Henry Morrison Flagler, Jim Ponce spoke to our Society on December 12, 2012. Dressed in Flagler's look-a-like attire, he took us on an enchanted walk through his very colorful life. We learned not only the history, but the historical foot print that Flagler left on our area. In addition, Jim shared with us Flagler's many personal traits and beliefs.
On January 22, 2013, Vice-Mayor Robert Premuroso's presentation on the "State of our City" was most informative. In addition to updating us on the city's happenings, he presented numerous projects that are scheduled to start construction in the very near future. It is great to have this kind of input.
Jeremy Lucas made so very clear what and why the various aspects of archiving are so important in our every day lives. His presentation on the efforts that are being made to utiliize "Digital Archiving" by our Society completely fascinated those attending his presentation in February 2013.
The beginning efforts of this project can be found by clicking on the link you will find on our home page.
Or, you can go to www.PBGArchives.org to see the collection already selected for the archives.
At our March 2013 Enrichment meeting, Dr. Michele Williams once again kindled our interest in Archaeology. She presented an in depth chronology of the rationale involved in the placement and construction of one of Florida's National Park's. . . The Dry Tortugas. Located some 60 miles West of Key West, the tiny group of islands became the home of Ft. Jefferson, which at one time was reported to be the largest brick structure in the world. Her presentation detailed the many aspects of the life of the occupants at the fort, most of which were discerned from the artifacts found at the site.
George Poncy, author, actor, screen writer and producer, presented the most interesting and informative program about a little known chapter in our City's history. He detailed the sordid events of drug smuggling into Florida through the once available landing strip near the intersection of Northlake and the Turnpike. The details of the activities during the early 80's were highlighted in his best selling book, "Snow on the Palms." Needless to say, the presentation provoked many questions.
At our June enrichment program, author and Historian James Snyder presented a most interesting program with highlights from his recently prulished historical novel "The Cross and the Mask." The life and culture of the native people that lived in our area some 2,000 years ago are seen through his eyes in the novel.
Here comes Rusty" was the phrase of the day when the Society visited the Palm Beach Kennel Club to celebrate the City's Founders Day on June 22, 2013. The Kennel Club presented us with a flyer which outlined the colorful history of the track. After a great lunch the group got into the swing of things and started winning, or so they reported. . . call it beginners luck. A group of members made it to the finish line to accept the plaque commemorating the sixth race which honored Founder's Day. Accepting the plaque is Mayor Bert Premuroso.
The Antique Roadshow came to Palm Beach Gardens on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, when Scott Simmons displayed his knowledge of articles from the past. Members and guests brought their precious memorabilia to the enrichment program where Scott not only was able to date the objects, describe where and how they were made, he placed an approximate value on the item. Needless to say, everyone was impressed with Scott's knowledge of antiques and advice on the care, handling and repairs of slightly dinged items. He was also able to distinguish between northern and southern antiques based on color and styles. It was truly an educational experience.
On October 15th, Jeffery Berman presented the highlights of the revitalization of DownTown at the Gardens. He outlined the many challenges his organization faced in changing the image and workings of the outdoor mall to turn it into a viable entity that has become a strong asset to the City of Palm Beach Gardens.
Society members were truly enriched by the November 2013 presentation of State Representative Patrick Rooney. Pat avoided all talk of government to focus on the rich history of the Rooney Family in South Florida and elsewhere.
His stories on the influence his family has on racing of both dogs and horses were truly fascinating, when he discussed their race track holdings along the entire east coast of America. We Americans are truly hooked on the "Sport of Kings. And the Steelers were mentioned, too!
"Lady Atlantic" was the venue for our December 8th enrichment adventure. Members and their family and friends enjoyed a delightful luncheon cruise on the Intercoastal waterway. The three hour round trip cruise departed from Delray, highlighting the many palatial homes along the way.
Mayor Bert Premuroso spoke on the State of Our City on January 8th of 2014. His presentation focused on the sound fiscal position our city enjoys. This position reflects the opulence and nature of our city. His presentation was a great ego builder for our residents, highlighting our financial, social, educational, recreational assets and the life style of our city.
Former State Representative and County Commissioner, James Watt was our February 12th Enrichment Program Speaker. He related the political history of our area and state in the 1980s, giving us an insiders view of the give and take that was necessary to keep our state and our area moving forward during this era. Jim's recollections and insights of the personal agendas of the law makers was truly unique and amusing.
Donald Kiselewski, Jr., Director of External Affairs for Florida Power & Light presented a most informative history on the "Powering of Florida" in March 2014. He developed through his presentation the events and various rationales that meshed together to bring us the outstanding and economical energy source that we all enjoy and take for granted. We learned that, in addition to fossil fuels, FP&L captures our electrical energy from nuclear, wind and solar sources.
The implosion of the smoke stacks at FP&L Riviera Beach plant was caught on video and shocked our audience when it was shown on the 4 large screen TV monitors in our meeting room. The debris, smoke and dust from the explosions seemed to permeate the room. A dramatic moment was captured, defining the dedication that FP&L has in moving from the past and into the future.
Who lived here before us was the subject of Dr. Michele Williams' April '14 Enrichment program. She again fascinated the audience when she described the numerous archeological sites here in Palm Beach County and South Florida and presented the rationale of our earliest area inhabitants for choosing these various sites. Most interesting was what was found and what evidence these items presented to describe the lifestyle of those who occupied the sites.
Author Harvey Oyer, III, told a spellbinding story of his ancestor Charlie Pierce in his newest book, "The Last Calusa," at the Society's May '14 Enrichment Program. His story, which he skillfully painted in our minds eye, told of the adventure of Charlie Pierce who, along with his sister Lillie and friend, Tiger the Seminole, lead Dr. Livingston and his assistant Barkley through the Everglades of South Florida. Livingston commissioned Charlie to help him find a one of a kind flower, but as the story twists and turns, it was not a flower he sought.
We did it again on June 21, 2014, when the Sociey, "went to the dogs!" This was one day after the 55th anniversary of the founding of the City of Palm Beach Gardens. Lunch and an afternoon of cheering the dogs along at the historic Palm Beach Kennel Club was great fun for both winners and losers. The track management announced one of the races was in honor of "Palm Beach Gardens Anniversary."
Mayor David Levy's talk, on September 10th, on the Tamiami Trail was most enlightening. There are times when we just take thing for granted and just assume that thing were alwasys the way that they are today. Such is the case with our access in South Florida between the cities on Atlantic ocean on the East side of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico on the west. There was a time when one would have to go North to the center of the state, cross over to the other side and head South. Needless to say there were numerious attempts to build the road across the swamps without success. It finally took a sweetheat deal with the State which included moving County lines, swapping and selling land which would that greatly increased it value because of the access to the East-West corridor connecting the Southern portion of the state.
St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in America, was the subject of Historian James Ponce's talk on October 8th. Jim's presentation was given to a full house of eager attendies who learned the rational for the location and functions of the city and most of the important history of the city. In addition to his naraitive on the history of the city he described the legal battle St. Augustine had with Jamestown to claim the bragging rights as oldest. As a native of the city who was born there, and even was given his middle name as August, his presentation placed greater insight and details about the inner workings of the area.
In appreciation for Jim's service and dedication to the History of our area, he was presented with a lifetime membership to the Palm Beach Gardens Historical Society.
Mayor David Levy presented the Enrichment Speakers Plaque to Ken Kelly and Joel Levine at the November 12th Society's enrichment program. The history of the Catholic and Jewish presence in the city was outlined which truly gave the program attendies an indepth perspective of the early beginnings of these two religious organizations in our fledgeling city to the present day impact that they continue to make in our city life.
"Bits and Pieces" of our City's history was the subject of Mayor Don Kiselewski's talk at the December 10th Enrichment program. Events in the 55-year history of our city from the time the area was first inhabited by early pioneer farmers in the area called Prosperity Farms, to many of the historical moments that have brought us to our unique gated residential developments. Many stories were highlighted of personal involvemnts in our areas history and the people involved, like Jonh D. MacArthur who Don worked with in the 70's.
Mayor Bert Premuroso painted a wonderful picture of what our city has in store for us at our January 14 Enrichment program. Our financial future is bright with a credit rating better than the Unitied States of America. He indicated that the city is gearing up for a new burst of construction energy. He also reinforced the city's plan to keep these new additions to our city in harmony with our current environrment.
Mike Lyons, "The Weather Man" on WPBF Channel 25 enlightened us about what really goes into predicting the weather in our area at our February 11th Enrichment program. There is a lot more too it than a lot of us thought, even though aparently the final prediction is a consensus from those associates at the station when the message goes out to the public. It was truly interesting to learn how the many atmospheric diffrences in our area play such an important role as to what might happen with our weather.
Archeologist, Michele Williams, PHD, did it agaim for our annual "Archeology Month" Enrichment Program on March 11th. She kept the audience on the edge of their chairs while she went into details about our prehistoric ancestors. Delving deep into the rational of how the elements found in archeological digs in our area are traceable to other areas of our country, and presenting hyphothies as to the circumstances involved in the transplanting of such items. Her presentation brought out the archeologist in us all.
The next activities of the Society were two field trips. On March 25 they motor coached to Fairchild Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida to capture the glass blowing artistry of Chihuly whose works were interwoven into the unique landscapes. A beautiful experience on a beauiful day.
April 25th found the Society again on a field trip. This trip was North to Stuart for a privately guided tour of the Elliot Museum with its many automotive elements and restored automobiles of the early times in the industry. Then they traveled to Ft. Pierce, for a picnic lunch and a guided tour of the Navy Seal Museum. The history of the Seals and many of their heroic deeds were presented along with many of the tools and equiptment that were used in the various missions were highlighted by a private guide, including the boat used in the Captain Phillips rescue.
Ruth Berg spoke on May 13th of the events in her early life, Growing up in Northern Palm Beach County. She highlighted numerious details which occured and she reported on in her recently published book on the subject. Many of the attendees, who have lived in the area during the same time frame as Ruth, recalled the events and area appearences that she described in her book.
June 20th found the Society back at the Dogs (Palm Beach Kennel Club) for our annual celebration of the birth of the city which happened to be on the exact date (56 years ago). A good time was had by all. . . even those who didn't cash in winning tickets. As always, the food was good, the dogs were fast and comradery excelled.
Ken Kelly presenting the Enrichment Placque to Eliot Kleinberg, History Editor for the Palm Beach Post News Paper. Eliot presnted the most interesting program on September 9, based upon facts that he has collected centered on true life characters, such as the Ashley Gang that he highlighted in his book . . . "Wicked Palm Beach: Lifestyles of the Rich and Heinous.".
North Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valache spoke at our October 14th Enrichment Program. He detailed the State of Our County going into all of the changes and improvements that are scheduled to take place in the near future. There are plans for extensive street improvements as well as numerious efforts in the Intercoastal Waterway to improve boating and provide more opprotunity for boat access and anchorage. Hal fielded numerious questions on indiviual concerns and plans for the future.
Attendees at the December 9th program were carried back to the past when Anthony Marconi and Susan Gillis described the happings in Palm Beach County during WWII. Their program presented many photos of various sites and organizations in the county that went into action, many footing their own bills to pay the cost to defend our shores. The volunteer aviation patrol and shore line spotters were key to our defence efforts in sighting submarines. Buildings like the Biltmore Hotel became a training station for women nurses. Ken Kelly (center), Vice Chairman of the Historical Society, presents the Enrichment Program plaque which carries the names of Anthony and Susan for their excellent presentation of our area history.
Scott Simmons, avid collector of antiques, presented the January 13th program about his collection of Florida Souvenirs and collecting today. Scott has visited antique shops all over the United States and in Europe for over four decades. He is especially proud of his collection, having been born in Pahokee to a famiy of Florida pioneers. Scott displayed some of his favorite collection pieces which included cameona brooches painted with intricate details of Floida landscapes by Olive Commons. He has written about antiques and collecting since 2000 and has a column in the Florida Weekly newspaper where he just became editor.
Guy Bachman, Historian and Author, costumed as President Andrew Jackson, presented the February 10th enrichment program on the Seminole Wars that were fought in our area. He recounted the historical significane of the conflicts, highlighting the Second Seminole War which was the longest fought by the United States government against the Seminoles. Andrew Jackson was President during the war and Mr. Backman dressed and presented the program in a Scottish accent to emphansize the roll that Jackson played in the conflict as well as his personal life story.
Vice Chariman, Ken Kelly, presents the speakers plaque on March 9th to Jennifer Green, Archeologist for her indepth presentation on the prehistoric human footprint left here in Northern Palm Beach County. She connected our area with other early inhabitants who shared trading items from the Mid-West with the natives of our Florida Penninsula.
On April 13th, Mayor David Levy outlined the geological development of our area starting millions of years ago. He directed us throug the movements of continents and the oceans of the world. Breaking out Florida as an off shoot of the African continent. The movements of the elements on our worlds surface are truly amazing.
Ken Kelly presenting the speakers plaque to Kara Cowser and Lynn Desy at the May 11, 2016, enrichment program. The ladies updated us on the opening of the DeBois home at the Jupiter Inlet. The home built on the top of an ancient midden commands a striking viewing location and is the oldest home in Palm Beach County. The home is set in a natural surronding and has been restored with period artifacts.
On June 20, 2016, the Society Members were back at the Palm Beach Kennel Club to celebrate the 57th aniversary of the founding of the City of Palm Beach Gardens. It was a great outing with a great lunch, cordial conversation and fast dogs. Some members actually came home with more money than they started with.
On September 14, 2016, Harvey Oyer, III, presented the newest book in his series, "The Adventures of Charlie Pierce." The book captures in detail the route, hardships, dangers and experiences that Charlie encountered when he became the substitute for "The Barefoot Mailman." Harvey signed copies of his book for members of the society at their enrichment program.
"A trip down the Loxahadtchee" is the title of James D. Synder's most recent publication that was presented to the Society at their November 9th Enrichment Program. The book is a compulation of various sights seen along this beautiful river. They are presented in various media formats including oil, watercolor, acrylic, digital and film photography, and giclee, History, Nature and Beauty are woven throught out the publication.
"The state of the City" was presented by Mayor Marcie Tinsley at the January 11th Enrichment Progam. She spoke in depth about our City's growth, financial position, services provided and planned improvements for the city. Don and Arline Kiselewski, Mayor Marcie Tinsley and Ken Kelly at the presentaion of the appreciation plaque.