The First Railroad

 

Some of the people who came to visit or settle on the shores of Lake Worth between 1889 and 1895 had the experience of riding the seven and one-half miles from Jupiter to Juno on the Celestial Railroad. Some accounts mention Mars and Venus, but it would seem that if they existed they were no more than stops to take on wood for the wood-burning engine. This was the southern-most railroad in the United States at that time.


The official name for this railroad was the Jupiter and Lake Worth Railway. The train, consisting of one coach, one flatcar, and the engine, had no way of turning around at Juno, so it backed up on the return trip. The only addition to the rolling stock during its existence was two more flatcars and another coach. The company had a second engine to use when one needed repair. One car was one-half coach and one-half freight.


The Indian River steamers brought passengers to the railroad dock directly across from the lighthouse. The lake steamers met the southbound passengers at a dock near the present site of Twelve Oaks at Juno.


The coming of the Florida East Coast Railway put the Celestial Railroad out of business. The materials for the Royal Poinciana Hotel in Palm Beach were transported on this narrow gauge line, but Mr. Flagler felt that they had charged him too much for their service. He tried, unsuccessfully, to buy the line, so when his Florida East Coast Railway tracks were laid they bypassed Juno. The completion of the canal making access to the lake easier caused further trouble for the Celestial Railroad. The Indian River steamers and the Celestial Railroad ceased operations in April, 1895.

Celestial Railroad

Celestial Railroad