Lake Worth Pioneers' Association, Inc.

 


Upcoming Events

lwpa Annual Meeting


Contact

John Yeend

1109 S. Congress Ave.
West Palm Beach, FL 33406

Phone: 561-642-4200

E-mail: info@lwpa.org


Affliate Links

lwpa Palm Beach Historical Society

lwpa Yeend, Castaneda & Flynn, LLP

lwpa Jupiter Lighthouse

lwpa Norton Art Museum

 

 

The First Railroad

lwpa

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.

According to Walter Dutch, Boynton Beach Realtor, some of the rails of the Celestial Railroad were used as the steel rods during the construction of the cement-block Harrell Building which housed the Bank of Boynton. The Boynton Hotel occupied the upstairs space. The building still stands in the first block west of U.S. Highway #1, on the south side of Ocean Avenue.

From Early Lantana by Mary C. Linehan, 1980

 

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