Celebrating our 125th annual Pioneer Picnic on Saturday, May 1, 2021!
Celebrating our 125th annual Pioneer Picnic on Saturday, May 1, 2021!
The first resident in what is now Manalapan was George H.K. Charters, a young man from Vermont, who homesteaded on the beach ridge from the south end of the lake to the north end of the lagoon - two and one-quarter miles. He called it his shoestring farm as he said he could stand on the ridge and, with a twist of his body, throw coconuts into the lake or the ocean.
A Dade County Deed Book states: George Charters from U.S. Receiver, July 23, 1887, all of fractional Section 11 and other lands $3.20 (Township 45, Range 43). This is just one of several entries. Accounts and records indicate that he was here before 1882.
One of the first things George did was to plant a grove of coconut trees about half a mile north of the haulover (now the South Lake Worth Inlet). He built a sturdy dwelling from shipwrecked materials near the grove, which he called “Buzzard’s Roost.” Even today when the up- drafts are just right, many buzzards are seen soaring over the treetops as you drive along the Ocean Boulevard in that area.
George was young and strong. Stories about him relate that he never wore shoes and that he could carry a hundred pound sack of supplies under each arm. Frank Lyman remembers hearing that George was strong enough to pick up a two- hundred pound sack of rock salt from the bottom of a glades boat (Indian dugout) and wade waist deep to place the salt on the dry ground. The salt was used to season ‘gator hides. Back then killing alligators was not illegal.
Another story is that one time George came to the M.B. Lyman General Store in Lantana. Speaking in barely a whisper, he let it be known that he had pneumonia in one lung. Then, beating on the other side of his chest, he ROARED, “But this one is alright.” Other stories tell of his habit of shouting.
George was the mail contractor at the time of the Barefoot Route. He hired the carriers and provided substitutes when necessary. The Barefoot route was really a Star route, like a rural route, which stretched from the lake of Lake Worth to Biscayne Bay. It was he who hired Ed Hamilton, the “barefoot mailman” who disappeared in Hittsborongh Intet and was presumed drowned, killed by alligators or, according to Charters, eaten by sharks.
About 1891 he sold his beach ridge property for $7,500 and bought 40 acres to the south in what was later known as the townsite of Boynton. He paid $1.25 an acre. Two months Inter, he sold it to Pred S. Dewey for $10.00 an acre.
The Tronical Snn, Pebeuaey d, 1892, vol., No.50, reports in “The Palm Beach Breeres” column:
Mr. Peed S. Dewey had purchased the only remaining piece of property belonging to George Charters near Hypotuxo. Now Me. Charters says he is ready to start foe Jamaica. Prom other reports we know that George changed his destination and headed for his home in Bratdeborongh, Vermont, to be married. When he reached Jacksonville, however, he became ill with brain fever and died there.
George had a brother, Charlie, who lived on the beach ridge for same years. Charlie raised hogs foe a living, fattening them on coconuts. Later Charlie moved to Boynton where he made his home on the canal bank.
Note: Some sources say Charter; others say Charters.
Charles Curtis Chillingworth was born at Liverpool, New York, 12 May 1868. He came to the shores of Lake Worth in April 1892, having graduated from Cornell University in New York in 1890. He was admitted to the Florida bar at Titusville, the following year. He opened a law office in Juno, then the county seat of Dade County, as a partner in the firm of Robbins, Graham and Chillingworth.
Charles’ father, Richard Jolley Chillingworth, was born in England 30 November 1833 and arrived in the Oswego area of New York at age one. He married Eunice Ann Bettinger in 1865 and they followed their son to Florida in 1892. Richard served as sheriff of Dade County from 1896 to 1901. He and Eunice lived in West Palm Beach.
Charles moved his office to West Palm Beach in 1905 and became the town’s first attorney. He also served Lantana in the same capacity. His home was on the site of the Harvey Building (Datura and Olive).
Charles married first Annie Seabrook Whaley who died in childbirth. Their son, Walter Seabrook Chillingworth, was born 20 August 1893. He served in the Navy, attended Cornell University and was graduated from Ben Franklin University. He married Flora Genella Marks and they were living in Washington, D.C. in 1937.
Charles married second on 9 November 1895 Jennie Dietz of Liverpool, New York. Children by this marriage were Curtis Eugene born 1896 at West Palm Beach, Margarita, born 1899 at Atlanta (married Loren D. Simon, an attorney) and Richard C., born 1902 at West Palm Beach, also an attorney. He and his brother-in-law were partners in the law firm of Chillingworth & Simon. Richard was a graduate of Cumberland University and married Rosemary Whitaker.
Curtis Eugene Chillingworth graduated University of Florida and was admitted to the Florida bar in 1917. He married Marjorie McKinley of White Plains, New York. Trajedy struck the Chillingworth family in June 1955 when Curtis and Marjorie were abducted from their weekend home on Ocean Boulevard in Manalapan. They were taken to sea and drowned by two killers hired by a former West Palm Beach municipal judge.
Charles was an active and interested member of Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association. He was one of the founders of the Harmonia Lodge of Masons, Palm Beach County Bar Association, Palm Beach Yacht Club, Utopia Club, Chamber of Commerce, Woodlawn Cemetery, Good Samaritan Hospital and belonged to the country club and other organizations. He retired from his law practice in 1925 and died 25 October 1936.
Charles John Clarke (1833-1899) may have been a winter visitor to the Lake Worth area as early as 1885 when he appeared in a photo with a hunting and fishing party near Jupiter lighthouse. He was from Pittsburgh, where he operated a fleet of boats providing transportation between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He married Louisa S_______ and they had four sons: Thomas Shields, Louis Semple or Simpson, James King and John S.
According to Clark’s grandson and namesake, Charles and Louisa spent the winter of 1890- 1891 at Elijah N. Dimick’s “Cocoanut Grove House,” Palm Beach’s only hotel. The following winter, Clarke bought it, along with about 50 acres of land from the Lake Trail to the ocean beach. He also bought 10 acres more on the South Lake Trail, where the Society of the Four Arts stands today. This estate he named “Primavera,” (Springtime). He then had constructed Palm Beach’s first non-wooden residence, the first to have a genuine tile roof instead of wooden shingles, with white stucco outer walls instead of the usual shingles or clapboard. When the house was completed and landscaped at No. 8 South Lake Trail, he and Louisa moved in. Clarke then sold or rented Cocoanut Grove House to Henry Morrison Flagler who used it to house the workers building his Royal Poinciana Hotel. In October 1893, it burned down.
Clarke’s yacht, “Alma,” named for his granddaughter, was one of the first in Palm Beach. Some accounts say that he originally arrived in Palm Beach aboard the “Alma.” He served as commodore of the Palm Beach Yacht Club and was ever after known as “Commodore Clarke.” The clubhouse was on the lakefront of his property.
Commodore Clarke became a well-known figure in Palm Beach with his jaunty hat and umbrella. He and Louisa entertained distinguished Pittsburghers on vacation, including Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Carnegie and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Phipps. The Clarkes beautified the grounds of “Primavera” with a great variety of tropical plants including royal palms from Cuba, and Clarke placed ancient cannons from shipwrecks along his seawall.
Charles John Clarke died in Palm Beach in 1899. Clarke Avenue in Palm Beach is named for him.
Thomas Shields Clarke (1860-1920), artist and sculptor of New York City, married Adelaide Knox. Their children, born in Paris where he was studying art, are Alma Adelaide, Charles John, and a daughter who became Mrs. George C.T. Remington of Everglades Island. Thomas brought his family to Palm Beach to visit his parents from time to time He died in New York.
Louis Semple or Simpson Clarke bought property on Palm Beach in 1892. Located on his father’s estate, he named it “Dulciora.” Louis had an inventive nature. He built a camera and took many of the photos which are now part of the county’s historical treasure trove. He also built one of the first autocars, which he taught his wife to drive, making her the first known woman driver in the county. They had two children, Winifred and L. Phillips. Winifred, who married a West Palm Beach pioneer, Roscoe Tait Anthony, is credited with having started the first Sunday School in Palm Beach. L. Phillips Clarke was an architect. He and his partner, Henry Stephen Harvey, opened a West Palm Beach office in 1921 and designed many of the buildings in Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, including the Comeau Building, the Murray Building, Guaranty Building, Gus’ Baths, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Palm Beach County Library, to name a few.
James King Clarke also bought a Palm Beach homesite in 1892, on North Lake Trail, where he lived with his family.
John S. Clarke appears in many early Palm Beach photos. He had two daughters, Louise and Agnes.
John Newton Clark (sometimes spelled Clarke) was born in Florida in 1867. Both of his parents were Floridians also. John came to the lake area in 1889 and worked in the general store owned by U.D. Hendrickson.
From 1892 to 1898, John was postmaster of Lake Worth (now Palm Beach.) The post office was in or near the general store. The settlement at the north end of the lake was the Village of Lake Worth. Sometime after the Royal Poinciana Hotel was built in 1894, he was employed there.
Ina Josephine Walker of Boston vacationed here one year. Staying with her aunt, Mrs. Charles C. Haight, ma met John Newton Clark. They were married 15 October 1896 and made Palm Beach their home. They had one son, Charles Frederick Clark, born 13 May 1898.
John Newton Clark died 28 October 1943 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, West Palm Beach. Ina, a charter member of First Baptist Church and active in Eastern Star, died 4 March 1958, at age eighty-one, and is buried beside John.
Charles Frederick Clark married Elsie F.______ in 1918, and they had two daughters: Madge Josephine Clark (Mrs. Keith Browning) and Mary Lee Clark (Mrs. Jack Kent).
James Willis Comstock, born about 1863, came to the shores of Lake Worth from Brooklyn, New York. In 1892, he bought 10 acres of land in Palm Beach for $650 from Chester and Catherine Nash.
Little is known about Comstock except that he was a prominent businessman of West Palm Beach. By 1920, he was treasurer of Florida Abstract Company and boarding at the Briggs Hotel.
He died 7 June 1931 at Good Samaritan Hospital. His newspaper obituary did not list any survivors. His funeral was conducted by Dr. C. K. Vliet, pastor of First Methodist Church, and he was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, West Palm Beach. The grave was purchased by Jessie A. Comstock, who may have been his widow, sister or sister-in-law.
Charles I. Cragin, a Philadelphia businessman, first began spending winters in the Lake Worth area about 1885. Born at Boston, Massachusetts 31 March 1843, he married H. Frances Carpenter in 1864. They had no children.
The Cragins decided to build a permanent winter home on the lake in January 1887. They paid Moore W. Dimick $2,500 for about twenty acres of land in what was to become Palm Beach.
They had a beautiful home built and had the first artesian well in the area. Then they began planting an assortment of ornamental trees, shrubs and flowers which were soon thriving. Cragin also started and maintained a huge cactus garden of over five hundred varieties. Though they named their estate “Reve d’Etete” (Summer of Dreams), it became known locally as the “Garden of Eden” because of the abundance of lovely blossoms and rare plants. Thoughout his life, Cragin continued hunting for new additions to his estate grounds. Their home was the center of many society events.
Charles was a devout Episcopalian and served as rector’s warden from the organization of Bethesda-by-the-Sea from 1889 until his death.
A member of Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association, Cragin was active also in Property Owners’ Association of Palm Beach. He died of pneumonia at Philadelphia in 1915, and burial was at the Cragin Mausoleum in Washington.
Frances Cragin donated the cloisters of the new (1925) Bethesda-by-the-Sea Church in Charles’ memory. She lived the last nine years of her life in Jacksonville, where she died in 1931. She is buried with her husband.
By the time James Wood Davidson arrived to settle on the shores of Lake Worth, he was a recognized author, journalist, Civil War veteran and college professor, and he was to become a Florida state legislator.
Born 9 March 1829 in Newberry County, South Carolina, the son of native Carolinians Alexander and Sarah Davidson, he worked his way through South Carolina College and graduated in 1852. He was a teacher for the next fifteen years or so, except during the Civil War when he served as adjutant of the Thirteenth Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers. About 1868, he started writing for newspapers, first in Washington, then in New York City.
In 1884, Davidson married Josephine Allen, a widow from England, and they traveled to South Florida, apparently for their honeymoon. Years later, Josephine wrote:
“We left New York City for Florida on 11 April 1884. We reached Jupiter by the usual travel route of that day, thence went by boat and a five mile walk to Lake Worth, and thence by sailboat to the Cocoanut Grove Hotel, where we arrived on Saturday, the 26th of April and were received with cordial hospitality. After Sunday’s rest, I was initiated into the mysteries of washing and cooking, for there were no servants, a state of affairs for which I was wholly unprepared. After three weeks. . . the hotel closed for the summer and with many misgivings we set up... a tent, pending the building of our house. . . The nearest neighbor we had was Mr. I. Henry, who lived on his homestead where West Palm Beach now is. On the other side the Potter brothers kept bachelors’ hall. It was well for us that we had such good neighbors, for during this time they supplied us literally with loaves and fishes, and were most kind and helpful to us in many other ways... In 1885, Mr. Davidson represented the county in the Florida constitutional convention and, two years later, in the Legislature. Since then we have resided in Washington, for literary advantages. Still, we feel that our home is on Lake Worth, and look forward to the day when we shall return to establish ourselves permanently at our place,’Osera’ and we hope to renew the friendship of those brave women who came to Lake Worth filled with a noble ambition and dauntless energy, doing whatsoever their hands found to do and they found much, losing none of their womanliness and charms, yet bearing their full share of the burdens of the day, and causing the wilderness literally to ‘blossom as the rose.”
James Wood Davidson’s books included A School History of South Carolina, Living Writers of the South, The Correspondent, The Poetry of the Future, and Florida of Today. Davidson died in June of 1905.
Frederick S. Dewey and his wife, Byrd Spilman Dewey (“Birdie”) settled on the west shore of the lake as early as 1890. Their home, which they named “Ben Trovato,” was located in what would become West Palm Beach, north of Holy Trinity Church.
Fred was a trustee of the First Union Congregational Church of Lake Worth. Birdie, who loved cats, wrote a book about them, entitled Ih Blessed Isle and Its Happy Families. She also wrote a romance for The Lake Worth Historian of 1896. They were both active in buying and selling real estate, which was fast increasing in value.
Fred was a secretary to Henry M. Flagler and was his representative for the Model Land Company. When Major Nathan S. Boynton began construction on the Boynton Beach Hotel, the many workers needed living quarters. Fred purchased land on the mainland in 1897 and divided it up into lots to be sold. Thus began the town of Boynton, which Fred had recorded in 1898.
Fred and Birdie eventually sold their West Palm Beach property and moved to Boynton, where they named their new home “Ben Trovato.”
It is not known when Fred and Birdie left South Florida. Fred, a Civil War veteran, died in the Old Soldiers’ Home at Sawtelle, Santa Monica, California.
2018--new research shows Deweys sold Major Boynton the land, then later repossessed. Byrd was a top selling author. Check out book by Dr Ginger Pedersen & Janet DeVries.
Most of what has been learned about John H. Dick was taken from the 1900 Census of Dade County.
He was born in January 1850 in Ohio, of Ohio natives. In 1871, he married Susan _____, born in December 1850, also an Ohio native. They had four children, all living in 1900, but only the youngest, Myrtle, born in June 1893 in Florida, was living with them. John was a carpenter.
The 1896 School Census of Mangonia lists Milton S. Dick, age fifteen, most likely the son of John and Susan.
J.H. Dick is listed on U.D. Hendrickson’s store ledger for March 1893 when he charged something for 35 cents. His daughter, Myrtle, was born in Florida in June 1893. He was a charter member of the Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association. It can be assumed from these facts that he was on the shores of Lake Worth by 1893, and still there in 1896.
He probably died before 1928 as his name is not included among the surviving pioneers that year.
The lives of the Dimicks and Geers were so intertwined that it is difficult to tell about each family separately. The families were friends in Illinois.
In 1872 when the Pierce family was at the Jupiter lighthouse, some Dimicks came to Jacksonville seeking a warmer climate for Elisha’s father, Moore Wellington Dimick who suffered from tuberculosis. They liked the beauty of the area and enjoyed the healthful climate. They returned to Illinois. The two families came to Palm Beach in 1876.
E.N. Dimick was known as “Cap”. One version was that he always wore a cap. He was not a boat captain. His parents were Moore Wellington and Parthenia May Dimick. His sister, Marian, married Albert Geer, his brother, Franklin, married Anna Geer, and his wife was Ella Geer.
While the families were in Jacksonville E.N. & Ella were expecting a baby, so they waited until Belle entered the world before making the trip south. They had made the acquaintance of the Brown family who had come ahead and who made everyone welcome by housing them until homes could be built for all.
The schooner they had hired to bring their belongings and building supplies arrived and the lumber was floated to shore. Among the “supplies” was a mule. Not knowing just how to unload the animal, she was pushed overboard and she swam to the beach. The trip by the humans was a more circuitous one. They took the inland route on St. Johns River to Salt Lake, eight miles in a wagon pulled by a mule over palmetto roots and in deep sand to Titusville, then a small boat to Jupiter. They arrived in a hurricane. Elisha was in the group who chose Palm Beach as the name for the town. The name Palm City was first sent in to the postal service, but there was a town by that name elsewhere in Florida. He also is credited, along with Flagler, as being an important factor in developing Palm Beach. He was chosen as the first mayor of Palm Beach, a position he held for many years. He organized the first bank, Dade County State Bank, located on Flagler Drive near the north bridge (Flagler Bridge).
E.N. Dimick started the first drug store in Palm Beach and also in West Palm Beach. With E. M. Brelsford he established a hack line from Jupiter to Juno. It was operated for two years by them and then sold to Captain U.D. Hendrickson who ran it for two more years.
Cap Dimick was the first president of the Pioneers’ Association which was organized in 1893 for all who made this section their home prior to that date. Mrs. Dimick succeeded her husband as president after his death. E.N. did not like farming so his wife encouraged him to become an innkeeper. He added eight rooms to his home making comfortable accommodations available.
His home was on the east shore of the lake about midway between today’s Flagler Museum and the Four Arts Building. Thus the first hotel came into being named The Cocoanut Grove House. Later on it grew to 50 rooms. Room and board was $6.00 per person per day. Henry M. Flagler came to South Florida and decided to build a large resort hotel. He stayed with the Dimicks as it was the only tourist hotel. Dimick sold his property to Charles J. Clarke who sold it to Flagler. It burned down a few years later.
The first bridge to span the lake was just to the north of “Whitehall”, Flagler’s home. It was built to enable the train to cross from West Palm Beach to Palm Beach. The private railway cars were parked to the east of the Royal Poinciana Hotel. That was in 1895 or 1896. E.N. Dimick built the Royal Park Bridge in 1915 as the first public bridge. Today it is known as the “middle bridge”. There is a statue of him at the east end of the bridge. Dimick built it to help develop his real estate venture. He was head of the Palm Beach Improvement Company which in 1910 arranged with Colonel L.H. Green to sell the 168 acre tract from the lake to the ocean which is now the beautiful residential section known as Royal Park.
When West Palm Beach was incorporated, Cap Dimick was the first mayor and held that position for seven years. In 1890 He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives for 6 years and in 1896 to the Florida Senate for two terms. A federal building on Datura and Sapodillo Avenue was named for him.
Cap Dimick was born in April 1849 and died in 1919 at age 70. His wife Ella died 21 January 1938 at age 86. She did historians a favor when she clipped obituaries and marriage notices of the pioneer community. Fortunately the scrapbook has remained with the family. It was an invaluable source of information for this book.
Franklin L. Dimick arrived on the shores of Lake Worth about 1875. He and his brother, Elisha, and friend, David Brown, had come to see whether the area was a suitable place to settle. Liking what they saw, they returned to Jacksonville for their families. In October of 1876, the Dimicks arrived by ocean-going schooner, loaded with building supplies, personal possessions and an extra passenger, Jenny the mule. The Dimicks’ parents and sister, with her family, came by an inland route a few days later. They all stayed with the Browns, who had settled there some months before, until their homes were built. (See the David Brown story.)
Franklin, son of Moore Wellington and Parthenia May Dimick, was born and raised in Illinois. On 7 April 1868, he married Anna Geer, who was born 8 May 1848 in New York State.
Franklin’s brother, Elisha, married Anna’s sister, Ella. Franklin’s sister, Marion, married Anna’s brother, Albert. (See the E.N. Dimick and Albert Geer stories.) The lives of the Dimicks and the Geers were evermore intertwined. They all decided Illinois was too cold and left for Florida. They stayed first in Jacksonville but had heard of an even more temperate climate farther south.
Franklin was a pharmacist. He and Anna had three children: Eugene Henry, Ella (Lella) and Lorena. These three were among the original eight pupils of the first school in the area.
Franklin and Anna sold their Palm Beach property to the Brelsford brothers and moved to Highlands, North Carolina, where they lived the rest of their lives.
Their son, Eugene Henry Dimick (“Gene”) was born 12 March 1869 at Buckley, Illinois, and died at Hypoluxo on 8 April 1945. He married Meta Belle Wilkinson at Rockledge, Florida. Meta was born in September 1874 at Harrisonburg, Virginia. Her father, a citrus grower, moved to Hypoluxo in 1905. Gene was one of the first seven aldermen elected in West Palm Beach. In 1896, he bought the drugstore which had been established by his uncle, E.N. Dimick. Gene and Meta had two children:
1-Louise Laird, who worked for Lainhart and Potter Lumber Company for many years, and 2-Howard Eugene Dimick, a banker and later real estate partner of Claude D. Reese. Howard served two terms as president of The Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association. He and his family lived in Hypoluxo.
Ella Dimick married George Potter. (See G.W. Potter story.)
Moore Wellington Dimick was born 4 September 1818 in New York State. At age twelve, he moved with his family to St. Joseph County, Michigan, where he grew up. On 10 March 1842, Moore married Parthenia Fenn May. She had been born at Pittsfield, Massachusetts on 18 January 1822 and raised in Monroe, Michigan. Moore and Parthenia moved to Iroquois County, Illinois, in 1869.
They had five children, two of whom died as infants The other three were Elisha Newton, Franklin L., and Marion E. The three Dimick siblings married three Geer siblings. Elisha married Ella Geer, Franklin married Anna Geer, and Marion married Albert Geer. (See E.N. Dimick, F.L. Dimick and Albert Geer stories.)
The Dimicks and the Geers left Illinois for Florida, seeking a warmer climate, and stayed for a while in Jacksonville. They separated into two groups and headed farther south for Lake Worth, the first group going by ocean and Moore and his group going the inland route. They arrived on the lake in October of 1876, just before a hurricane struck No lives were lost but their possessions were scattered over a wide area.
Moore and Parthenia acquired land on what was to become Palm Beach, and settled down. For the 1885 census, Moore gave his occupation as farmer. Like the other pioneers, they bought and sold land, mostly to their family members. In January of 1887, they sold 20 acres for $2,500 to Charles I. Cragin of Philadelphia, who turned it into the popular “Garden of Eden.” (See C.I. Cragin story.) Early in 1888, Moore sold 8 acres to Robert W. McCormick for $900.
On 27 October 1888, Moore died of tuberculosis. The newspaper obituary reported that he was buried on his son E.N. Dimick’s estate in Palm Beach. Parthenia lived with her son until her death on 16 June 1914. Her obituary stated that she was buried by the side of her husband in the family burial plot in Florence, Michigan.
Harlan Page Dye was born at Brooksfield, New York, on 30 August 1851. In an account, written in 1884 and made available by his granddaughter, Kay Gago of Gainesville, Dye tells of his arrival in what is now Palm Beach County on 28 December 1874. He and some friends had left Jacksonville a month before and spent some time on the shores of Lake Worth, intending to go on to Kansas City. Dye declared he would go no farther, that he had “found a home.”
To apply for homesteads, it was necessary to go 160 miles north to Titusville. Dye applied for himself, Mason Dwight, Fred Stella and Charles Moore. Dye’s and Dwight’s claims were for government land, to be homesteaded. The other two had to buy from the state.
Pioneers had to be “jacks-of-all-trades” and Dye was no exception. Mason Dwight hired Dye to build a house for him, the first on the lake to be built of “store bought” lumber, brought by schooner from Jacksonville. This home was on the east shore of the lake, about a mile north of today’s Flagler Bridge.
There was a growing need for more boats. Dye went north one June and built a 42’ sloop, “Mohawk,” in Titusville, and returned in October. For the next few years, he carried the mail, passengers and supplies between the lake and Jacksonville. He also transported the first mule to the area.
At a meeting of the settlers, it was decided another boat was needed for getting their produce to market. H.P. Dye agreed to go into the lighthouse service at Jupiter and build a vessel in his spare time. Duties at the lighthouse were light enough to permit this. Neighbors cared for his homestead while he was away. He finished the boat, “Gazelle,” in February 1881, nearly three years later.
Dye settled in Lake Worth Village, a small settlement at the north end of the lake where an inlet had been dug. (There was no city of Lake Worth until 1912.) Dye opened the first store in the area on his homestead, north of today’s Palm Beach Country Club on the island of Palm Beach. With “Gazelle,” Dye carried the settlers’ produce to Jacksonville and returned with stock for his store.
By 1882, a need was felt for a hotel. E.N. Dimick had a large house and rented out rooms. He kept adding rooms as more and more people came, and his place became “The Cocoanut Grove Hotel,” located between the present-day Royal Park and Flagler bridges on the west side of the island. The lake was their highway - they were not interested in locating on the ocean front. H.P. Dye built the first bona fide hotel, with ten sleeping rooms, near his store. This proved to be too small so in 1888, he built the hotel, “Lake Worth,” with sixty-three rooms. It burned down in August 1897.
The pioneers farmed or hunted for most of their food. Dye stated that for eleven years, he took Saturday afternoons for hunting and never had to buy meat. They raised fruit and vegetables, fish were plentiful, and no one went hungry.
Dye brought the first cow into South Florida in 1897 after his hotel burned. He operated the Lake Worth Dairy for sixteen years, located on the site of Palm Beach Country Club. In 1899, during the Spanish-American War, he was invited to take one hundred cows to Cuba to provide milk for the American troops stationed there. He was there four years. Dye sold his dairy to Florida East Coast Hotel Company.
Harlan Page Dye married first Annie E. and they had a daughter, Ruby. By his second wife, Katherine Alice Brown of Albany of New York, whom he married in 1915, he had three children, Helene Patricia, Margaret Jean and Harlan Page, Jr. He died 30 November 1930, age seventynine, in Palm Beach County and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, West Palm Beach.
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Proudly celebrating our 125th annual Pioneer Picnic on 5-1-2021 at The Norton Museum for member families.