Beyond Tourism: Florida's Yesteryear

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Today in Florida’s History April 27th April 27, 2010

1863 Major General Dabney H. Maury was placed in command of the Confederate District of the Gulf today by the Confederate War Department.

1864 The U.S.S. Honeysuckle captured the British schooner Miriam in the Gulf of Mexico today.

1865 The U.S.S. Pontiac was dispatched to the eastern coast of Florida today to prevent Confederate President Jefferson Davis from escaping to Cuba.

Orange Blossom - State Flower of Florida

1909 The Florida House of representatives approved the orange blossom as the official flower of Florida today.

1929 Barbara Bancroft, the first licensed woman airplane pilot on the East Coast of Florida, today visited her hometown of Melbourne.

1929 The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was chartered today in Jacksonville. The organization had first been organized in 1883.

 

The Celestial Railroad of Jupiter and Lake Worth February 6, 2010

This railroad connected Jupiter and Juno a distance of only 7.5 miles

According to Allen Morris in his book, Florida Place Names: Alachua to Zolfo Springs, the Celestial railroad served the cities of Galaxy, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Juno and was in operation from 1889-1895. At only seven and a half miles long it was the smallest railroad in the world. It was a narrow gauge railroad at only eight feet wide. It serviced a population of 861 residents and 134 Indians and linked steamboat landings on the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth. Due to the names of the cities the railway service it was soon dubbed by passengers the Celestial Railroad and replaced the original name, Jupiter and Lake Worth Railroad. It was sold at public auction in 1896. It eventually fell out of use and all that is left now according to Jupiter Kids History are some railroad spikes left in the sand dunes of Jupiter and Juno.

Nearly 100 residents showed up for the grand opening and given a free train ride from Jupiter to Juno which took a half-hour. Once the train reached Juno it had to go backwards the whole seven and a half miles since there was no way for it turn around. It enjoyed six years of service hauling freight and passengers.

According to William G. Crawford, Jr. who wrote, Florida’s Big Dig: The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami 1881-1935, when Flagler decided to build the Royal Poinciana Hotel in Palm Beach County he used the Celestial railroad to haul his building materials and other freight. When Flagler tried to buy the railroad the owners set the asking price so high that eventually he bypassed the railroad by building a bridge across the Loxahatchee River. This led to the railroad’s end in 1895 and was sold at public auction in Jacksonville.