| From the times of the "barefoot
mailmen" the coconut-lined beaches of south central Florida have been renowned.
Railroad magnate Henry Flagler is credited with creating the still-famous resort community
on the barrier island between Lake Worth and the Atlantic. On the mainland west of the
lake he purchased a townsite to house the many workers needed for railroads, hotels, and
commercial establishments - many of whom rowed across Lake Worth to work and back. Given
the relatively prosaic name "West Palm Beach," the town was awarded the county
seat when Palm Beach County was established in 1909.
A gem of architecture, the neoclassical yellow brick Palm Beach County Courthouse built in 1916 has been hidden since 1972. A wing was added in 1927 and other additions in 1955. A wrap-around expansion in 1972 then mummified the original structure. Part of the original building was given away or destroyed. The Palm Beach Memorial Park Cemetery located in Lantana received some of its 12 masonry columns. They have been likened by The Miami Herald to "the ribs of a dinosaur waiting to be resurrected." Six of the columns also stand at the entrance to the Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in southern West Palm Beach. Since the new massive Judicial Complex was completed in 1994, local historic preservationists have sought to selectively dismantle the additions and preserve the original building. The effort continues.
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