Imagine our town in 1896. Nary a car, infrequent ships making their way to South Florida. Native Americans, Europeans and Islanders all struggling to get by and get along. Obviously the lack of electricity could lead any of us to understand the difficulty living here in the 19th century, most notably would be the stifling heat and inability to avoid the abundant insect population. Hurricanes, lack of drinking water…you get the point. Thus, the Henry Flagler railway was one of the keys (if not the key) to the settlement and development of our area. Flagler had the railway extended from St. Augustine to our fair town and eventually to Key West.
One stop along the railway was the Delray Station of Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway. “This 40′ freight section is all that remains of the old railroad station constructed in 1896 by the Florida East Coast Railway Company. The station originally stood on the east side of the tracks, one block south of Atlantic Avenue. The original 100′ long Stick style building contained ground level waiting rooms and a raised freight area. The station was expanded by 96 feet in the 1920s, and another addition was constructed in the 1940s. Passenger service was discontinued in the 1960s, and the station was scheduled for demolition.
“The passenger area was razed but public outcry to save the station stopped total destruction of the building. In 1968 the remaining freight section was split into two sections and moved. The 1920s portion was destroyed by fire in 1984, but the original 40′ area of the 1896 station was moved and used for several years as an office and for storage at a nursery west of town. In 1994, this surviving section of the historic station was purchased by the Delray Beach Historical Society, which had the building moved to its present location and rehabilitated.” The Florida East Coast Railway Station is located just north of Bru’s Room at 200 NE 1st Street in our beautiful City of Delray Beach. Stop by for a visit.
Marc D. Thompson, marc@VirtuFit.net, delved into writing and genealogy at a very early age. He wrote stories, poems, lyrics and family history books. Mr. Thompson went on to write and research in high school and college, earning a BS degree from Moravian College. He has presented genealogical lectures and authored seven family history volumes and recently published The Virtual Personal Training Manual, Fitness Book of Lists, Wellness Quotes of Humrous Inspiration, Poems…Of Eternal Moments, His other published works appear in Fighting Chance Magazine, Love’s Chance Magazine, Northern Stars Magazine, Offerings, Poetry Motel, Suzerian Enterprises and The Pink Chameleon. He currently pens a monthly health and fitness blog at ideafit.com. Mr. Thompson is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and has founded two Genealogy societies. He was the County Coordinator of the Chatham Co, GA USGenweb site and wrote a monthly genealogy column for Atlantic Avenue Magazine. Writing now for over four decades, when he puts pen to paper, eloquent, heat-felt yet real-life truths emerge. Mr. Thompson has been influenced by science, art and believes in what he calls Creatalytical Thinking: The fusion of creativity and analysis to view life more fully.
Sources: Florida Heritage Site; Sponsored by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America and Florida Department of State, Sandra B. Mortham, Secretary of State.