‘POST TIME’: ‘Lost town of Mangonia Park’ stood in present-day Northwood

Readers: Last week, we began telling you of the formation of the “lost town of Mangonia,” in what’s now West Palm Beach’s Northwood neighborhood.

The Rev. Elbridge Gale had come in November 1884 to establish a mango plantation. Northwood Shores Neighborhood Association President Carl Flick, an urban planner and historical preservation advocate who is pushing for a historical marker, writes that the town of Mangonia was platted by the reverend’s son, George Gale, who’d arrived in February 1885. George would set up his own pineapple farm and built his own cabin nearby at what’s now a brick home at 213 29th St.

With Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway on its way — it would arrive in March 1894 — Gale aggressively sold many of the neighborhood’s parcels, Flick said. He said the town soon had a fishing harbor, a post office, a general store, a church and a school. Flick’s even found evidence a hospital operated in what’s now a home.

And there was a promontory called Lake Point.

“The former fishing village encompassed 31st Court, Liddy Avenue, Floral Avenue, 33rd Street, and 33rd Court,” Flick said. He said the village’s southern end extended to today’s Currie Park.

All of this was before West Palm Beach officially incorporated in November 1894.

In 1920, developer and former West Palm Beach Mayor David F. Dunkle and his business associates in the Pinewood Development Co. bought a large tract of the Gale homestead and other nearby farms. In 1921, they platted the first phase of “Northwood” in what’s now the southeastern section of Old Northwood.

As early as 1925, Flick says, Dunkle began pushing a plan to reclaim land from the Intracoastal. That, he said, “essentially erased Lake Point. The peninsula obviously still exists under the fill of what is today’s Northwood Shores. The actual cape’s tip coincides with the seawall of 3330 N. Flagler Drive.”

The present town of Mangonia Park, about 2 miles to the northwest, was incorporated in 1947. It had applied as Magnolia Park but the state said that name was taken and unilaterally assigned Mangonia Park for the nearby lake.

“That cemented the forgetting,” Flick said July 3. “I’ve talked to old-timers and they’ve forgotten about it. It wasn’t incorporated, but it had all the elements of a town. It just got swallowed up.”

Flick said the Florida Department of State has said it likely will approve his planned historical marker, which would cost about $1,900. He said the association plans to ask the city to pay for it. He said he also is pushing for markers at the Elbridge Gale and George Gale homesites.

Flick, meanwhile, is pinning down the location of that original post office for the lost town of Mangonia. Stay tuned.

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