‘Post Time’: Rediscovering Northwood’s ‘Lost town of Mangonia’


Readers: Elbridge Gale wasn’t in Kansas anymore. The minister, educator and professor of horticulture from the Great Plains had retired in November 1884 and moved with his wife to property along the Intracoastal Waterway. Soon he’d developed a farm growing not wheat or soybeans but mangoes. And given his place an appropriate name: Mangonia.

But this is not the Mangonia that’s now the town of Mangonia Park. This is an area about 2 miles south of that, in West Palm Beach’s Northwood neighborhood.

Now the Northwood Shores Neighborhood Association is pushing for a historical marker for “the lost town of Mangonia,” according to its president, Carl Flick, who’s also a local urban planner and historic preservation advocate.

Here’s more from Carl and from our archives:

When Gale got to what then was called the region, he was the first on the mainland to build a cabin. It’s believed some or all of the original cabin is in the existing structure of the Gale house, at 401 29th St.

At the site, Gale developed what is believed to be the nation’s first fruit-bearing, grafted West Indian mango tree.

“Today, about 80 percent of the world’s commercial mangoes (even in China and India) trace their roots back to the original variety developed here in Northwood,” Flick wrote.

Gale died in 1907.

Perhaps more famous, albeit for a brief stay, is Gale’s daughter, Hattie. She was all of 16, younger than some of her charges, when the school we now refer to as the Little Red Schoolhouse opened in March 1886.

Hattie, who arrived in 1885, taught for only three months before the area hired a teacher for $100. She returned to Kansas State, where she finished her education. She also met Kansas State faculty member William Henry Sanders at a Manhattan, Kansas, train station in 1887. They moved that year to Lake Worth and married on Aug. 24, 1890. She was 20.

Hattie taught in the Mangonia neighborhood. Her husband worked as an engineer on a tug helping build the Overseas Railroad. A 1906 storm drove it out to sea and sank it; several men drowned, but Sanders survived. The couple eventually retired to Central Florida, and Hattie died in Inverness, north of Tampa, on Aug. 1, 1955.

The couple had several children, but only one was still living when Sanders died Sept. 18, 1967, in St. Joseph, Mo. Sanders’ sister, Susan, married Harry DuBois. Their 1898 home, believed to be the second-oldest in the county, is now the DuBois Pioneer Home Museum. She died in 1977 at 101. Her son, John R., married Jupiter pioneer and historian Bessie DuBois. That made Bessie Hattie’s niece by marriage.

Next Week: The lost town of Mangonia.



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