The Orange Blossom Express

Excitement filled the air in the newly chartered Town of Boynton by the sea. The long awaited Orange Blossom Express had completed its extension to Miami, and was scheduled to stop in Boynton. This monumental event embodied even more prosperity for south Florida. The last few years saw dizzying growth. Folks who used to live in, visit, or pass through Boynton didn’t recognize the place any longer.

Boynton townsfolk awaiting the Orange Blossom Express

 

 

 

The great land boom had greatly altered the landscape of the frontier settlement. New schools, churches, hotels, office buildings, and elaborate residences were under construction.

 

It seemed that with each passing day another developer set up big tents, and their agents took down payments for lots or houses not yet built. A six-story Spanish style hotel under construction on Ocean Avenue was the talk of the town.

 

 

 

 

On Saturday, January 8, 1927 in picture-perfect 72 degree weather, over 500 residents waving flags gathered at the Seaboard Air Line railroad station. Everyone was excited to meet the inaugural train car carrying Seaboard president Solomon Davies Warfield and Florida governor John Wellborn Martin.

Seaboard Air Line President Solomon Davies Warfield

Florida Governor John W. Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Boynton band welcomed the sleek green, yellow and orange train filled with over 600 “titans of industry” who were interested in investing in Florida land.

Orange Blossom Express

The prominent men who had traveled from New York to south Florida peered out the windows at the assembly.

Train with Mr. Warfield and Governor Martin

Boynton mayor Roy O. Myers had issued a special proclamation ordering all business houses to close from 8 am to 10 am and urged everyone to the Seaboard Air Line station to greet the train and dignitaries. Nearly the whole town turned out for the monumental event.

Decorated Seaboard Air Line station

 

 

 

Chamber of Commerce president Albert Edward Parker and the Boynton Boosters had decorated the Seaboard station in red, white, and blue, and small coconut palms greeted the spectators. ┬áMen wearing suits with suspenders waved their hats, and farmers in overalls and work pants looked around curiously, Women carrying babies waved handkerchiefs, and schoolchildren stood on tiptoe or their father’s shoulders to view the extravaganza.

 

 

Boynton townsfolk greet the Orange Blossom Express

Two young women presented a flower bouquet to Mr. Warfield. He was also given a small wooden chest containing the key to the Town of Boynton. In a few minutes the gala was over, and the train raced south where similar events played out in Delray, Deerfield and Pompano.

Welcome at Boynton (09 Jan 1927, The Palm Beach Post).

Lake Worth Herald

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About Janet DeVries Naughton

Janet DeVries Naughton is the past president of the Boynton Beach Historical Society and an academic librarian and history professor at Palm Beach State College. The intrepid historic researcher has contributed to and published over a dozen local history books. She has over two decades of experience in Florida libraries, museums and archives, and is available as a consultant for family history projects, books and personal archival collections.

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