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BLOG: Families get peeks at history, culture at county parks

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Dubois Pioneer Home

At a number of Palm Beach County parks, kids and families can experience the culture and history of South Florida and Palm Beach County. Check out these parks where families can learn and explore together.

DUBOIS PIONEER HOME 

Built in 1898 by Harry DuBois for his wife, Susan, this house in DuBois Park in Jupiter is one of the last remaining historic homesteads of its type in northern Palm Beach County. Located along the Jupiter Inlet, the home is more commonly known as “the house on the hill,” where parents and kids can experience an excellent example of a self-sufficient South Florida pioneer homestead.

Originally more than 600 feet long and 20 feet high, the hill is a remnant of one of the last coastal Native-American shell mounds in southeast Florida. Artifacts dating back several thousand years have been discovered here. At one point, the entire park was a thriving village where ancient Floridians lived.

During tours, visitors will not only see relics that belonged to one of Jupiter’s most notable pioneer families in the early 20th century, but they’ll also experience what life was like for a Florida pioneer.

There are two cannons in DuBois Park — one in front of the home and the other near the children’s swim lagoon. The shipwrecked cannons and anchor, recovered in 1987, are linked to the Spanish vessel named San Miguel De Archangel that was bound for Spain. In 1659, the San Miguel wrecked off what’s known today as the Jupiter Inlet.

PINEAPPLE HOUSE

Located in DuBois Park, this house was once located on property near today's U.S. Highway 1, where Harry DuBois farmed pineapples. The little shed stored the harvested crops before becoming a rental house. 

DuBois later purchased land, now DuBois Park, to build the home where he would bring his bride, Susan. DuBois floated the Pineapple House up the river to his property and lived in it while he constructed their home.

According to their son, John, the Pineapple House is one of the oldest wooden buildings remaining in Palm Beach County.

MORIKAMI MUSEUM AND JAPANESE GARDENS

Internationally recognized as one of South Florida’s most significant Japanese cultural hubs, this beautiful site opened in 1977 in Delray Beach. It offers rotating exhibitions, monthly tea ceremonies, educational outreach programs and Japanese traditional festivals several times a year.

Inside, the exhibitions feature historical and contemporary Japanese culture, including more than 7,000 art objects and artifacts. Outside, Morikami boasts expansive Japanese gardens with strolling paths, a world-class bonsai collection and lakes teeming with koi and other wildlife.

For more information, including fees and hours, click here.

LOXAHATCHEE RIVER BATTLEFIELD PARK/RIVERBEND PARK

Adjacent to each other in Jupiter, these two historic sites offer 10 miles of wide paths of compacted shell rock winding through a beautiful wooded setting amid ponds and lakes.

Prehistoric and historic habitation began along the Loxahatchee River as far back as 5,000 years ago. Two battles of the Second Seminole War took place in 1838 in Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park: Powell’s Battle and Jesup’s Battle. Families can read historical markers about them and experience a sense of old Florida.

At historic Riverbend Park, families can enjoy walking, biking, canoeing and horseback riding on 7 miles of equestrian trails. Visitors can see Florida as the first settlers did. Stroll along the river, visit the Cracker Farmstead and picnic in the shade under a Seminole chickee hut overlooking the water.

Free events throughout the year feature battle reenactments and the chance to get a feel for life in the 1800s. In January, visitors can experience a Loxahatchee Battle Reenactors Muster in Battlefield Park. In November, a Pioneer Family Farmstead Day is held in Riverbend Park where families can enjoy crafters, activities, the sawmill, roping and riding demos, and more.

LIMESTONE CREEK PARK

This neighborhood park in Jupiter is less than an acre, but much can be learned about its history.  A historical marker explains how the Limestone Creek community opened a “Jupiter Colored School” in the local church more than 100 years ago despite racial tensions and segregation laws. Families can learn how the community came together in the name of education and equality after the 1928 hurricane destroyed the church. A visit will bring a sense of culture and community, along with an educational experience.

OCEAN INLET PARK
 

In addition to being a popular saltwater fishing site on the beach, this park in Boynton Beach features a historical marker commemorating the South Lake Worth Inlet, which was constructed between 1925 and 1927. The inlet has been the location of historically significant periods, such as the world’s first fixed sand bypassing plant in 1937. During World War II, the U.S. Coast Guard used the Mar Lago hotel, which overlooked the inlet, as a lookout post for enemy submarines.

Today, families can stroll the beach, swim or enjoy a picnic while appreciating the inlet’s historical significance.

CANAL POINT COMMUNITY CENTER

A kiosk outside this facility offers information about the vast historical significance the Glades region holds for Palm Beach County. Families can go through a timeline of historical events and learn about the importance agriculture plays in the community.

SOUTH BAY RV PARK 

This park offers a number of recreational opportunities, such as biking, boating and camping. And it's home to a 1,656-square-foot historic cottage with 1920s wood-frame vernacular architecture, which originally was a Florida East Coast Railway foreman’s house along a railroad spur in downtown South Bay.

The cottage is one of the only two buildings left in South Bay that predate the 1928 hurricane, which brought destruction to the Glades area.

JOHN STRETCH MEMORIAL PARK

Situated in Lake Harbor with access to Lake Okeechobee, this park was named after John Stretch, recreation director for the Central and South Florida Control District until 1970. Old machinery is on display, including a Nordberg Manufacturing's two-stroke diesel radial engine that was used for flood control. Families also can see diesel engines, valves and pipes that were part of the flood-control facility.


Bibi Baksh is a public relations specialist for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.

 

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