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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Lake Worth – A City Founded on The Love of Books

1/2/2021 (Permalink)

library shelves full of books Nobody performs fire damage restoration by the books like SERVPRO!

The Joy of Reading Is Part of Lake Worth History

Lake Worth is a charming and quirky city in Florida. The city is home to 34,910 people and is part of the populous Miami metropolitan area.

Lake Worth has a fascinating history. Two of its principal founders, Samuel and Fannie James, were ex-slaves, who made their home in the area in 1885. They used the Homestead Act to claim a piece of public domain land for themselves and established a house there. They continued to grow their land over the next few years, selling parcels of land to various other homesteaders and investors. Fannie ran a pineapple farm and was also the first postmaster of the first post office in the area.  

By 1912 the city boasted a population of just 38 people. However, that year saw many additions to Lake Worth, including: 

  • The first church in the area
  • The Chamber of Commerce
  • A library
  • A schoolhouse
  • A newspaper

These additions were the start of rapid growth for Lake Worth. By the end of 1912, the population had increased from 38 to 308 people and, according to the census, 876 fowl and 36 bicycles. 

Lake Worth today has a multicultural character, thanks in part to the many immigrants who were instrumental in the city's growth. Lake Worth did not fare well during the great depression, thanks to hurricane damage, which toppled a school tower, destroying a casino and bridge. After the Second World War, immigrants from Finland, Quebec, and Germany brought their native crafts, foods, and traditions to the city, helping Lake Worth to flourish once more. The arrival of Central American immigrants added to the unique cultural flavor. Visitors to Lake Worth today will notice all kinds of influences among the tropical suburbs, including: 

  • Lutheran churches
  • Beer halls
  • Bavarian delicatessens
  • European chocolatiers 

Lake Worth – Where the Library Was Founded Before the City

Lake Worth was incorporated as a city in 1913 – but the library was founded in 1912. A group of pioneer women living in the city saw the need for a library to help educate people of all ages, so they began a book drive to establish a library. In the beginning, these women would cycle seven miles to pick up donated books, and patrons read the books by candlelight in a small reading room.

What is incredible is that no tax dollars at all went into the building of Lake Worth Library. The institution was founded entirely on private donations, and it took thirteen years of campaigning, donation drives, and book drives to establish it.  

With such an exciting beginning, it is not surprising that Lake Worth is not like other libraries:

  • For several years it housed a dedicated art wing and was home to the local Art League.
  • Even today, it has a unique collection of paintings by notable artist R. Sherman Winton – the only known collection of Winton paintings in the world.
  • It also houses a collection of wood carvings by local artist Sam J. Schlappich, whose work was featured in the World Fair of 1939.

You can even view a bullet casing from 1943 when a blackout order was imposed, so a policeman shot out the bathroom light to plunge the library into darkness. 

The library also has a bullet casing, which legend holds is the one used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated John F. Kennedy. However, no one is quite certain if this one is authentic or not. It is unusual for a library to be a tourist attraction, but this adorably quirky institution is well worth visiting. The library has been and continues to be a massive part of the Lake Worth community, with many residents having happy memories of time spent there as a child. 

Visit Historic Downtown for Some Local Color

When you have finished at Lake Worth Library, be sure to spend some time in the historic downtown district. Lake Worth's downtown is unforgettable, with murals painted on the walls, colorful locals sporting all kinds of styles, and a plethora of quirky restaurants, art studios, vintage boutiques, and tattoo shops. There is always something to see and do in this vibrant area, and with so many character-filled bars and restaurants, you will never be lost for a place to rest and enjoy some refreshment.

If you are in town in February, you might catch the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival. This popular event has been running since 1995 and is one of the largest free art festivals in Florida. Every year more than 600 artists gather armed with plenty of colored chalk and turn the pavements of downtown into colorful murals. This event is a relaxed two-day street party that has something for all the family to enjoy.

If you need to relax after all that excitement, take a stroll to the William O. Lockhart Municipal Pier. For a small fee, you can stroll this historic pier, enjoy some bird watching, and take a walk along the beach.

The Humid Weather Does Not Make Lake Worth Fireproof

Lake Worth enjoys a lovely subtropical climate with high humidity, but unfortunately, this does not protect the city from fire. A few years ago, in June 2013, the city was rocked by an enormous industrial fire. People could view the flames for miles as firefighters struggled to contain the blaze in a warehouse. The cause was established as acetylene and oxygen tanks exploding, and it did not help that the warehouse stored thousands of wood chips, which provided fuel.

When a fire happens, the fire department is first on the scene to get the flames under control. When their job is done, SERVPRO can help with the all-important cleanup process. We aim to leave your home "Like it never even happened," with no lingering smoky smells or soot stains to remind you of the incident.

We understand how distressing it is to lose personal belongings after a fire. That is why we try to salvage as many of your belongings as possible, using state of the art cleaning techniques such as Esporta washers and ultrasonic cleaning tanks. We can help restore bedding, drapes, furniture, and even toys and clothes.

Should you need help with fire damage restoration, SERVPRO of Lake Worth is here for you. Call us today at (561) 588-9777.

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