Wednesday, October 3, 2012

History Geek Heaven

Lantana Public Library (
    Once upon a time, a little girl named Mary moved to Lantana, Florida. It was 1925. She grew up, became a teacher and then a librarian before "retiring" in 1976. But her idea of retirement did not involve shuffleboard and card games. She got involved with the Historical Society of Palm Beach County as it's first woman president.

     Mary also published two books on Florida history: "Early Lantana, Her Neighbors and More" in 1980 was followed by "Pioneer Days on the Shores of Lake Worth 1873-1893" which was co-authored with Marjorie Watts Nelson and published in 1994.  

     Mary still didn't totally retire, though. She kept involved and kept promoting local history until her death on July 19, 1998.

     And now, the photographs Mary Collar Linehan took as well as collected over her lifetime have been put together into a collection called the "Linehan Historic Lantana Photographs Collection." Even better, the collection is opening at the Lantana Public Library on October 3, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. I know this is late notice for the grand opening, but the collection will be on display for a while so if you don't make it there for the party on the 3rd, there's still plenty of time.

Myspace Photo
     Among some fascinating pictures of the area are some of the National Enquirer Christmas Tree. Area natives recall the first tree in 1971. It was 45 feet tall and became an attraction to the locals. As years went by, Generoso Pope, the owner of the National Enquirer, kept getting larger and larger trees. It was 1979 when he finally earned the "World's Largest Decorated Christmas Tree" designation in the Guiness World Book of Records when the tree was 117 feet. The last tree was installed and decorated in 1989. It was a 126 foot tall tree before it was cut down in Oregon for the Lantana display. By then, Pope was also decorating the grounds of the newspaper with Christmas displays. I remember walking through with my friends on a cool night. It helped make the season special and the snapshots in Ms. Linehan's collection bring back some wonderful memories.

     Mary Linehan's books and articles are well-researched, fascinating peeks at a world that no longer exists.  I found one book on e-bay (the bidding was over) and one on The price? $69.00 and worth every penny in my opinion. Her pictures span the time from that world to the Palm Beach County that existed at her death. 

     The library is located at 205 West Ocean Avenue, Lantana, Florida. Phone is 561-540-5740.

     I'm looking forward to looking back. Heaven awaits! See you there?

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