Left to Right: Deputy CLYDE MASON, Special Deputy & Police Commissioner HOWARD CONVERSE, Marshal ROBERT BROMELO (1965)
Town Hall (1987)
Fire Department (1966)
In the early 1860’s, settlers came to the area of what is now Palm Beach County and named it “Lake Worth”. Lake Worth stretched from what is now the Town of Jupiter to what is now the City of Boynton Beach, and was a central section of what was then Dade County. At that time, Dade County went as far north as what is now St. Lucie County, south to the Florida Keys, which is now Monroe County. Palm Beach County was established later in 1909.
The current municipal incorporated limits of the Town of Mangonia Park were originally part of an unincorporated area of West Palm Beach. The city limits of West Palm Beach were located to the south and east boundaries of our yet to be developed town. The City of Riviera Beach sat on the north boundary of our town, separated by a canal, with no road or bridge access from Voss Road, which is now Australian Avenue.
In 1946, a handful of homeowners living near Voss Road, lead by then resident, Charles Roebuck, decided to incorporate. This decision was made simply from not wanting to be a part of the City of West Palm Beach, which was rumored at the time to be expanding it’s municipal boundaries westward. By 1947, despite being mostly swampland east of Voss Road, Town residents were able to meet the “1-mile square” land area requirement for municipal incorporation. It was Mr. Roebuck who prepared the inaugural Town Charter. The Roebucks residential sub-division located in the southeast sector of our town was named after him.
Fire Department Bar-B-Q (1959)
Fire Truck (1953)
The original town charter called for the name of our Town to be that of "Magnolia Park". However, upon being returned from the powers-to-be at the state capital in Tallahassee, the Town Fathers were informed in writing that the name Magnolia Park had been taken. The new name would now be that of "Mangonia Park," instead. And so, the name of the Town was now established. Oddly enough, the name for our town was fitting due to the large plantation like mango farms that once dominated the area in the early 1900's through the 1930's.
The first Town Hall was an old U.S. Army barracks at the northwest corner East Avenue and West 46th Street that was purchased for the sum of $100.00. For the first ten (10) years of the Town’s existence, there was no financial income from tax monies for municipal services and expenses. So, when it came time for purchasing a fire truck, town hall, election ballot forms, and various other needs, the Town held fish fries and barbeques to raise the funds needed for each project, equipment or capital improvement.
By the mid 1960’s, the Town was able to purchase a former church building at 5301 Australian Avenue, and moved all municipal offices and council meeting chambers to this location. It remained the home of the Town Clerk’s office, Town Council Meeting Chambers and Police Department until 1988.
From 1947 until 1970, the Town of Mangonia Park law enforcement service consisted of a Town Marshal, and two Deputy Marshals. The Town Mayor was the Municipal Judge from 1947 until the early 1970’s. The Fire Department was strictly a volunteer organization until it became part of the town’s Department of Public Safety in the mid 1970’s.
In fact, despite the hiring of professional firefighters and the utilization of professional police officers for responding to fire calls-for-service, the heart of the Fire Department personnel remained it’s volunteers up until the early 1980’s. However, lack of adequate staffing for emergency calls response lead to fears of inefficient service to town residents and businesses, that coincided with financial considerations to maintain and purchase new equipment, etc.These issues basically forced the Town of Mangonia Park to disband it’s Fire Department. Fire- Rescue services were contracted with the City of West Palm Beach Fire-Rescue Department in the late 1990’s.
The first Police Chief of the Town of Mangonia Park was Jack Welsh, from December 7, 1970 until December 5, 1980 (see PUBLIC SAFETY page for list of town Police Chief’s). After 37 years of existence and service to town’s residential and business community, the Town of Mangonia Park disbanded its Police Department due to financial reasons. Law enforcement services were contracted with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on February 1, 2007.
In the early morning hours of December 26, 1978, the historic Palm Beach Jai-Alai Fronton caught fire and was completely destroyed. The cause of the Christmas holiday blaze was determined to be arson. Investigators with the Mangonia Park Police Department, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) spent over two (2) years interviewing potential suspects, current and former employees of the fronton, town residents, including reviewing records and crime scene information. However, to this day, no one has ever been arrested and/or charged for any crime related to the fronton fire.
Originally opened in 1955, the Palm Beach Jai-Alai Fronton was rebuilt and re-opened by the fall of 1980. However, a player strike on April 14, 1988 will eventually doom the pari- mutual sporting event in most of Florida and Connecticut. Palm Beach Jai-Alai officially closes it's doors on December 30, 1994.
On June 17, 1988, a new municipal office complex that would house the Town Administration staff, Town Council Meeting Chambers and the Police & Fire Department(s) was dedicated and opened. This same building remains the current location of the Town Administration staff offices and Town Council Chambers, but now houses the District-II sub-station personnel of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Police Directory (1963)
Town Hall (mid 1960's)
On March 17, 1987, at a regular scheduled public meeting, the Town Council appointed Councilman Earl L. Mixon, Jr., as the first black Mayor in the Town’s history. Previously in March of 1982, Mixon had been the first African-American ever elected to the Town Council. Mixon’s tenure would end just months later when he resigned from his Town Council Seat upon moving into the City of West Palm Beach. He attempted to continue his political career by unsuccessfully running for a seat on the Port of Palm Beach Commission in 1988. Sadly, Mr. Mixon, passed away on April 15, 2008. He remains to this day, as one of the most popular and beloved former Town Council members in the history of Mangonia Park. On July 1, 2008, In memory of Mr. Mixon, the Town Council dedicated a new name for our Administration Office at Town Hall: "Earl L. Mixon, Jr. Town Administration Office at the Mangonia Park Municipal Center".
On March 19, 1991, at a regular scheduled public meeting, the Town Council appointed Councilwoman Addie Greene, as the first African-American female Mayor in the Town’s history. Greene, a member of the Democratic Party, was later elected to the House of Representatives of the State of Florida in District 84, where she served four (4) consecutive terms from 1992-2000. She was elected to the office of District-7 Commissioner for Palm Beach County in 2000, and retired as Commission Chairperson in May 2009. The public park at 1233 West 53rd Street was dedicated in the name of Ms. Greene by our Town Council on July 1, 2008.
Ms. Greene currently serves as the Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Caucus of Black Elected Officials and her office is located within the Mangonia Park Municipal Center in Suite #103.
There are 2,300 residents of the Town of Mangonia Park (as of 2003). An estimated 70% of the Town of Mangonia Park is commercial business and industry. Town Council meetings are held every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at 6:00 PM.
PB Jai-Alai Fronton Fire, December 25, 1978
PB Jai-Alai Fire Aftermath
VINTAGE POSTCARD PHOTO OF PALM BEACH JAI-ALAI IN THE 1960's
EARL L. MIXON, Jr.
POLICE CHIEF’S Of The Town of Mangonia Park
JACK WELSH December 7, 1970 – December 5, 1980
RONALD CRANE (1) December 6, 1980 – December 14, 1982
EBENEZER PAIKAI (2) June 27, 1983 – Dec 18, 1985
RAYMOND FUNK Dec 19, 1985 – June 4, 1991
JOSEPH vonDEMBOWSKI June 5, 1991 – December 31st, 2002
RODNEY THOMAS (3) February 4, 2003 – January 31, 2007
(1) – Re-assigneded to the rank of Fire Lieutenant on December 14, 1982. Remained at that position until he resigned on August 7, 1987. Ron Crane served the town for over ten (10) years in the Public Safety Department, and almost another decade of service with the Town's Volunteer Fire Department previous to that.
(2) – From December 15, 1982 thru June 26, 1983, the police department was operated administratively by Segeant Thomas Nicholson and Detective Sergeant John Sprague. Police Chief, Ebenezer Paikai, began his tenure on June 27, 1983. Paikai later resigned his post in December of 1985 to accept a similar position with the City of Greenacres Department of Public Safety on December 19, 1985.
(3) – From January 1, 2003 thru February 3rd, 2003, the police department was operated administratively by Lieutenant Thomas Nicholson until the promotion of Rodney Thomas on February 4, 2003, from the rank of Sergeant. On February 1, 2007, the town contracted law enforcement services with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Chief Thomas was given the rank of Lieutenant with the PBSO assigned to the town sub-station,District-II.