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district sign for Old Northwood, formerly Mangonia

A City of West Palm Beach historic
district sign for Old Northwood,
formerly Mangonia.

Mangonia maintained a post office from 1894 to 1906, south of Judge Heyser’s Riviera. It is now part of the Old Northwood District of West Palm Beach. Mangonia’s name came from Rev. Elbridge Gale, a horticulturist from Kansas who cultivated mangoes. 

Reverend Elbridge Gale

Reverend Elbridge Gale standing next to
one of his mango trees, late 19th century.

Gale had come to Lake Worth in 1884, hoping to improve his health, and filed a homestead of 160 acres. About 1888 he built the first log cabin on the west side of the lake with timber hand-hewn from logs found along the beach and lakefront. The cabin was originally located at what is now the middle of Poinsettia Avenue and 29th Street but was later moved. Gale’s son, George A. Gale, converted the land to a poultry farm.

In October 1895, the Gazetteer reported that S. D. Mitchell of Jupiter had opened a public school at Mangonia. Residents at the time included the Dick, Rowley, and Sanders families. Rev. Elbridge Gale died at his homestead in Mangonia in 1907, and Mangonia was absorbed by the City of West Palm Beach. Until Northwood was developed in the 1920s, however, the name stuck. In 1915 the Tropical Sun reported the sighting of a large panther in Mangonia, noting, “It has been years since any bears or panthers, or even their tracks, have been seen in that vicinity, and even wildcats have been very scarce lately.”

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