Sunday, May 7, 2017

Lake Worth, FL, Then and Now — Evelyn’s Apartment Court: 709 South Dixie Hwy.

Image circa 1960.
The same address via Google Maps Street view.

When I first moved to Lake Worth, I lived at 714 South ‘H’ Street which is just behind, to the left, of this motel. These motels were common back in the day and lined much of Dixie Hwy. through Lake Worth. Typically “Mom and Pop” operations, they served middle class tourists driving down U.S. 1, which was the primary route through South Florida traveling by automobile.

Each motel was unique in its own way to attract tourists and visitors: ornate signs, colorful entrances, and welcoming landscape.

There are a few that still survive but most have gone through a multitude of changes. One way was to accommodate more vehicles with the addition of pavement instead of the lawn area during the middle part of the last century.

When non-local, long distance traffic moved to the then-newly constructed I-95 in the early 1970s many of these motels were demolished and became some of the used car lots we see today along this stretch of road. In many ways the City is still adjusting to this shift of traffic from what used to be the only road through South Florida.

Some old-timers think the City of Lake Worth has never fully recovered from the effect I-95 had on the City and I think there is some truth to that.

However, there are some notable survivors of what is called “highway architecture” here in the City of Lake Worth. The Blue Front BBQ, which was the former “Kristine’s”, is one of them.