Dozens came to the Lake Trail on the north end of Palm Beach begin their Father’s Day with a bang. The 8:30 a.m. Sunday demolition of the 300 foot smokestacks and the boilers at the Florida Power and Light power plant across the Intercoastal Waterway in Riviera Beach drew curious families and bike riders. The blast came quickly and was met with applause and shouts from the audience.
Other than give residents of the north end of Palm Beach something to do, it evidently was a desired result to some:
Palm Beach resident Neil Kozokoff waited 15 years for this occasion. He attended the demolition with his wife and daughter.
“I think it’s a great sign of progress that this plant is being replaced by a cleaner, more efficient power source,” Kozokoff said….
“I’m expecting this eyesore to disappear,” said Jeffrey Thompson, of West Palm Beach, who came with his six-year-old daughter Ashley.
Below: a closer view of both smokestacks and boilers. While loading one of my family business’ pile drivers for export, both appear in the background of this 1975 photo taken at the Port of Palm Beach. (The power plant even appeared on our product literature in the early 1960’s, before we moved to Florida.)
But others have a different view of these “eyesores”:
The smokestacks had an important purpose and would be missed by diver John Krayeski, of West Palm Beach. “Mariners look for them as a kind of lighthouse in general as an aide to navigation. Divers use it for the place for their exact drops. With them gone, divers are going to have to get more creative with their alignments.”
I’m with the divers and mariners on this one. Unlike Jupiter and Hillsboro Inlets, Palm Beach Inlet lacks a lighthouse. The smokestacks were something of a substitute for them. When we returned from the Bahamas and came back into the Port of Palm Beach (which we didn’t always do), they were the first visible sign that we were, as Grand Funk Railroad used to sing, closer to home.