Thursday, April 9, 2015

Memories of Driving on the Bridge

Having lived in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach for the first 20 years of my life, our family made several trips to the Florida Keys. I believe I was about seven or eight the first time we drove down. One of the items I remember from the trip was when we were on the bridge, my dad commented about how you could not see any land, we were at sea and what would happen if the bridge gave way. For many years I would think about going over that bridge and having it drop into the ocean.  Another trip was when I stay at a summer camp that had been set up at the old Gulfstream Polo grounds in Briny Breezes, Florida. We left camp early one morning in two cars to visit the Keys. I was riding in the back seat of a 1948 Pontiac, I think there were about six of us in the back, those cars had a lot of room. We drove down the ramp at Pigeon Key and had lunch and then it was on to Key West. We visited the turtle farm and some shell place.  Next time we drove over the bridge, I was in the back of my girlfriend’s brother’s pickup truck, got a real birds eye view that time.  I also remember watch the news on our black and white TV when it was announced the toll booths had been removed from the Keys.

As the years rolled on, I became more and more interested in Henry M. Flagler and the Florida East Coast Railway except there was one problem, I had moved to Louisville, KY in 1965. I wish I had become more interested in Flagler before moving as I could had gotten a lot more pictures, etc. of the old railroad line.  One of my good friends from Delray joined me in 1972 as we journey again down old US 1 to see the bridges and what was left of the old roadbed of the FEC.  Again in the late 1980’s, my son and I drove the new US 1 and this really gave me a good view of the old railroad bridges.  I always loved going over the seven mile bridge especially when you were out in the middle and it looked as if the land had sunk away and it was just you and the ocean.  Glad there is now a group trying to restore parts of the bridge.

Sidney W. Eline, Jr.