Created By: Town of Juno Beach
Note: You’ll find a second copy of the Pelican Lake Historical Plaque at Stop 22.
Imagine yourself here 150 years ago when South Florida was virtually unsettled. You would have been standing in an extended marsh, with waters gently flowing southward through Kagan Park and the Seminole Golf Club until they reached Little Lake Worth, where the Oakbrook shopping area is today. This would have been a wild environment: There were alligators living here that were up to 15 feet long!
How did that wild marsh get transformed into today’s placid lake? Here’s the story. In the late 1940’s, Bessemer Properties, Inc., which first developed Juno Beach, wanted to make the area more attractive to tourists. They cleared all the vegetation around the lake. In doing so, however, they drove out the large rattlesnakes who inhabited the area. The nearby motel owners and residents had to be on guard! Fortunately, there are no rattlers around here today.
How did the lake get its name? People called it Pelican Pond back in the 1950s and 60s, and only later Pelican Lake. Why did the word pelican become attached to the lake? After all, pelicans don’t visit it. And why did the name gradually switch to “lake” after being “pond”? These are two mysteries!
Did you know that alligators are very rarely seen in the Lake Worth area today? Once the Palm Beach Inlet was dug, salt water intruded into the lake; gators, being freshwater reptiles, couldn’t tolerate that. Today, they generally remain further inland, up the rivers, streams and canals!
This point of interest is part of the tour: Discover Juno Beach