Campus & Community

PBSC authors feature 100 legendary locals in new book

If you’ve ever wondered how the city of West Palm Beach became the thriving metropolis it is today, you might want to grab a copy of “Legendary Locals of West Palm Beach,” by Janet M. DeVries and Dr. Ginger L. Pedersen of Palm Beach State College.

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From left: Janet DeVries and Ginger Pedersen

The 130-page book, which was released earlier this week, features 100 people and two animals who all have ties to the city and helped it grow.

DeVries, a library technician at PBSC’s Lake Worth campus, and Pedersen, interim vice president for academic affairs also in Lake Worth, are local historians who volunteer at the Boynton Beach Historical Society.

One of their activities is to give cemetery tours, and the idea for the book arose after they became curious about some of the people they were researching for the tours.

After asking the public for input on who should be featured, they came up with their list, which includes artists, entertainers, educators, politicians, developers, community leaders and more.

Six people are featured who have ties to Palm Beach State College. They are Watson B. Duncan, former professor of literature; Burt Reynolds, actor and alumnus; Joe Youngblood and Howell Watkins, founders of Palm Beach Junior College; Monte Markham, actor and alumnus; and Dr. Dennis P. Gallon, former president who served 18 years.

According to DeVries, a few of her favorites from the book are Tom Carvel, ice cream corporation owner, and Samuel H. Hairston or “Jack the Bike Man,” who ran a children’s bicycle charity. Ask Pedersen and she’ll tell you about Agnes Ballard, Florida’s first female registered architect, and Augusta Savage, who received a commission from the 1939 New York’s World’s Fair and created a sculpture titled Lift Every Voice and Sing.

The book is available on Amazon, and can also be found in local bookstores such as Barnes & Noble.

This is not the first time the duo has collaborated. DeVries and Pedersen also wrote the book “Pioneering Palm Beach, the Deweys and the South Florida Frontier.”

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