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JUNE 2008: Where Is History?
Items that fell out of pockets and under tavern floorboards or were tossed down the privy in centuries past- coins, buttons, crockery, medicine bottles, buckles, etc.- have been reclaimed as treasures. Things from the past are here today whether we notice them or not.

Many of the canals excavated by Coral Ridge Properties for City drainage were based on channels hand dug by Bud Lyons and farm workers to drain the bean fields that flourished here in the first half of the last century. A maroon wild flower that pops up in many residents’ gardens and looks like a tiny sweet pea is a vestige of those crops of Black Valentine, Bountiful and Tendergreen bush bean plants.

Excavation for the foundation of St. Andrew Towers revealed the bones of giant mammoths, 19’ ground sloths, saber tooth cats, tapirs, glyptodonts the shape and size of Volkswagen bugs and more. These creatures congregated in what is now Mullins Park to drink water from either a river or lake that was there10,000 years ago. Life-sized replicas of some of these bones can be seen in the Historic Coral Springs exhibit case at the entry of the Center for the Arts.

One map in the City collection in the Museum of Coral Springs History shows Lyon’s Boulevard as the northernmost road in Curran Village. Those became Wiles Road in Coral Springs when Coral Ridge Properties decided to change the initial names. Every road in the City was on paper before it was created. Early plats of subdivisions with named streets instead of numbered streets mystify visitors who come to the museum to look for their property but can’t find their street numbers. The Post Office required the City change to street numbers in 1970 before it would start local delivery.

The collection of former mayor Ed Heafy’s business card files is a historic snap shot of 1980s commerce. Few cards included area codes as Palm Beach County to Monroe County had the same 305 area code. Out of hundreds of cards, one card included an old telephone exchange name printed as “LOgan” and one builder in 1980 listed a car phone number. The change in the City area code from 305 to 954 in 1996, the recent additional area code of 752 plus the 10-digit dialing requirement in 2002 added more numerals to recent business cards plus fax numbers, toll free numbers, e-mail addresses, websites and cell phone numbers resulting in smaller type and information overload.

So before you pull a weed or toss your Rolodex, recognize you are touching history. You might never see its like again. Or you might, if you visit the Smithsonian.

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