Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Has Palm Bay Always Sucked?
Way back when I mean way back when before the 1600s the Ais Indians were roaming around this fine City. They apparently did not think it sucked too much because they hung around for a while and left their garbage in the form of large mounds of shells proving that they stayed here for years. Can you imagine what the Indian River must have been like. It must have been incredible. You would be hard pressed to find a clam in the river nowadays. There are some oysters out there but nothing that would even come close to what we had in the 1970s yet alone the 1600s. There was plenty to eat but the mosquitoes were most likely hell. So It probably did not suck.
In case you did not know Palm Bay used to be called Tillman and was populated in the early 1900s. Most of the population was centered around the neighborhood off Palm Bay Rd. where the Old St. Josephs Church is.
In 1925 The residents petitioned the Post office to change the name from Tillman to Palm Bay. Because of the Palm Trees that lined the area around Turkey Creek. It just sounds so much better then Tillman. Ahh the Beginning of Palm Bay. Did it suck then? Yes probably but then so did most of the state,there was no AC and the Mosquitoes were HELL!
In 1956 The City incorporated under the general laws of the state. It installed its first Town Council and mayor, Harry Pollak.
Hence the name of Pollak Park named in his honor. Under Pollaks leadership Palm Bay continued to grow, finally incorporating as a city on January 16, 1960. Did it suck then? No I think probably not. It was nice. No people coming from up North trying to change the area to what they left up north. The River was awesome the place was quiet and the mosquitoes were still bad but it did not suck.
The first time I ever set foot in Palm Bay was in 1972. Things were different alright. Radiation which is now Harris was the only thing here. Does any body remember Cox's truck stop on US1 where the dredge dump site is now. Best Patty melts around. GDC (General development Corp.) was in full sell the hell out of Palm Bay mode. Military people stationed around the globe got the sales pitch and the beautiful brochures describing Palm Bay as paradise. So they started making the payments on their lots for their future dream homes in Florida. In reality all GDC did was lay down miles of substandard roads and sell lots like hotcakes.
When I was a teenager it was the place to go party. You could drive out to the middle of nowhere which now is just about anywhere in Palm Bay have a bon fire and drink some beers. The Palm Bay Police Dept required their officers to wear helmets while driving their patrol cars. I swear it's true.
Did it suck then? No not really. It was rinky dink and at the same time wide open. People were growing weed all over Palm Bay back in the day. Planes would land on the roads and drop off bales. You could go shooting just about anywhere. The Bowling alley on Port Malabar was still open and the bar the Crews Club cranked on Friday nights. people from Harris would hit it for Happy hour and if you could not hook up and get laid after being there you had to be one sorry SOB.
Bill's Clipper Lounge on US1 Later to be called the Cedar Chest Rocked Out on the weekends they always had a kick ass band playing.
Castaway point was a place to go. Not like today where it has become a hangout for old homos who offer sexual favors in the rest room.
Rooney's formally the Harris House was another hangout with decent food and good drinks. There was nothing West of Babcock or South of Malabar. The only Grocery store was that shitty Winn Dixie on US1 until Publix opened up at Palm Bay and Babcock. People were happy when Gregs Fine Foods opened there on Malabar where Bealls outlet is now and Siggy's still exists. But Gregs closed when Greg snorted away the profits. Palm Bay did not suck too bad then but it was starting to.
The Building began and the roads fell apart. Our City government was an even bigger joke then then it is now. Talk about a good ole boy network. There was talk of building a baseball spring training complex and this was before I think Mazziotti even moved here.(General Development Corp.) GDC was still selling and lying and selling and lying and building and ripping people off and no one in our City Government really did anything to get matters concerning growth under control. It got worse when the dumb asses of Palm Bay elected Mel Broom a GDC VP to be Mayor. That's basically how we got the Majors Golf Course. Lets be real, isn't Joe Daddy's more Palm Bay then the Majors. The City was really starting to suck about this time. We had the people over Port Malabar suing the City because the City assessed their property to fix their roads. The roads were basically non existent All of the major feeder roads Jupiter, Emerson, Eldron and Americana were nothing More then a patch work of repaired and open pot holes. People who built there dream houses had to provide their own street signs on the roads leading to their house to get mail delivered. There was only one Post Office. The one located on Lipscom Street. Yes it sucked here but it was because of the out of controlled growth and a weak City Government that did not have a clue. There was absolutely no long term plan. Hell they could barely put together a short term plan. The council members were only interested in getting things in their own neighborhoods where they lived fixed and kissing GDCs ass. I remember their names Voltz, Deveki, Hall. Roads were crumbling and traffic was crazy. You newcomers do not have a clue. I know it sucks if your street is in terrible shape. Back then the whole City practically was.
If you lived in Palm Bay on April 23,1987 you will never forget it. It was the day
William Cruse went on his shooting spree and killed two Palm Bay Police Officers. Officer Ron Grogan who I knew from High School and and Gerald Douglas were gunned down in cold blood by Cruse who also shot and killed 4 citizens and wounded 10 others. We came together like I have never experienced in Palm Bay and mourned our losses and buried the dead.
Never has there been a bigger funeral in Palm Bay as the one for the police officers. There were police cars from around the United States stretching for miles down Babcock Street and the people of Palm Bay lined the streets to show our respect. We came together for once too bad it was for a massacre. Cruse died on Florida's Death Row on Nov.29,2009 at the age of 82 of Natural causes may he rot in hell.
These were the years of the decline and the beginning of the suckiness of Palm Bay. The town just grew too damn fast and the City is just too damn big an area. 65 Square miles or around that number with everybody racing in to build their dream house on their lot. No plans of any substantial nature were enforced. There were 2 bedroom no garage 500 sq. ft. homes being built next door to your 3 bed room 2 bath 2 car garage house. Everybody wanted their roads fixed and City Meetings were more entertainment to go to then staying home and watching Cheers on a Thursday night. Back then Mazziotti was a concerned hardware store owner with dreams of leadership. The Mayor sucked and the City Council sucked. The dirt bag Jim Greer thought he was a big shot. Hurricane Andrew blew more trash up here from South Florida. People with big insurance settlements and punk kids decided Palm Bay was a cheap place to live. So they moved on up and bought a $50,000 house. Compared to down south it was a bargin. Plenty of drywall and roofing jobs were available to Americans then.
The Mayors of years past Bob Douchebag Devecki, Mel GDC Bloom, Dr. Filaberto all promised solutions and the City Councils all had their eyes on being a County Commissioner. No one really stopped took a deep breath and tried to solve the rapid growth and all the problems that come with it. City Attorneys soaked us for years and the City has spent a fortune on studies. Always some big time over the top solution is proposed costing us big bucks and somebody's buddy is going to rake in our cash. Instead we just want to fix the freaking roads and the Citizens have and would have in the future paid for it again if the people in City Hall would just tone it down. Somebody always wants desert before dinner over there.
to be continued..