The Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History will host a sold-out private Narrated Bus Tour of Historic Lake Worth on Friday, July 19 for members of the historic black Bahamian St. Agnes Episcopal Church of Miami.
Black Bahamians are among the earliest settlers in South Florida following Emancipation Proclamation and the new Frontier movement in Florida with the adoption of the Homestead Act in 1868, which made 160 acres available at $1.25 per acre. The black Bahamians came from areas in the Bahamas that are St. Andros Island, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Freeport, Long Island, Nassau, New Providence plus Key West.
Upon the Bahamian’s arrival to southern Florida many migrated their way throughout the State working on farms, as domestics or helping to install Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway.
Several black Bahamian families settled in Lake Worth in their own neighborhood recognized as the “quarters” in the Lake Osborne Colored Addition. The historic buildings in Lake Osborne will be visited for the Narrated Bus Tour of Historic Lake Worth.
Most of these Black Bahamians were of the Anglican Christian faith in their home island. In Florida the Episcopal denomination was the closest resemblance to their island churches.
St. Agnes was established in 1898 by black Bahamian settlers to Miami who arrived on “contract” to work on Henry Flagler’s Railroad, Flagler’s Royal Palm Hotel in Miami, the James Deering Estate (Vizcaya) in Coconut Grove and they worked planting fruit trees, pineapples, vegetables and flowers.
“St. Agnes is considered the “mother lode” of Episcopal churches in South Florida,” says Lori J. Durante, executive director of the non-profit organization, which organized the tour program. “It’s one of the oldest black churches in Miami and boasts one of the largest Episcopal memberships in South Florida with more than 1,600 people.”
The church’s building is likewise one of the largest Episcopal churches and their campus encompasses an entire city block near Downtown Miami. Additionally, St. Agnes is one of the most prominent organizations in South Florida. The church is located in the (formerly known as) Negro Central District in Miami which was the name of the area during segregation. St. Agnes was designated historic by the Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida and the City of Miami.
The St. Agnes membership represents the black elite. Some of the tour guests are current or retired attorneys, nurses, teachers, governmental executives with Miami-Dade County or the State of Florida and business owners.
They heard about the tour program via positive word-of-mouth from previous guests who took the tour. Once the group arrives to Palm Beach County on July 19, for the tour of Lake Worth they will first have a private catered soul food breakfast at Donnie’s Southern Restaurant in Delray Beach followed by private shopping at Macy’s Boynton Beach Mall with a reception sponsored by Chuck West of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
This tour creates an economic benefit and branding opportunity for Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach and Palm Beach County.
“This is a proud opportunity to showcase Palm Beach County’s art, culture and history,” Durante said.
MLFH’s tour is an Official Community Event Partner for the State of Florida’s 500thanniversary, Viva Florida.
Since 2004, the non-profit Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History has been hosting Narrated Bus Tours of Historic Palm Beach County. MLFH’s first tour program is the often sold-out Narrated Bus Tours of Historic Delray Beach, which has hosted more than 8,000 guests. In 2011, MLFH expanded its tour program to add the Taste History Culinary Tours of Historic Delray Beach & Boynton Beach, which is commonly sold-out too. In 2012, due to popular demand, the Taste History Culinary Tours of Historic Lake Worth & Lantana was added. Also, in year 2012, the Narrated Bus Tour of Historic Lake Worth was included to the menu of tour choices. MLFH now offers a total of four history bus tour programs – two food tasting tour choices and two history bus tour choices (non-food tours). All the aforementioned tours are the first in Palm Beach County.