Peanut Island- A Mix of International History and Recreational Amusement
Peanut Island is an island at the mouth of the Lake Worth Inlet in Palm Beach County that features a beautiful county park with swimming, fishing, boating, and camping available in the outer perimeter. There are also fourteen first-come, first-served boat slips for day use and a gorgeous man-made reef near the swimming area with occasional lifeguard coverage.
In addition to these recreational activities, the island also boasts a rich history, starting in 1918 when it was created by dredging-related projects. Originally named Inlet Island, the island was renamed Peanut Island for a planned peanut oil-shipping operation which failed in 1946. Perhaps the most interesting piece of the island’s history is its creation into a fallout shelter for President John F. Kennedy as a last resort in case of a nuclear attack.
“It’s the place where President John F. Kennedy would have run what remained of the free world,” said Anthony Miller of the Palm Beach Maritime Museum. The Palm Beach Maritime Museum operates the Palm Beach Maritime Academy, a West Palm Beach charter school that uses the old Coast Guard station, which closed in 1996, as part of its campus and curriculum. The Museum also runs the tours to the bunker and station.
The Kennedy Bunker, as this relic fallout shelter is known, is forever associated with Cold War hysteria. Only months after its construction in 1961, the world appeared to be on a precipice.Navy Seabees took just two weeks in late December 1961 to build the bunker, a few hundred yards from the Coast Guard station erected in 1936 and about five minutes from the Kennedy estate by helicopter, 15 minutes by boat.
“They pretended they were installing tanks, for oil or water, I don’t know, for the Coast Guard station,” said Miller, who holds the federal lease for the six acres where the bunker and station are situated. “It was all top secret.”
It is incredible to think there is such a piece of history at our community’s fingertips. For more information on Singer Island Real Estate, contact The McAdams Team by calling 561-385-1450.