Historical Essay No. 70

Posted on 10 November 2011 by LeslieM

Since our family, the Eller family, has lived in Deerfield Beach since 1923, I’ve often been asked to put in writing some of the history of the area, either experienced personally, or that I heard from my parents or grandparents. For some of you old timers who might be worried about certain old “scandals,” don’t worry. I won’t be writing about those (smile). To read previous historical essays, go to www.observernewspaperonline.com and click on “The History of Deerfield.”

David Eller, Publisher


While I’m Away at College, Observer  newspaper is born – In Deerfield –

Some of you may have noticed that there has been a pause in my Historical articles for a few months and may have wondered why? It is quite simple. I’ve only written about things I personally knew to be true. How our family came to South Florida in 1923, after having first immigrated to North Carolina from Switzerland and Germany some 150 years earlier.

How my grandfather, Hoyt Eller, a skilled carpenter and farmer in his early 30s brought his wife and five children here to live in a tent next to the Hillsboro River/Canal and Dixe Highway. How he worked directly for the famous architect Addison Mizner to do the finish carpentry work for the Boca Raton Hotel. How he saved his money and went to farming land he bought for $1 per acre at what is now Quiet Waters Park, and later on $15 per acre in what is now the City of Parkland.

I wrote about some of the farm families like the Butlers, Wiles and Jones, who were already in Deerfield at the time.

How my father, Marlin Eller, quit farming with his father at age 21 to start his own business manufacturing large water pumps to sell to local farmers and government agencies for irrigation or drainage.

I wrote about the fact that when I started first grade at Deerfield Elementary School in 1947, there were only six students, and I was the only boy. Now I’m informed that first graders in Deerfield are measured in the hundreds. Stories about other local families were included along the way, as I wrote many stories trying to share what it was like growing up here in north Broward County in the 1940s and ‘50s. The ‘60s began with me at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, and then onto the University of Florida in Gainesville, which I graduated from with an engineering degree in 1964.

However, when I wrote the story about college, I suddenly realized that I was getting away from my original objective of writing about the history of this area, the north Broward County/South Palm Beach area. Therefore, in order to stay true to my initial objective, I will attempt now to combine the two, by telling some of what was going on in my life at college and, at the same time, to tell what was simultaneously going on back home in Deerfield (using the Observer archives). Eventually, the two storylines will merge when I graduate from college and come home.

For instance, while I was away at college, in 1962 the Observer newspaper first began publishing under the direction of Margaret Moore (the mother of my good friend from high school, Adrian Moore) and the first Publisher, Bill Beck of Delray Beach.

Meanwhile, in the morning of my first day at college in DeLand, we freshmen engineering students found seats in the auditorium before the head of engineering, Dr. Lowry entered. Very distinguished-looking with a white beard and wavy white hair he told us to “Look at the student sitting in front of you. Now look at the one to your left. Now look to the right. Only one of you will ever become an engineer. The others will flunk out … or become a lawyer… or something else.” That was my first day and introduction to college. And he was right.

David Eller, Publisher

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