Commemorative Coin Marks 100th Anniversary Of LGWCD

Roll back the clocks to a simpler time. A time before smartphones, computers or even television. A time when Loxahatchee Groves wasn’t even a thought.

In July 1902, the Southern States Land & Timber Company purchased land and began working in the area that later became Loxahatchee Groves.

“Southern States Land & Timber is older than 100 years, having been founded in 1902,” said Harry Smith, the company’s executive vice president and general manager. “One of the original land development projects that Southern States pursued was the development of agriculture and farming in the Loxahatchee Groves area.”

In February 1917, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked on planning and construction for the C-51 Canal. To help in that effort, the Loxahatchee Sub-Drainage District was created on April 4, 1917. By 1923, Southern Blvd. was completed. The Loxahatchee Sub-Drainage District legally changed its name to the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District on May 26, 1999.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the LGWCD, the district, along with Southern States, now a wholly owned subsidiary of the J.M. Burguières Co. Ltd., has created a commemorative coin available for purchase.

“It’s something that gives Loxahatchee Groves and its founder, Southern States Land & Timber, recognition for 100 years, and it’s something that will last a long time, well past this anniversary,” LGWCD Chairman Frank Schiola said. “Unlike a piece of paper that will wither and yellow in time, these coins will last for many years to come. They’re nicely colored, they look very good, and bring a positive message about Loxahatchee Groves and Southern States Land & Timber.”

The coin can be purchased at a cost of $8.50, which includes a plastic case and stand. It is three inches in diameter and double-sided in color, LGWCD Administrator Steve Yohe said. The front side of the coin has the district’s logo, while the back side has the Southern States logo.

When Loxahatchee Groves was founded, Schiola said, it was mostly orange groves, dairy farming and timber. The area was surrounded by swampland, and Southern Blvd. was merely a dirt road next to a canal.

“We’re very proud as a district, and the district board is very proud that we’ve come 100 years. We’ve got a lot accomplished by establishing the ability for the town to put horse trails on our easements,” Schiola said. “Our roads have pretty much stayed just about the way they were when they were first platted about 100 years ago. Our canals have stayed pretty much the same. Some things have changed, and other things remain the same. We’re still committed to the taxpayers out here, just like they were 100 years ago.”

LGWCD Vice Chair Laura Danowski stressed the accessibility of the coin.

“It’s commemorative. It’s classy. It’s something that is going to last,” she said. “It’s going to be a really cool piece of history that everyone can have and hold.”

Danowski hopes that the coin will open up conversation, and people will understand, and appreciate, the essential services provided by the LGWCD for the community.

“I’m hoping that the coin will spur some interest for people to come to meetings, ask questions and learn about where they live,” she said.

For Yohe, the coin, and the anniversary, is a special landmark for the district.

“It’s not often that you have a 100-year anniversary come by,” he said. “When you can experience something and recognize that it has been functioning for that period of time and still operating, I think that’s something to recognize, and so that’s something that we wanted to do on the district’s 100th anniversary.”

Those interested will have two weeks from now to order coins from the LGWCD. The district will be gifting coins to local, regional and state officials, Yohe said.

To learn more about Southern States Land & Timber Company, visit To learn more about the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District or order a coin, call (561) 793-0884 or visit

The next LGWCD meeting will take place Monday, May 8 at 7 p.m. at the LGWCD office (101 West D Road, Loxahatchee Groves).

ABOVE: The colorful coin design pays homage to the history of the LGWCD.