The Blue Heron Bridge
The modern span we call the Blue Heron Bridge (it’s official name is the Jerry Thomas Memorial Bridge) is actually the third bridge connecting Riviera Beach and Singer Island. The original 2,700 ft long, wood and steel Sherman Point Bridge was built in 1925 by Palm Beach County to service the planned Blue Heron Hotel being developed on what is now Singer Island. The hotel was the brainchild of Paris Singer, of the Singer sewing machine empire, and would have been a multi-million dollar resort on the isolated fisherman’s island. The hotel project was abandoned by Singer due to the high cost of the endeavor and the partially constructed hotel was salvaged for scrap metal in World War II.
In 1928, the Sherman Point Bridge was partially destroyed by a hurricane and would not be rebuilt until 1935. Following the bridge’s reconstruction and throughout World War II, Singer Island remained an isolated community of fishermen and real development didn’t begin until after the war. When the wooden bridge burned down in the late 1940’s a new two lane, concrete and steel draw bridge, the Riviera Beach Memorial Bridge, was constructed in 1949. That bridge remained in service until 1976, and a 350 foot section of it remains as a fishing pier in Phil Foster Park.
In 1976, the current 65 foot high, four lane “Blue Heron Bridge” was completed to deal with the increasing traffic caused by the rapid growth in Palm Beach County. The bridge cost 8.5 million dollars and is now a landmark for snorkelers, divers and fishermen taking advantage of the clear waters and variety of sea life that live underneath its span.
Phil Foster Park
Phil Foster was considered a “pioneer” citizen in Riviera Beach. He was the owner of one of the area’s first tourist courts. He lived in the area for 32 years prior to his death in 1917. The park was opened and dedicated in his memory in January 1953.