Alternative History

The City of West Palm Beach, more commonly referred to alongside the wider area as Palm Beach is a major metropolitian area in the Republic of Florida and the southernmost major city of Florida after the destruction of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Key West. Being the largest city of the South Florida area to avoid nuclear bombardment, it served as an early rallying point for survivors in their attempts to flee the American mainland. To the north lies St. Lucie County, which was the site of the state's sole surviving reactor, another focal point in its history. The United States Atlantic Remnant would use it as a forward operating base in its expeditions in the Southeast, before hurricanes, advanced structural degradation, and the collapse of the surrounding area led to the Remnant evacuating and the city's fall to raiders and anti-social groups. Today, it has bounced back from the worst as it looks to return to its pre-Doomsday importance, with its airport and harbors filling the economic vacuum left by its destroyed neighbors.

Palm Beach
City of West Palm Beach
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: West Palm Beach
Flag Coat of Arms
Flag Coat of Arms
Location of Palm Beach
(and largest city)
West Palm Beach
Other cities St. Lucie, Boca Raton, Hutchinson Island
Language English, Spanish
Religion Judaism, Christianity
Population 69,000 (city)
200,000 (County) 
Currency Caribbean Dollar
Organizations United States Atlantic Remnant (Military Bases)
Caribbean Federation



The city was founded by Henry Flagler as a community to house the servants working in the two grand hotels on the neighboring island of Palm Beach, across Lake Worth. The original spelling was "Westpalmbeach", but it was feared that the 13-letter word would be an ominous omen for the fledgling community. On November 5, 1894, 78 people met at the "Calaboose" (the first jail and police station located at Clematis St. and Poinsettia, now Dixie Hwy.) and passed the motion to incorporate the Town of West Palm Beach in what was then Dade County (now Miami-Dade County). This made West Palm Beach the oldest incorporated municipality in the county and in South Florida. The town council quickly addressed the building codes and the tents and shanties were replaced by brick, brick veneer, and stone buildings. During the 1920s, the city grew rapidly during the Florida land boom, during which many historic structures and neighborhoods were built.

The city has a very rich history. Prior to the founding of Miami, West Palm Beach was a thriving cultural center. Originally, Henry Flagler intended for his Florida East Coast Railway to have its terminus in West Palm, but due to a deep freeze, he decided to extend the railroad to Miami. For many years West Palm Beach and Miami were rival South Florida cities and they both thrived in the early 20th century. Although it was originally intended to be a settlement for the servants of the wealthy Palm Beach Island neighbors, West Palm became a thriving center in its own right. Pleasant City is a neighborhood in the original Uptown West Palm that had a thriving middle-class African-American population. This community still has a rich heritage, whereas many of the families have lived there for generations.

Pratt & Whitney, IBM, RCA and others helped put the city on the map in the late 1960s and 1970s. But now the focus was on the whole of Palm Beach County, not just West Palm Beach. The city was loving its position as the county's hub and heart. And so many other things were changing. Integration brought the end of Palm Beach and Roosevelt High schools and the beginning of a new high school, Twin Lakes (now Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts).

In the 1960s, Palm Beach County's first enclosed shopping mall, the Palm Beach Mall, and an indoor arena were completed. These projects led to a revival for the city. However, crime was a serious issue due to racial tensions and high vacancy rates. But following the 1960s, the city underwent a renaissance as newcomers have rediscovered the city's historic areas.


Despite being part of the South Florida Metropolitian Area, Palm Beach County was not directly hit. Miami and Ft. Lauderdale however, were. Boca Raton would feel gusts of wind of up to 50MPH as the outermost bands of the Broward County blast would affect the city, although for a state used to hurricanes there was less damage then there would be in other places. The destruction of the I-95 south of West Palm Beach as well as the electromagnetic pulse rendering most cars unusable split the survivors of the strike in two: The Miami group, who fled westwards into the Everglades, and the Ft. Lauderdale group, who trekked up 1-91 eventually reaching Palm Beach.

Due to the relatively small size compared to Broward and Dade County, its adjacent northern county of St. Lucie was not struck either. Its nuclear power plant would be one of the few to escape the EMP blasts which disabled those across much of the continental United States, which enabled parts of the two counties to continue providing emergency services for a time. Tens of thousands of burn victims, victims of crushed debris, those blinded by the blasts themselves orphaned children, and other patients would overwhelm most of Palm Beach's medical facilities, with what little that remained of the National Guard which was able to activate in the city operating additional triage centers.

For those in the city which were fortunate enough to survive could do little else than sit in their homes, wander out for food, and try to check in on their other friends and families in the city. Refugees from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale would soon number over one hundred and eighty thousand, although this number paled in comparison to the 1.5 million out of 2.5 million who lost their lives on Doomsday.


nearly 100,000 souls lived in tent cities like these across Palm Beach and St. Lucie County after the bombs.


In the 2 years following Doomsday, Palm Beach and St. Lucie's ports would be visited by a trickling of ships coming south from the mid-Atlantic United States. Most of these, including the famed USS Norfolk, would go on to become the founding core of the United States Atlantic Remnant. With the ragtag fleet noting the cities survival and definitely precarious resources, they would pick up those who were willing (including the few relatives of the Naval ensemble who made it to the area), with a small crew of engineers offering to stay behind to run the Port before the bulk continued southward to the Caribbean. A primary concern was concerning reading detected from the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant -- it was now apparent that certain key electronic components had been damaged on Doomsday by the widest ranging of the EMPs after all. In addition to the lingering high levels to the south in the South Florida wasteland of former Dade and Broward, the Remnant company would go on to request the flotilla in Jamaica to send whatever little help and fuel they could spare to evacuate the refugee camp of nearly 100,000 Broward and Dade County residents that had formed in the

With nearly one refugee from Miami or Broward for every local resident, fights over food would not become uncommon. Although there were still crops, deer, fish and fowl in the surrounding area on Doomsday, the access to these dwindling stocks would be uneven,

St. Lucie Reactor Shutdown - Exodus[]

What survived of the South Florida metropolitan area had a luxury few others did in the ravaged continental United States -- electricity. Due to FPL's grid being independent from those of other states, and the southernmost tip of Florida being outside the cone of EMP surges which fried most of the complex pieces in other grids, there was a rationing of electricity trickling into the environs of Palm Beach and St. Lucie County.

Previous concerns about the damage taken by the finer circuitry rung true; circuits that provided electrical power to the coolant pumps begun to fail, triggering a loss-of-core-cooling that was critical for the removal of. The decision to shut the reactor down was undertaken. With a team of USAR personnell, Mexican engineers and even some of the former employees with the necessary know-how returning from their new Caribbean homes in the American diaspora, the reactor was safely shut down, at a steep price to the area -- 7 years into the apocalypse, what was left of the South Florida area was now without power. The coordinated exodus continued, as many rightfully feared the ensuing summer would be nightmarish without functioning air conditioning and hospitals. The Remnant would secure a meagre weekly patrol of gas from the surviving wells of Southwest Florida to be distributed amongst its own needs, and then the two remaining hospitals and a handful of lighthouses along the coast along the I-75, although the roads would finally be reclaimed by the Everglades in 1991.

Great Hurricane of 1992[]


For the outskirts of southern Palm Beach County, Broward and Dade lucky enough to survive the bombs, this would be the end of their communities.

By the summer of 1992, less than 20,000 people were left in the area, largely defiant holdouts who refused to leave their homes behind, raider groups which had overtaken entire city blocks for their own, or refugees from elsewhere too tired or sick to travel further. One decade one from Doomsday, Palm Beach was in a curious position, having narrowly avoided a nuclear meltdown disaster yet now without electricity, disease begin to run more rampant as hospitals shut down, schools shuttered, and the last illusion of social services finally left the city and its islands. Insurance brokers were now fishermen and grave diggers, housewives now set squirrel and duck traps, and children learned from whatever books were available to them, if fortunate enough to be in that position. Everything would change, however, with the "Great Hurricane of 1992" making landfall on August 28, forever changing the landscape of the South Florida region.

On August 26, Palm Beach radio operators, especially the Remnant outfit based out of the Port, would pick up on distressed calls from Haiti regarding a storm that had completely ravaged Port-au-Prince, with presumably thousands dead and many more missing. The storm would batter the shores of South Florida on August 28, immediately tearing through the ruins of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, with tornadoes and flood waters completely burying the cracked roads and rubble of the former metropolises. The southern Palm Beach neighborhood of Boca Raton would be blindsided by the storm, with little time to flee westward, hundreds would be killed by floodwaters, collapsed homes, trees and sickness that followed. The derelict site of the Boca Raton Golf Club, more recently used for agricultural attempts, would be converted in a cemetery for the nearly 700 lives the storm would claim. For the bulk of the survivors, this was the final straw, and ensuing USAR relief efforts would lead to many more thousands evacuating on the deck of the Norfolk and her support vessels.


A South Floridian survivor tries to defend his family post-Hurricane.

Remnant Base and Return[]

Around this same time, the Okeechobee town of Belle Glade would fall to a brigand of young raiders called "The Orphans", who would in turn fall to even more ruthless groups. This act would cut Palm Beach off from the surviving cities and towns of Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Naples, which would go on to form the provisional Republic of South Florida with its absense due to the increased reliance on eachother formed by the blockade of the Lake Okeechobee area and the eastbound I-25.


Map of the area, with Belle Glade's fall sealing Palm Beach's fate for years.

By 1996, the vast majority of the county's former inhabitants now lived in the Caribbean, with the bulk forming the relocating to Charlotte Amalie and new urban-style planned communities in the formerly Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra. The Remnant mainted a Base at the International Airport throughout this time, which was strictly prohibited to outsiders, and no further attempts to evacuate those who had stayed this long would be entertained. With the several thousand who remained behind had reverted to truly pre-industrial, apocalyptic conditions, scavenging and killing for food and medicines, the Remnant would mind its own business, strictly using the harbour and airport to mend to its own affairs.

Fewer than 10,000 would call the city home in 2008, 25 years after bombs. Largely getting by off eggs, yard gardens, ever-present mangos and other subsistence, three clusters of civilization persisted, one around the Airport, surviving off the minimal commitment Remnant Air presense, another in Boca and a third along the harbor, also host to a walled Remnant base. Although many across the Caribbean still yearned of going home, this dream seemed to fade into memory until the founding of the WCRB at the turn of the century, and its groundbreaking 2009 WCRB report on the southern United States bringing the attention of the "international" community to this impoverished region. As dozens of NGOs in the ensuing publicity entered the region, many thousands would flock back in the first 2 years to take advantange of the return of services.

Modern Day[]

With the unification of the Republic of Florida, the city found itself in a renewed surge of interest it hadn't seen since before the bombs fell. Although most of the city proper's day-to-day governance still fell nominally under the USAR, with the surrounding roads in and out controlled by the Republic of Florida, a tentative power-sharing agreement was reached, with the first Republic of Florida State Marshall office entering the city in 2015. The multi-party military operation dubbed "Operation Spearhead" would see the city be used as a forward operating base to this fighting southwards from Cape Canaveral, the Battle of Jacksonville and other endeavors. The Remnant would depart from civilian affairs at the conclusion of the operation, returning to Floridian civilian control of the International Airport in 2021, while retaining the smaller Polk Airfield to the south, the former Coast Guard and control of the dormant St. Lucie Power Plant. In spite of its rapid resurgence, it is "only" the second largest city in South Florida, lagging behind the combined Cape Coral-Fort Myers but having since surpassed Sarasota.

By 2022, and the re-christening of the Florida Highway Patrol, it finally felt like normal had returned to the cities around Florida. Hustle and bustle once again returned to the city, with special interest in the Suntech computer company that had formed around the satellite IBM office. With "raider" being a word now removed from the daily lexicon, problems like taxes, lobbying for trash pick-up days, and school projects once again became more the pressing concerns of the citizens and children of the city. Although there are still various billboards, graffiti and other commentary adorning the streets of Palm Beach City referencing the bloody Operation Spearhead, most day-to-day residents are focused on less on the "here and now" and more on "tommorow" for the first time since before Doomsday.

With the return of electricity, and more importantly air conditioning, the town would triple in size to 30,000 by 2015, and double again by 2020 -- many of its residents had taken up in the vacant hotels of the Naples area for years as supply of other pre-War standard housing was minimal, and were thus eager to return to their real homes. A fifth of these residents, however, would be settled in Deerfield as consequence of the "Operation Spearhead", many of whom being the widows and children of the former raider groups defeated throughout the operation.

Supplies would come in from Cuba on a daily basis, allowing tin roofs and coverings to adorn buildings and blown out windows that had been bare for years. With 69,000 people in the city proper, and 200,000 in the former county limits, West Palm Beach and its environs are now the fastest growing metropolitan area in Florida, having outstripped Gainesvilles parabolic growth the last 5 years. On January 1 2025, the grace period for former residents returning from the American diaspora to reclaim their abandoned homes will end, with nearly 30% of the land area of Boca Raton and 25% of West Palm Beach expecting to revert to city control after this period.


Coastal Palm Beach skyline, 40 years after Doomsday.


The City of West Palm Beach is home to 69,000 people as of the 2020 WCRB Census, roughly in line with its numbers in 1980. The greater area of Palm Beach and St. Lucie County is home to over 200,000 people. Among these are refugees resettled from elsewhere in Florida, economic opportunists from abroad riding the wave of the upward swing in activity in the Port, Remnant Navy personnel and their families, and the hardy "locals" themselves. Being one of the largest cities in the Floridian peninsula, and one of the most prestigious to survive the war, many are keen to visit its renowned architectural sites and beaches, especially those from across the American diaspora. Palm Beach has one of the largest Jewish populations in the former United States, in both number and percentage.


Although generators were commonplace throughout South Florida compared to other states, a county-wide electricity grid would only return to the town in 2010 with the construction of a natural gas plant by Remnant engineers. So far, the plant has remained affordable in its upkeep, due to the surplus of production in Immolakee and Collier Counties. There have been calls to turn the St. Lucie Power Plant back on, now that the proper upkeep can be afforded, although fears of nuclear energy persist throughout the Republic of Florida. With reliable electricity and air conditioning being a lifeblood for keeping Florida habitable, the grid is publicly owned so as to avoid price hikes.


As one of the fastest growing cities in Florida, Palm Beach has replaced the roles of Miami and Cape Canaveral, being the flagship port of the east, seeing thousands of tonnes of goods and people on a daily basis, as well as being the centre of its technological and scientific endeavors. Shipbuilding and military technologies, including aerospace production, are centered around the former sites of IBM, United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and others in the area. Palm Beach International Airport, kept as a forward operating grounds through the worst of it all by the Atlantic Remnant, is now one of only 12 North American survivor-state airports that can service newer jet engine aircraft.

Post-Doomsday developments of note -- Palm Beach County is the head of Chambers Nautical, a company that specializes in dredging ruined harbors. It has recently been contracted to perform "scrapes" of Miami and Savannah, as thousands of sunken ships and urban debris still littered their waters, making them a hazard to many. A glass factory, taking advantage of the plentiful sands, would open in 2016, although strict regulations preventing nuclear-contaminated sands meant that these activities would over-use the pristine beaches of Palm Beach and Jupiter rather than those nearer the Miami/Broward strikes.