Place:Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Florida, United States

Watchers


NameBoca Raton
Alt namesBoca Ratonesource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS12002002
TypeCity
Coordinates26.367°N 80.1°W
Located inPalm Beach, Florida, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Boca Raton is the southernmost city in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States, first incorporated on August 2, 1924 as "Bocaratone," and then incorporated as "Boca Raton" in 1925. The 2015 population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau was 93,235.[1] However, approximately 200,000 people with a Boca Raton postal address reside outside its municipal boundaries. Such areas include newer developments like West Boca Raton. As a business center, the city also experiences significant daytime population increases. It is one of the wealthiest communities in South Florida. Boca Raton is north of Miami and is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which had a population of 6,012,331 people as of 2015.

Boca Raton is home to the main campus of Florida Atlantic University and the corporate headquarters of Office Depot, ADT, Lynn University, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Bluegreen Corporation, and the Gift of Life Marrow Registry. It is also home to the Evert Tennis Academy, owned by former professional tennis player Chris Evert. Town Center Mall, an upscale shopping center in Central Boca Raton, is the largest indoor mall in Palm Beach County. Another major attraction to the area is Boca Raton's downtown, known as Mizner Park.

Many buildings in the area have a Mediterranean Revival or Spanish Colonial Revival architectural theme, initially inspired by Addison Mizner, a resort architect who heavily influenced the city's early development. Still today, Boca Raton has a strict development code for the size and types of commercial buildings, building signs, and advertisements that may be erected within the city limits. No outdoor car dealerships are allowed in the municipality; further, Walmart is blocked from within the city proper. No billboards are permitted; the city's only billboard was grandfathered in during annexation. The strict development code has led to several major thoroughfares without large signs or advertisements in the traveler's view.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Timeline


Early history

The area today known as "Boca Raton" was originally occupied by the Glades culture, a Native American tribe of hunter/gatherers who relocated seasonally and between shellfish sources, distinct from the Tequesta to the south and the Jaega to the north, a people that occupied an area along the southeastern Atlantic coast of Florida.

What Spanish voyagers called "Boca de Ratones" was originally to the south, in present-day Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County. The area today known as Boca Raton was labeled "Rio Seco", meaning "Dry River", during this time. By mistake since the 19th century, mapmakers moved this location to the north and began referring to the city's lake, today known as Lake Boca Raton, as "Boca Ratone Lagoon" and later "Boca Ratone Sounde." An inland stream near the lake was later renamed Spanish River, and eventually became part of the Intracoastal Waterway.

When Spain surrendered Florida to Britain in 1763, the remaining Tequestas, along with other Indians that had taken refuge in the Florida Keys, were evacuated to Cuba. In the 1770s, Bernard Romans reported seeing abandoned villages in the area, but no inhabitants.

The area remained largely uninhabited for long afterwards, during the early years of Florida' incorporation in the United States. The first significant European settler to this area was Captain Thomas Moore Rickards in 1895, who resided in a house made of driftwood on the east side of the East Coast Canal, south of what is now the Palmetto Park Road bridge. He surveyed and sold land from the canal to beyond the railroad north of what is now Palmetto Park Road. Early settlement in the area increased shortly after Henry Flagler's expansion of the Florida East Coast Railway, connecting West Palm Beach to Miami.

Addison Mizner's resort town

Boca Raton as a city was the creation of architect Addison Mizner. Prior to him, Boca Raton was an unincorporated farming town with a population of 100 in 1920.

In 1925, Mizner announced his plan for “the foremost resort city on the North American continent,” “a new exclusive social capital in America.”[6] After spending several years in Palm Beach, where, in his own words, he “did more than any one man to make the city beautiful,”[6] and designed the Everglades Club among many other buildings, in Boca Raton his plan was to create from scratch “a resort as splendid in its entirety as Palm Beach is in spots.”[6]

Activity in that area began at least a year, and probably more, before Mizner's announcement. Land acquisition, tens of thousands of acres, was the largest part. But it is hard not to see Mizner's hand in the incorporation of Boca Raton in 1924; the city immediately appointed him Town Planner.[7][8] The Mizner Development Company was incorporated in 1925, and promptly issued $5,000,000 of stock, which was fully subscribed in less than a week.[9] $500,000 was reserved for the "average Floridian"; the remainder was purchased by, as Addison called them, "noted personages", all with a Palm Beach connection: Lytle Hall, Harold Vanderbilt, J. Leonard Repogle, the Duchess of Sutherland, Rodman Wanamaker, Paris Singer, Irving Berlin, Madame Frances Alda, W. C. Robinson, H. H. Rodgers, D. H. Conkling, A. T. Herd, Porte Quinn, William Kissam Vanderbilt II, Elizabeth Arden, Jesse Livermore, Clarence H. Geist, and T. Coleman du Pont as chairman. Addison's brother Wilson also appears on the list of investors, but he had little to invest.[9]

Instead of the existing Palmetto Park Road, the main street in Mizner's Boca was to be El Camino Real, 20 lanes wide, which Mizner fancifully translated as "The Royal Highway",[8] referring to Spain’s road network and to the road to Santa Fe and to the Spanish missions in California. (Spanish kings rarely or never travelled on these roads; "The Government Road" would be just as accurate.) It was originally to be circular, with a lagoon in the middle.[8] Soon it became, in the plans, Boca Raton's main east-west street, to be wide and with a canal for pleasure boats in the center. (In the drawing of it on the cover of Mizner Development’s first brochure is a Venetian gondola.[6]) His statement that it was inspired by Botafogo, a neighborhood and beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is another of his many inventions of foreign "facts". Mizner, who never went to Brazil nor knew Brazilians, simply made it up because the name "Botafogo" ("mouth of fire") sounded impressive, as was the concept of imitating Rio de Janeiro. (The only street in Rio de Janeiro anything like the supposed picture, actually an artist's conception, of "Botafogo" that Mizner included in his first catalogue,[6] is the , which runs down the middle of two streets, but is nowhere near Botafogo, a more elegant name than Mangue "mangrove".)

Only of the road was built (although the street has subsequently been extended to the west at normal scale). According to drawings, the centerpiece of the street was to be a canal for pleasure boats; it was never built. All streets were to be at least wide.[8]

His first buildings in Boca Raton were his Administrative Buildings, on El Camino Real (in 2018 the Addison Restaurant), and a small hotel to house interested investors.[10] Mizner designed Boca’s first town hall/police station/fire station/library, although the design actually built is much smaller and less expensive than what Mizner planned. Today (2018) it is the Boca Raton History Museum, which houses Boca’s Welcome Center and the Boca Raton Historical Society.

The hotel was his Ritz-Carlton Cloister Inn, built in 1926, later renamed the Boca Raton Resort & Club, and is one of the only "5 star" hotels in Florida. The 1969 addition of its "pink tower" hotel building is visible from miles away as a towering monument on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Because of the end of the Florida land boom of the 1920s and the 1926 Miami hurricane, the Mizner Development Corporation went into bankruptcy in 1927. Little of Mizner's Boca Raton was ever built: his Administration Buildings, the Cloister Inn, 1/2 mile of El Camino Real, the small Dunagan Apartments (demolished),[8] a few houses near the Cloister Inn (demolished), the Spanish Village neighborhood,[8] and a few small houses in what is now the Floresta neighborhood.[7][8]

World War II Army Air Force Base

During World War II, some of the land used by the Japanese farmers of the Yamato Colony was confiscated and used as the site of the Boca Raton Army Air Force Base, a major training facility for B-29 bomber crews and the only facility in the U.S. training radar operators. Much of the Boca Raton Army Airfield was later donated to Palm Beach County and became the grounds of Florida Atlantic University. Many of FAU's parking lots are former runways of the airbase. When viewed from above, the site's layout for its previous use as an airfield is plainly evident. Boca Raton Airport's runway was once part of the original airbase, and is still active to this day, although the runway has been rebuilt. Army School Building #3 (T-604) of the Army Air Forces Base has survived as the office building for the Cynthia Gardens apartment complex on Northwest 4th Avenue.

Post-World War II history

Boca Raton was the site of two now vanished amusement parks, Africa U.S.A. (1953–61) and Ancient America (1953–59). Africa U.S.A. was a wild animal park in which tourists rode a "Jeep Safari Train" through the park. There were no fences separating the animals from the tourists. It is now the Camino Gardens subdivision one mile west of the Boca Raton Hotel. A red wooden bridge and remnants from the Watusi Geyser and Zambezi Falls, a 30-foot waterfall, from Africa USA can still be seen at the entrance to Camino Gardens. Ancient America was built surrounding a real Native American burial mound. Today, the mound is still visible within the Boca Marina & Yacht Club neighborhood on U.S. 1 near Yamato Road.

IBM

In the late 1960s, IBM announced their intentions to open a manufacturing plant in the area. In 1965, well before the extension of I-95 into Southern Florida, IBM, working in secret with the Arvida corporation, quietly purchased several hundred acres of real estate west of the CSX rail line and northwest of Florida Atlantic University. Originally situated in unincorporated Palm Beach County, the site was controversially annexed into Boca Raton almost a year following its dedication in 1970.


Construction of IBM's main complex began in 1967, designed by Marcel Breuer, and the manufacturing and office complex was dedicated in March 1970. The campus was designed with self-sufficiency in mind and sported its own electrical substation, water pumping station, and rail spur.

Among other noteworthy IT accomplishments, such as the mass production of the System/360 and development of the Series/1 mainframe computers, IBM's main complex was the birthplace of the IBM PC, which later evolved into the IBM Personal System/2, developed in nearby Delray Beach. Starting in 1987, IBM relocated its manufacturing for what became the IBM PC division to Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, North Carolina, and converted the cavernous manufacturing facilities into offices and laboratories, later producing products such as the OS/2 operating system and VoiceType Dictation, later known as ViaVoice voice-recognition software.

IBM maintained its facilities in the South Florida area until 1996, when the facility was closed and sold to Blue Lake Real Estate. The site was sold to T-REX Management Consortium, then to the Blackstone Group in 2005, who renamed it the Boca Corporate Center & Campus. The site was later renamed the Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRIC). , plans were being developed to convert the complex to housing and retail commerce.

What used to be IBM's Building 051, an annex separated from the former main IBM campus by Spanish River Boulevard, was donated to the Palm Beach County School District and converted into Don Estridge High Tech Middle School. It is named after Don Estridge, whose team was responsible for developing the IBM PC. IBM returned in July 2001, opening the software development laboratory at Beacon Square off Congress Avenue.

It is noteworthy that still left standing inside the old IBM complex is the office and conference table where Bill Gates signed his historic deal to supply IBM with the Microsoft MS-DOS operating system for its personal computer line.

Suburban expansion

In the 1980s, because of an explosion of development to the west of the historical center of the city, some eastern areas began to decay, including the downtown corridor. For instance, the old Boca Raton Mall, a shopping mall in the downtown area, was beginning to experience higher vacancy, and occupancy by marginal tenants, owing to the opening of Town Center at Boca Raton west of the city in 1980.


In 1991, the new downtown outdoor shopping and dining center, Mizner Park, was completed over the site of the old Boca Raton Mall. It has since become a cultural center for southern Palm Beach County. Featuring a landscaped central park between the two main roads (collectively called Plaza Real) with stores only on the outside of the roads, Mizner Park resembles a Mediterranean suburban "town center" with a more contemporary look. It features many restaurants and is home to the Boca Raton Museum of Art, which moved to the new facility in 2001. In 2002, a new amphitheater was built, replacing a smaller one and providing a large-capacity outdoor venue where concerts and other performances are held.

Mizner Park has significantly aided downtown revitalization. Many new eight- to ten-story mixed-use buildings have been constructed, are under construction, or are proposed for the downtown area. The surrounding areas to the downtown have benefited from the downtown redevelopment.

The National Cartoon Museum built a facility on the southwest edge of Mizner Park in 1996. Open for six years, the museum relocated to its original home in New York City in 2002. Building renovations for public uses, including the local public TV station, and private uses, such as a locally owned and operated bookstore, were completed in 2008. In addition to the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Association's theater and space, the building is home to the Schmidt Family Foundation.

As development continued to focus to the west of the city in the 1980s and 1990s, the mall area known as Town Center at Boca Raton became the geographic center of what is referred to as West Boca Raton, though this mall was not annexed into the city until 2004. This area, including the unincorporated area west of the city (discussed below), is now almost entirely built out.

Research Tips


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Boca Raton, Florida. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.