Boca Raton

History Boca Raton

The History of Boca Raton


Boca Raton is the southern most town in Palm Beach County, Florida.  Boca Raton translates from Spanish to "Mouth of The Mouse", boca meaning Inlet and raton is a nautical term describing rocks that would gnaw at a ship's cable.    Japanese farmers of the Yamato Colony had been converting land west of the city into pineapple plantations as early as 1904.  However,  the town's very first settler was T.M. Rickards who lived in a house made of driftwood in the area currently near the Palmetto Park bridge in 1895.

In 1925, Boca Raton was incorporated and during the Florida land boom of the 1920's the Ritz-Carlton Clooster Inn was built by Addison Mizner.  The inn was later renamed the Boca Resort & Club.  Today, many people refer to it as the "pink hotel".    During World War II lands belonging to the Japanese farmers was confiscated and used as the site of the Boca Raton Army Air Force Base.  The base was a major training facility for B-29 boomers.  The airbase was donated to Palm Beach County and ultimately became the grounds of the Florida Atlantic University and the present day Boca Raton Airport. 

In 1965 International Business Machines Corporation, (IBM) purchased hundreds of acres of real estate northwest of Florida Atlantic University.   Eventually IBM publicly announced it's plans to open a manufacturing plant in Boca Raton. The land IBM purchased was originally located in an unincorporated part of Palm Beach County.  But, it was later annexed into Boca Raton in 1970.  By 1987 IBM began moving portions of their manufacturing operations to Raleigh, North Carolina's Research Triangle Park.  IBM remained in the South Florida area until 1996 when it sold the last of it's properties to Blue Lake Real Estate who in turn sold the properties to T-REX Management Consortium.  Today, T-REX has revitalized the area into a beautifully landscaped business park. 

The 1980's saw an explosion of development west of the city of Boca Raton.  The creation of the Town Center Mall drew businesses away from the downtown city corridor.  In 1991 a new downtown outdoor shopping and dining area, Mizner Park, was developed.  The area resembles a contemporary Mediterranean suburb and features many restaurants, The Boca Raton Museum of Art, a beautiful landscaped central park and an amphitheater.  As building continued west of the downtown city area in the 1980s and 1990s, the Town Center Mall became the geographiccenter of what is now referred to as Boca Raton. 

Present Day;

As of 2010 there were a total of 44,539 households in Boca Raton.  According to Forbes, Boca has three of the ten most expensive gated communities in the United States.  Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club holds the top spot.  Strict building codes have limited the size and height of buildings, the use of billboard signs and the location and type of commercial structures that can be built.  Boca Raton has a total area of 29.1 square miles and it's climate is qualifies as a Tropical rainforest.  The driest month of the year is December which averages 2.26 inches of rain.  The annual average high temperature is 92 degrees in July and August and the annual average low is 58 degrees in January and February. 

Known for as an affluent social community, Boca Raton has many attractions for residents and tourists alike.  The Caldwell Theatre Company is the longest running profession theater in South Florida.  Gumbo Limbo Park is a 20- acre Environmental Education Center located along A1A.  Red Reef Park provides scuba divers and snorkelers the ability explore an underwater reef located a few hundred feet from shore.  Mizner Park is a meca for cultural events, shopping, dining out and business. 

The top employers in Boca Raton are Florida Atlantic University, The Boca Raton Resort, Office Depot, Lynn University, The Continental Group, IBM, The City of Boca Raton, The Boca Raton Regional Hospital, The National Council of Compensation Insurance and Campus Management.  The public schools in Boca are managed by The School District of Palm Beach County.  There are several private and religious schools in Boca as well.  The four public high schools are Boca Raton Community High School, Spanish River High School, Olympic Heights Community High School and West Boca Raton Community High School.  There are many libraries in Boca including two that were built in 2008 and 2009.

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