Delray Beach

Delray Beach History


The History of Delray Beach;

Located in Palm Beach County, Florida, Delray Beach is a city with a population in excess of 70,000 residents. 

The early history of Delray Beach begins with the construction of the Orange Grove House of Refuge in 1876.  Settlement of the area began in 1884, when African-Americans purchased land from the Orange Grove House of Refuge and started farming.  In 1894 William S. Linton bought a piece of land west of the Orange Grove House of Refuge and sold portions of the land as farming tracts.  The community itself was named after Mr. Linton.  In 1896 Henry Flagler added an extension to the Florida East Coast Railroad south from West Palm Beach all the way down to Miami. 

The farming communities flourished by selling produce to the northern markets.  However, in 1898 due to an extreme freeze, many settlers left the area.  In 1901 in an effort to change what was perceived as bad luck, the area was renamed Delray, which is Spanish for "of the king".   In 1911 Delray was chartered by the State of Florida as an incorporated town.  Pineapples became the primary crop of Delray. 

In the mid 1920's drainage of the Everglades lowered the water table, making it very difficult to grow pineapples.  At the same time, the Florida East Coast Railway was extended to Key West which allowed competition from the Cuban pineapple markets.  The Florida land boom of the 1920s brought prosperity to Delray.  The town issued bonds to raise money to pave streets and install water and sewer lines.  Tourism and Real Estate became important components of the local economy.

Delray was separated from the Atlantic Ocean beach by the Florida East Coast Canal.  Which is now known as the Intracoastal Waterway.  In 1923 the area between the canal and the ocean was incorporated into Delray Beach.  At the time, Delray Beach was the largest town between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.  1927 Delray and Delray Beach were merged together into one town, Delray Beach.


Present Day;

Downtown Delray Beach has undergone major renovations over the last several decades.  Old School Square has been turned into a cultural center which comprises the Crest Theater.  The Cornell Museum of Art and History was built inside the restored elementary School.  An outdoor entertainment pavilion has been added for musical performances and political rallies.  The Colony Hotel, a famous landmark, was also restored to it's original beauty.  As was the historic home of Solomon D. Spady.   The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum now houses archives of African-American history.  The Atlantic Community High School was rebuilt along Atlantic Avenue in 2005.

Delray Beach can be found directly north of Boca Raton and directly south of Boynton Beach.  The city is roughly 16 square miles.  The climate is often liken to a tropical rainforest.  The average high temperature in January is 75 degrees.  While the average low in the same month is 57 degrees. The Delray Beach Tennis Center has become a major attraction during the seasonal months, (December, January, February and March).  There are many tennis events and tournaments held at the center and tickets are usually sold out well in advance of the events.  The United States Tennis Association nominated Delray Beach into it's list of top tennis towns in the U.S. in 2010. 

In 2009 the Downtown Delray Beach Arts District was established.  It features galleries and cultural organizations in South Florida.   The Delray Affair is a 3 day event, held each year, that highlights art incorporated into a street fair.   The Delray Beach Garlic Festival is held in February on the grounds of Old School Square.  Art & Jazz on the Avenue is held 6 times a year and is produced by the Delray Downtown Marketing Cooperative.  We have included a page for the town of Gulf Stream which borders Delray Beach to the north.  Gulf Stream has a very small population.  The total land area of Gulf Stream is just under one square mile.  There are less than 1000 residential properties in Gulf Stream.   






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