Welcome to beautiful Delray Beach, Florida! Encompassing 15.37 square miles of land on the edge of the Gold Coast of South Florida lies this little gem-replete with sparkling blue waters and crystal white sand beaches. Offering year-round average temperature of 75 degrees, close proximity to cultural and amusement meccas like Miami and Orlando and a vast selection of places to go, do and see, Delray Beach has been named twice and nominated once as an *All-American City*. All this makes Delray Beach a first-class resort town and a popular with visitors, artists, retirees, and businesses alike. Looking around Delray Beach, you can't help but notice a wonderful sense of community pride. About 90 percent of this land has been developed. Because it is approaching maximum building capacity, the city has shifted its focus to renewal and redevelopment. These recent revitalization and restoration projects along Atlantic Avenue have attracted many upscale shops, restaurants and art galleries to the historic downtown district.
Delray Beach Parks:
* Anchor Park
* Atlantic Dunes Park
* Hidden Lake Park
* Sand Pine Park
* Spanish River Park
A brief history of Delray Beach, Florida:
In 1876, Delray Beach got its first building - a safety station for shipwrecked sailors. It wasn't until 1894 that a postmaster from Michigan named William Linton who along with David Swinton purchased 160 acres at $25 per acre and founded the town of Linton. Additional settlers from the Florida panhandle purchased land west of Linton that same year. Inspired by the natural riches of the area, they tilled the land and grew crops year round. The ocean provided them with plenty of fresh fish, crab and lobster. The arrival of the F.E.C. railroad in 1896 brought many positive changes. More settlers moved in, and the agricultural economy benefited from the ability to transport produce to the north.
Around the turn of the century a number of Japanese farmers came to the Delray Beach area to grow pineapples. On land now occupied by the Boca Raton Airport and FAU they formed the Yamato Colony. The history of Yamato Colony can be studied at the 200-acre Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, which is a scenic park that draws more than 150,000 visitors a year.
In 1901 the town of Linton and its surrounding area were renamed Delray, a Spanish-derived word meaning *of the king*. When Henry Flagler's railroad system expanded from West Palm Beach to Miami, farmers began exporting their plentiful harvest of pineapples, tomatoes, peppers, beans and other fruits and vegetables. The Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1925 and soon the town was booming with tourist trade and a healthy, self-supporting economy.
As the 20th century progressed Delray Beach grew from being purely a farming community into a bustling city known for its unique architecture and thriving downtown. Delray Beach became a winter resort where artists, writers and cartoonists came to escape the brutal winters up north and hone their crafts. Such nationally known cartoonists as Fontaine Fox and W.E. Pat Enright were among the luminaries came to call Delray home.
Although no longer based on agriculture, the economy of Delray Beach is still quite healthy. The very same reasons that drew people to the town in 1894 are what make Delray Beach such a nice place to live and grow today.
Present / Past:
History plays a large role in the city's current identity and its future direction. Delray Beach is considered a leading figure in the state's growing historic preservation movement. The city has designated several neighborhoods as historic districts; places where residents are encouraged to preserve old homes as a living link to Delray's illustrious past.
In the heart of downtown Delray Beach is Old School Square Cultural Arts Center, at 51 N. Swinton Ave. This collection of grand buildings, which once housed the Delray Beach High School, have been transformed in to the multi-million dollar centerpiece of the historic downtown shopping district. Old School Square houses a museum and theatre (in the former Delray Elementary and High School buildings) as well as an outdoor entertainment pavilion. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a gathering place for the community.