[image by Gregory Moine]
Unlike Palm Beach, West Palm Beach is a year-round city with over 100,000 residents. The history of West Palm Beach goes back all the way to the early 18th century when Seminole and Miccosukee Indians settled parts of South Florida. Once early colonial settlers became aware of the Florida land, they fought with the Seminole Indians over it from 1818 t0 1858. By the end of the war, the majority of the Seminole Indians had left the area. The area known today as West Palm Beach was settled in the 1870s and 1880s. In the early days the area was known as Lake Worth County and the majority of residents (nearly 200 by 1890) grew tropical fruits and vegetation to ship north.
Henry Flagler, who settled the much smaller town of Palm Beach, used land in Lake Worth County as servant housing for the many luxury hotels in Palm Beach and eventually paid two settlers $45,000 for land stretching from Lake Worth all the way to Clear Lake. In the 1920s, West Palm Beach grew rapidly due to ongoing land development and the Florida East Coast Railway’s extension south to Miami. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, West Palm Beach continued to grow in population with key development spurring secondary population surges included the advent of air conditioning, construction of the Palm Beach Mall, and the opening of CityPlace on Clematis Street in the 90s.
Today, West Palm Beach is an eclectic community with many preserved historic neighborhoods including Bel Air, Grandview Heights, and Mango Promenade. It is defined by its metropolitan appeal, with an established skyline, several high-rise towers, and many developed communities within its boundaries including Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and Jupiter.
- The city was originally called “Westpalmbeach”, but early residents thought that a 13 letter name was a bad omen, so it changed to the current spelling
- Current or former home to Hank Aaron, Bob Barker, Glenn Close, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Jordan, Burt Reynolds, Howard Stern, and Yanni among others
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