Palm Beach County, Florida
|Palm Beach County, Florida|
Palm Beach County
Location in the state of Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
|Founded||April 30, 1909|
|Named for||Palm Beach|
|Seat||West Palm Beach|
|Largest city||West Palm Beach|
|• Total||2,383 sq mi (6,172 km2)|
|• Land||1,970 sq mi (5,102 km2)|
|• Water||413 sq mi (1,070 km2), 17.3%|
|• Density||670/sq mi (259/km²)|
|Congressional districts||18th, 20th, 21st, 22nd|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
Palm Beach County is a county located in the state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,320,134, making it the third-most populous county in Florida. The largest city and county seat is West Palm Beach. Named after one of its oldest settlements, Palm Beach, the county was established in 1909, after being split from Miami-Dade County. The county's modern-day boundaries were established in 1963. Palm Beach County is included in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida metropolitan area.
The area had been increasing in population since the late 19th century, with the incorporation of West Palm Beach in 1894 and after Henry Flagler extended the Florida East Coast Railway and built the Royal Poinciana Hotel, The Breakers, and Whitehall. In 1928, the Okeechobee hurricane struck West Palm Beach and caused thousands of deaths. Since then, a number of other tropical cyclones have impacted the area. More recently, the county acquired national attention during the 2000 presidential election, when a controversial recount occurred. As of 2004, Palm Beach County is Florida's wealthiest county, with a per capita personal income of $44,518.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Politics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Government
- 7 Transportation
- 8 Education
- 9 Sports
- 10 Annual events of interest
- 11 Places of interest
- 12 Media
- 13 Communities
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
Approximately 12,000 years ago, Native Americans began migrating into Florida. The tribes settling in modern day Palm Beach County included the Ais', Calusas, Jaegas, Mayaimis, and Tequestas. An estimated 20,000 Native Americans lived in South Florida when the Spanish arrived. Their population diminished significantly by the 18th century, due to warfare, enslavement, and diseases from Europe. In 1513, Juan Ponce de León, who led a European expedition to Florida earlier that year, became the first non-Native American to reach Palm Beach County, after landing in the modern day Jupiter area. Among the first non-Native American residents were African Americans, many of whom were former slaves or immediate descendants of former slaves who had escaped to the State of Florida from slave plantations located in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Runaway African slaves started coming to what was then Spanish Florida in the late 17th century and they found refuge among the Seminole Native Americans. During the Seminole Wars, these African-American slaves fought with the Seminoles against White settlers and bounty hunters. Portions of the Second Seminole War occurred in Palm Beach County, including the Battle of Jupiter Inlet in 1838.
The oldest surviving structure, the Jupiter Lighthouse, was built in 1860, after receiving authorization to the land from President Franklin Pierce in 1854. During the American Civil War, Confederate sympathizers including Augustus O. Lang and James Paine removed the lighting mechanism, dimming the lighthouse and assisting their blockade runners. After the Civil War ended, the Jupiter Lighthouse was re-lit in 1866.
Henry Flagler, who was instrumental in the county's development in the late 19th century and early 20th century, first visited in 1892, describing the area as a "veritable paradise." Flagler subsequently purchased land on both sides of Lake Worth. Other investors followed suit, causing a small boom and bringing in existing businesses or new ones were established. The Royal Poinciana Hotel, constructed by Flagler to accommodate wealthy tourists, opened for business in February 1894. About a month later, the Florida East Coast Railway, owned by Flagler, reached West Palm Beach. On November 5, 1894, Palm Beach County's oldest city, West Palm Beach, was incorporated. In 1896, another hotel built by Flagler was opened, the Palm Beach Inn, later renamed the The Breakers. He also constructed his own winter home beginning in 1900; he and his wife moved in on February 6, 1902. Flagler died there on May 20, 1913, after falling down a flight of marble stairs.
Palm Beach County was created in 1909. It was named for its first settled community, Palm Beach. The County was carved out of what was then the northern portion of Dade County, comprising part of the areas now occupied by Okeechobee and Broward counties, part of Martin and all of Palm Beach county, initially including all of Lake Okeechobee. The southernmost part of Palm Beach County was separated to create the northern portion of Broward County in 1915, the northwestern portion became part of Okeechobee County 1917 and southern Martin County was created from northernmost Palm Beach County in 1925.
Early on September 17, 1928, the Okeechobee hurricane made landfall near West Palm Beach and crossed Lake Okeechobee shortly thereafter. Storm surge left severe damage in the city of Palm Beach, and a death toll of 26. In West Palm Beach, more than 1,711 homes were destroyed. Further inland, wind-driven storm surge in Lake Okeechobee inundated adjacent communities, particularly Belle Glade, Pahokee, and South Bay. Hundreds of square miles were flooded, including some areas with up to 20 feet (6.1 m) of water. Numerous houses were swept away and damaged after crashing into other obstacles. Flood waters did not completely subside for several weeks. At least 2,500 deaths occurred, many of whom were black migrant farmers. Damage in South Florida totaled approximately $25 million (1928 USD). In response to the storm, the Herbert Hoover Dike was constructed to prevent a similar disaster.
Lake Okeechobee had previously overflowed in 1926 during the Miami hurricane, though flooding was primarily in Moore Haven in Glades County. As a result of both the Okeechobee and Miami hurricanes, Palm Beach County, along with the rest of South Florida, began suffering economic turmoil and pushed the region into the Great Depression, even before the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Housing prices dropped dramatically in the county, as well as in the rest of the country.
The Palm Beach International Airport, then known as Morrison's Field, opened in 1936. After the United States entered World War II, it was converted to an Air Force Base in 1942. During the war, thousands of servicemen arrived in Palm Beach County for training and supporting the war effort. Following the conclusion of World War II, a number of veterans returned to the area for work, vacation, or retirement. The base was closed and became a commercial airport again in 1962. Migration to the county by workers, tourists, and retirees continued into the 21st century.
Early on August 28, 1949, a Category 4 hurricane struck West Palm Beach with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (240 km/h). Sand and debris swept across roads in Palm Beach. Strong winds shattered windows at a car dealership in West Palm Beach and toppled two radio towers, one in Belle Glade and the other in Lake Worth. At the Palm Beach Air Force Base, the storm left at least $1 million (1949 USD) in damage.
The area's first television station, WIRK-TV Channel 21, signed on September 13, 1953. It went off the air less than three years later. However, NBC affiliate WPTV-TV and CBS affiliate WPEC first aired in 1954 and 1955, respectively – both of which are still in existence today.
About three-quarters of Lake Okeechobee was removed from Palm Beach County in 1963 and divided up among Glades, Hendry, Martin and Okeechobee counties. This was the final change to the county's boundaries.
Hurricane David struck near West Palm Beach late on September 3, 1979, with sustained winds of 100 mph (155 km/h); this was the most recent hurricane landfall in Palm Beach County. The storm's winds shattered windows in stores near the coast and caused property damage, including blowing the frame off the Palm Beach Jai Alai and downing the 186-foot (57-m) WJNO AM radio tower in West Palm Beach into the Intracoastal Waterway. A few roofs were torn off, and numerous buildings were flooded from over 6 inches (150 mm) of rainfall. Damage in the county reached $30 million (1979 USD), most of which was incurred to agriculture.
By 2000, the population of Palm Beach County exceeded 1 million.
The county was the center of controversy during the presidential election. The "butterfly ballot" led to an unexpectedly large number of votes for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, rather than for Democrat Al Gore or Republican George W. Bush. Due to the voting tally in Palm Beach County, Bush won the electoral votes for the state of Florida by a margin of 537 out of 5.8 million votes. This victory in turn, gave him the victory in the national election.
Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, it was revealed that some of the terrorists trained in Palm Beach County, including Ahmed al-Haznawi, Marwan al-Shehhi, Mohamed Atta, and Ziad Jarrah. Later that month, during the anthrax attacks, a letter containing spores of this substance was mailed to the American Media, Inc. building in Boca Raton. Three people were exposed to the anthrax, one of whom later died.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,383 square miles (6,170 km2), of which 1,970 square miles (5,100 km2) is land and 413 square miles (1,070 km2) (17.3%) is water. It is the second-largest county in Florida by land area and third-largest by total area. Much of the water is the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Okeechobee. The county has approximately 526,000 acres (213,000 ha) of farmland.
Palm Beach County borders Martin County to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Broward County to the south, Hendry County to the west, and extends into Lake Okeechobee in the northwest, where it borders Okeechobee County and Glades County at one point in the center of the lake.
- Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, a 147,392 acres (59,647 ha) refuge in Boynton Beach
- DuPuis Management Area, a 21,875 acres (8,852 ha) area of protected lands.
- J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area, a 60,348 acres (24,422 ha) area of protected lands.
- Jupiter Ridge Natural Area, a 271 acres (110 ha) preserve in Jupiter, Florida.
- Juno Dunes Natural Area, a 576 acres (233 ha) preserve in Juno Beach.
- Frenchman's Forest Natural Area, a 158 acres (64 ha) preserve in Palm Beach Gardens
- Sweetbay Natural Area, a 1,094 acres (443 ha) preserve in Palm Beach Gardens.
- Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area, a 773 acres (313 ha) preserve in Royal Palm Beach.
- Hypoluxo Scrub Natural Area, a 97 acres (39 ha) preserve in Hypoluxo.
- Rosemary Scrub Natural Area, a 14 acres (5.7 ha) preserve in Boynton Beach.
- Seacrest Scrub Natural Area, a 54 acres (22 ha) preserve in Boynton Beach.
- Delray Oaks Natural Area a 25 acres (10 ha) prairie and xeric hammock preserve with a small strand swamp and areas of flatwoods in Delray Beach.
- Leon M. Weekes Environmental Preserve, a 12 acres (4.9 ha) preserve in Delray Beach.
In addition the county has many coral reef patches along its coastline. The county has put in a lot of effort to preserve the reefs.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,356,545 people, 474,175 households, and 303,946 families residing in the county. The population density was 573 people per square mile (221/km²). Approximately 41% of Palm Beach County's population resides in unincorporated areas within the county. There were 556,428 housing units at an average density of 282 per square mile (109/km²). In relation to ancestry (excluding the various Hispanic and Latino ancestries), 10% were Italian, 9% German, 8% Irish, 8% American, 6% English, 4% Russian, and 4% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.
U.S. Census Bureau 2012 Ethnic/Race Demographics:
- White (non-Hispanic): 58.7%
- Black (non-Hispanic): 18.2%
- Hispanic or Latino of any race: 20.1%
- Asian: 2.6% (0.7% Indian, 0.4% Chinese, 0.3% Filipino, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.2% Japanese, 0.1% Korean)
- Two or more races: 1.6%
- American Indian and Alaska Native: 0.6%
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
As of 2010, 23% of Palm-Beach residents were foreign born (including naturalized American citizens.) Haitians made up the largest population of immigrants, with Cuban exiled refugees coming in second, Mexicans in third, followed by Colombians in fourth place, then Jamaicans, Guatemalans, Canadians, Hondurans, ninth being Peruvians, and Brazilians being the tenth highest group of expatriates. British people, Germans, and Polish people, which had held spots in Palm Beach's top 10 immigrant list of 2000, dropped off the 2010 list, which contained no European countries.
There were 474,175 households out of which 24.90% reported children living in the household, 50.80% were married couples living together without children, 9.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.90% were non-related individuals. 29.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.89.
Age ranges found in the county were 21.30% under the age of 18, 6.60% aged 18 to 24, 27.00% aged 25 to 44, 22.00% aged 45 to 64, and 23.20% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. Overall, the female to male ratio was 100:93. The female to male ratio for those over the was 100:91.
The median household income was $45,062, and the median income for a family was $53,701. Males had a median income of $36,931 versus $28,674 for females. The per capita income for the county was $28,801. About 6.90% of families and 9.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.30% of those under age 18 and 6.60% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2010, 73.13% of all residents spoke English as a primary language, while 15.69% spoke Spanish, 4.03% French Creole (mainly Haitian Creole,) 1.06% French, 0.94% Portuguese, and 0.54% of the population spoke Italian. In total, 26.87% spoke languages other than English as their mother language.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
Palm Beach County has voted for the Democratic Party since the 1992 presidential election.
It was the center of a nationwide media storm in 2000, when it appeared to have impacted the presidential election that year between eventual winner George W. Bush and Al Gore. A major source of controversy was the butterfly ballot used in Palm Beach County, a confusing ballot design which caused many voters to mistakenly vote for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore. Buchanan had an unexpectedly strong showing in the county. In the end, Gore carried the county, but Bush captured the state by just 537 votes (out of nearly 5 million cast, a difference of .009%) after the recount was effectively halted by the US Supreme Court. (Bush vs. Gore)
|2012||58.21% 349,651||41.18% 247,398|
|2008||61.08% 361,271||38.22% 226,037|
|2004||60.35% 328,687||39.05% 212,688|
|2000||62.27% 269,754||35.31% 152,964|
|1996||58.06% 230,687||33.68% 133,811|
|1992||46.36% 187,869||34.63% 140,350|
|1988||44.07% 144,199||55.47% 181,495|
|1984||38.32% 116,091||61.67% 186,811|
|1980||36.37% 91,991||56.79% 143,639|
|1976||48.68% 96,705||49.45% 98,236|
|1972||27.18% 40,825||72.35% 108,670|
|1968||28.08% 32,837||53.19% 62,191|
|1964||46.91% 43,836||53.09% 49,614|
|1960||39.72% 29,871||60.28% 45,337|
Previously W. R. Grace and Company had its headquarters in unincorporated Palm Beach County, near Boca Raton. Prior to its closing, the Boca Raton headquarters had about 130 employees. On January 27, 2011 it announced it was closing the Boca headquarters and moving its administrative staff out of state along with some employees.
A number of shopping malls exist throughout Palm Beach County, including the Boynton Beach Mall, the The Gardens Mall, Town Center at Boca Raton, CityPlace, and Mizner Park. Formerly, the Palm Beach and Cross County Malls operated in the county, though they closed in 1997 and 2010, respectively.
The county is governed by a Board of Commissioners. The Board consists of seven commissioners, who are all elected from single-member districts. One of the commissioners is elected Mayor and one of them is elected Vice-Mayor. Commissioners serve staggered terms, and Commissioners from Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7 are elected during presidential election years, while the Commissioners from Districts 2, 4, and 6 are elected in gubernatorial election years.
Elected county officers include a Clerk of Courts and Comptroller, Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, and Supervisor of Elections. State officers serving the Florida judicial district include the State Attorney, and Public Defender. All positions are four year terms, requiring direct election by voters in presidential election years.
|Palm Beach County Officials|
|District 1 Commissioner||Hal R. Valeche|
|District 2 Commissioner||Paulette Burdick|
|District 3 Commissioner||Shelley Vana|
|District 4 Commissioner||Steven L. Abrams|
|District 5 Commissioner||Mary Lou Berger|
|District 6 Commissioner||Melissa McKinlay|
|District 7 Commissioner||Priscilla Taylor|
|Clerk and Comptroller||Sharon R. Bock|
|Property Appraiser||Gary R. Nikolits|
|Tax Collector||Anne M. Gannon|
|Supervisor of Elections||Susan Bucher|
|State Attorney||Dave Aronberg|
|Public Defender||Carey Haughwout|
I-95 and Florida's Turnpike are controlled-access expressways that serve Palm Beach county. Southern Boulevard (signed SR 80/US 98), which runs east-west through central Palm Beach County, is a partial freeway from Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach to US 441/SR 7 in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach. In the late 1980s, there were plans to construct two additional expressways in Palm Beach County. One was to be an 11.5 miles (18.5 km) toll freeway from Royal Palm Beach to downtown West Palm Beach. It would have run between Belvedere Road and Okeechobee Boulevard; necessitating the destruction of several homes and churches along its path. The other proposed route was a northern extension of the Sawgrass Expressway which was to be called "University Parkway". The University Parkway would have snaked around suburban developments west of Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and Boynton Beach; its path bordering the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Ultimately, both expressways were canceled due to opposition from county residents.
Range Line Road:
Other major highways:
- A1A (Ocean Boulevard)
- Route 807/County Road 807 (Congress Ave)
- Route 809/County Road 809 (Military Trail)
- Route 710 (Bee Line Hwy)
- Tri-Rail runs along eastern Palm Beach county, adjacent to Interstate 95 for most of its length. It has stops in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, and Mangonia Park.
- Palm Beach International Airport
- Palm Beach County Park Airport
- North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport
- Boca Raton Airport
- PalmTran provides bus service throughout Palm Beach county.
Primary and secondary schools
All of Palm Beach County is served by the School District of Palm Beach County. As of 2006, it was the 4th largest school district in Florida and the 11th largest school district in the United States. As of August 2006, the district operated 164 schools, including 25 high schools, and, as of July 22, 2006 had an additional 33 charter schools, with seven more scheduled to open in August 2006. Newsweek listed three Palm Beach County high schools in the top 50 schools in the list 1200 Top U.S. Schools - Atlantic Community High School, Suncoast High School and the Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts, all public magnet schools. Private schools in the county include Cardinal Newman High School, Jupiter Christian School, The King's Academy, Oxbridge Academy, Pope John Paul II High School, St Andrew's School and Weinbaum Yeshiva High School.
Colleges and universities
- Florida Atlantic University
- Lynn University
- Northwood University
- Nova Southeastern University
- Palm Beach Atlantic University
- Palm Beach State College
The Jupiter Hammerheads are a Single-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, and the Palm Beach Cardinals are a Single High-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams play their games at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. The St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins conduct their spring training at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.
Prior to the construction of Roger Dean Stadium, the Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves held their spring training at Municipal Stadium in West Palm Beach. The West Palm Beach Expos, a Single-A affiliate of the Montreal Expos, also played their games there.
Also popular are the Florida Atlantic Owls, an NCAA Division I school that participates in Conference USA. The FAU football team play at FAU Stadium, and averaged 14,552 fans during the 2013 season. The FAU basketball team plays at FAU Arena, and averaged 1,346 fans during the 2013–14 season.
Annual events of interest
Places of interest
- American Orchid Society Visitors Center and Botanical Garden
- Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
- Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
- Lion Country Safari
- Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, including the Roji-en Japanese Gardens
- Mounts Botanical Garden
- Norton Museum of Art
- Palm Beach Maritime Museum 
- Palm Beach County Library System
- Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park
- South Florida Science Museum
- The Palm Beach Post
- WPEC-TV 12 News
- Palm Beach Daily News
- New Times Broward-Palm Beach - an alternative weekly
The largest city and county seat is West Palm Beach, with an estimated population of over 105,000. Additionally, the approximate urban population is 250,000, when including adjacent unincorporated neighborhoods. Boca Raton (South County), is the second largest, having a population approaching 90,000. Boynton Beach (South County), is the third largest city, with a population nearing 70,000 residents.
|#||Incorporated Community||Designation||Date incorporated||Population|
|2||Belle Glade||City||April 9, 1928||17,467|
|37||Boca Raton||City||May 1925||84,392|
|33||Briny Breezes||Town||March 19, 1963||601|
|7||Juno Beach||Town||June 4, 1953||3,176|
|6||Jupiter||Town||February 9, 1925||55,156|
|5||Jupiter Inlet Colony||Town||1959||400|
|20||Lake Clarke Shores||Town||1957||3,376|
|38||Loxahatchee Groves||Town||November 1, 2006||3,180|
|9||North Palm Beach||Village||1956||12,015|
|14||Palm Beach||Town||April 17, 1911||8,348|
|8||Palm Beach Gardens||City||1959||48,452|
|12||Palm Beach Shores||Town||1951||1,142|
|11||Riviera Beach||City||September 29, 1922||32,488|
|21||Royal Palm Beach||Village||June 18, 1959||34,140|
|26||South Palm Beach||Town||1955||1,171|
|22||Wellington||Village||December 31, 1995||56,508|
|15||West Palm Beach||City||November 5, 1894||99,919|
- Belle Glade Camp(l)
- Boca Del Mar(c)
- Boca Pointe(a)
- Canal Point(bb)
- Century Village(u)
- Cypress Lakes(w)
- Dunes Road(cc)
- Fremd Village-Padgett Island(aa)
- Golden Lakes(r)
- Gun Club Estates(m)
- Hamptons at Boca Raton(e)
- High Point(i)
- Juno Ridge(z)
- Kings Point(g)
- Lake Belvedere Estates(o)
- Lake Harbor(p)
- Lake Worth Corridor(k)
- Lakeside Green(x)
- Limestone Creek(y)
- Mission Bay(d)
- Plantation Mobile Home Park(s)
- Royal Palm Estates(n)
- Sandalfoot Cove(b)
- Schall Circle(v)
- Seminole Manor(j)
- Stacy Street(q)
- Villages of Oriole(h)
- Westgate-Belvedere Homes(t)
- Whisper Walk(f)
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-  - URL retrieved November 7, 2012
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- to the Columbia, Maryland office. About 40 of the employees went to Columbia, and some employees went to Cambridge, Massachusetts
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- PBC Library System
- Twenty most populous counties in America
- "See "Population and Housing Occupancy Status: 2010 - County -- County Subdivision and Place" for Florida". 2010 Census. United States Census Bureau, Population Division.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Palm Beach County, Florida.|
- Palm Beach County Government / Board of County Commissioners official website
- Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections
- Palm Beach County Property Appraiser
- Palm Beach County Tax Collector
- Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
- Clerk & Comptroller, Palm Beach County
- Palm Beach County Public Defender
- Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, 15th Judicial Circuit
- 15th Judicial Circuit of Florida
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