West Palm Beach is a city in and the county seat of Palm Beach County,Florida, United States. It is one of the three main cities in South Florida. The population was 99,919 at the 2010 census. The University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) estimates a 2014 population of 104,031, a 4.1% increase from 2010. It is the oldest municipality in the South Florida metropolitan area, having been incorporated as a city two years before Miami in November 1894. West Palm Beach is located approximately 68 miles (109 km) north of Downtown Miami.
|West Palm Beach, Florida|
|City of West Palm Beach|
West Palm Beach Aerial November 2014
|Nickname(s): Orchid City, West Palm, WPB|
Location in Palm Beach County and the state of Florida.
U.S. Census Bureau map showing city limits
The beginning of the historic period in south Florida is marked by Juan Ponce de León’s first contact with native people in 1513. Europeans found a thriving native population, which they categorized into separate tribes: the Mayaimi in the Lake Okeechobee Basin and the Jaega and Ais peoplein the East Okeechobee area and on the east coast north of the Tequesta. When the Spanish arrived, there were perhaps about 20,000 Native Americans in south Florida. By 1763, when the English gained control of Florida, the native peoples had all but been wiped out through war, enslavement, or European diseases.
Other native peoples from Alabama and Georgia moved into Florida in the early 18th century. They were of varied ancestry, but Europeans called them all “Creeks.” In Florida, they were known as the Seminole andMiccosukee Indians. The Seminoles clashed with American settlers over land and over escaped slaves who found refuge among them. They resisted the government’s efforts to move them to the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi. Between 1818 and 1858, three wars were fought between Seminoles and the United States government. By 1858 there were very few Seminoles remaining in Florida.
The area that was to become West Palm Beach was settled in the late 1870s and 1880s by a few hundred settlers who called the vicinity "Lake Worth Country." These settlers were a diverse community from different parts of the United States and the world. They included founding families such at the Potters and the Lainharts, who would go on to become leading members of the business community in the fledgling city. The first white settlers in Palm Beach County lived around Lake Worth, then an enclosed freshwater lake, named for Colonel William Jenkins Worth, who had fought in the Second Seminole War in Florida in 1842. Most settlers engaged in the growing of tropical fruits and vegetables for shipment the north via Lake Worth and the Indian River. By 1890, the U.S. Census counted over 200 people settled along Lake Worth in the vicinity of what would become West Palm Beach. The area at this time also boasted a hotel, the "Cocoanut House", a church, and a post office. The city was platted by Henry Flagler as a community to house the servants working in the two grand hotels on the neighboring island of Palm Beach, across Lake Worth in 1893, coinciding with the arrival of the Florida East Coast railroad. Flagler paid two area settlers, Captain Porter and Louie Hillhouse, a combined sum of $45,000 for the original townsite, stretching from Clear Lake to Lake Worth.
On November 5, 1894, 78 people met at the "Calaboose" (the first jail and police station located at Clematis St. and Poinsettia, now Dixie Hwy.) and passed the motion to incorporate the Town of West Palm Beach in what was then Dade County (now Miami-Dade County). This made West Palm Beach the first incorporatedmunicipality in Dade County and in South Florida. The town council quickly addressed the building codes and the tents and shanties were replaced by brick, brick veneer, and stone buildings. The city grew steadily during the 1890s and the first two decades of the 20th century, most residents were engaged in the tourist industry and related services or winter vegetable market and tropical fruit trade. In 1909, Palm Beach County was formed by the Florida State Legislature and West Palm Beach became the county seat. In 1916, a new neo-classical courthouse was opened, which has been painstainkingly restored back to its original condition, and is now used as the local history museum.
The city grew rapidly in the 1920s as part of the Florida land boom. The population of West Palm Beach quadrupled from 1920 to 1927, and all kinds of businesses and public services grew along with it. Many of the city's landmark structures and preserved neighborhoods were constructed during this period. Originally, Flagler intended for his Florida East Coast Railway to have its terminus in West Palm, but after the area experienced a deep freeze, he chose to extend the railroad to Miami instead.
The land boom was already faltering when city was devastated by the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane. The Depression years of the 1930s were a quiet time for the area, which saw slight population growth and property values lower than during the 1920s. The city only recovered with the onset of World War II, which saw the construction of Palm Beach Air Force Base, which brought thousands of military personnel to the city. The base was vital to the allied war effort, as it provided an excellent training facility and had unparalleled access to North Africa for a North American city. Also during World War II, German U-Boats sank dozens of merchant ships and oil tankers just off the coast of West Palm Beach. Nearby Palm Beach was under black out conditions to minimize night visibility to German U-boats.
The 1950s saw another boom in population, partly due to the return of many soldiers and airmen who had served in the vicinity during the war. Also, the advent of air conditioning encouraged growth, as year-round living in a tropical climate became more acceptable to northerners. West Palm Beach became the one of the nation's fastest growing metropolitan areas during the 1950s; the city's borders spread west of Military Trail and south to Lake Clarke Shores. However, many of the city's residents still lived within a narrow six-block wide strip from the south to north end. The neighborhoods were strictly segregated between White and African-American populations, a legacy that the city still struggles with today. The primary shopping district remained downtown, centered around Clematis Street.
In the 1960s, Palm Beach County's first enclosed shopping mall, the Palm Beach Mall, and an indoor arena were completed. These projects led to a brief revival for the city, but in the 1970s and 1980s crime continued to be a serious issue and urban sprawl continued to drain resources and business away from the old downtown area. By the early 1990s there were very high vacancy rates downtown, and serious levels of urban blight.
Since the 1990s, developments such as CityPlace and the preservation and renovation of 1920s architecture in the nightlife hub of Clematis Street have seen a downtown resurgence in the entertainment and shopping district. The city has also placed emphasis on neighborhood development and revitalization, in neighborhood districts such as Northwood Village, Old Northwood, Flamingo Park and El Cid. Many neighborhoods still struggle with urban blight and crime, as well as lowered property values caused by the Great Recession, which hit the city particularly hard. The latest large scale development within the city is the re-development of the mostly abandoned 1,000,000 + square foot Palm Beach Mall, located at the Interstate 95/Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard interchange. Ironically, the very mall that initiated the original abandonment of the downtown, is itself now abandoned and considered by many an eyesore. Re-development of the mall into the Palm Beach Fashion Outlets has begun as of late 2012. The building of the outlet mall has been finished since February 2014.
According to the United States Census Bureau, this city has a total area of 58.2 square miles (151 km2). 55.1 square miles (143 km2) of it is land and 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) of it (5.26%) is water.
Due to vast areas of swampland immediately to the west of the city's downtown, growth occurred to the north and south in a linear fashion. Until the 1960s, the city was no more than several blocks wide but over 100 blocks in length. Large scale development finally occurred to the west of the city with improved access and drainage in the 1960s. However, the city boundaries were not expanded much with the exception of the "Water Catchment Area", an uninhabited area in the northwest part of the city that serves as a reservoir for the city drinking
|Trump Plaza||32||331 ft (101 m)|
|Tower 1515(demolished)||32||321 ft (98 m)|
|Palm Beach House||28||278 ft (85 m)|
|Placido Mar||30||278 ft (85 m)|
|Esperante||20||278 ft (85 m)|
|Northbridge Centre||25||272 ft (83 m)|
|One Clear Lake Center||20||270 ft (82 m)|
|Waterview Tower||25||250 ft (76 m)|
|Phillips Point||20||225 ft (69 m)|
Private schools in the area include:
Companies based in West Palm Beach include Florida Public Utilities, ION Media Networks, Ocwen, and The Palm Beach Post. Other major employers are Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Sikorsky Aircraft, General Dynamics, Cemex, and CSC.
Cruise Transportation: Celebration Cruise Line provides two-night roundtrip Bahamas cruises and one-way cruise transportation between Palm Beach and Grand Bahama Island (Freeport). Celebration's Bahamas Celebration sails every other day out of the Port of Palm Beach.
Air: The city is served by Palm Beach International Airport, located in unincorporated Palm Beach County. The airport attracts people from all over the county as well as from the Treasure Coast and Space Coast counties to the north. In 2006 there were 6,824,789 passengers who passed through the gates of PBIA making it the 58th busiest airport in the nation.
Highways: U.S. 1 passes though the city's downtown, commercial, and industrial districts. Interstate 95 bisects the city from north to south with multiple interchanges serving West Palm Beach, including an entrance to Palm Beach International Airport. Florida's Turnpike passes through West Palm Beach further west, connecting with the western suburbs of Royal Palm Beach and Wellington. State Road 80, running east-west, is a partial expressway, that runs from Interstate 95 to State Road 7.
Rail: Tri-Rail commuter rail system serves the city from a historical station located on the west side of Tamarind Avenue, just east of I-95. Tri-Rail provides commuter rides north to Mangonia Park and south to Miami. Amtrak has daily trains arriving and departing to points north. CSX Transportation and the Florida East Coast Railway also serve the city.
Trolley: There is a free downtown trolley that provides transportation around downtown including Clematis, City Place and Waterfront districts of the city.
Bus: Greyhound Lines operates scheduled intercity bus service out of the train station on the west side of Tamarind Avenue. Palm Tran, the Palm Beach County municipal bus service, operates scheduled service throughout the city and the suburban areas of Palm Beach County.
Port: The Port of Palm Beach is located on the northern edge of the city limits. It is the fourth busiest container port in Florida and the 18th busiest in the continental United States. In addition to intermodal capacity, the Port is a major modal point for the shipment of various goods as well as being the home to several small passenger cruise lines.
Water Taxi: As a waterfront city there is specific need for water transportation between points in the city and surrounding areas. Waterway transportation is available to and from the downtown Clematis Street District, Sailfish Marina Resort, waterfront attractions, Peanut Island and special events.