10 July 1999

Boynton and Delray Beaches

In 1894 Nathan S. Boynton, a former Civil War major from Port Huron, Michigan and his friend, Congressman William S. Linton, traveled to Florida searching for a winter residence from the harsh Michigan winters. They traveled down the newly dredged Florida East Coast Canal (the Intracoastal). He was so impressed by the natual beauty, moderate weather and beautiful beaches when he paused in the area that now bears his name, that he looked no further. He purchased 500 acres of land and a mile stretch of ocean frontage. ( Linton bought the area to the south that temporarily bore his name until it was changed to Delray Beach). Boynton returned a year later, bringing a group of people, and started building the famous Boynton Beach Hotel, which was to become his family's summer residence. The first settlers cultivated an assortment of fruits and vegetables; pineapples, tomatoes, mangos, oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes.These were crated and shipped by the ton on the newly built Florida East Coast Railroad.

Soldiers returning home from World War Two discovered the small town located only fifty miles north of Miami. The closeness of the Atlantic's Gulfstream at this point along Florida's coast, almost guaranteed catching plenty of fresh fish. crab and lobster. Boynton Beach has grown steadily. The city's population has grown from 5,000 in 1958 to approximately 50,000 residents.

Delray Beach, for more than 100 years, has grown and prospered. Originally it was an agriculture area. In 1901 the area was named Delray, a Spanish derivative meaning 'or the king'. When the railroad, built by Henry Flagler, expanded from West Palm Beach to Miami, farmers began shipping their produce. By the turn of the century, a number of Japanese farmers came to the area to grow pineapples. They formed the Yamato Colony and farmed on land now occupied by the Boca Raton Airport and FAU. A pineapple farmer, George Morikami, donated his land for use as a park after his death. The 200 acre Morikami Park has become one of Palm Beach County's top tourist attractions. In the 20th century Delray changed from a farming community to a bustling city known for its unique architecture and thriving downtown. It became a winter resort where artists, writers and cartoonists came to escape the winters and persue their crafts. Old School Square, (which was the Delray Beach High School) is the center of the historic downtown shopping district.
Excerpts from: http://www.boyntonbeach.com/history/

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