West Palm Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach
—  City  —
West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach Skyline

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
Coordinates: 26°42′35″N 80°03′51″W / 26.70972°N °W / 26.70972; -80.06417
Country  United States
State  Florida
County  Palm Beach
Incorporated November 5, 1894
Government
 - Mayor Lois Frankel
Area
 - City  dunams (150.7 km2 / 58.2 sq mi)
 - Land
 - Water
Elevation
Population (2008)[1]
 - City 99,504
 Density
 - Urban density
 - Rural density
 Metro 5,413,212
 - Metro density
 -  Density
 -  Density
  2009 Census Bureau estimate
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 33401-33422
Area code(s) 561
FIPS code 12-76600
GNIS feature ID 0293097
Website http://www.cityofwpb.com/

West Palm Beach, also known as West Palm, is the largest and most populous city in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The city is also the oldest incorporated municipality in South Florida. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2009 the city had an estimated population of 99,504.[1] It is the county seat of Palm Beach County, and is one of the principal cities in the South Florida metropolitan area, which has an estimated 2007 population of 5,413,212.[2] The area is known as the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach Metropolitan Division, which covers the entire Palm Beach County area.[3] It is situated in the northernmost county of the South Florida metropolitan area.

Demographics

As of 2006, there were 86,302 people, 34,769 households, and 18,253 families residing in the city. The population density was 574.9/km² (1,488.9/mi²). There were 40,461 housing units at an average density of 283.3/km² (733.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 54.09% White (of which 36% were Non-Hispanic Whites,)[4] 36.21% African American, 0.33% Native American, 1.46% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 4.35% from other races, and 3.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.21% of the population.

There were 34,769 households out of which 22.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.3% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.5% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city, 21.3% of the population is under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,774, and the median income for a family was $42,074. Males had a median income of $30,221 versus $26,473 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,188. About 20.5% of families and 23.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.2% of those under age 18 and 14.8% of those age 65 or over 95 .

As of 2000, speakers of English as a first language accounted for 72.49% of all residents, while those who spoke Spanish made up 17.71%, French Creole 4.46%, French 1.27%, German 0.62%, and Italian 0.52% of the population.[5]

As of 2000, West Palm Beach had the 65th-highest percentage of Cuban residents in the US, with 5.29% of the populace (tied with Cooper City.)[6] It had the forty-third highest percentage of Haitian residents in the US, at 4.20% of the city's population (tied with Roosevelt, New York,)[6] and the fifty-sixth highest percentage of Guatemalan residents in the US, at 2.24% of its population.[7] There is a thriving Hispanic community just south of the Downtown area called Poinciana Park.[8]

History

The city was founded 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. The original spelling was "Westpalmbeach", but it was feared that the 13-letter word would be an ominous omen for the fledgling community. 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).[9] This made West Palm Beach the oldest incorporated municipality in the 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 rapidly in the 1920s as part of the Florida land boom. 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.

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 crime continued to be a serious issue and by the early 1990s there were high vacancy rates downtown. 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.

Historic neighborhoods and communities

Bel Air Historic District - Developed from 1925 to 1935 as a neighborhood for tradesmen and real estate salesmen who helped develop Palm Beach County, some of Belair was originally a pineapple plantation owned by Richard Hone. Hones's frame vernacular house, built around 1895, still stands at 211 Plymouth Road. After Hone was murdered in 1902, his property was sold to George Currie, who created Currie Development Co. But before it was developed, the land was sold to William Ohlhaber, who raised coconut palms and ferns. Eventually, Ohlhaber platted the subdivision and sold off lots. The first house built in the subdivision was Ohlhaber's mission-style home at 205 Pilgrim. Ohlhaber's grandson said Ohlhaber bought the tract to provide dockage for his yacht, but the yacht ran aground in the Gulf of Mexico and never reached Lake Worth. In 1947 Hone's house was bought by Max Brombacher, Henry Flagler's chief engineer, and it remains in the Brombacher family today. Belair became West Palm Beach's fourth historic district in August 1993.

Central Park - Central Park is a collective name for several subdivisions north of Southern Boulevard. It originally was part of the Estates of South Palm Beach (which went from Wenonah Place to Pilgrim Road east of Dixie Highway). Like other West Palm Beach neighborhoods, the Estates of South Palm Beach boomed after Henry Flagler's descent on Palm Beach. In 1884, James W. Copp, a bachelor in the boating business, borrowed $367.20 from Valentine Jones to buy the land. The ownership of what is now known as Central Park changed hands many times before being developed. Around 1919, the tropical wilderness was transformed into an exclusive neighborhood with curbed roads, sidewalks and a pier (at the foot of what is now Southern Boulevard). The neighborhood became part of West Palm Beach in 1926, and was named a city historic district in December 1993. In 1999 the neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

El Cid - Noted for its Mediterranean revival and mission-style homes, El Cid developed in the height of Florida's real estate boom. In the late 19th century, most of the land north of Sunset Road was pineapple fields, but the crop dwindled in the early 20th century. Pittsburgh socialite Jay Phipps subdivided the old pineapple fields in the 1920s. He named it El Cid, after the celebrated Spanish hero, Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar, who conquered Valencia in 1094. He was called "Cid", meaning "lord". El Cid became a city historic district in June 1993. In 1995 the neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Flamingo Park - Originally a pineapple plantation, Flamingo Park was established by local contractors and developers, who saw the potential in this area—one of the highest coastal ridge sections from downtown West Palm Beach to Miami. Some ridge houses even had ocean views from upper floors. Houses cost about $10,000 to $18,000 in the boom era, and many buyers were owners of shops and businesses on fashionable Dixie Highway nearby. Recently, residents rallied to have stop signs installed throughout the neighborhood and have banded together to ward off commercial and industrial zoning. Property values are rising as residents renovate and restore Spanish-style houses. Most of the homes in the neighborhood, developed from 1921 to 1930, are mission style, but nearly every style is represented. There are many Mediterranean revival-style houses along the high ridge line. Only two buildings in the historic district are known to have been designed by architects: 701 Flamingo Drive designed by Harvey and Clarke, and the Armory Arts Center designed by William Manly King. The neighborhood became a West Palm Beach historic district in January 1993 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Grandview Heights - One of the city's oldest neighborhoods still intact, Grandview Heights was built as an extension of Palm Beach Heights from around 1910 to 1925. Almost all of Palm Beach Heights and half of Grandview Heights was demolished in 1989 to make way for the proposed Downtown/Uptown project, which remains undeveloped. Grandview Heights originally attracted construction workers who helped build the luxury hotels, ministers and store owners. In recent years, residents rallied to stop random demolition of neighborhood homes. And they banded together to chase drug dealers and prostitutes from the neighborhood. New investors are helping bring back the neighborhood, which has one of the city's best collection of early craftsman-style bungalows, as well as some modest, Mediterranean revival-style homes. The neighborhood became a West Palm Beach historic district in 1995 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

Mango Promenade - Mango Promenade became a West Palm Beach historic district in 1995 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Lies just south of Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Northboro Park- An expansion of Old Northwood, Northboro Park was mostly custom houses for upper-middle-class professionals. Most of the houses are Mediterranean revival, mission and frame vernacular. Developed from 1923 to 1940, the neighborhood became the city's second historic district (November 1992) and the historic designation may soon expand north to 45th Street. The oldest building in the neighborhood is Northboro Elementary School at 36th Street and Spruce, built in 1925 by DaCamara and Chace. The demolition of Northboro Elementary School began in late 2009. The first home in Northboro Park is 418 36th St., built in 1923.

Northwest - West Palm Beach's first historic district to be included on the National Register of Historic Places (February 1992), the Northwest neighborhood was first settled in 1894, when the black community was moved from the Styx in Palm Beach to West Palm Beach. It also served as the city's segregated black community from 1929 to 1960 (along with Pleasant City). Northwest remains a predominantly black community but according to the city planning department, most middle- and upper-class blacks moved to other neighborhoods after desegregation. Tamarind and Rosemary Avenues were the commercial centers for blacks by 1915, but most commercial buildings have been demolished or remodeled so the architecture is no longer significant. There are still good examples of late 19th- and early 20th-century American bungalow/craftsman-style homes in this neighborhood, which also has mission, shotgun, Bahamian vernacular and American Foursquare styles. The Alice Frederick Mickens house, at 801 Fourth St., is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Mickens was a philanthropist and humanitarian who promoted education for black youth. Another notable house is the Gwen Cherry house at 625 Division Ave. Cherry, Florida's first black woman legislator and a resident of Miami, inherited the house from relative Mollie Holt, who built the house in 1926. Now it is the Palm Beach County Black Historical Society. The Northwest neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. The next year the neighborhood became a West Palm Beach historic district in 1993.

Old Northwood Historic District- Old Northwood was developed from 1920 to 1927—the height of the city's real estate boom. The Pinewood Development Co., platted and developed the area. Old Northwood became a neighborhood of what was considered extravagant Mediterranean revival, mission and frame vernacular houses, at $30,000 to $36,000. The buyers were professionals, entrepreneurs and tradesmen. Among them was Dunkle, who was mayor of West Palm Beach. There are houses here designed by notable architects John Volk (best known for his Palm Beach houses), William Manly King (who designed Palm Beach High School and the Armory Arts Center) and Henry Steven Harvey (whose Seaboard Railroad Passenger Station on Tamarind Avenue is listed in the National Register of Historic Places). The neighborhood became a West Palm Beach historic district in 1991 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in June 1994.

Northwood Hills Historic District- On August 4, 2003, the City Commission designated the Northwood Hills neighborhood as the 13th Historic District in the City of West Palm Beach. Northwood Hills comprises the area from 29th Street on the South to 39th Court on the North. The east side of Windsor is the Western boundary, and Greenwood Avenue is the Eastern boundary. The Neighborhood Association has worked several years to achieve the distinction of historic designation. This is the first district to be designated since 1996. Northwood Hills has a number of Mission Revival houses, a significant collection of Post-World War II architecture, a unique street layout, and one of the highest elevations in the City. The Northwood Hills neighborhood has also elected to allow the establishment of Bed and Breakfast establishments within the neighborhood.

Prospect Park- Promoted as a high-end neighborhood patterned after the prominent Prospect Park district in Brooklyn, this area consisted of mostly smaller estates for prominent businesspeople and northern investors. The neighborhood has a high concentration of Mediterranean revival and Mission revival houses. It was developed from 1920 to 1935 and became a city historic district in November 1993.

West Northwood Historic District- Cashing in on the real estate boom, developers of West Northwood built speculative and custom houses for upper-middle-class professionals from 1925 to '27. Dominant architectural styles are Mediterranean revival and mission. Although the area was declining, that has reversed in recent years, as more investors buy and restore the houses. West Northwood became a city historic district in August 1993.