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Delray Beach

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Delray Beach

Delray Beach
Motto: "Village By The Sea"

Coordinates: 26°27′33″N 80°4′59″W / 26.45917°N 80.08306°W / 26.45917; -80.08306Coordinates: 26°27′33″N 80°4′59″W / 26.45917°N 80.08306°W / 26.45917; -80.08306

Country United States
State Florida
County Palm Beach
Incorporated (city) 1911
 • Type Commission-Manager
 • Mayor Cary Glickstein
 • City Manager Louie Chapman, Jr.
 • Total 15.89 sq mi (41.2 km2)
 • Land 15.37 sq mi (39.8 km2)
 • Water .53 sq mi (1.4 km2)
Elevation[2] 9 ft (5 m)
Population (2007 est.)[3]
 • Total 64,112
 • Density 3,905.6/sq mi (1,507.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip Code 33444–33448, 33482–33484
Area code(s) 561
FIPS code 12-17100[4]
GNIS feature ID 0281485[5]

Delray Beach is a coastal city in Palm Beach County, Florida, USA. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 60,522. It is part of the Miami metropolitan area.


The Early Years

Native Americans lived or passed through the area at various times, and hunters, trappers, and runaway slaves may also have lived or passed through the area in the 18th and 19th centuries, but there is no record or evidence of them.

Recorded history begins with the construction of the Orange Grove House of Refuge in 1876. The house derived its name from the grove of mature sour orange and other tropical fruit trees found at the site chosen for the house of refuge, but no record or evidence of who planted the trees has survived.

Settlement began around 1884, when African-Americans from the Panhandle of Florida purchased land a little inland from the Orange Grove House of Refuge and began farming. By 1894 the Black community was large enough to establish the first school in the area.

In 1894 William S. Linton, a Republican US Congressman for Saginaw, Michigan, bought a tract of land just west of the Orange Grove House of Refuge, and began selling plots in what he hoped would become a farming community. Initially, this community was named after Linton. In 1896 Henry Flagler extended his Florida East Coast Railroad south from West Palm Beach to Miami, with a station at Linton.

The Linton settlers began to achieve success with truck farming of winter vegetables for the northern market. A hard freeze in 1898 was a setback, and many of the settlers left, including William Linton. Partly in an attempt to change the community's luck, or to leave behind a bad reputation, the settlement's name was changed in 1901 to Delray, after the Detroit neighborhood of Delray ("Delray" being the anglicized spelling of "Del Rey," which is Spanish for "of the king"), which in turn was named after the Mexican-American War's Battle of Molino del Rey).

By 1910, Delray had a population of 250. In 1911, the area was chartered by the State of Florida as an incorporated town. In the same year, pineapple and tomato canning plants were built. Pineapples became the primary crop of the area. This is reflected in the name of the present day Pineapple Grove neighborhood near downtown Delray Beach. By 1920, Delray's population had reached 1,051.

In the 1920s, drainage of the Everglades west of Delray lowered the water table, making it harder to grow pineapples, while the extension of the Florida East Coast Railway to Key West resulted in competition from Cuban pineapples for the markets of the northern United States.

The Florida land boom of the 1920s brought renewed prosperity to Delray. Tourism and real estate speculation became important parts of the local economy. Delray issued bonds to raise money to install water and sewer lines, paved streets, and sidewalks. Several hotels were built. At that time Delray was the largest town on the east coast of Florida between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The collapse of the land boom in 1926 left Delray saddled with high bond debts, and greatly reduced income from property taxes.

Delray was separated from the Atlantic Ocean beach by the Florida East Coast Canal (now part of the Intracoastal Waterway). In 1923 the area between the canal and the ocean was incorporated as Delray Beach. In 1927 Delray and Delray Beach merged into one town named Delray Beach.

Post World War II

Since the end of World War II, downtown Delray, located in the eastern part of the city, along Atlantic Avenue, east of I-95 and stretching to the beach, has undergone a large scale renovation. The Delray Beach Tennis Center has brought business to the area. It has hosted several major international tennis events such as the April 2005 Fed Cup (USA vs. Belgium, the April 2004 Davis Cup (USA vs. Sweden), the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ATP Event), and the Chris Evert / Bank of America Pro Celebrity.

Several local historic landmark structures were renovated during the last decade of the 20th century. These include Old School Square, formerly Delray Elementary School and Delray High School, since turned into a cultural center; and the Colony Hotel.[6] Old School Square comprises the Crest Theatre, a venue for the performing arts, in the former High School building; the 1925 Gymnasium, restored to maintain its appearance, which has since become a popular venue for local events such as wedding receptions and dances; the Cornell Museum of Art and History, built in the restored Elementary School; and a recently constructed outdoor entertainment pavilion, which serves as a venue for musical performances and has also been used for events such as political rallies.

The historic home of teacher/principal Solomon D. Spady was renovated and turned into the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum. The Spady Museum houses black archives. It hosts exhibits and programs designed to recognize the efforts of blacks who were instrumental in shaping Delray Beach and Palm Beach County.[7] In 2007 the museum was expanded by renovating a 1935 cottage as a Kid's Cultural Clubhouse, and the construction of a 50-seat amphitheater named for C. Spencer Pompey, a pioneer black educator.[8]

Atlantic Community High School was rebuilt in 2005 on a different site from the previous school, a plan which was met with much contention.[9][10]

From 2009 to 2012, Pet Airways had its headquarters in Delray Beach.[11]

When DayJet operated from 2007 to 2008, its headquarters were in Delray Beach.[12]


In 2007, Delray Beach was labeled as the drug recovery capital of the United States because it had one of the country’s largest recovery communities and relative number of halfway houses.[13] As a result of the article, as of July 7, 2009, the city government approved ordinances made it illegal for sober houses and other transient rentals to operate in the area.[14] These ordinances may be tested in the courts in the future.[14]


Delray Beach is located at 26°27′33″N 80°04′59″W / 26.459101°N 80.083038°W / 26.459101; -80.083038.[15]

The city has 4 miles (6.4 km) of beach along the Atlantic Ocean.

The city lies directly north of Boca Raton and south of Boynton Beach. The town of Highland Beach also borders it to the south on the same barrier island east of the Intercoastal Waterway. The town of Gulf Stream borders it to the north, east of U.S. Route 1 and on the barrier island.

Delray Beach has an urbanized area immediately west of the city limits, in unincorporated Palm Beach County. Many residences and businesses within this region use a Delray Beach postal address including the census-designated places Kings Point, Villages of Oriole, and several gated communities. This urbanized area is often referred to informally as "West Delray".

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Delray Beach has a total area of 15.9 sq mi (41.2 km2), of which 15.4 square miles (40 km2) is land and .53 square miles (1 km2) is water (3.34%). Delray Beach's location in South Palm Beach County is in the middle of Florida's Southeast Economic Region.

Downtown location

In earlier years downtown Delray was centered along Atlantic Avenue as far west as Swinton Avenue and as far east as the intracoastal waterway. Downtown has expanded since then. In 2010, downtown extends west to


Delray Beach's climate barely qualifies as a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af), as its driest month (February) averages 64.8mm of precipitation, narrowly meeting the minimum standard of 60mm in the driest month needed to qualify for that designation.

Climate data for Delray Beach
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 75
Average low °F (°C) 57
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.75
Source: [16]


Census Pop.
Delray Beach Demographics
2010 Census Delray Beach Palm Beach County Florida
Total population 60,522 1,320,134 18,801,310
Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010 +0.8% +16.7% +17.6%
Population density 3,828.4/sq mi 670.2/sq mi 350.6/sq mi
White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic) 65.7% 73.5% 75.0%
(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian) 59.2% 60.1% 57.9%
Black or African-American 28.0% 17.3% 16.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 9.5% 19.0% 22.5%
Asian 1.8% 2.4% 2.4%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.2% 0.5% 0.4%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Two or more races (Multiracial) 1.7% 2.3% 2.5%
Some Other Race 2.5% 3.9% 3.6%

As of 2010, there were 34,156 households out of which 20.4% were vacant. As of 2000, 18.9% of households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.7% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.87.

In 2000, the city's population was spread out with 18.2% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 25.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.0 males.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $43,371, and the median income for a family was $51,195. Males had a median income of $33,699 versus $28,469 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,350. About 8.2% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2000, speakers of English as a first language accounted for 75.44% of all residents, while French Creole accounted for 11.73%, Spanish consisted of 7.02%, French was at 1.87%, Italian at 0.88%, and German made up 0.75% of the population.[17]

As of 2000, Delray Beach had the sixteenth highest percentage of Haitian residents in the US, with 10.50% of the population.[18]


Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC) is an ATP World Tour 250 series men's tennis tournament held every year in the city. It is played on hard courts. The event was held in Coral Springs from 1993–1999; in 1999, it was relocated to the Delray Beach Tennis Center. American Todd Martin won the first ever ITC in 1993.

On July 20, 2010, the city's commissioners proclaimed that the city's name would be officially changed to Tennis Beach for one week in honor of its nomination by the United States Tennis Association as one of the top tennis towns in the United States.[19]



The area offers restaurants, retail, nightclubs, and art galleries. There are a number of free municipal parking lots and garages.[20]

Tourist attractions

In 2009, expansion of the Downtown Delray Beach Arts District was established that features galleries, and cultural organizations in South Florida. These have existed in Delray for more than 20 years along the Atlantic Avenue and the connecting side streets.

Art & Jazz on the Avenue, held six times a year, is produced by the Delray Beach Downtown Marketing Cooperative.

Delray Beach has 2 miles (3.2 km) of public beach accessible from Florida State Road A1A. The remains of the steamship Inchulva that sank on Sept 11, 1903 are located in shallow water, acting as habitat for native fish and corals, and providing an attractive site for snorkelers and scuba divers.[21]

Recent development

Downtown Delray has had a building boom from roughly 2003-2008. New mixed-use development projects have recently been constructed in the areas immediately north and south of Atlantic Avenue. To accommodate the anticipated growth the city has also built two new municipal parking garages.

Top employers

According to Delray Beach's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[22] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Delray Medical Center 1,520
2 Publix 496
3 JET Flite 425
4 Amnoco Services 400
5 Target 350
6 Ed Morse Delray Toyota Kia 350
7 Lincoln of Delray 300
8 Hardrives 280
9 Marriott Hotels & Resorts 275
10 Gleneagles County Club 250

Notable landmarks and buildings

Points of interest


  • Delray Beach (Tri-Rail station)
  • The Downtown Roundabout: A free shuttle that connects the Tri-Rail Station to Downtown Delray Beach. With two routes, and 22 stops throughout the downtown, it operates 7 days a week.[27]

Notable people


Sister cities

Delray Beach has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:[29]



  • "Old School Square Cultural Arts Center – Creatively Blending Past and Present in Downtown Delray Beach"
  • Spady Museum, Connecting Culture and Community

External links

  • City of Delray Beach
  • Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce
  • Delray Beach Biz Website
  • Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
  • Delray Beach Public Library Website
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