West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach, city (1990 pop. 67,643), seat of Palm Beach co., SE Fla., on Lake Worth (a lagoon) opposite Palm Beach, with which it is connected by bridges; inc. 1894. It has commercial fishing and is a center for the research and production of aeronautical and electronic equipment. Tourism is important to the city, which underwent a development boom in the 1970s and 1980s and engineered a successful downtown revival in the 1990s. It was developed by Henry M. Flagler in 1893 as a commercial center for Palm Beach. A canal runs from the city to Lake Okeechobee. In the city are Palm Beach Atlantic Univ., the Florida campus of Northwood Univ., a campus of South Univ., the Norton Museum of Art, a performing arts center, and a science museum and planetarium. Nearby transportation facilities include Palm Beach International Airport and Port Palm Beach.

West Palm Beach, also known as West Palm, is the most populous city in Palm Beach County, Florida, USA. The city is also the oldest incorporated municipality in South Florida. The city itself has a population of approximately 120,000. However, West Palm has a much larger unincorporated population estimated at upwards of 250,000. The city's Urbanized Area has an estimated population of almost 1.3 million. West Palm's economy is currently ranked #4 in the Milken Institute Best Performing 296 U.S. Cities index.

It is the county seat of Palm Beach County, and one of the principal cities in the South Florida metropolitan area. The area is known as the West Palm Beach--Boca Raton--Boynton Beach MSA, which covers the entire Palm Beach County area. It is situated in the northernmost county of the South Florida metropolitan area. According to the 2006 Morgan Quinto Poll, West Palm Beach is the 14th most dangerous city in the United States.

Demographics

As of 2006, there were 107,617 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,) 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.

As of 2000, speakers of English as a first language accounted for 72.49% of all residents, while Spanish made up 17.71%, French Creole was at 4.46%, French consisted of 1.27%, German was at 0.62%, and Italian was the mother tongue of 0.52% of the population.

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

History

Henry Flagler began buying land - paying US$75,000 for the old Geer home in Palm Beach, which was then owned by R.R. McCormick of Denver, and $50,000 for a piece of E.M. Brelsford's land. Soon, the massive Royal Poinciana Hotel would rise on McCormick's land and Flagler's marble palace, Whitehall, would be built on Brelsford's. Across the lake, he bought a strip of land that stretched from Lake Worth to Clear Lake, paying $35,000 for Captain O.S. Porter's homestead and $10,000 for Louie Hillhouse's land. That $45,000 investment became West Palm Beach, the city Flagler founded for "my help." By now, South Florida's destiny was clear: Land was the hot commodity, and nearly everyone in town was trying to buy land and sell it.

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) 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. During the 1920s, the city grew rapidly during the Florida land boom, during which many historic structures and neighborhoods were built.

The city has a very rich history. Prior to the founding of Miami, West Palm Beach was a thriving cultural center. Originally, Henry Flagler intended for his Florida East Coast Railroad to have its terminus in West Palm, but due to a deep freeze, he decided to extend the railroad to Miami. For many years West Palm Beach and Miami were rival South Florida cities and they both thrived in the early 20th century. Although it was originally intended to be a settlement for the servants of the wealthy Palm Beach Island neighbors, West Palm became a thriving center in its own right. Pleasant City is a neighborhood in the original Uptown West Palm that had a thriving middle-class African-American population. This community still has a rich heritage, whereas many of the families have lived there for generations.

Pratt & Whitney, IBM, RCA and others helped put the city on the map in the late 1960s and 1970s. But now the focus was on the whole of Palm Beach County, not just West Palm Beach. The city was loving its position as the county's hub and heart. And so many other things were changing. Integration brought the end of Palm Beach and Roosevelt High schools and the beginning of a new high school, Twin Lakes (now Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts).

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 revival for the city. However, crime was a serious issue due to racial tensions and high vacancy rates. But following the 1970s, the city has undergone a renaissance as newcomers have rediscovered the city's historic areas, graceful new high-rises including Donald Trump's elegant “Trump Plaza”, and a resurgent downtown entertainment and shopping district called CityPlace. Clematis Street and CityPlace are some of the centers of West Palm Beach's nightlife.

Today West Palm Beach is once again a growing city. The skyline of the city beautiful is constantly changing. New residential buildings, condos, and attractions are common downtown, and an increasing number are being built. Once dilapidated single family homes are being renovated in many neighborhoods to accommodate the city's growing population. The city recently built a new convention center. A new downtown library and city hall funded by bonds are currently being built. This is all apart of a City Center, that will also include a waterfront park, photographic & arts center, and new shops. The city is hoping to shake off its rogue reputation and represent itself as a growing city within a major metropolitan area.

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 1800s, most of the land north of Sunset Road was pineapple fields, but the crop dwindled in the early 1900s. 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 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.

Pleasant City

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.

Suburban West Palm Beach

Much of the urban area lies directly west of the city, including communities such as Westgate, Belvedere Estates, Lakeside Green, Century Village, Golden Lakes Estates, Lake Patrick, Bahama Heights and Drexel Park, to name a few. These are not officially within the boundaries of West Palm Beach, but lie in unincorporated Palm Beach County. These areas possess a "West Palm Beach" address. Urban services, such as police, fire, parks, and water and sewer are provided by Palm Beach County in the areas.

Key incorporated cities and their populations in the West Palm Beach Urbanized Area:

  1. Boca Raton - 86,629
  2. Boynton Beach - 67,071
  3. Delray Beach - 64,095
  4. Wellington - 55,564
  5. Jupiter - 50,028
  6. Palm Beach Gardens - 48,944
  7. Lake Worth - 36,412
  8. Riviera Beach - 33,408
  9. Greenacres - 32,019
  10. Royal Palm Beach - 30,334
  11. Palm Springs - 14,512
  12. North Palm Beach - 12,562
  13. Palm Beach - 10,456
  14. Lantana - 10,389
  15. Lake Clarke Shores - 3,475
  16. Haverhill - 1,620
  17. Mangonia Park - 1,289

Education

K-12 education

K-12 public education is administrated by the School District of Palm Beach County, which is the eleventh-largest school district in the United States by enrollment. The district main office is located in unincorporated West Palm Beach.

Post-Secondary Education

Palm Beach Community College - is the oldest community college in Florida, founded in 1933. The original building housing Palm Beach Community College is in West Palm Beach, adjacent to the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. School of the Arts (on the site of the old Palm Beach High School), and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building has been restored and is once again being used by the college. The Community College now has four campuses in the county, with the main campus located in neighboring Lake Worth.

Palm Beach Atlantic University - is a four-year, private, university with approximately 3,200 students. The university has grown rapidly in the past ten years, and future growth is expected to continue. The expanding waterfront campus is located on seven blocks within the south end of downtown, and includes several historic structures converted to academic use. PBAU has added both a school of nursing and school of pharmacy.

Northwood University - is a four year private business college offering bachelor and graduate degrees. The campus is located in the northwest part of the city and has approximately 1,000 students. Northwood University is a sister school to a main campus in Michigan. The majority of the university's majors are concentrated toward careers in various facets of the automotive industry including a world renowned program in automotive marketing. The school also has a great deal of very well known benefactors including Amway Founder and Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos, famed builder and author Frank McKinney, Artist Thomas Kinkade, and Wendy's founder Dave Thomas.

Florida Culinary Institute - The school offers a variety of diploma and degree programs in Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, Culinary Nutrition, Food and Beverage Management and International Baking and Pastry.

Lincoln College of Technology - Founded 1982 in the Palm Beaches, the West Palm Beach campus of Lincoln College of Technology (formerly New England Institute of Technology) is a non-accredited vocational school.

South University - A business college, the campus is just minutes west of both Interstate 95 and downtown West Palm Beach. Bachelor's, associate's and academic programs offered.

Libraries

City - West Palm Beach’s public library sits on the east end of Clematis Street, downtown. Prior to the library's construction in the 1960s, this site was a park - this gave a waterfront view to the famed Clematis Street. The city has plans to relocate the library a few blocks west, to the site of the former D+D building, and again reopen this area as a park.

County - The Palm Beach County Library System’s main library is on Summit Boulevard just outside the city limits.

Arts and culture

Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts - Since 1992, the Kravis Center has provided the city a venue for world class performances in theatre, dance, opera, and music. The venue holds more than 800 events each year, with more than 400,000 people in attendance annually.

Norton Museum of Art - located just south of downtown, is the largest art museum in Florida and boasts many travelling exhibits that runs the circuit of world class museums. The Museum is internationally known for its distinguished permanent collection featuring 19th and 20th century European and American art, Chinese, contemporary art and photography. From its founding the Norton has been famous for its masterpieces of 19th century and 20th century painting and sculpture by European artists such as Brancusi, Gauguin, Matisse, Miró, Monet, Picasso and by Americans such as Davis, Hassam, Hopper, Manship, O'Keeffe, Pollock and Sheeler. The gallery also offers classes and seminars for children and adults.

The Carefree Theatre - (1940) in the historic Flamingo Park district had provided the city with various art house cinema shows and alternative music performances, however, the structure was severely damaged by Hurricane Wilma and has been closed indefinitely. The owners have re-opened the venue at a renovated church located further south on Conniston Road under a new name, The Theater.

Meyer Amphitheatre - An abandoned Holiday Inn was demolished in 1993 and transformed into the Meyer Amphitheatre, which schedules a myriad of events all year long including weekly live jazz performances and other musical venues. The coconut palm lined amphitheatre offers spectacular views of Lake Worth, the waterfront and Palm Beach beyond.

Palm Beach County Convention Center - Features a total of of exhibit halls and meeting rooms in downtown West Palm Beach. There are a wide variety of events held in this world-class venue. Everything from the popular Palm Beach County Home Show to the International Fine Arts and Antiques Shoe to the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Show (now held in the suburban South Florida Expo Center).

Respectable Street Cafe - West Palm Beach's answer to CBGBs. In the club's 20 year history they have hosted everything from up and coming local artists, Internationally renowned bands like Bo Diddley, Cheap Trick, Dick Dale, Death Cab for Cutie, MXPX and Fishbone, along with a bevy of seminal punk and alternative bands like Agent Orange, Meat Puppets, Dead Kennedys, 7 Seconds, The Locust, Molten Guava, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers when they were still only visible to the Los Angeles Skater audience.

Festivals and Shows

SunFest - is a music, art, and waterfront festival in Florida. SunFest was founded in 1982 to draw visitors to the area during the ‘shoulder season’. SunFest has an annual attendance of more than 275,000 people. Some artists who have performed are Harry Connick, Live, John Mayer, Jon Secada, Ray Charles, Keb Mo, Lenny Kravitz, Dizzy Gillespie, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, No Doubt, Kenny G, Earth Wind and Fire, Cyndi Lauper, Rick Braun, Peter White, Noel Lorica, and The Wailers. SunFest is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Palm Beach International Film Festival - The Palm Beach International Film Festival hosts filmmakers, celebrities, industry executives, and press from around the world. Attendance over the past two years has increased over 50 percent to nearly 40,000 attendees.

Palm Beach Boat Show

National Horse Show - the National Horse Show is America’s oldest horse show, firmly established as a major fixture on the national and international sports and social event calendars. The National Horse Show has now become one of America’s most prestigious outdoor horse shows. 2004 for the third year will be held at Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL and will offer many of the top horses and riders the chance to rein supreme with National Honors.

Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction - One of the premiere classic car auctions in the world. Each March more than 40,000 people walk through the halls of the South Florida Expo Center in suburban West Palm Beach. The annual event has included the sale of Howard Hughes' personal 1963 Buick Roadmaster for a record-shattering $1.62 million and the first Shelby G.T.500E convertible ever made for $520,800.

City festivals - Weekly events such as Clematis By Night on downtown's Clematis Street offer live music and a festive atmosphere. Moonfest is held each year on the 500 Block of Clematis Street shortly before Halloween, and a seasonal downtown Green Market is held each winter on Saturdays on Second Street and Narcissus Avenue.

Transportation

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 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 currently being converted from a surface artery to a partial expressway, which will run 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.

Sports

West Palm Beach does not host any professional sports teams, but the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League play at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise to the south. Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins, the National Football League's Miami Dolphins and the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association all play in nearby Miami-Dade County. In the past West Palm Beach has hosted various professional teams such as Arena Football, minor league hockey and baseball as well as semi-pro football.

Spring Training Baseball - The Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals conduct spring training in suburban West Palm Beach in the town of Jupiter, Florida at Roger Dean Stadium. In the past West Palm Beach hosted the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos at the former Municipal Stadium and the Philadelphia Athletics at old Connie Mack Field.

Collegiate Athletics - Palm Beach Atlantic University competes in NCAA Division II basketball, baseball and soccer. PBAU has recently purchased a large tract of land just west of downtown where there will be built a multi-use athletic stadium. Indoor athletics play their home games at the Greene Complex which is an on campus arena. Florida Atlantic University's athletic programs are played in neighboring Boca Raton. FAU competes in the highest level of NCAA athletics including football, basketball, baseball, softball and tennis. Northwood University competes at the NAIA level, where their basketball coach Rollie Massimino, has given the athletic program national exposure.

Professional Golf - Trump International Golf Club hosts the LPGA Championship annually in November. The best in women's golf compete on one of Americas most beautiful golf courses. PGA National Golf Course in suburban Palm Beach Gardens hosts the PGA Honda Classic.

Polo and Equestrian - Palm Beach Polo and Country Club counts 7 polo fields among its world-class facilities and many high-goal games are played in the area. The equestrian events at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club are the National Horse Show and the world-renowned Winter Equestrian Festival.

Shopping Areas/Districts

Palm Beach Mall - an enclosed mall with Macys, Dillards, JC Penney and Sears as anchors and 125 other retail stores.

CityPlace - described as "old-world architecture, beautiful fountains, and sidewalk cafés create an atmosphere strikingly reminiscent of a European town center". There is a multi-plex movie theater, IMAX Theater, several night clubs (comedy, dance), several world famous restaurants as well as clothing and home-decor retail outlets surrounded by multi-story town houses and apartments. Opened in 2000 where single family homes and dilapidated apartments once stood, City Place is West Palm Beach's best example of gentrification.

Clematis Street - best represents the old Florida charm of the now thriving metropolis. Clematis Street, is West Palm Beach's historic shopping venue. It is now home to Clematis by Night, an outdoor event held on the street with live music and food. There are dozens of eateries, night clubs and retail outlets on the street and surrounding downtown streets. Donald Trump once told People Magazine that Clematis Street was “..the hottest street in Florida”.

Antique Row - a shopping district on the south side of the city. Along Dixie Highway lies over 45 antique shops offering a selection of 17th to 20th century antiques, fine and decorative arts, period deco and modern furnishings. All within walking distance, there is a vast array of quality antiques shops and complemented by four restaurants, and a boutique hotel. Architectural Digest, The New York Times, Art & Antiques, and House Beautiful have all heralded Antique Row as one of the east coast's premier antique districts, considered the "antique design center" of Florida.

Notable Buildings

Tallest buildings
Name Stories Height
Trump Plaza 32 331 ft (101 m)
Tower 1515 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 (91 m)
One Clear Lake Center 20 270 ft (90 m)
Waterview Tower 25 250 ft (76 m)
Phillips Pointe 20 225 ft (68 m)

Attractions

Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park

Lion Country Safari

Rapids Water Park

South Florida Science Museum

International Polo Hall of Fame

Flagler Museum

National Croquet Center

Palm Beach Kennel Club

Palm Beach Polo and Players Club

Trump International Golf and Club

Media

Newspapers:
The Palm Beach Post: is the 57th highest daily circulation in the country, according to the 2007 BurrellesLuce survey, and is the city's sole daily newspaper.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: is based in nearby Fort Lauderdale, and is increasing its coverage of the area, reporting local news in Palm Beach County. West Palm Beach, along with Fort Lauderdale, is served by an alternative weekly publication called New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

Radio:
West Palm Beach is ranked as the 46th largest radio market in the country by Arbitron.

Television:
West Palm Beach is ranked as the 38th largest television market in the country by Nielsen Media Research. The market is served by stations affiliated with major American networks including:
WPTV-TV/5 (NBC), WPEC-TV/12(CBS), WTCN-CA/15(Ind.), WPBF/25 (ABC), WFLX/29 (FOX), WTVX/34 (CW), WXEL-TV/42 (PBS), WWHB/48 (Ind.), WFGC/61 (Ind.), WFXP/67 (ION)

Geography and Climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, this city has a total area of 150.7 km² (58.2 mi²). 142.8 km² (55.1 mi²) of it is land and 7.9 km² (3.1 mi²) 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 supply.

Climate

The climate in West Palm Beach is tropical climate, with some discernible seasons, although not in the temperate climate sense. West Palm Beach does experience cold fronts from November through March, however most of the year is warm and humid and the mean temperature for any month is never below 64.4 °F (18 °C). The brief, mild "winters" (December to early March) are noticeably cooler than the more humid summers. High temperatures during "winter" typically range from 65 to 82 F (18 - 28 C), although during cold spells high temperatures can remain in the 50s F (10 - 15 C). The lowest temperature ever recorded in the city was 24 F (-2.8 C) on January 19, 1977, a date which also recorded measurable snow; and January 20, 1985 which was accompanied by a heavy frost. Other notable freezes which damaged the area's lucrative winter vegetable industry occurred in 1983, 1989, 1997 and 2006.

The six months of summer (May through October) are hot and humid although easterly winds off the Atlantic and afternoon thunderstorms from the interior tend to temper the heat on a day to day basis during this period. Daily high temperatures consistently range between 86 - 92 F (30 - 33 C) between early June and late September. The heat index or humidex consistently measures between 90 - 102 F (32 - 38 C) during this period. Low temperatures average between 72 - 81 F (22 - 27 C) during this period. A record high of 100 F (37.8 C) was recorded in June 1921.

The transitional months, November, March and April, are typically dry and warm with temperatures ranging from 55 F to 85 F (12 C - 28 C), although there can be short periods of quite cool weather in March and late November. Hurricane season is officially from June 1 through November 30, with the peak months being August, September and October. The city has received direct or near direct hits from hurricanes in 1928, 1947, 1949, 1964, 1965, 1979, 1992, 1999, 2004, and 2005.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 89 90 94 99 96 98 101 98 97 95 91 90
Norm High °F 75.1 76.3 79.2 82.1 85.9 88.5 90.1 90.1 88.7 85 80.4 76.4
Norm Low °F 57.3 58.2 61.9 65.4 70.5 73.8 75 75.4 74.7 71.2 65.8 60.1
Rec Low °F 27 32 30 43 51 61 66 65 66 46 36 28
Precip (in) 3.75 2.55 3.68 3.57 5.39 7.58 5.97 6.65 8.1 5.46 5.55 3.14
Source: USTravelWeather.com

Notable area residents, past and present

Controversies

Political Corruption - During the past two years, West Palm Beach has experienced a surge in political corruption scandals. Most recently Former City Commissioner Jim Exline was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for not reporting to the IRS a $50,000 payment from a developer and then funneling it through a jewelry store. Not long before, the County Commissioner of Palm Beach County, Tony Masilotti, pled guilty to Federal charges stemming from corrupt land deals.

Crime - In 1993, West Palm Beach was featured in a 60 Minutes segment on urban decay. At the time, 80% of downtown properties were vacant. Since then, the city has done much to improve its image, at least in the physical sense. Occupancy is high, and housing prices have risen rapidly. However, crime remains a serious issue. Annual crime rates are always more than three times the national average and West Palm Beach consistently ranks as one of the nation's 100 most dangerous cities. However, as of 2006, the city's crime average has been gradually decreasing while robbery was up 17 percent. West Palm Beach's northern neighbor, Riviera Beach, has an even higher violent crime rate.

The following are the crime rates, per 100,000 people, for West Palm Beach as of 2005.

Crime West Palm Beach National Average
Homicide 22.6 6.9
Forcible Rape 72.82 32.2
Robbery 541.6 195.4
Aggravated Assault 615.4 340.1
Burglary 1646.2 814.5
Larceny Theft 4728.4 2734.7
Vehicle Theft 991.8 526.5

2000 Election - West Palm Beach was the focal point of a controversy regarding voting irregularities that some claim may have affected the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, 2000.

Dunbar Village - In 2007, a resident was gang-raped by Jakaris Taylor and a group of 3 other children in one of the City's public housing developments, Dunbar Village Housing Projects, with her son forced to participate, drawing national outrage.

Cityscapes

References

External links


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