Definitions

population profile

Boca Raton, Florida

Boca Raton ("bōkə rə-tōn") is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida incorporated in May 1925. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 74,764; the 2006 population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 86,396. However, the majority of the people under the postal address of Boca Raton, of about 200,000 in total, are not actual residents of municipal Boca Raton. This is due to the county's stringent annexation laws passed in 2004. Estimated that on any given day, there are roughly 350,000 people in the city itself.

By population and land mass, Boca Raton is the largest city between West Palm Beach and Pompano Beach, Broward County.

History

Listed on early maps as "Boca Ratones," many people assume the name is simply translated to "Rat's Mouth". The Spanish word boca (or mouth) was often used to describe an inlet, while ratón (literally mouse) was used by Spanish sailors to describe rocks that gnawed at a ship's cable, or as a term for a cowardly thief. The name Boca Ratones originally appeared on eighteenth century maps associated with an inlet in the Biscayne Bay area of Miami. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the term was mistakenly moved north to its current location on most maps and applied to Lake Boca Raton, whose inlet was closed at the time.

Land boom

The city's early history during the Florida land boom of the 1920s was as the site of Addison Mizner's Cloister Inn in 1927. Referred to as the "pink hotel," it is visible from miles away as a towering building on the Intracoastal Waterway. Following it, the Pearl City neighborhood of Boca Raton was established to house the service personnel for the hotel.

War

Japanese farmers of the Yamato Colony converted the land west of the city into pineapple plantations beginning in 1904. During World War II, much of their land was confiscated and used as the site of the Boca Raton Army Air Force Base, a major training facility for B-29 bomber crews. There was also a radar school and research facility there. Much of the airbase was later donated to become the grounds of Florida Atlantic University, many of whose parking lots are former runways of the airbase, while part of the airbase is now used as the Boca Raton Airport. The Japanese heritage of the Yamato Colony survives in the name of Yamato Road (NW 51st Street) just north of the airport and at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens northwest of the city.

Suburbanization-present

In the late 1960s, Boca Raton became the southern home to the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). In 1965, well before the extension of I-95 into Southern Florida, IBM purchased several-hundred acres of real estate just west of the CSX rail line and northwest of Florida Atlantic University.

Construction of IBM's main complex began in earnest in 1967, and the mammoth manufacturing and office complex was dedicated in March 1970. The campus was designed with self-sufficiency in mind, and to that end sported its own electrical substation, water pumping station, and rail-spur. Among other very noteworthy IT accomplishments, such as the mass manufacture of the System/360 and development of the Series/1 mainframe computers, IBM's main complex was the birthplace of the IBM PC, which later evolved into the IBM Personal System/2, developed in nearby Delray Beach. Starting in 1987, IBM relocated their manufacturing for what became the IBM PC division to Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, North Carolina, and converted the cavernous manufacturing facilities into offices and laboratories, later producing ground-breaking products such as the OS/2 operating system and VoiceType Dictation, known today as ViaVoice voice-recognition software.

IBM maintained its facilities in the South Florida area until 1996, when the facility was closed and sold to Blue Lake Real Estate, who in turn sold it to the T-REX Management Consortium. Today, T-REX has revitalized the facility and its surrounding real estate into a highly-successful and landscaped business/research park. What used to be IBM's Building 051, an annex separated from the former main IBM campus by Spanish River Boulevard was donated to the Palm Beach County School District and converted into Don Estridge High Tech Middle School. It is named for Don Estridge, whose team was responsible for developing the IBM PC. IBM later returned in July, 2001 opening the current software development laboratory off Congress Avenue.

In the 1980s, because of an explosion of development to the west of the historical center of the city, some eastern areas began to decay, including the downtown corridor. For instance, the old Boca Raton Mall, a shopping mall in the downtown area was beginning to experience higher vacancy, and occupancy by marginal tenants, due to the opening of Town Center at Boca Raton west of the city in 1980.

In 1991, the new downtown outdoor shopping and dining center, Mizner Park, was completed over the site of the old Boca Raton Mall. It has since become a cultural center for the southern Palm Beach County. Featuring a landscaped central park between the two main roads (collectively called Plaza Real) with stores only on the outside of the roads, Mizner Park resembles a Mediterranean suburban "town center" with a more contemporary look. It features many restaurants and is home to the Boca Raton Museum of Art which moved to the new facility in 2001. In 2002, a new amphitheater was built replacing a smaller one, providing a large-capacity outdoor venue where concerts and other performances are held.

Mizner Park has significantly aided downtown revitalization. Many new eight to ten story mixed-use buildings have been constructed, are currently under construction or are proposed for the downtown area. The surrounding areas to the downtown have benefited from the downtown redevelopment.

The National Cartoon Museum (formally the International Museum of Cartoon Art) built a facility on the southwest edge of Mizner Park in 1996. Open for six years, the museum closed in 2002 and the space has been empty since. The Museum has since relocated to its original home in New York City. The building is currently undergoing renovations for public uses, including the local public TV station, and private uses, such as a locally-owned and operated bookstore.

As development continued to focus to the west of the city in the 1980s and 1990s, the mall area, Town Center at Boca Raton, became the geographic center of what is referred to as Boca Raton, though this mall was not actually annexed into the city until 2004. The area referred to as Boca Raton, including the unincorporated area west of the city (and discussed below), is now almost entirely built out.

In 1999, the Simon Property Group bought Town Center at Boca Raton and redeveloped it. Nordstrom was added as the anchor department store for the new wing. Neiman Marcus is the newest department store tenant as of 2006. In-late 2006, Simon began the construction stage of an outdoor lifestyle center near the new wing. Town Center Mall has become a tourist attraction and the largest indoor mall in Palm Beach County.

Boca Raton has a strict development code, including the size and types of commercial buildings, building signs and advertisements which may be erected within the city limits. No car dealerships are allowed in the municipality, according to the city zoning code. Additionally, no billboards are permitted in the city. The only billboard was grandfathered in during recent annexation. Corporations such as McDonald's have subdued their Golden Arches due to the code. The unincorporated areas still contain restaurants with the classic arches, but the heights of the signs have also been reduced. Many buildings in the area have Mediterranean and Spanish architectural themes, initially inspired in the area by Addison Mizner. The strict development code has resulted in several major thoroughfares without large signs or advertisements in the traveler's view; significant landscaping is in its place.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 75.4 km² (29.1 mi²). 70.4 km² (27.2 mi²) of it is land and 5.0 km² (1.9 mi²) of it (6.63%) is water. Boca Raton is a 'principal city' (as defined by the Census Bureau) of the South Florida metropolitan area. Like most south Florida cities, Boca Raton has a water table that does not permit building basements, but there are several high points in the city, such as 4th Avenue which is aptly named "High Street." The highest point in this area is the guard shack at Camino Gardens, which is above sea level. The Boca Raton Hotel's Beach Club rests at above sea level.

Several small tunnels run under roads in Boca, but the roads are built up several feet at these locations, or are located on dunes. Several of these tunnels are under State Road A1A at Spanish River Park, from the west side of the road where parking is available to beachgoers, to the east side of the road, which is where the beach is located. A1A is already higher than the surrounding land here due to sand dunes formed by erosion and other natural features.

Politics

The City of Boca Raton has a Council-Manager form of government. Information about the City government is available at the city website

The city council, including Mayor Susan Whelchel, is nonpartisan, although all of its members are registered Republicans. As of 2007, Robert Wexler and Ron Klein, who represent different parts of the city in the United States Congress, are Democrats.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 74,764 people, 31,848 households, and 20,000 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,061.7/km² (2,749.8/mi²). There were 37,547 housing units at an average density of 533.2/km² (1,381.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.75% White (84.2% were Non-Hispanic White,) 3.76% African American, 0.16% Native American, 1.99% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.39% from other races, and 1.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.51% of the population.

There were 31,848 households out of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.1% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% 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 2.81.

In the city, the population was spread out with 18.9% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

According to a 2006 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $66,052, and the median income for a family was $90,725. Census factfinder Males had a median income of $52,287 versus $33,347 for females. The per capita income for the city was $45,628. About 4.1% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.0% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.

According to Forbes, Boca Raton has three of the ten most expensive gated communities in the U.S. The Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club holds the #1 spot, The Sanctuary takes #6, and Le Lac takes the #8 spot.

As of 2000, English was spoken by 79.89%, Spanish by 9.28%, French consisted of 1.46%, Portuguese was at 1.45%, French Creole at 1.29%, and Italian made up 1.05% of the population. Although there are a substantial number of Jewish people within the city, only 0.36% of the population spoke Hebrew at home, while only 0.27% of the population spoke Yiddish at home.

Culture and Attractions

Boca Raton is known for its affluent social community and high income demographic. Boca Raton has a large Jewish and South American influence. This Jewish population consists mostly of people from the northeast United States. Boca Raton's South American population includes a large demographic from Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

Boca Raton was the site of two now vanished amusement parks, Africa U.S.A. (1953-1961) and Ancient America (1953-1959). Africa U.S.A. was a wild animal park in which the tourists rode a "Jeep Safari Train" through the park. There were no fences separating the animals from the tourists on the "Jeep Safari Train". It is now the Camino Gardens subdivision one mile (1.6 km) west of the Boca Raton Hotel. Ancient America was built surrounding a real Indian burial mound. Today, the mound is still visible within the Boca Marina & Yacht Club neighborhood on U.S. 1 near Yamato Road.

Areas outside of the Boca Raton city limits

A majority of postal Boca Raton lies outside of the actual city limits. This large unincorporated area to the west of the city limits is included in the Boca Raton mailing address and local telephone calling area. There are many large planned developments in the area, including gated communities, and a number of golf courses. This is a result in the later start of development in these areas, and the availability of large tracts of land. Many of these affluent communities are large enough to be designated as census-designated places, including Boca Del Mar and Boca Pointe, geographically in Central Boca Raton, and Avalon at Boca Raton, Boca Falls, Boca Winds, Boca West, Cimarron, Hamptons at Boca Raton, Mission Bay, Loggers' Run, The Polo Club Boca Raton, Sandalfoot Cove, and Whisper Walk as Western Boca Raton.

On November 2, 2004, the voters of the Via Verde Association, Waterside, Deerhurst Association (Boca South), Marina Del Mar Association, Rio Del Mar Association (both originally Boca Del Mar communities), and Heatherwood of Boca Raton Condominium Association approved annexation into the Boca Raton city limits, increasing the city land area to .

Notable residents, past and present

  • Scott Hirsch, boxing manager and former e-mail spammer
  • Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco International
  • Bernhard Langer, golfer
  • Jesse Levine, tennis player
  • Scott Levine, computer criminal
  • Greg Norman, professional golfer
  • Sam E. Goldberg, actor, radio personality
  • Taurean Green, professional basketball player
  • John Grogan (journalist), author of Marley & Me
  • Marilyn Manson, musician
  • Nicko McBrain, Iron Maiden drummer
  • Corina Morariu, tennis player
  • Sabby Piscitelli, football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Morgan Pressel, golfer
  • Andy Roddick, tennis player
  • Frank Rosenthal, ex-Las Vegas casino owner and handicapper
  • Marion Ryan, a popular 1950's British singer
  • Vince Spadea, tennis player
  • Scott Stapp, lead singer for the rock band Creed
  • Cris Carter, All-Pro football player for the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and Miami Dolphins (former)
  • Keith Byars, former football player
  • Don Brewer, drummer for Grand Funk Railroad
  • Jozy Altidore, professional soccer player with Spanish side Villarreal CF and the US men's national team.
  • Ernie Wise, the UK comedian and half of the double act Morecambe and Wise had a holiday home here, where he spent much of his time after Morecambe's death in 1984.
  • Tucker Max, writer of book "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell" lived in Boca for a few years with his parents.
  • Horia Tecău, tennis player
  • Education

    Public schools

    Public education is provided and managed by The School District of Palm Beach County. Boca Raton is also home to several notable private and religious schools.

    As of 2007, Boca Raton is served by four public high schools. Within the city's limits, Boca Raton Community High School serves the eastern part of the city. Spanish River Community High School serves the western part of the city limits and parts of unincorporated Boca Raton. Olympic Heights Community High School serves the west-central unincorporated areas. Finally, West Boca Raton Community High School serves the far-west unincorporated areas. Spanish River and Olympic Heights also serve students from Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

    The area is served by five public middle schools:

    • Boca Raton Community Middle School,
    • Don Estridge High Tech Middle School, a technology magnet school named for Don Estridge, the leader of a small group of engineers who developed the IBM Personal Computer in Boca Raton.
    • Eagles Landing Middle School
    • Loggers Run Community Middle School
    • Omni Middle School

    The area is served by twelve public elementary schools:

    • Addison Mizner Elementary (Founded in 1968. It is named after Addison Mizner, a famous architect who shaped and had enormous influence on Boca's architecture.)
    • Boca Raton Elementary
    • Calusa Elementary
    • Coral Sunset Elementary
    • Del Prado Elementary
    • Hammock Pointe Elementary
    • J.C. Mitchell Elementary
    • Sandpiper Shores Elementary
    • Sunrise Park Elementary
    • Verde Elementary
    • Waters Edge Elementary
    • Whispering Pines Elementary

    An alternative to the Palm Beach County Public Schools in Boca Raton is the Alexander D. Henderson University School is located on the Florida Atlantic University campus. A. D. Henderson University School (ADHUS) is organized as a unique and separate school district; it is not part of the Palm Beach County School System. Henderson School is recognized as Florida Atlantic University School District #72, under the College of Education’s administrative oversight.

    University schools in Florida are authorized to provide instruction for grades K-12 and university students, support university research efforts, and test educational reforms for Florida schools. ADHUS is a public school and thus does not charge tuition. It is open to children who reside in Palm Beach County or Broward County and admission is by lottery. Student characteristics of gender, race, family income and student ability are used to match the student population profile to that of the state.

    Private schools

    • Hillel Day School of Boca Raton
    • Boca Raton Christian School
    • Pine Crest School, based in Fort Lauderdale, has a campus in Boca Raton.
    • Saint Jude Catholic School and Parish Saint Jude School and Parish is a Elementary and Middle School founded in 1985.
    • Saint Andrew's School
    • Pope John Paul II High School
    • Grandview Preparatory School is an independent college preparatory, nonsectarian, coeducational day school founded in 1997. Student enrollment is offered for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12.
    • The Solomon Schechter Day School of Palm Beach County is currently housed on the campus of Temple Beth El in the city of Boca Raton.
    • Donna Klein Jewish Academy
    • Boca Prep International School.
    • Saint Joan of Arc Catholic School and Church
    • Weinbaum Yeshiva High School
    • Spanish River Christian
    • Saint Paul Lutheran School.

    Colleges and universities

    Libraries

    The Boca Raton Public Library serves city of Boca Raton residents. A second municipal library building on Spanish River Boulevard west of I-95 was opened in January, 2008.

    The Southwest County Regional Library serves Boca Raton residents who live outside the city limits. A new replacement county library on State Road 7 just north of Yamato Road is planned for construction in later-2008. County library card holders may use any of the fourteen branches in the Palm Beach County Library System, and have access so the Sun Sentinel's historical newspapers achieves via internet.

    Controversies and crime

    Crime statistics

    According to the Department of Justice, the following offenses occurred in Boca Raton in 2006. The Federal Bureau of Investigation assembles these data each year through the Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

    Murders and nonnegligent manslaughters 3
    Forcible rapes 13
    Robberies 72
    Aggravated assaults 150
    Total violent crimes 238

    Burglaries 799
    Larceny-thefts 2,232
    Motor vehicle thefts 170
    Arson 2
    Total property crimes 2,956

    Estimated population 88,093

    Terrorism

    In 2001, Boca Raton was the site of the first anthrax attack in the United States when two employees at the American Media building were stricken by the agent. Robert "Bob" Stevens, photo editor of the Sun, a supermarket tabloid published by American Media, died of inhalation anthrax while Ernesto Blanco, a 73-year-old mail-room employee, fell ill and later recovered. American Media moved their headquarters to the nearby T-REX Corporate Center. The American Media building remained sealed until the summer of 2004, when it became the last of the afflicted buildings to be decontaminated, through the use of chlorine dioxide gas. See Timeline of the 2001 anthrax attacks in Florida.

    Technological issues

    According to MessageLabs (an email security vendor), Boca Raton is the "spam capital of the world", being the source of a surprisingly high fraction of all spam generated worldwide, which is not surprising given the area's appeal, the personal fortunes of typical spammers, and the area's notorious past as a favorite of organized crime. According to the Miami Herald, the city has a long history of involvement in confidence tricks. Richard C. Breeden, former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, once called the city "the only coastal city in Florida where there are more sharks on land than in the water." In the keynote address to a computer security conference on June 8, 2004, Bruce Sterling described the city as the "Capone-Chicago of cyber fraud."

    On July 22, 2004, Boca Raton resident Scott Levine was charged with the largest computer crime indictment in United States history. Federal prosecutors allege that Levine unlawfully accessed Acxiom, a database of consumer data aggregator, to steal detailed personal information about millions of persons.

    Organized crime

    According to an article in the Palm Beach Post, there are nine known gangs operating in Boca Raton.

    Boca Raton has a connection to the Mafia. Although not known for violent crime, it's a popular hangout spot for many suspected Mafia members. According to a number of US Federal indictments, as of June 2004, the Gambino family continues to operate in Boca Raton. The Television show, The Sopranos has featured the city in its plot, and Mafia Wife author Lynda Milito resides in Boca Raton.

    Transportation

    Air

    Highways

    • U.S. Highway 1 passes through the city’s downtown, commercial, and industrial districts in the eastern part of the city.
    • U.S. Highway 441 passes through commercial and residential districts west of the city limits.
    • Interstate 95 bisects the city from north to south with four interchanges serving Boca Raton.
    • Florida's Turnpike passes through unincorporated Boca Raton, forming part of the city limits in the north, with one interchange at Glades Road (State Highway 808).

    Rail

    Water

    Long before any settlers arrived, the original 1870 government survey of the area showed that just west of and parallel to the Atlantic Ocean's coastal dune was the "Boca Ratones Lagoon", which extended south for nine miles (14.5 km) from just north of the present location of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. Along the southern half of the lagoon were three wide areas each called a "Lake", which are now named (north to south) Lake Rogers, Lake Wyman, and Lake Boca Raton. At the southeast end of the lagoon was a short protrusion toward the south which would become the Boca Raton Inlet after a sandbar at its mouth was removed. The lagoon and lakes were part of a half-mile (0.8 km) wide swamp, west of which was scrub land a mile (1.6 km) wide (part of the Atlantic coastal ridge) where the Florida East Coast Railway (1896) and Dixie Highway were built. To the west of the scrub was a half mile or wider swamp within which flowed north to south the "Prong of Hillsborough River", which is now the El Rio Canal. It now forms the eastern border of Florida Atlantic University and the Old Floresta neighborhood. Green iguanas are plentiful around the southern half of the canal. The prong entered the "Hillsborough River" at the present eastern end of the straight portion of the Hillsboro Canal (dredged 1911-1914), which is the southern city limits. The river flowed southeast in several channels along the western edge of the present Deerfield Island, formerly called Capone Island (named for Al Capone who owned it during the 1930s), which did not become an island until the Royal Palm Canal was dredged along its northern edge in 1961. Flowing south from the lagoon to the river along the eastern edge of the 'island' was a "Small boat Pass into Hillsboro' River", also called the Little Hillsboro. The river continued due south about four and a half miles (7.2 km) just inland of the coastal dune until it emptied into the Atlantic Ocean at the "Hillsborough Bar", now the Hillsboro Inlet.

    The lagoon was dredged in 1894–95 to form part of the Florida East Coast Canal from Jacksonville to Biscayne Bay with a minimum depth of 5 feet (1.5 m) and a minimum width of 50 feet (15.2 m). After 1895, the lagoon and canal were sometimes called the Spanish River. Between 1930 and 1935 the canal was improved to 8×100 feet (2.4×30.5 m) by the federal government and renamed the Intracoastal Waterway. It was improved again between 1960 and 1965 to 10×125 feet (3×38.1 m). All three versions were subject to shoaling which reduced their depths below the specified minimum. Forming part of the northern city limits is the C-15 canal, connecting the El Rio Canal to the Intracoastal Waterway. The first settler was T. M. Rickards in 1895 who resided on the north shore of Lake Boca Raton. The Cloister Inn, now the Boca Raton Resort and Club, was built on the western edge of the lake in 1927 by Adison Mizner.

    Boca Raton in popular culture

    Boca has been mentioned in many movies, including Cats & Dogs, Music and Lyrics, Wag the Dog, A Perfect Murder, Wonderland, Bewitched, and Mr. 3000, and in many TV shows, such as Histeria!, American Dragon: Jake Long, American Dad!, Nip/Tuck, The Sopranos, Lizzie McGuire, The Golden Girls, Code Name: The Cleaner, The Nanny, The Venture Brothers, Phil of the Future, Two and a Half Men, Mad Men, and MADtv. These references usually have something to do with Florida's reputation for its resorts, or high concentration of condominiums, or alternately, especially in the case of Seinfeld, numerous references to Boca Raton as "God's waiting room". Additionally, in rapper Trick Daddy's smash hit Shut up he says "But all my Boca (Raton) Boys they know dough, that's fo' sho' doe". Boca Raton is almost idomatically used for indicating retirement, such as in The Nanny in which Fran Drescher is always pushing her parents to move to Boca.

    Boca Raton has also been the stage and background for many movies filmed on location in Boca Raton, including Paper Lion (1968), Paper Moon (1973), Caddyshack (1980), Where the Boys Are '84 (1984),Stella (1990), and Sex Drive (2008).

    References

    External links

    Search another word or see population profileon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
    Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
    • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature