By Alyssa Mammano
With humble origins of pineapple farms, today’s Boca Raton, known to more than 200,000 residents, has made great strides over the past millennium. The earliest cataloged history of Boca Raton, Florida noted its beginnings as a Tequesta Indian settlement. It wasn’t until the construction of the Florida East Coast Canal, which is today’s Intracoastal, as well as the Florida East Coast Railway in the 1890s, that Boca began to boom. The newly-developed accessibility brought pioneers to the area in the early 1900s who created a small agricultural community. Just a quarter of a century later, in 1925, the Town of Boca Raton was incorporated. This was during the pinnacle of Florida’s rush for land and expansion.
At that time the services of renowned architect Addison Mizner were requested by the town council. Mizner was to design a high-end resort community in what would become the town of Boca Raton. Just one year later, the Cloister Inn, now known as the Boca Raton Resort and Club, was completed. This, and several other designs conceptualized by Mizner live on today, as does his architectural influence. Mizner also formulated the blueprints for Boca’s City Hall, which was built in 1927 by William Alsmeyer, a notable Delray architect, with iron, tile and wood crafted by Mizner Industries. The building is now Boca Raton’s Historical Society headquarters and a History Museum bearing the original footprint of Mizner’s design.
Although the land boom lulled, it was resurrected in the 1960s when Boca’s population grew by nearly 30,000 inhabitants who expanded its ever-growing borders. As the Everglades and farmlands were pushed west, a new university and major technology company moved in. Florida Atlantic University replaced an old army base and IBM relocated one of its facilities to the area. By 1981, the first personal computers had been created in that IBM location. With new jobs and more residents moving into the area, Boca Raton turned its focus to the revitalization of downtown. Original structures that had been out of commission were restored and reopened, including Town Hall and the train station.
The city of Boca Raton continues to grow and develop in accordance with the needs of its residents and tourists. From humble beginnings in 1903 as an 18-person farm town, to today housing 200,000 people, Boca Raton is a metropolitan community in the heart of the south. Its beautiful waterfront property, lush green parks, palm trees, historic architecture and temperate climate that averages 83 degrees Fahrenheit make Boca Raton an ideal place to vacation and live. The real estate market in Boca Raton is strong and is one of its leading industries along with tourism, technology, finance and healthcare.