Historic District, FL Real Estate
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The history of Delray Beach holds many stories of its settlement by farmers from Michigan and Japan who settled in the area to grow tropical and winter fruits and vegetables, specifically pineapple. The city is also home to numerous historic districts with exceptionally charming homes and a special story on every corner.
Nassau Park was the city’s first designated historic district. It lies south of Atlantic Avenue and east from Ocean Boulevard. The homes, built between 1935 and 1941 are mostly Cape Cod designs surrounded by newer luxury condos and townhouses.
The Del-Ida Park Historic District is one of the city’s first planned developments. The subdivision was first established in 1923 on a 58-acre tract containing 300 lots on a unique diagonal street pattern, hosting three public-use parks. Mediterranean Revival style homes as well as Craftsman Bungalow designs make this one of the most appealing areas of the city to live. Throughout the years, the area was considered an elite part of the city and in 1988 the City of Delray Beach designated Del-Ida Park Historic District.
The tremendous contributions and ingenuity of the African American community are recognized in the West Settlers Historic District, which was first established in 1894. Many of the original homes, churches and business structures can still be found in this area, including The Fountainette, which once housed a soda fountain, pharmacy and doctor’s offices. In this community, you will find Mission Revivalist style homes and commercial structures and a true devotion to the people who built the area and made it home.
At the intersection of Swinton and Electric Avenues sits the Old School Square Historic District. It is a combination of residential and commercial real estate, and homes there range from cottage style to Mediterranean Revivalist designs.
If you’re looking for a variety of homes of historical significance, the Marina Historic District features homes ranging from Mediterranean and Mission Revival design to such architectural styles as Monterrey, Minimal Traditional, Frame Vernacular and Art Modern. Positioned east of Marine Way, the district highlights some of the city’s most significant architectural gems. With many walking paths, the area is also home to colonial revival homes and modern townhomes.
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About Delray Beach
Delray Beach is a coastal city in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The population of Delray Beach was estimated at 67,371 in 2016. That is up from 60,522 according to the 2010 United States Census. Delray Beach is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people in 2015.
For the four years of World War II, citizens of Delray Beach volunteered to watch the beach and ocean 24 hours a day from the faux bell tower atop the seaside Seacrest Hotel. Military personnel patrolled the beach on horseback. Shipping attacks could be seen from the coast. During WWII Delray Beach also saw an influx of service personnel stationed at the nearby Boca Raton Army Airfield. Some of the veterans who had trained at the airfield returned to settle in Delray Beach after the war. Steady growth of the city continued though the 1950s and 1960s.
By the early 1960s Delray Beach was becoming known for surfing. Atlantic Avenue was the biggest seller of surfboards in Florida at the time. Delray Beach’s surfing fame increased somewhat serendipitously after a 1965 shipwreck. During Hurricane Betsy, the 441 feet (134 m) freighter Amaryllis ran aground on Singer Island, creating a windbreak that formed perfectly breaking waves. The ship was dismantled three years later, yet local surfers have retained an association with the area.
In the 1970s, Interstate 95 between Palm Beach Gardens and Miami was fully completed and development began to spread west of the city limits. This pattern continued and accelerated through the 1980s, as downtown and many of the older neighborhoods fell into a period of economic decline.
Revitalization of some historic areas began during the last decade of the twentieth century, as several local landmark structures were renovated. These include the Colony Hotel and Old School Square (the former campus of Delray Elementary School and Delray High School, since turned into a cultural center). The city also established five Historic Districts, listed in the Local Register of Historic Places, and annexed several other historic residential neighborhoods between U.S. Route 1 and the Intracoastal Waterway in an effort to preserve some of the distinctive local architecture.
In 2001, 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. 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.
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 and gentrification. 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.
Atlantic Community High School was rebuilt in 2005 on a different site from the previous school, a plan which was met with much contention.
When DayJet operated from 2007 to 2008, its headquarters were in Delray Beach.
From 2009 to 2012, Pet Airways had its headquarters in Delray Beach.
In 2012, Rand McNally “Best of the Road” named Delray Beach America’s Most Fun Small Town. Delray Beach was rated as the 3rd Happiest Seaside Town in America by Coastal Living in 2015.
The Delray Beach Open is an ATP World Tour 250 series men’s professional tennis tournament held each year. The Delray Beach Tennis Center has also hosted the Fed Cup, the Davis Cup, and the Chris Evert Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic.
The Delray Beach Tennis Center is a full-service public tennis facility with 14 clay courts, 6 hard courts, and an 8,200-seat stadium located near downtown on Atlantic Avenue. The center includes an upstairs pavilion and conference room, pro-shop with locker rooms, racquet stringing, and merchandise. The club offers a variety of adult and junior programs, leagues, clinics and camps. A second location, the Delray Swim & Tennis Club, features 24 clay courts and a clubhouse that has a pro shop with merchandise and locker rooms.
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.
Culture and attractions
The city has 2 miles (3.2 km) of public beach accessible from Florida State Road A1A. Travel Holiday magazine named Delray Municipal Beach as the top beach in the southeastern United States. The remains of the British Steamship Inchulva that sank on Sept 11, 1903 are located in shallow water near the public beach, acting as habitat for native fish and corals. Known today as the Delray Wreck, the site is noted for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Downtown Delray Beach has undergone a gentrification program centered on East Atlantic Avenue, also known as simply “The Avenue”. The area is noted for its nightlife, dining, and shopping. Atlantic Avenue is also a regular destination for various art fairs and street festivals.
Delray Beach has a street-legal golf cart community among residents as well as local businesses. Exhilaride offers street-legal golf cart rentals to visitors and residents by the hour, day or longer. The Downtowner is point-to-point golf cart free ride service available by app and Katch-a-Ride is a similar business, available by phone.
The Pineapple Grove Arts District, located downtown just north of Atlantic Avenue, is noted for its galleries, performance art, and cultural organizations.
Arts Garage, a not-for-profit multi-media arts venue, hosts musical concerts, live theatre, arts education and outreach programs, and a visual art gallery.
The Silverball Museum features more than 150 classic, playable pinball machines and arcade games.
The Delray Beach Playhouse, which opened in 1947 in Lake Ida East Park, stages plays, musicals, interactive studio theatre, books on stage, children’s theatre productions, classes and camps.
Old School Square, the former campus of Delray Elementary School and Delray High School, has since been converted into a cultural center. The Old School Square complex now 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 venue for local events such as wedding receptions and dances; the Cornell Art Museum, built in the restored Elementary School; and The Pavilion, which serves as an outdoor venue for musical performances and other events such as political rallies. The Creative Arts School offers beginner through master level art, photography, and writing classes for children and adults.
Cason Cottage House Museum, once home to a family of Delray Beach pioneers, offers visitors a glimpse at daily life in South Florida from 1915 to 1935. The Museum is maintained and operated by the Delray Beach Historical Society.
The Sandoway Discovery Center, located at the historic J. B. Evans House at 142 South Ocean Boulevard, features native plants, live animals, and a large collection of shells from around the world. The center offers environmental education programs and classes.
The historic Sundy House now operates as a luxury eco resort. The premises includes The Sundy family’s former apartments and cottages which have been converted into guest accommodations, a café, an antique shop, and tropical Taru Gardens.
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 and hosts exhibits and programs designed to recognize the efforts of blacks who were instrumental in shaping Delray Beach and Palm Beach County. 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.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is a center for Japanese arts and culture. The campus includes two museum buildings, the Roji-en Japanese Gardens: Garden of the Drops of Dew, a bonsai garden, library, gift shop, and a Japanese restaurant, called the Cornell Cafe, which has been featured on the Food Network. Rotating exhibits are displayed in both buildings, and demonstrations, including tea ceremonies and classes, are held in the main building. Traditional Japanese festivals are celebrated several times a year.
Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a wetlands park open to the public. Facilities include a three-quarter mile boardwalk that crosses between open water pond areas, emergent marsh areas, shallow shelves, and islands with shrubs and snags to foster nesting and roosting. The site is part of the South section of the Great Florida Birding Trail and offers many opportunities to observe birds in their natural habitats. Over 151 species of birds have been spotted inside the park, including pied-billed grebe, snowy egrets, and black-bellied whistling ducks. The park is also home to turtles, alligators, rabbits, frogs, and raccoons.
The City of Delray Beach maintains five athletic fields, five beach and oceanfront parks, eight community parks, two intracoastal parks, a teen center and skatepark, a splash park, and a pool and tennis club, offering a variety of recreational activities and facilities.
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