Thursday, February 24, 2011

History of the city of Delray Beach, Florida

The history of Delray Beach started when William and Sara Gleason, natives of Wisconsin, purchased thousands of acres of land in Southern Florida, in 1868. One of those thousands of acres of lands became the present Delray Beach. Eventually, William Gleason became the Lieutenant Governor of Florida from 1868 to 1870. Later on, their sons managed real estate transactions (for those who want to settle in Delray) with the business name of “Gleason Brothers”. Before, the city of Delray was identified as the Orange Grove Haulover and was changed to Zion by Annie Andrews in 1885. Then, in1894, a U.S. Congressman for the State of Michigan, named William S. Linton, together with David Swinton and Major Nathan Boynton, bought tracts of land from H. Flagler’s Model Land Company and the Gleason Brothers. Also on the same year, African –American established first school in the town. After a year, the town’s name was again changed to Linton.  Then, in 1896, the first church in Linton, Mt. Olive Baptist Church was built. Finally, in 1898 the name of the Town of Linton was changed to "Delray" following hardship brought on by crop-destroying freezes.   

A town leader named W.W. Blackmer suggested the name "Delray" which was derived from the name of a town located near Detroit, Michigan. After a few years, the Ladies Improvement Association, a small group of women, initiated to build projects in the town like a cemetery, the public library, Atlantic Avenue renovations, and a town hall. Hurricanes have also hit Delray and one of them wrecked the British ship, SS Inchulva which happened in 1903. Later in 1904,”Yamato”, an agricultural settlement located south of Delray was established. One of those was George Morikami for whom the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach is named. Subsequently, the Town of Delray passed the first bond issue and the first city electric and water plants were built. On May 11, 1927, the two incorporated towns - Town of Delray Beach and the City of Delray - united to form "The City of Delray Beach."  After World War II, the city developed rapidly with the business brought to the area by the Delray Beach Tennis Center, which 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. Recently, the historic home of teacher/principal Solomon D. Spady was renovated and turned into the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum. The Spady Museum houses a 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. As of 2007 the museum is being expanded with the renovation of 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. 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 community and relative number of halfway houses.

Delray Beach

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Delray Beach’s development into a tourism and residential center has continued into the modern era. The city is now home to many upscale beachside hotels and restaurants and modern sporting and entertainment facilities exist alongside historical sites such as the former Delray elementary. Thanks a lot...

    Delray Beach Real Estate