West Palm Beach, Florida

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West Palm Beach
City
West Palm Beach Skyline
Nickname(s): Orchid City, West Palm, WPB
Location in Palm Beach County and the state of Florida.
U.S. Census Bureau map showing city limits
Coordinates: 26°42′35″N 80°03′51″W / 26.70972°N 80.06417°W / 26.70972; -80.06417Coordinates: 26°42′35″N 80°03′51″W / 26.70972°N 80.06417°W / 26.70972; -80.06417
Country United States
State Florida
County Palm Beach
Incorporated November 5, 1894
Government
 • Mayor Jeri Muoio (D)
Area
 • City 58.2 sq mi (150.7 km2)
 • Land 55.1 sq mi (142.8 km2)
 • Water 3.1 sq mi (7.9 km2)
Elevation 13 ft (6.4 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 99,919
 • Metro 5,413,212
  2010
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 33401-33422
Area code(s) 561
FIPS code 12-76600[1]
GNIS feature ID 0293097[2]

West Palm Beach is a city of Florida in the United States. West Palm Beach is the county seat of Palm Beach County, Florida. In 2007 there were about 99,377 people living in West Palm Beach. [3]

History[change | edit source]

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 a bad omen for the new 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).[4] 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. The city grew rapidly in the 1920s as part of the Florida land boom. Many of the city's landmark structures and old neighborhoods were built during this period.

Originally, Flagler intended for his Florida East Coast Railway to end in West Palm but after the area experienced a deep freeze, he chose to extend the railroad to Miami instead.

In the 1960s, Palm Beach County's first enclosed shopping mall, the Palm Beach Mall, and an indoor arena were completed. They led to a short revival for the city, but crime continued to be a serious problem and by the early 1990s there were not many people living or working in downtown. Since the 1990s, developments such as CityPlace and renovation of 1920s architecture on Clematis Street have brought people back to downtown for the entertainment and shopping district.

Notable area residents, past and present[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]