Delray Beach, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida
Delray Beach
—  City  —
Location within Palm Beach County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 26°27′33″N 80°4′59″W / 26.45917°N 80.08306°W / 26.45917; -80.08306Coordinates: 26°27′33″N 80°4′59″W / 26.45917°N 80.08306°W / 26.45917; -80.08306
Country United States
State Florida
County Palm Beach
Incorporated (city) 1911
 - Type Commission-Manager
 - Mayor Nelson S. "Woodie" McDuffie
 - City Manager David T. Hardin
 - Total 15.89 sq mi (41.2 km2)
 - Land 15.37 sq mi (39.8 km2)
 - Water .53 sq mi (1.4 km2)
Elevation[2] 9 ft (5 m)
Population (2007 est.)[3]
 - Total 64,112
 - Density 3,905.6/sq mi (1,507.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip Code 33444-33448, 33482-33484
Area code(s) 561
FIPS code 12-17100[4]
GNIS feature ID 0281485[5]

Delray Beach is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 60,020. As of 2004, the population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau is 64,150.[6]



The early years

Native Americans presumably lived or passed through the area at various times, and hunters, trappers, and runaway slaves may also have lived or passed through the area in the 18th and 19th centuries, but there is no record or evidence of them.

Recorded history begins with the construction of the Orange Grove House of Refuge in 1876. The house derived its name from the grove of mature sour orange and other tropical fruit trees found at the site chosen for the house of refuge, but no record or evidence of who planted the trees has survived.

Settlement began around 1884, when African-Americans from the Panhandle of Florida purchased land a little inland from the Orange Grove House of Refuge and began farming. By 1894 the Black community was large enough to establish the first school in the area.

In 1894 William S. Linton, a Republican US Congressman for Saginaw, Michigan, bought a tract of land just west of the Orange Grove House of Refuge, and began selling plots in what he hoped would become a farming community. Initially, this community was named after Linton. In 1896 Henry Flagler extended his Florida East Coast Railroad south from West Palm Beach to Miami, with a station at Linton.

The Linton settlers began to achieve success with truck farming of winter vegetables for the northern market. A hard freeze in 1898 was a setback, and many of the settlers left, including William Linton. Partly in an attempt to change the community's luck, or to leave behind a bad reputation, the settlement's name was changed in 1901 to Delray, after the Detroit neighborhood of Delray ("Delray" being the anglicized spelling of "Del Rey," which is Spanish for "of the king"), which in turn was named after the Mexican-American War's Battle of Molino del Rey).

By 1910, Delray had a population of 250. In 1911, the area was chartered by the State of Florida as an incorporated town. In the same year, pineapple and tomato canning plants were built. Pineapples became the primary crop of the area. This is reflected in the name of the present day Pineapple Grove neighborhood near downtown Delray Beach. By 1920, Delray's population had reached 1,051.

The Delray School, built in 1913, now houses the Cornell Museum, part of Old School Square in Delray Beach.
The John and Elizabeth Shaw Sundy House is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cason Cottage, built in 1915, is operated as a museum by the Delray Beach Historical Society.

In the 1920s, drainage of the Everglades west of Delray lowered the water table, making it harder to grow pineapples, while the extension of the Florida East Coast Railway to Key West resulted in competition from Cuban pineapples for the markets of the northern United States.

The Florida land boom of the 1920s brought renewed prosperity to Delray. Tourism and real estate speculation became important parts of the local economy. Delray issued bonds to raise money to install water and sewer lines, paved streets, and sidewalks. Several hotels were built. At that time Delray was the largest town on the east coast of Florida between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The collapse of the land boom in 1926 left Delray saddled with high bond debts, and greatly reduced income from property taxes.

Delray was separated from the Atlantic Ocean beach by the Florida East Coast Canal (now part of the Intracoastal Waterway). In 1923 the area between the canal and the ocean was incorporated as Delray Beach. In 1927 Delray and Delray Beach merged into one town named Delray Beach.

Post World War II

Since the end of World War II, 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. 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.

Several local historic landmark structures were renovated during the last decade of the 20th century. These include Old School Square, formerly Delray Elementary School and Delray High School, since turned into a cultural center; and the Colony Hotel.[7] Old School Square 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 popular venue for local events such as wedding receptions and dances; the Cornell Museum of Art and History, built in the restored Elementary School; and a recently constructed outdoor entertainment pavilion, which serves as a venue for musical performances and has also been used for events such as political rallies.

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. It hosts exhibits and programs designed to recognize the efforts of blacks who were instrumental in shaping Delray Beach and Palm Beach County.[8] 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.[9]

Atlantic Community High School was rebuilt in 2005 on a different site from the previous school, a plan which was met with much contention.[10][11]

The current mayor of Delray Beach is former vice mayor Woodie McDuffie.[12]


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 communities and relative number of halfway houses.[13] However, as of July 7, 2009, the mayor and the city commissioners have approved ordinances that change the status of Delray Beach as the recovery capital, by making it illegal for sober houses and other transient rentals to operate in the area.[14] These ordinances may be tested in the courts in the future.[14]


Delray Beach is located at 26°27′33″N 80°04′59″W / 26.459101°N 80.083038°W / 26.459101; -80.083038.[15] It lies directly north of Boca Raton, Florida and directly south of Boynton Beach, Florida. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41.2 km²), of which 15.4 square miles (40 km2) is land and .53 square miles (1 km2) is water (3.34%). Delray Beach's location in South Palm Beach County is in the middle of Florida's Southeast Economic Region, within 30 minutes of two international airports and two seaports.

Downtown location

In earlier years downtown Delray was centered along Atlantic Avenue as far west as Swinton Avenue and as far east as the intracoastal waterway. Downtown has expanded since then. In 2010, downtown extends west to I-95 and east as the Atlantic Ocean; The north-south boundaries extend roughly two blocks north and south of Atlantic Avenue.


Delray Beach has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af).

Climate data for Delray Beach
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 75
Average low °F (°C) 57
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.75
Source: [16]


Delray Beach Demographics
2010 Census Delray Beach Palm Beach County Florida
Total population 60,522 1,320,134 18,801,310
Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010 +0.8% +16.7% +17.6%
Population density 3,828.4/sq mi 670.2/sq mi 350.6/sq mi
White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic) 65.7% 73.5% 75.0%
(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian) 59.2% 60.1% 57.9%
Black or African-American 28.0% 17.3% 16.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 9.5% 19.0% 22.5%
Asian 1.8% 2.4% 2.4%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.2% 0.5% 0.4%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Two or more races (Multiracial) 1.7% 2.3% 2.5%
Some Other Race 2.5% 3.9% 3.6%

As of 2010, there were 34,156 households out of which 20.4% were vacant. As of 2000, 18.9% of households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.7% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.87.

In 2000, the city's population was spread out with 18.2% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 25.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.0 males.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $43,371, and the median income for a family was $51,195. Males had a median income of $33,699 versus $28,469 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,350. About 8.2% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2000, speakers of English as a first language accounted for 75.44% of all residents, while French Creole accounted for 11.73%, Spanish consisted of 7.02%, French was at 1.87%, Italian at 0.88%, and German made up 0.75% of the population.[17]

As of 2000, Delray Beach had the sixteenth highest percentage of Haitian residents in the US, with 10.50% of the population.[18]


Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC) is an ATP World Tour 250 series men's tennis tournament held every year in the city. It is played on hard courts. The event was held in Coral Springs from 1993–1999; in 1999, it was relocated to the Delray Beach Tennis Center. American Todd Martin won the first ever ITC in 1993.[citation needed].

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.[19]


Pet Airways has its headquarters in Delray Beach.[20]


Downtown Delray Beach is a retail, cultural, and residential hub. The area offers restaurants, retail, nightclubs, and art galleries. The city presents a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere,[citation needed] which is aided by the prevalence of parallel parking. In addition, there are a number of free municipal parking lots and garages.[21]

Tourist attractions

In 2009, expansion of the Downtown Delray Beach Arts District was established that features galleries, and cultural organizations in South Florida. These have existed in Delray for more than 20 years along the Atlantic Avenue and the connecting side streets.

The Delray Affair is a three day long art and street fair, in the Downtown Delray Arts District annually.[citation needed]

The Delray Beach Garlic Fest is a three day music, food, and art festival held annually on the grounds of Old School Square.[citation needed] Originally held in November, in 2006 it was moved to the second weekend of February.

Art & Jazz on the Avenue, held six times a year, is produced by the Delray Beach Downtown Marketing Cooperative.

Gallery Walk held every Friday nights 7pm to 10pm where downtown galleries, art studios, and showrooms open their doors to the public for an evening of art, music, & refreshments along Atlantic Avenue in the Downtown Delray Arts District.[citation needed]

Recent development

Downtown Delray has had a building boom from roughly 2003-2008. New mixed-use development projects have recently been constructed in the areas immediately north and south of Atlantic Avenue. To accommodate the anticipated growth the city has also built two new municipal parking garages.

Notable landmarks and buildings

Points of interest


  • Delray Beach (Tri-Rail station)
  • The Downtown Roundabout: A free shuttle that connects the Tri-Rail Station to Downtown Delray Beach. With two routes, and 22 stops throughout the downtown, it operates 7 days a week.[26]

Notable people

  • Mike Rumph, retired NFL free safety for the Washington Redskins
  • Bobby Butler, retired NFL player of the Atlanta Falcons. The first person out of Delray Beach to reach the NFL
  • Leslie Buck, businessman, owned a second home in Delray Beach[27]
  • Brandon Flowers, Professional football player
  • Rod MacDonald, singer-songwriter-guitarist.
  • Gabriel Schillinger, humanitarian activist and entrepreneur
  • Samari Rolle, retired NFL cornerback of the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens

Sister cities

Delray Beach has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:[28]


  1. ^ "Florida by place Population, Housing Units, Area and Density:2000". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  2. ^ "Delray Beach, US Profile". Falling Rain Genomics. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  3. ^ "Annual Estimates of the population for the Incorporated Places of Florida" (XLS). US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-08-15. [dead link]
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Table 4: Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Florida, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2004". Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  7. ^ "Colony Hotel". Colony Hotel. 2007-11-08. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  8. ^ "Exhibit explores America’s first free black community". Broward Times. July 5, 2007. Retrieved July 5, 2007. 
  9. ^ Slire, Erika (July 15, 2007). "Spady Cultural Heritage Museum in Delray Beach adds facilities". South Florida Sun-Sentinel: p. PC-1.,0,4697030.story. [dead link]
  10. ^ "City of Delray Beach FAQ on relocation of Atlantic High". Retrieved December 10, 2006. 
  11. ^ "Move of Delray High School Still a Good Move". Beach Post. 2002-07-20. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  12. ^ Jordan, Don (2009-03-11). "Delray Beach voters return incumbents to office". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  13. ^ Gross, Jane (2007-11-16). "In Florida, Addicts Find an Oasis of Sobriety". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ a b Musgrave, Jane (2009-07-07). "Delray Beach loses its moniker as 'recovery capital of the world'". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  16. ^ "Average weather for Delray Beach". June 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  17. ^ "MLA Data Center Results for Delray Beach, Florida". Modern Language Association. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  18. ^ "Ancestry Map of Haitian Communities". Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  19. ^ "Delray Beach Now Called 'Tennis Beach'". WPBF-TV. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  20. ^ "How to contact us." Pet Airways. Retrieved on March 2, 2010.
  21. ^ "downtown-map-and-parking". The Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  22. ^ "About the Colony Hotel". Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  23. ^ Downtown Delray Arts District
  24. ^ The Artists Guild
  25. ^ [1]
  26. ^ "Downtown Roundabout". City of Delray Beach. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  27. ^ Fox, Margalit (2010-04-29). "Leslie Buck, Designer of Iconic Coffee Cup, Dies at 87". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  28. ^ "Online Directory: Floruda, USA". Sister Cities International. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 


External links

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