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West Palm Beach History, Florida

West Palm Beach, FL US - History: Still, Continuing Its Process Of Resurgence

It was in the year 1893 when Henry Morrison Flagler visited West Palm Beach, FL. He had a dual plan for this area. He built a commercial city and metamorphosed the beach into a resort. The commercial city later came to be known as West Palm Beach.

Morrison made the plan in early November of the same year and named the streets after local plants like Banyan, Datura, Clematis, Evernia and Athea. The city was incorporated on November 5, 1894. The city’s population quadrupled in the early twenties due to a robust growth seen in schools, businesses, hotels and theatres. However in spite of all these, the economy had to witness a downfall when speculators started taking money and ran for other states. Adding to the disaster, there was the killer hurricane of 1926 and 1928. The Great Depression of 1929 reduced the value of the economy to half. The estimated property value in 1935 was almost comparable to that in 1920. The city of West Palm Beach came back to its original position, but it took a World War to cover the reverse distance.

West Palm Beach witnessed a great economic and social progress when there was an influx of veterans shifting south after the Second World War and the military dollar strengthened after the war. The value of the properties rose from a mere $ 18 million to $ 72 million in 1949 and kept on increasing, until it touched $ 145 million in 1962. This was nothing but an 800% increase within fifteen years and hence became the fourth fastest growing area in the late fifties.

The adjoining areas including Lake Clarke Shores also started developing. Apartments started to be constructed. A three bedded flat with swimming pool would come around $ 15,000. In 1953, the first TV station, WIRK came to town. It was followed by channel 5 and channel 12 in the later years. Palm Beach International Airport started to function in October 29, 1966. Even today, over 6 million passengers travel through this airport.

The population of West Palm Beach grew by almost 23% in the last decade of the 20th century. The city has over 100,000 permanent residents, which makes it the largest community in the Palm Beach County. It is also the seat of the county government. The place boasts a vibrant and newly renovated business district and continues to grow in this century.


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