Boca Raton (/ /; Spanish: Boca Ratón, pronounced [ˈboka raˈton]) is the southernmost city in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States, first incorporated on August 2, 1924 as “Bocaratone,” and then incorporated as “Boca Raton” in 1925. The 2015 population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau was 93,235. However, approximately 200,000 people with a Boca Raton postal address reside outside its municipal boundaries. Such areas include newer developments like West Boca Raton. As a business center, the city also experiences significant daytime population increases. It is one of the wealthiest communities in South Florida. Boca Raton is 43 miles (69 km) north of Miami and is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.
Boca Raton is home to the main campus of Florida Atlantic University and the corporate headquarters of Office Depot, ADT, Lynn University and Cancer Treatment Centers of America. It is also home to the Evert Tennis Academy, owned by professional tennis player Chris Evert. Town Center Mall, an upscale shopping center in Central Boca Raton, is the largest indoor mall in Palm Beach County. Another major attraction to the area is Boca Raton’s downtown, known as Mizner Park.
Many buildings in the area have a Mediterranean Revival or Spanish Colonial Revival architectural theme, initially inspired by Addison Mizner, a resort architect who heavily influenced the city’s early development. Still today, Boca Raton has a strict development code for the size and types of commercial buildings, building signs, and advertisements that may be erected within the city limits. No outdoor car dealerships are allowed in the municipality; further, Walmart is blocked from within the city proper. No billboards are permitted; the city’s only billboard was grandfathered in during annexation. The strict development code has led to several major thoroughfares without large signs or advertisements in the traveler’s view.
The original name “Boca de Ratones” appeared on eighteenth-century maps associated with an inlet in the Biscayne Bay area of Miami. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the term was mistakenly moved north to its current location on most maps and applied to the inland waterway from the closed inlet north for 8.5 miles (13.7 km), which was called the “Boca Ratones Lagoon.” The word “ratones” appears in old Spanish maritime dictionaries referring to “rugged rocks or stony ground on the bottom of some ports and coastal outlets, where the cables rub against.” Therefore, the abridged translation defining “Boca de Ratones” is “a shallow inlet of sharp-pointed rocks which scrape a ship’s cables.”
Residents of the city have kept the pronunciation of Boca Raton similar to its Spanish origins. In particular, the “Raton” in “Boca Raton” is pronounced as // instead of //. The latter is a common mispronunciation by non-natives to the region.
Timeline[show]Timeline of Boca Raton, Florida
North Boca Raton, Florida
West Boca Raton, Florida
What Spanish voyagers called “Boca de Ratones” was originally to the south, in present-day Biscayne Bay in Miami. By mistake since the 19th century, mapmakers moved this location to the north and began referring to the city’s lake, today known as Lake Boca Raton, as “Boca Ratone Sounde.”
When Spain surrendered Florida to Britain in 1763, the remaining Tequestas, along with other Indians that had taken refuge in the Florida Keys, were evacuated to Cuba. In the 1770s, Bernard Romans reported seeing abandoned villages in the area, but no inhabitants.
The area remained largely uninhabited for long afterwards, during the early years of Florida’ incorporation in the United States. The first significant European settler to this area was Captain Thomas Moore Rickards in 1895, who resided in a house made of driftwood on the east side of the East Coast Canal, south of what is now the Palmetto Park Road bridge. He surveyed and sold land from the canal to beyond the railroad north of what is now Palmetto Park Road. Early settlement in the area increased shortly after Henry Flagler‘s expansion of the Florida East Coast Railway, connecting West Palm Beach to Miami.
Addison MiznerMain article: Addison Mizner
Mizner’s Administrative Buildings, which still stand.
In 1925, Mizner announced his plan for “the foremost resort city on the North American continent,”:4 “a new exclusive social capital in America.”:9 After spending several years in Palm Beach, where, in his own words, he “did more than any one man to make the city beautiful,”:5 and designed the Everglades Club among many other buildings, in Boca Raton his plan was to create from scratch “a resort as splendid in its entirety as Palm Beach is in spots.”:6
Activity in that area began at least a year, and probably more, before Mizner’s announcement. Land acquisition, tens of thousands of acres, was the largest part. But it is hard not to see Mizner’s hand in the incorporatioon of Boca Raton in 1924; the city immediately appointed him Town Planner.:102 The Mizner Development Company was incorporated in 1925, and promptly issued $5,000,000 of stock, which was fully subscribed in less than a week.:140 $500,000 was reserved for the “average Floridian”; the remainder was purchased by, as Addison called them, “noted personages”, all with a Palm Beach connection: Lytle Hall, Harold Vanderbilt, J. Leonard Repogle, the Duchess of Sutherland, Rodman Wanamaker, Paris Singer, Irving Berlin, Madame Frances Alda, W. C. Robinson, H. H. Rodgers, D. H. Conkling, A. T. Herd, Porte Quinn, William Kissam Vanderbilt II, Elizabeth Arden, Jesse Livermore, Clarence H. Geist, and T. Coleman du Pont as chairman. Addison’s brother Wilson also appears on the list of investors, but he had little to invest.:139–140
Instead of the existing Palmetto Park Road, the main street in Mizner’s Boca was to be El Camino Real, which Mizner fancifully translated as “The Royal Highway”,:39 referring to Spain’s road network and to the road to Santa Fe and to the Spanish missions in California. (Spanish kings rarely or never travelled on these roads; “The Government Road” would be just as accurate.) It was originally to be circular, with a lagoon in the middle.:44 Soon it became, in the plans, Boca Raton’s main east-west street, to be 220 feet (67 m) wide and with a canal for pleasure boats in the center. (In the drawing of it on the cover of Mizner Development’s first brochure is a Venetian gondola.) His statement that it was inspired by Botafogo, a neighborhood and beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, apparently refers to Guanabara Bay, and implies that this was to be a salt-water canal (like those of Venice, Italy), connected to the Intracoastal Waterway on the east, moving with tides, and dead-ending to the west at the planned Ritz-Carlton Park.:144 However, Mizner freely invented unverifiable foreign “facts” about his projects, so it is also possible that Mizner, who never went to Brazil nor knew Brazilians, simply made it up because the name “Botafogo” (“mouth of fire”) sounded impressive, as was the concept of imitating Rio de Janeiro. There is no street in Rio de Janeiro anything like the picture of “Botafogo” Mizner distributed.
He first constructed his Administrative Buildings and a small hotel to house interested investors on a new, broad boulevard (20 lanes) with the Spanish name of El Camino Real. Only 0.5 miles (0.80 km) of the road was built (although the street has subsequently been extended at normal scale). According to drawings, the centerpiece of the street was to be a canal for pleasure boats; it was never built. All streets were to be at least 60 feet (18 m) wide.:43
Mizner was designated Boca Raton’s town planner shortly after its incorporation in 1924.< Mizner designed Boca’s first town hall/police station/fire station/library, although the design actually built is much smaller and less expensive than what Mizner planned. Today (2018) it is the Boca Raton History Museum, which houses Boca’s Welcome Center and the Boca Raton Historical Society.
His Ritz-Carlton Cloister Inn was built in 1926, later renamed the Boca Raton Resort & Club, and is one of the only “5 star” hotels in Florida. The 1969 addition of its “pink tower” hotel building is visible from miles away as a towering monument on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Because of the end of the Florida land boom of the 1920s and the 1926 Miami hurricane, the Mizner Development Corp. went into bankruptcy in 1927. Little of Mizner’s Boca Raton was ever built: his Administration Buildings, the Cloister Inn, 1/2 mile of El Camino Real, the small Dunagan Apartments (demolished),:56 a few houses near the Cloister Inn (demolished), the Spanish Village neighborhood,:54–55 and a few small houses in what is now the Floresta neighborhood.:57–61:224
Boca Raton Army Air Force Base (World War II)
During World War II, much of their land was confiscated and used as the site of the Boca Raton Army Air Force Base, a major training facility for B-29 bomber crews and the only facility in the U.S. training radaroperators. Much of the Boca Raton Army Airfield was later donated to Palm Beach County and became the grounds of Florida Atlantic University. Many of FAU’s parking lots are former runways of the airbase. When viewed from above, the site’s layout for its previous use as an airfield is plainly evident. Boca Raton Airport‘s runway was once part of the original airbase, and is still active to this day, although the runway has been rebuilt. Army School Building #3 (T-604) of the Army Air Forces Base has survived as the office building for the Cynthia Gardens apartment complex on Northwest 4th Avenue.
Post-World War II history
Boca Raton was the site of two now vanished amusement parks, Africa U.S.A. (1953–61) and Ancient America (1953–59). Africa U.S.A. was a wild animal park in which tourists rode a “Jeep Safari Train” through the park. There were no fences separating the animals from the tourists. It is now the Camino Gardens subdivision one mile west of the Boca Raton Hotel. A red wooden bridge and remnants from the Watusi Geyser and Zambezi Falls, a 30-foot waterfall, from Africa USA can still be seen at the entrance to Camino Gardens. Ancient America was built surrounding a real Native American burial mound. Today, the mound is still visible within the Boca Marina & Yacht Club neighborhood on U.S. 1 near Yamato Road.
In the late 1960s, IBM announced their intentions to open a manufacturing plant in the area. In 1965, well before the extension of I-95 into Southern Florida, IBM, working in secret with the Arvida corporation, quietly purchased several hundred acres of real estate west of the CSX rail line and northwest of Florida Atlantic University. Originally situated in unincorporated Palm Beach County, the site was controversially annexed into Boca Raton almost a year following its dedication in 1970.
The Boca Corporate Center & Campus was originally one of IBM’s research labs where the IBM PC was created.
Construction of IBM’s main complex began in 1967, designed by Marcel Breuer, and the manufacturing and office complex was dedicated in March 1970. The campus was designed with self-sufficiency in mind and sported its own electrical substation, water pumping station, and rail spur.
Among other noteworthy IT accomplishments, such as the mass production of the System/360 and development of the Series/1 mainframe computers, IBM’s main complex was the birthplace of the IBM PC, which later evolved into the IBM Personal System/2, developed in nearby Delray Beach. Starting in 1987, IBM relocated its manufacturing for what became the IBM PC division to Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, North Carolina, and converted the cavernous manufacturing facilities into offices and laboratories, later producing products such as the OS/2 operating system and VoiceType Dictation, later known as ViaVoice voice-recognition software.
IBM maintained its facilities in the South Florida area until 1996, when the facility was closed and sold to Blue Lake Real Estate, who in turn sold it to T-REX Management Consortium, then Blackstone Group bought the site in 2005 and renamed it the Boca Corporate Center & Campus. Today, this office complex area has revitalized the facility and its surrounding real estate into a business/research park.
What used to be IBM’s Building 051, an annex separated from the former main IBM campus by Spanish River Boulevard, was donated to the Palm Beach County School District and converted into Don Estridge High Tech Middle School. It is named after Don Estridge, whose team was responsible for developing the IBM PC. IBM returned in July 2001, opening the software development laboratory at Beacon Square off Congress Avenue.
It is noteworthy that still left standing inside the old IBM complex is the office and conference table where Bill Gates signed his historic deal to supply IBM with the Microsoft MS-DOS operating system for its personal computer line.
In the 1980s, because of an explosion of development to the west of the historical center of the city, some eastern areas began to decay, including the downtown corridor. For instance, the old Boca Raton Mall, a shopping mall in the downtown area, was beginning to experience higher vacancy, and occupancy by marginal tenants, owing to the opening of Town Center at Boca Raton west of the city in 1980.
Palmetto Park Road and Mizner Boulevard intersection.
In 1991, the new downtown outdoor shopping and dining center, Mizner Park, was completed over the site of the old Boca Raton Mall. It has since become a cultural center for southern Palm Beach County. Featuring a landscaped central park between the two main roads (collectively called Plaza Real) with stores only on the outside of the roads, Mizner Park resembles a Mediterranean suburban “town center” with a more contemporary look. It features many restaurants and is home to the Boca Raton Museum of Art, which moved to the new facility in 2001. In 2002, a new amphitheater was built, replacing a smaller one and providing a large-capacity outdoor venue where concerts and other performances are held.
Mizner Park has significantly aided downtown revitalization. Many new eight- to ten-story mixed-use buildings have been constructed, are under construction, or are proposed for the downtown area. The surrounding areas to the downtown have benefited from the downtown redevelopment.
The National Cartoon Museum built a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) facility on the southwest edge of Mizner Park in 1996. Open for six years, the museum relocated to its original home in New York City in 2002. Building renovations for public uses, including the local public TV station, and private uses, such as a locally owned and operated bookstore, were completed in 2008. In addition to the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Association’s theater and space, the building is home to the Schmidt Family Foundation.
As development continued to focus to the west of the city in the 1980s and 1990s, the mall area known as Town Center at Boca Raton became the geographic center of what is referred to as West Boca Raton, though this mall was not annexed into the city until 2004. This area, including the unincorporated area west of the city (discussed below), is now almost entirely built out.
Panoramic view of a portion of the Intracoastal Waterway in downtown Boca Raton
Greater Boca RatonMain article: West Boca Raton
Old Dixie Seafood is a local seafood market and deli.
A majority of postal Boca Raton lies outside of the actual city limits. This large unincorporated area to the west of the city limits is included in the Boca Raton mailing address and local telephone calling area. There are many large planned developments in the area, including gated communities, and a number of golf courses. This is a result in the later start of development in these areas, and the availability of large tracts of land. Many of these communities are large enough to be designated as census-designated places, including Boca Del Mar and Boca Pointe, geographically in Central Boca Raton, with Avalon at Boca Raton, Boca Falls, Boca Winds, Cimarron, Hamptons at Boca Raton, Mission Bay, Loggers’ Run, The Polo Club Boca Raton and polo club movers, Sandalfoot Cove, and Whisper Walk as West Boca Raton.
On November 2, 2004, the voters of the Via Verde Association, Waterside, Deerhurst Association (Boca South), Marina Del Mar Association, Rio Del Mar Association (both originally Boca Del Mar communities), and Heatherwood of Boca Raton Condominium Association approved annexation into the Boca Raton city limits, increasing the city land area to 29.6 square miles (77 km2).
Pearl City is a neighborhood in Boca Raton, immediately north of downtown. The neighborhood was originally platted on May 30, 1915 for the blue-collar African Americansemployed at the Boca Raton Resort and similar establishments, on area farms, in construction, and various other jobs.
Boca Raton old Town Hall, built in 1927 (photo 2011)
The City of Boca Raton has a Council-Manager form of government.
The Mayor of Boca Raton has been chosen through a direct election since 1978. The offices of the city council and the mayor are nonpartisan, but there are three Republicans and two Democrats on the Council. Mayor Susan Haynie, Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers, and Council Member Scott Singer are Republicans. Council Members Andrea Levine O’Rourke and Robert S. Weinroth are Democrats. The previous mayor was Republican Susan Whelchel. As of February 2013, Democrats Lois Frankel and Ted Deutch both represent parts of the city in the United States Congress.[show]List of mayors of Boca Raton, Florida
City Council Elections – March 14, 2017
|Republican||Susan Haynie (Incumbent)||6,452||54.76%|
|Republican||Scott Singer (Incumbent)||8,095||70.93%|
|Democratic||Andrea Levine O’Rourke||5,614||48.37%|
Boca Raton, seen from the International Space Station.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 29.1 sq mi (75.4 km2), of which 27.2 sq mi (70.4 km2) of this is land and 1.9 sq mi (5.0 km2) of it (6.63%) is water. Boca Raton is a “principal city” (as defined by the Census Bureau) of the Miami metropolitan area. Approximately 1 sq mi is on the barrier island Deerfield Beach Island(DBI), also colloquially known as Deerfield Cay. Like other South Florida cities, Boca Raton has a water table that does not permit building basements, but there are several high points in the city, such as 4th Avenue which is aptly named “High Street.” The highest point in this area is the guard shack at Camino Gardens, which is 24 ft (7.3 m) above sea level. The Boca Raton Hotel’s Beach Club rests at 23 ft (7.0 m) above sea level.
Several small tunnels run under roads in Boca, but the roads are built up several feet at these locations, or are on dunes. Several of these tunnels are under State Road A1A at Spanish River Park, from the west side of the road where parking is available to beachgoers, to the east side of the road, which is where the beach is located. A1A is already higher than the surrounding land here due to sand dunes formed by erosion and other natural features.
Boca Raton’s climate qualifies as a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af), as its driest month (December) averages 62.5mm of precipitation, narrowly meeting the minimum standard of 60mm in the driest month needed to qualify for that designation. In general the climate is warm and sunny much of the year, although daily thundershowers occur in the hot season from June through September. Boca Raton is frost free. The warm tropical climate supports the growth of tropical trees and plants.
Winter high temperatures are typically in the 70s and 80s, while summer high temperatures are in the high 80s to low 90s.
|[hide]Climate data for Boca Raton, Florida|
|Record high °F (°C)||88|
|Average high °F (°C)||76|
|Daily mean °F (°C)||67|
|Average low °F (°C)||58|
|Record low °F (°C)||27|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.78|
|Source: The Weather Channel|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Boca Raton Demographics|
|2010 Census||Boca Raton||Palm Beach County||Florida|
|Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010||+12.9%||+16.7%||+17.6%|
|Population density||2,877.2/sq mi||670.2/sq mi||350.6/sq mi|
|White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)||88.5%||73.5%||75.0%|
|(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)||79.1%||60.1%||57.9%|
|Black or African-American||5.2%||17.3%||16.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||11.9%||19.0%||22.5%|
|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)||1.6%||2.3%||2.5%|
|Some Other Race||2.0%||3.9%||3.6%|
Boca Raton is known for its affluent and educated social community and high income demographic.
As of 2010, there were 44,539 households, out of which 17.4% were vacant. As of 2000, 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.1% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.81.
In 2000, the city’s age distribution was as follows: 18.9% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $67,531, and the median income for a family was $92,057. Males had a median income of $52,287 versus $33,347 for females. The per capita income for the city was $45,628. About 4.1% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.0% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
According to Forbes, Boca Raton has three of the ten most expensive gated communities in the U.S. The Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club holds the #1 spot, The Sanctuary takes #6, and Le Lac takes the #8 spot.
As of 2000, English was the only language spoken at home by 79.9% of the population, while Spanish was spoken by 9.3%, French by 1.5%, Portuguese by 1.5%, French Creole by 1.3%, and Italian by 1.1% of the population. Certain areas of Boca Raton, such as the Sandalfoot Cove community, have significant populations of Brazilian and other Latino immigrants.
Culture and attractions
The Aiken House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Boca Raton Museum of Art
Old Floresta Historic District has several historic houses listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Boca Raton was home to the Wick Theatre & Costume Museum. The Caldwell Theatre Company, which closed in 2012, was the longest-running professional theater in South Florida, celebrating its 34th season in the recently[when?] inaugurated Count de Hoernle Theatre on South Federal Highway.
Festivals and events
The Boca Raton Bowl is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sanctioned Division I college football bowl game that features the Mid-American Conference(MAC) facing off against an opponent from the American Athletic Conference (AAC) or Conference USA (C-USA) in alternating years. Each conference participates four times during the six-year agreement, which began with the 2014 season. The Bowl is held at the FAU Stadium.
Boca Raton hosts one of the largest Greek Festivals in southern Florida during the last weekend of January on Yamato Road. Tens of thousands of people come to sample authentic Greek Food while watching Greek Dancing. One lucky person each year even wins a brand new luxury car.
Additionally, the town hosts the “Festival of the Arts BOCA” annually during the spring, and the Brazilian Beat Festival in the fall.
Mizner Park is a lifestyle center in downtown Boca Raton. The area contains several stores and fashion boutiques, restaurants, an iPic movie theater, and housing. The Center for the Arts at Mizner Park is on the development’s north end, which includes the Boca Raton Museum of Art and the Count de Hoernele Amphitheater.
Town Center Mall
Town Center at Boca Raton is an upscale super-regional shopping center in Boca Raton that is the largest enclosed and conventional shopping mall within Palm Beach County, and the third largest by square feet in South Florida, behind Sawgrass Mills and Aventura Mall.
In 1999, the Simon Property Group bought Town Center at Boca Raton and began building a new wing on its southeastern side. In late 2006, Simon began the construction stage of an outdoor lifestyle center near that wing which includes a variety of restaurants, bar/lounge (Blue Martini), and a gym (YouFit Health Clubs).
Beaches and parks
Beach entrance in Boca Raton.
Red Reef Park has the Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex, an environmental education center. Founded in 1984, Gumbo Limbo is a cooperative project of the City of Boca Raton, Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, Florida Atlantic University, and Friends of Gumbo Limbo. In addition to the sea tanks, butterfly garden and boardwalk trail through the hammocks complete with an observation tower, Gumbo Limbo also houses a research facility run by FAU where students study sea turtles, sharks, sea grass and other marine-related subjects.
Sugar Sand Park is a municipal park in Boca Raton. It contains the Children’s Science Explorium. Another park is the Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park in West Boca Raton. The park contains several amenities, including the Osprey Point Golf Course, a dog park, the Sunset Cove Amphitheater, the Coconut Cove Waterpark, and the Daggerwing Nature Center. Spanish River Park is a family-friendly city park along the Intracoastal Waterway for picnicking, swimming & bird-watching.
Office Depot’s corporate headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.
Office Depot, a supplier of office products and services, has its global headquarters on a 28-acre campus in the city. The GEO Group, a company that operates prisons, also has its headquarters in Boca Raton based out of One Park Place. Media companies American Media and FriendFinder Networks, hotel company Luxury Resorts, consumer products company Jarden and e-retailers Vitacost plus BMI Gaming are also based in Boca Raton. The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, anchored by healthcare software company Modernizing Medicine, supports an environment where companies engaged in the research and development of new and innovative products can thrive.
According to the City’s 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of employees|
|1||Florida Atlantic University||2,706|
|2||Office Depot (corporate headquarters)||2,250|
|3||Boca Raton Regional Hospital||2,250|
|4||Boca Raton Resort||1,800|
|5||City of Boca Raton||1,279|
|6||National Council on Compensation Insurance||800|
|7||The Continental Group||750|
|10||Applied Card Systems||550|
Boca Raton High School
Public education is provided and managed by The School District of Palm Beach County, the thirteenth-largest public school district in the United States. Boca Raton is also home to several notable private and religious schools.
As of 2007, Boca Raton was served by four public high schools. Within the city’s limits, Boca Raton Community High School serves the eastern part of the city. Spanish River Community High School serves the west-central part of the city limits and parts of unincorporated Boca Raton. Olympic Heights Community High School serves the western unincorporated areas. Finally, West Boca Raton Community High School serves the far-west unincorporated areas. Spanish River, Olympic Heights, and West Boca Raton also serve students from Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.
The area is served by five public middle schools. Don Estridge High Tech Middle School is a technology magnet school named for Don Estridge, the leader of a small group of engineers who developed the IBM Personal Computer in Boca Raton. The other four public middle schools are Boca Raton Community Middle School, Eagles Landing Middle School, Loggers’ Run Community Middle School, and Omni Middle School.
The area is served by twelve public elementary schools:
- Addison Mizner Elementary
- Boca Raton Elementary
- Calusa Elementary
- Coral Sunset Elementary
- Del Prado Elementary
- Hammock Pointe Elementary
- J.C. Mitchell Elementary
- Sandpiper Shores Elementary
- Sunrise Park Elementary
- Verde Elementary
- Waters Edge Elementary
- Whispering Pines Elementary
Two alternatives to the Palm Beach County Public Schools in Boca Raton are the K-8 Alexander D. Henderson University School (ADHUS) and FAU High School (FAUHS). Both are on the Florida Atlantic University campus and are organized as a unique and separate school district; they are not part of the Palm Beach County School System. Henderson School is recognized as Florida Atlantic University School District #72, under the College of Education’s administrative oversight.
University schools in Florida are authorized to provide instruction for grades K-12 and university students, support university research efforts, and test educational reforms for Florida schools. Both ADHUS and FAUHS are public schools and thus do not charge tuition. And they are open to children who reside in Palm Beach County or Broward County. ADHUS admission is by lottery, while FAUHS admission is determined by academic ability. Student characteristics of gender, race, family income and student ability are used to match the student population profile to that of the state.
FAU High School is a dual-enrollment program that involves itself primarily in collegiate classes. Students in ninth grade take advanced classes at the ADHUS sister campus, while students in higher grades attend only collegiate classes on Florida Atlantic University’s campus, earning dual credit for both high school and college. A student who has successfully completed all four years at FAU High School will graduate having completed three years of university study on a college campus.
Pope John Paul II High School is a Catholic schoollocated in Boca Raton.
- Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton
- Boca Raton Christian School
- Pine Crest School, based in Fort Lauderdale, has a campus in Boca Raton. The Boca Raton campus, originally Boca Raton Academy, was absorbed by Pine Crest in 1987.
- Saint Jude Catholic School and Parish is an Elementary and Middle School founded in 1985. The Parish also has a Preschool founded in 1995.
- Saint Andrew’s School
- Pope John Paul II High School
- Grandview Preparatory School is an independent college preparatory, nonsectarian, coeducational day school founded in 1997. Student enrollment is offered for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12.
- Donna Klein Jewish Academy
- Boca Prep International School
- Saint Joan of Arc Catholic School and Church
- Katz Yeshiva High School of Boca Raton
- Summit Private School, a Montessori school
- Spanish River Christian
- Saint Paul Lutheran School
- Advent Lutheran School
- Torah Academy of Boca Raton
- Claremont Montessori School
- American Heritage School
The S.E. Wimberly Library at Florida Atlantic University.
Florida Atlantic University, founded in 1961, held its first classes in Boca Raton in 1964. FAU is a member of the State University System of Florida and is the largest university in Boca Raton. It has over 29,000 students, 3,555 of which are residential students, and a Division I athletics program. In recognition of the rapid growth of Boca Raton’s universities, in particular FAU, the city of Boca Raton has recently been referred to as a “burgeoning college town.”
Lynn University (founded as Marymount College, then renamed the College of Boca Raton in 1974, and finally Lynn University in 1991) is a four-year co-educational institution renamed to honor the Lynn (Eugene & Christine) family who continue to be benefactors of the university.
Palm Beach State College has its Boca Raton campus adjacent to Florida Atlantic University since 1983. When it was opened, it was named Palm Beach Junior College. In 1988 it changed its name to Palm Beach Community College, and in 2009, to Palm Beach State College.
- Digital Media Arts College, founded in 2001, offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer animation and graphic design.
- Everglades University
The Boca Raton Public Library serves city of Boca Raton residents. A second municipal library building on Spanish River Boulevard west of I-95 was opened in January 2008.
The Glades Road Branch Library and the West Boca Branch Library of the Palm Beach County Library System serve Boca Raton residents who live outside the city limits. The West Boca Branch opened on February 20, 2009. It is on State Road 7 just north of Yamato Road. The Glades Road Branch Library, formerly known as the Southwest County Regional Library, is on 95th Street and Glades Road, between Lyons Road and State Road 7. It closed for renovations in early 2009 and reopened as the Glades Road Branch Library on May 29, 2010. County library card holders may use any of the sixteen branches in the Palm Beach County Library System and have access to many databases and downloadable e-books and audio books.
In 2007 it was reported that there were nine known gangs operating in Boca Raton.
Boca Raton has a connection to the Mafia. It is known as a popular hangout for many suspected Mafia members. According to a number of US Federal indictments, as of June 2004, the Gambino familycontinues to operate in Boca Raton. The television show The Sopranos featured the city in its plot (“Boca” and “…To Save Us All From Satan’s Power“), and Mafia Wife author Lynda Milito resides in Boca Raton. Joey Merlino, the reputed head of the Philadelphia crime family, also resides in northern Boca Raton.
In 2007, several murders at the Town Center Mall gained national attention. In March, a 52-year-old woman was kidnapped and murdered. In December of the same year, a 47-year-old woman and her 7-year-old daughter were also kidnapped, and later found bound and shot in the head in the woman’s SUV in the mall parking lot. This case was featured on America’s Most Wanted and caused host John Walsh to say he believed a serial killer to be in the city. Though there is no forensic evidence to suggest the murders were committed by the same person, the similarities in the cases led police to believe they were related. To this day, the murders all remain unsolved.
The Pearl City neighborhood has been known as a drug trafficking hub in the past. In recent years, the city, like most of the county (especially neighboring Delray Beach) has experienced a steady rise in heroin and opioid overdoses.
TransportationSee also: Transportation in South Florida
Boca Raton Airport
- The Boca Raton Airport (BCT) is a general aviation airport immediately adjacent to Florida Atlantic University and Interstate 95. It has a control tower which is manned from 0700 to 2300. The Boca Raton Airport is publicly owned and governed by a seven-member Authority appointed by the City of Boca Raton and the Palm Beach CountyCommission.
- Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) is to the north near West Palm Beach.
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is to the south in Dania Beach.
In addition, another option for short or long distance flights is Miami International Airport.
- State Road A1A is a north-south road lying between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean.
- U.S. Highway 1, locally known as “Federal Highway”, is a north-south highway passing through the city’s downtown, commercial, and industrial districts in the eastern part of the city.
- U.S. Highway 441, also popularly known as State Road 7, is a north-south highway passing through commercial and residential districts west of the city limits.
- Interstate 95 bisects the city from north to south with four interchanges serving Boca Raton.
- Florida’s Turnpike is a north-south highway passing through unincorporated Boca Raton, forming part of the city limits in the north, with one interchange at Glades Road.
- State Road 808 (Glades Road) is an east-west road between US 441 and US 1.
- Other major east-west roads include Palmetto Park Road and Yamato Road.
- Other major north-south roads include Military Trail and Powerline Road.
Boca Raton Tri-Rail Station
- The Tri-Rail commuter rail system serves the city with its Boca Raton station on the south side of Yamato Road just west of I-95.
- CSX Transportation and the Florida East Coast Railway also serve the city.
Long before any settlers arrived, the original 1870 government survey of the area showed that just west of and parallel to the Atlantic Ocean‘s coastal dune was the “Boca Ratones Lagoon”, which extended south for nine miles (14.5 km) measured from just north of the present location of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. Along the southern half of the lagoon were three wide areas each called a “Lake”, which are now named (north to south) Lake Rogers, Lake Wyman, and Lake Boca Raton. At the southeast end of the lagoon was a short protrusion toward the south which would become the Boca Raton Inlet after a sandbar at its mouth was removed.
Lake Boca Raton
The lagoon and lakes were part of a half-mile (0.8 km) wide swamp, west of which was scrub land a mile (1.6 km) wide (part of the Atlantic coastal ridge) where the Florida East Coast Railway (1896) and Dixie Highway (1923) were built. To the west of the scrub was a half mile or wider swamp within which flowed north to south the “Prong of Hillsborough River”, which is now the El Rio Canal. It now forms the eastern border of Florida Atlantic University and the Old Floresta neighborhood. The prong entered the “Hillsborough River” at the present eastern end of the straight portion of the Hillsboro Canal (dredged 1911–14), which is the southern city limits. The river flowed southeast in several channels along the western edge of the present Deerfield Island County Park, formerly called Capone Island (named for Al Capone who owned it during the 1930s), which did not become an island until the Royal Palm Canal was dredged along its northern edge in 1961. Flowing south from the lagoon to the river along the eastern edge of the ‘island’ was a “Small boat Pass into Hillsboro’ River”, also called the Little Hillsboro. The river continued due south about four and a half miles (7.2 km) just inland of the coastal dune until it emptied into the Atlantic Ocean at the “Hillsborough Bar”, now the Hillsboro Inlet.
The lagoon was dredged in 1894–95 to form part of the Florida East Coast Canal from Jacksonville to Biscayne Bay with a minimum depth of 5 feet (1.5 m) and a minimum width of 50 feet (15.2 m). After 1895, the lagoon and canal were sometimes called the Spanish River. Between 1930 and 1935 the canal was improved to 8×100 feet (2.4×30.5 m) by the federal government and renamed the Intracoastal Waterway. It was improved again between 1960 and 1965 to 10×125 feet (3×38.1 m). All three versions were subject to shoaling which reduced their depths below the specified minimum. Forming part of the northern city limits is the C-15 canal, connecting the El Rio Canal to the Intracoastal Waterway.