Historic Downtowns & Neighborhoods
The Palm Beaches epitomize history. Our downtowns stretch back across time itself. Our neighborhoods have been home to generations of families. Their architecture speaks to the grace and stature of timeless designs. Together, historic downtowns and neighborhoods bustle with locals going about their way, and tourists taking in the flavor that makes our towns unique and lively places to live, work, play and explore.
- Downtown Delray Beach
Downtown Delray Beach is an original village by the sea. From wide sidewalks for strolling outside well-known and undiscovered restaurants and curio shops, to the Atlantic coast from which our main Avenue draws its name, this town boasts the pride of locals and visitors alike.
- Downtown Lake Worth
Lake Worth is “where the tropics begin.” Visitors and locals mingle on happenin’ thoroughfares – dining, shopping and exploring this slice of tropical paradise. Revitalized neighborhoods line the Intracoastal, and festivals, celebrations and events draw people from across South Florida to enjoy a unique gem of the Gold Coast.
- Downtown West Palm Beach
Clematis Street, Rosemary Avenue, Narcissus Avenue. Those looking for historic downtowns have come to know the streets that make West Palm Beach a unique destination. Culture, events, tours and shopping all can be found in this one-of-a-kind getaway that’s only grown more graceful with age.
- Del-Ida Park Historic District
The 151 buildings on these 58 acres include historic structures built in the Mediterranean Revival style and Craftsman Bungalow designs. Originally platted in 1923 with unique, diagonal street pattern with curvilinear corners creating triangular blocks with varying street frontages, this residential neighborhood is one of Delray's first planned developments. It remains a charming piece of history.
- Marina Historic District
The Marina Historic District is set on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway. Many of its 96 buildings showcase various architectural styles, from Streamline Moderne, to Colonial Revival, Mediterranean Revival, and Bungalows. Each blends with the distinctive sub-tropical landscape. Built around the town’s City Marina, its narrow and shaded streets create the town's most pedestrian-oriented neighborhood.
- Nassau Park Historic District
For many residents and visitors, this 1935 oceanside district is a reminder of the New England coast. Its 17 one- and two-story modest but classic-designed Cape Cod Colonial Revival cottages that possess the scale, dimension, and proportion that makes them irreplaceable. The district recalls the prosperity, pleasure and style that at one time was the essence of the city’s 1930s resort life.
- Old School Square Historic District
This was – and remains – the center of it all. Situated in the original geographic center of Delray Beach, this 15-block district provides the initial footprint for the settlement and development of the town. Many of its 176 structures – of which 101 are 50 years or older – possess the Pre-World War I and II Vernacular architectural style of the City. Rezoned for mixed use in 1990, this district reveals how adaptive reuse of historic buildings can increase an area’s economic feasibility.
- West Settlers Historic District
The historical significance of The West Settlers Historic District cannot be overstated. Culturally meaningful for its association with the pioneering African-American families who helped settle the City, centerpieces include a school, three churches, and a Masonic Lodge that were established here between 1895 and 1920 and today reveal how education and religion were the two most important institutions in the early days of the neighborhood.
- College Park
This 220-acre subdivision was started in 1924 and marketed during the Florida Land Boom that spanned from 1919 to 1929. It was revived in post-war 1940s. Some early homes feature Mediterranean Revival and Mission Style architecture; later homes are characterized by Masonry Vernacular, International and Ranch architectural styles. Unique to the community: Each street was named after prominent American college or university. Hence the name, College Park.
- Historic Old Town
If you wanted to do business in Lake Worth during her early years, this is where you went. This was the town of Lake Worth’s original Commercial District and dates back to the early 1900s through 1949. It was the hub of trade, commerce, business and culture, and some structures still reflect the early uses. Today, its 160 acres is dotted by some 46 historic structures significant for their Mission / Spanish Revival and Art Deco architecture and engineering.
- Old Lucerne
Old Lucerne maintains the charm of yesteryear even today. Encompassing 540 acres with 218 buildings, Old Lucerne Historic Residential District is a sizeable historic district. Also known as the Townsite of Lucerne when it first was established before 1924, the area features buildings with Mission / Spanish Revival architecture. It saw subsequent booms – and resulting various architectural styles in its homes, multi-family dwellings, businesses and churches– from 1925 through 1949, and again in the 1950s.
- Lake Trail
Known as Palm Beach’s “earliest street,” the Palm Beach Lake Trail today provides a history-laden trip down memory land. First carved by Henry Flagler in 1894 as a strolling path for hotel guests, it’s been called extraordinary and knick-named the Trail of Conspicuous Consumption. This narrow, nine-mile ribbon of asphalt winds its way along the Intracoastal Waterway, surrounded by native flora and impressive estates – including Flagler’s own Whitehall mansion.
- Phipps Plaza
If you appreciate architecture, then the Phipps Plaza Historic District is worth a visit. Created in 1924 by developer John S. Phipps, commercial and residential structures from noted architects Maurice Fatio, Howard Major, Addison Mizner, Belford Shoumate and John Volk were built around an elliptical shaped green space. Today, the enclave possesses the aura and feel of a natural environment – albeit one touched by architectural genius.
- Town Hall Square District
The Town Hall Square District once anchored then-blossoming Palm Beach. First developed in the 1920s, the two-block area became home to such businesses and landmarks as the Old Daily News Building and the Buckley Building and various other structures. Crafted in 1928, The Lemon Building is one of Palm Beach’s few Tudor half timbered structures. The Town Hall itself was designed in 1924 by famed architectural firm of Harvey and Clark.
- Worth Avenue
To some, Worth Avenue is a famed, fabulous and ritzy shopping district with an international flair. To others, it’s an avenue rich with the history of Palm Beach. Such architects as John L. Volk, Howard Major, Maurice Fatio and Marion Sims Wyeth designed the structures that today still leave their mark. From The Everglades Club – Addison Mizner’s first in Palm Beach in 1918 and the first on what would become Worth Avenue, to a plethora of ornate commercial and residential marvels, this stretch of pavement is a visual feast for passersby of all kinds.
West Palm Beach
What once was a neighborhood for tradesmen and real estate salesmen between 1925 and 1935, parts of this fetching area originally was a pineapple plantation whose 1895 homestead still stands today. The first house developed in the new subdivisions was a mission-style home. Today, numerous homes and buildings possess the architecture and grace of those early residences. Belair was named the city’s fourth historic district in 1993.
- Central Park
Central Park isn’t just one but several subdivisions encompassing several estates north of Southern Boulevard. From its earliest days following Henry Flagler's arrival in the area, the area saw various stages of development. Eventually from the tropical wilderness an exclusive neighborhood was created with sidewalks, curbed roads and a pier (at the foot of what is now Southern Boulevard). In 1926, Central Park became part of West Palm Beach; in 1999, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Clematis Street
Clematis is the heart of West Palm Beach’s historical significance. The 12 buildings designated as Historic as part of the Commercial District greater designation in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 both is tribute to and belies what this place once was. At less than one acre, this parcel of history traces its roots back to the city’s early 1900s and Post-War booms – and was brought back to life in the 1990s revival of downtowns across the area.
- El Cid
El Cid exemplifies the Mediterranean revival and mission-style homes and architecture that came with the apex of the 1920s Florida real estate boom. Though its start is much less glamorous – the area began as 1800s pineapple fields – it was developed by Pittsburgh socialite Jay Phipps and named El Cid, after the famous Spanish hero, Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar. In 1995, El Cid was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Flamingo Park
This community is not beachfront – but a natural attribute gave it an ocean view. A former pineapple plantation, Flamingo Park was built atop one of the area’s highest coastal ridges – providing top-floor residents in the Spanish-style homes a glimpse of the Atlantic. Built near the then-fashionable Dixie Highway from 1921 to 1930, actually most architectural styles are evident. It was named a West Palm Beach historic district in 1993; seven years later it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
- Grandview Heights
Those seeking the area’s true history will appreciate this community. It is one of West Palm Beach’s oldest neighborhoods that remains still intact. It was build between 1910 and 1925 for ministers, merchants and the construction workers building area luxury hotels. Though much of it and nearby Palm Beach Heights was demolished in 1989 for a downtown project, residents and investors have preserved what some consider the area’s best collection of early craftsman-style bungalows and modest, Mediterranean revival-style homes.
- Mango Promenade
Bounded by Dixie Highway, Austin Lane, Coconut Lake and Cranesnest Way, Mango Promenade Historic District is a 300-acre district and collection of 125 buildings that date back to the early 1900s and the Post-War ’40s. Its historical significance is dramatic and striking. Like other nearby areas, it includes bungalow / craftsman and colonial revival architecture that has caught the eye of residents and preservationists alike. The district became a West Palm Beach historic district in 1995 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
Northboro reflect the variety of design and socioeconomic lifestyles that evolved from pioneering days to the city’s 1920s boom. Developed as an expansion of Old Northwood, many of the Mediterranean revival, mission and frame vernacular homes here were custom residences for upper-middle-class professionals. The first home in the district dates back to 1923; the oldest building is the Northboro Elementary School, built in 1925. This is the city's second historic district, designated as such in 1992. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
This community in 1992 enjoyed the distinction of being the city’s first historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation came 98 years after its original settlement, when the African American residents were moved from the Styx in Palm Beach to West Palm Beach. Though it served as a commercial center for the Black community, much of the early structures have since been demolished. What does remain are examples of late 19th- and early 20th-century American bungalow/craftsman-style homes, as well as mission, shotgun, Bahamian vernacular and American Foursquare styles.
- Northwood Hills
From its start in the early 1900s, Northwood Hills grew from Mission Revival homes to include Post-War architecture, unique street designs, and one of the West Palm Beach’s highest land elevations. Through the efforts of residents, community leaders and area preservationists, the district was designated as the city’s 13th historic district in 2003, encompassing 592 properties, as well as lots and a city-owned park.
- Northwood Harbor
With the arrival of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railroad in the 1920s came the creation of the Northwood Neighborhoods. Most of the homes here were built from 1925 to 1955 – early structures as winter residences or artisans; today, they are exemplary of Old South Florida architecture. In the Post-War era, area boomed with each neighborhood enjoying its own unique character. As testament to the man who made it happen, the association’s eastern-most street is called Flagler Drive. The area was designated an historic district in 2006.
- Old Northwood
Old Northwood is classic West Palm Beach – in style, architecture and beginnings. It was developed between 1920 and 1927 after developers acquired the land from a settler who first came in 1884. From a mango plantation to a poultry farm, the area was platted and homes were built in a luxurious Mediterranean revival, mission and frame vernacular style. Architects included John Volk, William Manly King, and Henry Steven Harvey. Some homes topped $35,000. Today, the oldest pre-boom residence is believed to have been built before 1910. Old Northwood was named a West Palm Beach historic district in 1991; it earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.
- Prospect Park / Southland
For New Yorkers looking for a little piece of home in West Palm Beach, Prospect Park / Southland became that destination. This high-end neighborhood was styled after Brooklyn’s Prospect Park neighborhood. It featured smaller estates for prominent businesspeople and northern investors. The neighborhood has a high concentration of Mediterranean revival and Mission revival houses. It was developed from 1920 to 1935 and became a city historic district in November 1993.
- Vedado – Hillcrest
This 50-acre residential district is home to a host of architectural styles that reflect the boom-bust-boom times of The Palm Beaches. Designs range from land-boom Mission, Spanish Colonial, and Mediterranean Revival architecture from 1924 to 1928, and Minimal Traditional and Minimal Ranch, to Split Level and Contemporary from the 1947 to 1957 Post-War period. Parcels also are marked by primary residences with outbuildings that include garages, garage apartments, and separate apartment structures. The district was listed on the West Palm Beach Register of Historic Places in 2007.
- West Northwood
West Northwood was typical of both the speculative and custom-built homes that were prevalent during the land boom years from 1925 to 1927. Designed by developers for upper-middleclass professionals, the homes feature Mediterranean Revival and Mission-style architectural designs. Among the most prominent developers: DaCamara and Chace, H.E. Rise and J.C. Griswell. Long-time decline has been reversed in recent years as investors and preservationists took to the area. The area was named a city historic district in 1993.