Monday, February 19, 2018

Learn the History of Palm Beach County

October 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

history of palm beach 1

You can learn more about local history by cruising over to the Historical Society of Palm Beach County (HSPBC). Dock your boat for the day at the nearby Palm Beach Harbor Marina and then walk up Third Street two blocks to North Dixie Highway. There you’ll find the non-profit historical society and its museum’s exhibits of people and places that helped make Palm Beach what it is today.

history of palm beach 2The HSPBC is housed inside a neoclassical style three-story courthouse, built in 1916 to handle the cases of approximately 18,000 county residents — in one courtroom! After a new county judicial center opened across the street in 1995, Palm Beach County voted in 2002 to restore the now historic site. When work began in 2004, two additions to the building built in 1927 and 1969 were demolished, returning the building to its original glory.

In 2006, the original cornerstone was restored to the northwest corner. It is dedicated to Henry Flagler, who donated the land in 1924 on which the courthouse rests. The following year, county staff moved into office space in the courthouse, and restoration was completed in 2008 with the grand opening of The Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum on the second floor.

Take a tour of the museum and you’ll see how the HSPBC has been preserving key artifacts and documents since 1937. Its archives contain nearly two million photographic images including maps, newspapers, journals, periodicals, architectural drawings, and research files. Among those images is the donated photograph of an island street scene from West Palm Beach attorney A. Stanley Bussey, starting what has become a significant collection of artifacts and documents representing the cultures, communities, failures, and successes of life in Palm Beach County. The Society also maintains a large library about the history of the county and the Caribbean, an active research facility, and it provides multiple educational programs and initiatives to foster the appreciation of local history in students and the community.

The museum’s People Gallery exhibit is a tribute to approximately 100 individuals and families who have contributed to the growth of Palm Beach, along with special artifacts telling the stories of the past and a video display projecting images of people from all walks of life in the county.

The Place Gallery exhibit highlights the county’s natural environment and the animals and ecology that make it unique, from displays of a giant mosquito, banyan tree, snake, and alligator, to a model of the “Barefoot Mailman” who carried the mail from Palm Beach County to Miami. The gallery also has touch-screen maps on a 50-inch screen demonstrating the dramatic changes in the county’s growth. Memorabilia from local sports stars, including Jack Nicklaus and Chris Evert, is also showcased.

The museum offers tours between 10:00 am and 3:30 pm daily Tuesdays through Saturdays. The tours are approximately one hour and 30 minutes. To schedule a tour, call 561-832-4164, ext.104.

For more information:

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By Melissa McMahon



More photos and a virtual tour of the museum

Video of Museum Tour

More Photos:


Carrie Bradburn/CAPEHART





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