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About Delray Beach

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Our Mission

To foster an authentic and inspiring community that celebrates our history while building toward the future.

Our Vision

Delray Beach is a charming, vibrant city of dynamic and diverse communities with a bright future. We proudly celebrate our heritage and provide a welcoming, healthy hometown for residents and visitors.

Awards & Recognition

Delray Beach Awards

City History

The City of Delray Beach is rich in history and cultural diversity. Starting out as a small farming village, our town has tremendously grown to a city of nearly 70,000 residents. We're pleased to offer this section of our web site, which will bring you more information about the history of Delray Beach. For even more information, please visit the Delray Beach Historical Society and the S.D. Spady Cultural Heritage Museum

Delray Beach Historical Photos

Updated on 01/23/2019 11:30 AM

These photos are courtesy of the Delray Beach Historical Society and S.D. Spady Cultural Heritage Museum.


Prior to 1845, when Florida became a state Africans, Seminole Native Americans, and Black Seminoles were already living in South Florida and continued to do so along with white Europeans.


Henry Flagler purchased the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Halifax River Railway in his efforts to build a railroad to connect the entire east coast of Florida. Flagler also purchased many thousands of acres of land under the name of Model Land Company along the east coast of Florida including many hundreds of acres in the area now known as Delray Beach. Many of the workers for Henry Flagler in the construction of his railroad were African Americans.


William S. Linton arrived in the area from Michigan with David Swinton and Major Nathan Boynton. Congressman Linton bought tracts of land from Henry Flagler’s Model Land Company, the Gleason’s and others. The following year Congressman Linton returned with a group of almost a dozen people, including civil engineer E. Burslem Thompson and named the town Linton.


The plat map of the Town of Linton, including about a mile along the beach, was drawn by E. Burlsem Thomson, a civil engineer in Congressman Linton’s group. Atlantic Avenue was platted next to a rock wall partially surrounding the ancient orange grove. 


Adolf Hofman, a German native traveled to Florida to purchase land for farming. That land is now known as Del Ida Park Subdivision.


African descendant Mary Cohen (aka “Auntie” Cohen and “Ma” Cohen), a trained midwife, had settled in Linton and was the midwife for the birthing of babies of all races.


Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway route was completed through the Town of Linton. The railroad and the local depot were essential for the farming economy and the growth of the town.


The first church in Linton, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, was established. It was established by African American settlers.

1896 - 1898

A school was established by white settlers for children of European descent. This school was located at the site of what is now Old School Square.



The name of the Town of Linton was changed to “Delray” following hardship brought on by crop-destroying freezes and William Linton’s default on his land payments.  W.W. Blackmer, a town leader suggested the name “Delray” which was derived from the name of a town located near Detroit, Michigan.


Free and accepted masonic lodge 275 was established by African American citizens. 

Conferring with: 

  • Staff of Delray Beach Historical Society
  • Staff of S.D. Spady Museum, Delray Beach, Florida
  • Clemmer Mayhew, Historian
  • Department of Interior, Census Division 
  • Division of Library and Archives of the Florida Department of State, Tallahassee, Florida
  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Florida Heritage, State of Florida Cultural Affairs website, Tallahassee, Florida
  • Henry Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, Florida
  • Historical Timeline of Black Education in Palm Beach County Florida by the Ipet-Isut Historical Preservation Foundation
  • Hofman, Charles. Letters from Linton. Hollywood, Florida. Legacy Press. 2004
  • Interviews, reviews and information verification through correspondences/discussions with many local individuals as conducted by Lori J. Durante of the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History, Delray Beach, Florida. To name a few individuals:
  • Hart, Nadine. Native of Delray Beach; retired teacher of Palm Beach County Schools
  • Hofman, Charles. Author and descendant of early settler of Delray Beach, Florida
  • Miller, Marcia. Retired teacher of Palm Beach County Schools; Archivist for Trinity Lutheran Church and School of Delray Beach, Florida
  • Patterson, Dottie.  Archivist for Delray Beach Historical Society
  • Pompey, C. Spencer (now deceased). Author, Historian, Civil Rights activist; native of Florida; longtime resident of Delray Beach; retired teacher of Palm Beach County Schools
  • P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History of the Smathers Library at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
  • Slire, Erike (July 15, 2007). “Spady Cultural Heritage Museum in Delray Beach adds facilities”. South Florida Sun-Sentinel.