West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is a city in South Florida separated from neighboring Palm Beach by the Lake Worth Lagoon. Downtown’s Clematis Street and CityPlace districts are filled with restaurants, shops, bars and clubs. The Norton Museum of Art displays American, European and Chinese art, including Impressionist paintings. Nearby, the 4-theater Kravis Center for the Performing Arts hosts concerts, plays, dance and opera.
The beginning of the historic period in south Florida is marked by Juan Ponce de León’s first contact with native people in 1513. The area that was to become West Palm Beach was settled in the late 1870s and 1880s by a few hundred settlers who called the vicinity “Lake Worth Country.” On November 5, 1894, 78 people met at the “Calaboose” (the first jail and police station located at Clematis St. and Poinsettia, now Dixie Hwy.) and passed the motion to incorporate the Town of West Palm Beach in what was then Dade County (now Miami-Dade County). This made West Palm Beach the first incorporated municipality in Dade County and in South Florida.
Since the 1990s, developments such as CityPlace and the preservation and renovation of 1920s architecture in the nightlife hub of Clematis Street have seen a downtown resurgence in the entertainment and shopping district. The city has also placed emphasis on neighborhood development and revitalization, in historic districts such as Northwood, Flamingo Park, and El Cid. Some neighborhoods still struggle with blight and crime, as well as lowered property values caused by the Great Recession, which hit the region particularly hard. Since the recovery, multiple new developments have been completed. The Palm Beach Mall, located at the Interstate 95/Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard interchange became abandoned as downtown revitalized – the very mall that initiated the original abandonment of the downtown. The mall was then redeveloped into the Palm Beach Fashion Outlets in February 2014. The West Palm Beach station for Brightline, a high speed passenger rail service serving Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, was opened in 2018.