Palm Beach County is a county located in the state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,320,134,〔(【引用サイトリンク】url=http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/12099.html )〕 making it the third-most populous county in Florida. The largest city and county seat is West Palm Beach.〔(【引用サイトリンク】accessdate=2011-06-07 )〕 Named after one of its oldest settlements, Palm Beach, the county was established in 1909, after being split from Dade County. The county's modern-day boundaries were established in 1963. Palm Beach County is included in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida metropolitan area.
The area had been increasing in population since the late 19th century, with the incorporation of West Palm Beach in 1894 and after Henry Flagler extended the Florida East Coast Railway and built the Royal Poinciana Hotel, The Breakers, and Whitehall. In 1928, the Okeechobee hurricane struck West Palm Beach and caused thousands of deaths. Since then, a number of other tropical cyclones have impacted the area. More recently, the county acquired national attention during the 2000 presidential election, when a controversial recount occurred. As of 2004, Palm Beach County is Florida's wealthiest county, with a per capita personal income of $44,518.
Approximately 12,000 years ago, Native Americans began migrating into Florida. The tribes settling in modern-day Palm Beach County included the Ais', Calusas, Jaegas, Mayaimis, and Tequestas. An estimated 20,000 Native Americans lived in South Florida when the Spanish arrived. Their population diminished significantly by the 18th century, due to warfare, enslavement, and diseases from Europe. In 1513, Juan Ponce de León, who led a European expedition to Florida earlier that year, became the first non-Native American to reach Palm Beach County, after landing in the modern day Jupiter area. Among the first non-Native American residents were African Americans, many of whom were former slaves or immediate descendants of former slaves who had escaped to Florida from slave plantations located in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Runaway African slaves started coming to what was then Spanish Florida in the late 17th century and they found refuge among the Seminole Native Americans. During the Seminole Wars, these African-American slaves fought with the Seminoles against White settlers and bounty hunters. Portions of the Second Seminole War occurred in Palm Beach County, including the Battle of Jupiter Inlet in 1838.
The oldest surviving structure, the Jupiter Lighthouse, was built in 1860, after receiving authorization to the land from President Franklin Pierce in 1854. During the American Civil War, Florida was a member of the Confederate States of America. To aid the cause of their state, Augustus O. Lang and James Paine removed the lighting mechanism, dimming the lighthouse and assisting their blockade runners. Lang was also the first white settler in Palm Beach County. He built a palmetto shack along the eastern shore of Lake Worth in 1863 after abandoning the cause of the Confederacy. After the Civil War ended, the Jupiter Lighthouse was re-lit in 1866.〔 Thirteen years later, a National Weather Service office was established at the lighthouse complex. However, the office was moved to Miami after that city's population began to rapidly grow.
In October 1873, a hurricane caused a shipwreck between Biscayne Bay and the New River. The crew survived, but nearly died due to starvation because of the desolation of the area. An Act of Congress on June 20, 1874, resulted in the establishment of five houses of Houses of Refuge along the east coast of Florida from the Fort Pierce Inlet southward to Biscayne Bay. Orange Grove House of Refuge No. 3 was built near Delray Beach in 1876.
Henry Flagler, who was instrumental in the county's development in the late 19th century and early 20th century, first visited in 1892, describing the area as a "veritable paradise." Flagler subsequently purchased land on both sides of Lake Worth. Other investors followed suit, causing a small boom and bringing in existing businesses or new ones were established. The Royal Poinciana Hotel, constructed by Flagler to accommodate wealthy tourists, opened for business in February 1894. About a month later, the Florida East Coast Railway, owned by Flagler, reached West Palm Beach. On November 5, 1894, Palm Beach County's oldest city, West Palm Beach, was incorporated. In 1896, another hotel built by Flagler was opened, the Palm Beach Inn, later renamed the The Breakers. He also constructed his own winter home beginning in 1900; he and his wife moved in on February 6, 1902. Flagler died there on May 20, 1913, after falling down a flight of marble stairs.
Palm Beach County was created in 1909. It was named for its first settled community, Palm Beach. The County was carved out of what was then the northern portion of Dade County, comprising part of the areas now occupied by Okeechobee and Broward counties, part of Martin and all of Palm Beach county, initially including all of Lake Okeechobee. The southernmost part of Palm Beach County was separated to create the northern portion of Broward County in 1915, the northwestern portion became part of Okeechobee County 1917 and southern Martin County was created from northernmost Palm Beach County in 1925.〔(Palm Beach County - County history ) - Accessed August 14, 2009〕
Early on September 17, 1928, the Okeechobee hurricane made landfall near West Palm Beach and crossed Lake Okeechobee shortly thereafter. Storm surge left severe damage in the city of Palm Beach, and a death toll of 26. In West Palm Beach, more than 1,711 homes were destroyed. Further inland, wind-driven storm surge in Lake Okeechobee inundated adjacent communities, particularly Belle Glade, Pahokee, and South Bay. Hundreds of square miles were flooded, including some areas with up to of water. Numerous houses were swept away and damaged after crashing into other obstacles. Flood waters did not completely subside for several weeks. At least 2,500 deaths occurred, many of whom were black migrant farmers. Damage in South Florida totaled approximately $25 million (1928 USD). In response to the storm, the Herbert Hoover Dike was constructed to prevent a similar disaster. Previously, Lake Okeechobee overflowed in 1926 during the Miami hurricane, though flooding was primarily in Moore Haven in Glades County. As a result of both the Okeechobee and Miami hurricanes, Palm Beach County, along with the rest of South Florida, began suffering economic turmoil and pushed the region into the Great Depression, even before the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Housing prices dropped dramatically in the county, as well as in the rest of the country.
The Palm Beach International Airport (PBIA), then known as Morrison's Field, opened in 1936. After the United States entered World War II, it was converted to an Air Force Base in 1942. During the war, thousands of servicemen arrived in Palm Beach County for training and supporting the war effort. Following the conclusion of World War II, a number of veterans returned to the area for work, vacation, or retirement.〔 The base was closed and became a commercial airport again in 1962.〔 Migration to the county by workers, tourists, and retirees continued into the 21st century.
August 28, 1949, a Category 4 hurricane struck West Palm Beach with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) causing considerable damage.
The area's first television station, WIRK-TV Channel 21, signed on September 13, 1953. It went off the air less than three years later. However, NBC affiliate WPTV-TV and CBS affiliate WPEC first aired in 1954 and 1955, respectively – both of which are still in existence today.
Richard Paul Pavlick nearly attempted to assassinate then President-elect John F. Kennedy in Palm Beach in December 1960. The Kennedys were vacationing at La Guerida, a house originally owned by Rodman Wanamaker and sold to Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. in 1933. Pavlick's anti-Catholic and anti-government views led him to stalk and plot to kill JFK. A resident of New Hampshire, Pavlick loaded-up his car with sticks of dynamite and drove down to Palm Beach. Pavlick sent bizarre postcards to his hometown, which included information that coincided with the Kennedys vacation. The postmaster alerted the Secret Service to be vigilant for Pavlick's vehicle. On December 11, as Kennedy was preparing to leave for Mass, Pavlick forwent his attempt to murder Kennedy because he was with his wife, Jacqueline, and their two children.〔 On December 15, Pavlick's car, which had sticks of dynamite inside, was surrounded by police and he was arrested.〔〔 Charges against Pavolick were dropped on December 2, 1963, 10 days after Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.〔 Additionally, a secret blast shelter built on Peanut Island during his presidency because escalating Cold War tensions.
About three-quarters of Lake Okeechobee was removed from Palm Beach County in 1963 and divided up among Glades, Hendry, Martin and Okeechobee counties. This was the final change to the county's boundaries.〔
Hurricane David struck near West Palm Beach late on September 3, 1979, with sustained winds of 100 mph (155 km/h). The storm's winds shattered windows in stores near the coast and caused property damage, including blowing the frame off the Palm Beach Jai Alai and downing the 186-foot (57-m) WJNO AM radio tower in West Palm Beach into the Intracoastal Waterway. A few roofs were torn off, and numerous buildings were flooded from over 6 inches (150 mm) of rainfall. Damage in the county reached $30 million (1979 USD), most of which was incurred to agriculture.
The county became the center of controversy during presidential election on November 7, 2000. Allegedly, the "butterfly ballot", designed by Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore, led to an unexpectedly large number of votes for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, rather than for Democrat Al Gore. Due to the aforementioned "butterfly ballot" and the closeness of the statewide results between Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush, manual recounts were conducted. On December 8, The Florida Supreme Court voted 4-3 to mandate manual recounts in all counties with disputed results. However, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the decision in Bush v. Gore on December 12, allowing Florida Secretary of the State Katherine Harris to award the 25 electoral votes to Bush, as Harris's tally prior to the state-ordered recounts placed him ahead of Gore by 537 popular votes. In turn, this gave Bush victory in the national election.
Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, an FBI investigation revealed that 12 of the 19 terrorists trained or resided in Palm Beach County during the months prior to the attacks, including Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Ahmed al-Haznawi, Marwan al-Shehhi, Waleed and Wail Alshehri, Satam al-Suqami, Mohamed Atta,〔 and Ziad Jarrah.〔 Later that month, during the anthrax attacks, a letter containing spores of this substance was mailed to the American Media, Inc. building in Boca Raton. Three people were exposed to the anthrax, including Robert Stevens, a photo editor who died after an infection induced by the anthrax.〔
Palm Beach County was impacted by several tropical cyclones in 2004 and 2005, most severely by hurricanes Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma, which resulted in at least a few billion dollars in damage. Early on September 5, 2004, Frances made landfall in Martin County as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h). Although the county recorded tropical storm-force winds, a wind gust of was observed at the Jupiter Inlet. The strong winds caused about 659,000 power outages, according to Florida Power & Light (FPL). Structural damage in Palm Beach County included 15,000 houses and 2,400 businesses. Additionally, crops suffered severely, with $70 million (2004 USD) in damage dealt to sugar cane. Six deaths occurred in Palm Beach County due to storm-related vehicle accidents or drownings.
About three weeks after Frances, Hurricane Jeanne struck near the same location as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph (195 km/h). Despite Jeanne being more intense than Frances, the overall impact was slightly lesser. Storm surge of along the coast resulted in moderate beach erosion in Palm Beach County. Jeanne also brought strong winds, with a wind gust of recorded at the C-MAN station at the Lake Worth pier. Unofficially, a wind gust of was observed in West Palm Beach. FPL reported 591,300 electrical outages in the county after Jeanne. About 4,160 homes were damaged and 60 were destroyed. Severe local flooding occurred in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, and rural areas of western Palm Beach County. Agricultural losses reached about $30 million. Overall, Jeanne wrought $260 million in damage, but caused no deaths.
On October 24, 2005, Hurricane Wilma made landfall near Cape Romano, Florida, as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph (195 km/h). The storm headed northwestward and moved directly across Palm Beach County. At PBIA, sustained winds reached , while a wind gust as strong as was observed. Winds damaged 52,385 Palm Beach County homes and destroyed 2,669 others.()
Since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, several other tropical cyclones have impacted Palm Beach County. In August 2008, Tropical Storm Fay brought generally minor flooding, with of rain over the eastern portions of the county. Fay spawned an EF2 over Wellington, which deroofed stables and knocked over electrical poles and several trees at the Palm Beach Equine Clinic. Additionally, the Equine Veterinary lost more than 95% of its roof tiles and a heavy trailer was tossed about from its original location. An apartment building also suffered minor roof damage. About four years later, in August 2012, the outerbands of Hurricane Isaac dropped at least of rain near Lion Country Safari. The consequent flooding left neighborhoods in The Acreage, Loxahatchee, Royal Palm Beach, and Wellington, were left stranded for up to several days. One man died after crashing into a concrete wall along Interstate 95 during the storm. Overall, damage in the county totaled approximately $71.59 million (2012 USD).
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