City of Boca Raton Website

Today Boca Raton is the product of a rich and fascinating history, a study in utter defeat and extraordinary success; of Japanese farmers, captains of industry, Hollywood stars – remarkable individuals with courage and vision. And the story is far from over.

The Boca story begins with its first residents, the Calusa Indians, for whom the Everglades and Boca Raton represented a bounty of natural resources. The name Boca Raton, although first associated with a Biscayne Bay inlet, was attached to the present site by 1838. In 1895, in stark contrast to the prized real estate that was to come later, the first house was built by civil engineer Thomas Moore Rickards. With the completion of Henry Morrison Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway in 1896, families arrived from Georgia and South Carolina, and the fledgling settlement was born.

Life for these early pioneers was hard work. The small community, which included several ethnic groups recruited by railroad magnate Flagler, tackled the backbreaking work of growing crops of Florida oranges, pineapples and vegetables to ship to Northern market.

With daily train deliveries, a grocery store in nearby Delray Beach, a general store opened by Rickards, and a bit of trading with their Seminole neighbors, the first settlers had no shortage of basic food supplies. They lived on deer, rabbit and fish, as well as the fruits of the native palmetto, guava, cocoplum and sea grape trees. Although in many ways the location was idyllic, 10 years of hurricanes, crop failures, freezes and infestation eventually sent Rickards and his family to North Carolina.

Before Rickards left, however, he served as a mentor to a group of settlers from Japan. Flagler knew the railroad would not be profitable unless there was something more than passenger service; freight and produce was needed. When Jo Sakai, a Japanese businessman with a degree from New York University’s School of Finance, got a glimpse of Boca Raton’s potential, he sent word to his countrymen. Sakai named the budding Japanese settlement Yamato – “large, peaceful country.”

The colony was not particularly successful. There were disagreements between Sakai and the younger members of the colony, and a pineapple blight destroyed their crop. One Japanese truck farmer, George Morikami, spent his money buying up land. After becoming a U.S. citizen at age 82, Morikami presented the community with 150 acres just north and west of the city – today the site of Delray Beach’s Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.

It was in the 1920s that the sleepy town of Boca Raton began to change, marked by three important developments: the incorporation of the town; the purchase of oceanfront property by a group of Palm Beach and Northern investors headed by society architect Addison Mizner; and the announcement of plans to build a giant, beachfront hotel complex, Mizner-style. (These plans were soon scrapped in favor of the Ritz-Carlton Cloister Inn.)

Mizner had already built 40 homes in the Palm Beach area and established the Mizner Development Corporation. At one time its stockholders included such high-rollers as Paris Singer, Irving Berlin, Elizabeth Arden, W.K. Vanderbilt II and T. Coleman du Pont. Film star Marie Dressler, the unofficial hostess of Boca Raton, actually sold real estate for Mizner.

Fresh from turning Palm Beach into a playground for the rich and famous, Mizner set out to transform Boca Raton into his dream city. The result: Twenty-nine homes in Floresta, now an historic area adjacent to the Boca Raton Museum of Art; and at least 12 smaller ones in Spanish Village, north of Singing Pines and the Children’s Museum and west of Second Avenue. The 100-room, Spanish-style Cloister Inn opened its doors in early 1926. Now the Boca Raton Resort & Club, the development’s distinctive Mediter-ranean Revival style set the standard for local architecture.

Although the land boom went bust and Mizner and company went bankrupt even as the inn’s first guests were unpacking their bags, by the end of the decade, Boca Raton had become one of Florida’s best-known cities.

Then came World War II. Boca Raton set aside 5,000 acres of facilities for 20,000 army personnel at what is now Florida Atlantic University. Because of the German submarine threat and fear of invasion, residents volunteered for four-hour shifts of spotter duty in a 30-foot-high wooden observation tower on the beach.


After the war years, Boca Raton’s subtropical locale and beckoning business climate attracted the prestigious International Business Machines (IBM) and Florida Atlantic University; both set-up shop here in the mid-’60s. Other businesses with an eye to the future soon followed suit. Between 1965 and 1980, newcomers in pursuit of the good life tripled Boca Raton’s population. Today, Greater Boca Raton’s population is more than 180,000. For More information, visit:

Boca Raton Real Estate Listings

Active Listings in Boca Raton

1731 Nw 42nd Drive # 1731 Boca Raton, FL 33431
Photo of 1731 Nw 42nd Drive # 1731, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (MLS # F10259929)
3 beds 4 baths 3,425 sqft $945,000
7519 La Paz Blvd # 307 Boca Raton, FL 33433
Photo of 7519 La Paz Blvd # 307, Boca Raton, FL 33433 (MLS # F10259813)
2 beds 2 baths 1,382 sqft $250,000
9500 Sw 3rd St # A211 Boca Raton, FL 33428
Photo of 9500 Sw 3rd St # A211, Boca Raton, FL 33428 (MLS # F10259506)
2 beds 3 baths 1,336 sqft $200,000
5335 Nw 23rd Way Boca Raton, FL 33496
Photo of 5335 Nw 23rd Way, Boca Raton, FL 33496 (MLS # F10259452)
3 beds 3 baths 2,504 sqft $450,000
7819 Lakeside Blvd. # 883 Boca Raton, FL 33434
Photo of 7819 Lakeside Blvd. # 883, Boca Raton, FL 33434 (MLS # F10259677)
2 beds 2 baths 1,050 sqft $1,600
21298 Sweetwater Ln N Boca Raton, FL 33428
Photo of 21298 Sweetwater Ln N, Boca Raton, FL 33428 (MLS # F10259709)
4 beds 3 baths 2,453 sqft $654,900
2801 Ne 2 Av Boca Raton, FL 33431
Photo of 2801 Ne 2 Av, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (MLS # F10259680)
2 beds 2 baths 1,100 sqft $1,550
8180 Sweetbriar Way Boca Raton, FL 33496
Photo of 8180 Sweetbriar Way, Boca Raton, FL 33496 (MLS # F10259622)
2 beds 2 baths 1,250 sqft $254,700
6529 Via Regina # 8 Boca Raton, FL 33433
Photo of 6529 Via Regina # 8, Boca Raton, FL 33433 (MLS # F10259693)
2 beds 3 baths 1,152 sqft $245,999
9133 Long Lake Palm Dr Boca Raton, FL 33496
Photo of 9133 Long Lake Palm Dr, Boca Raton, FL 33496 (MLS # F10259619)
3 beds 3 baths 2,800 sqft $539,900
20951 Via Azalea # 5 Boca Raton, FL 33428
Photo of 20951 Via Azalea # 5, Boca Raton, FL 33428 (MLS # F10259596)
4 beds 3 baths 1,798 sqft $330,000
8232 Whispering Palm Dr # 8232 Boca Raton, FL 33496
Photo of 8232 Whispering Palm Dr # 8232, Boca Raton, FL 33496 (MLS # F10259571)
2 beds 2 baths 1,310 sqft $259,000
5350 Nw 26th Cir Boca Raton, FL 33496
Photo of 5350 Nw 26th Cir, Boca Raton, FL 33496 (MLS # F10259364)
3 beds 4 baths 2,367 sqft $309,900
3050 Ne 5 Ave Boca Raton, FL 33431
Photo of 3050 Ne 5 Ave, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (MLS # F10259484)
3 beds 2 baths 1,867 sqft $524,900
160 Nw 70th St # 103 Boca Raton, FL 33487
Photo of 160 Nw 70th St # 103, Boca Raton, FL 33487 (MLS # F10259494)
2 beds 2 baths 1,018 sqft $182,000

Walk Score for Boca Raton

Boca Raton School Data

Boca Raton School Districts

Boca Raton Schools

Hammock Pointe Elementary School
PK-5, public
J. C. Mitchell Elementary School
PK-5, public
Boca Raton Elementary School
PK-5, public
Boca Raton Community High School
9-12, public
Addison Mizner Elementary School
K-5, public
Boca Raton Community Middle School
6-8, public
Loggers’ Run Community Middle School
6-8, public
Spanish River Community High School
9-12, public
Verde Elementary School
PK-5, public
Whispering Pines Elementary School
PK-5, public
Coral Sunset Elementary School
PK-5, public
Calusa Elementary School
K-5, public
Del Prado Elementary School
PK-5, public
Sandpiper Shores Elementary School
PK-5, public
Omni Middle School
6-8, public
Olympic Heights Community High School
9-12, public
Waters Edge Elementary School
PK-5, public
Eagles Landing Middle School
6-8, public
A.D. Henderson University School & Fau High School
K-12, public
St Joan Of Arc School
PK-8, private
St Paul Lutheran School
PK-8, private
Pine Crest School – Boca Raton
PK-8, private
Boca Raton Christian School
PK-12, private
Advent Lutheran School
K-8, private
Pope John Paul Ii High School
9-12, private
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Michele Hale & Laurie Summa

Michele Hale & Laurie Summa

Broker Associate & Professional Realtor

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