You too can retire here!
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.
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.
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.)
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.