Delray Beach History & Culture
This town began as humbly as you could imagine in 1876 when the United States Life Saving Service built a single shack to shelter shipwrecked sailors. Called the Orange Grove House of Refuge, it was situated among mysterious orange trees. No one knows who planted those citrus bearers, but it’s as if the spirit of Florida had always been there. The intersection of beach and railroad led to rapid expansion in the early 20th century, and a community of artists, writers, and poets helped sustain it through the Great Depression. Because the town never went bust, there are remarkably preserved buildings in Art Deco, Mission and Colonial Revival, and bungalow styles, plus your typical Florida cottages. Delray is still strongly influenced by its arts community, with a thriving visual arts scene, live theater, a history museum, Japanese gardens, festivals, and concerts.