When many people hear about Boca Raton their first images are that of happy senior citizens enjoying their twilight years playing shuffleboard, bingo and going to restaurants at 4:30 in the afternoon to enjoy the 'early-bird special.' That may have been true in the past, but today Boca Raton is a vibrant lively beach community offering sun, fun and excitement for all ages.
Additionally, Boca Raton is the corporate hometown of such companies as IBM and Office Depot, that combined with the thriving tourism industry provides a solid employment base for its residents. In popular culture, Boca Raton is still idiomatically used for indicating retirement, Jerry Seinfeld consistently refers to it as “God's waiting room,” Fran Drescher, a.k.a. The Nanny, would consistently urge her parents to move there, and Chelsea Handler, host of Chelsea Lately, uses Boca Raton as a metaphor for the elderly, but in reality, this is far from the truth.
The Town's History
Boca Raton is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, and was incorporated in May 1925. The literal translation of "Boca Raton" is "Mouse Mouth." The origin of the city's name is Spanish. The word boca, meaning mouth, which was and still is used to describe a local inlet. Ratón, literally meaning mouse, was used by Spanish sailors to describe rocks that gnawed at ships ropes. A different, but somewhat more romantic notion of the name is that Boca Raton refers metaphorically to the area being a pirate's cove.
The name Boca Ratones originally appeared on eighteenth century maps associated with an inlet in the Biscayne Bay area of Miami. In the 1920's the Florida land boom came to Boca Raton and in 1926 Addison Mizner's Ritz-Carlton Cloister Inn was built. The hotel was later renamed the Boca Raton Resort & Club. Today it is often referred to as the "Pink Hotel," this towering building on the Intracoastal Waterway is visible from miles away.
In the 1980s, an explosion of development west of the center of the city, sparked decay in some eastern areas, including the downtown corridor. The old Boca Raton Mall, a downtown shopping mall, suffered declining vacancy, probably due to the opening of Town Center at Boca Raton in 1980. A decade later, along came Mizner Park, a downtown attraction in Boca Raton's financial district, that was transformed from the old Boca mall. The park features a central landscaped park and the area invokes the feeling of a Mediterranean town center. It's home to many restaurants and the Boca Raton Museum of Art and an amphitheater was built for concerts and performances.