Founded in the late 1870s and incorporated 47 years later, Delray Beach, Florida is known for a storied history rooted in citrus growing, farming, and its famed white sand beaches that symbolize this Village by the Sea.
Located in Palm Beach County, Florida, as of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 60,522. It is one of the principal cities of the South Florida metropolitan area, which had 5,564,635 people at the 2010 census.
As with any Florida land area, it is presumed to have been first populated by Native Americans, and historians believe that hunters, trappers, and probably runaway slaves may also have lived or passed through the area during the 18th and 19th centuries, but there is no record or evidence of that happening.
In 1868, Wisconsin natives William and Sara Gleason began purchasing thousands of acres of land in various locations in Florida including in what is now the City of Delray Beach.William Gleason was the Lieutenant Governor of Florida from 1868 to 1870.Two of their sons (W.H.H. and George) participated with them in handling real estate transactions using the business name of "Gleason Brothers, dealers in Real Estate."Many early settlers in the area bought property from the Gleasons.
Recorded town history begins with the Orange Grove House of Refuge, a haven for the shipwrecked, which was constructed in 1876 by the U.S. Life Saving Service, the forerunner of today’s Coast Guard. The house derives its name from the grove of mature sour orange and other tropical fruit trees found at the site chosen for the house but little information about who planted those trees has survived.