West Palm Beach & Historic Preservation Overview


The City of West Palm Beach has been involved in Historic Preservation since 1988, when a survey of the historical and architectural resources was conducted. Since then, The City has developed a progressive historic preservation program. This includes the adoption of a Historic Preservation Ordinance, Participation in the Florida Certified Local Government Program, the designation of sixteen (16) historic Districts amounting to over 3,200 properties, and an Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Program. In 1991, Old Northwood was adopted as the City’s first historic district. The City’s historic districts have a unique character that they wish to maintain for future generations.

Benefits of Designation

Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Program
On February 14, 1994, the City Commission of West Palm Beach approved an Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Program for properties listed in the National or West Palm Beach Register of Historic Places as an individual historic property or a contributing property in a historic district. This program allows the exemption of up to 100% of the assessed value of the improvements (interior or exterior) to historic properties resulting from renovation, restoration or rehabilitation of such properties. The Preconstruction Application for proposed work must be approved by the Historic Preservation Board prior to commencement of any improvements. The work must be completed within two (2) years of application approval. The improvements must be consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. The exemption remains in effect for up to ten (10) years regardless of change in ownership, if the historic character of the property is maintained throughout the exemption period. This is not only a financial benefit to the owner, but could be used as a selling point should the property be sold in the future.

Federal Tax Credits
This program is only available for income producing Certified Historic Properties that are individually listed or listed as a contributing property to a designated district in the National or Local Register. Property owners can claim up to a 20% tax credit on the cost of rehabilitation. It is administered through the State of Florida, Division of Historical Resources.

Property Protection
Historic neighborhoods have a unique character. This character may be related to the architecture, method of construction, vegetation, and/or other special attribute. When an area becomes a historic district, these characteristics are protected along with the architectural characteristics.

In order to ensure the protection of historic sites and districts, properties listed in the West Palm Beach Register of Historic Places are subject to review before building permits are issued for exterior alterations.

This does not mean that a property owner cannot alter the property. The Historic Preservation Division will review any exterior alterations to a property to ensure that the architectural integrity and distinct characteristics are kept intact. Staff also provides construction alternatives that may help to improve the design and increase/maintain property values. General maintenance which entails using like materials does not require additional review by the Historic Preservation Board.

West Palm Beach Register of Historic Places
The West Palm Beach Register of Historic Places is a listing of locally designated buildings and districts significant to the City of West Palm Beach.

Historic Sites

  • Seaboard Airline Station
  • Garrison House
  • Pleasants House
  • Professional Building
  • City of West Palm Beach Water Plant
  • American National Bank Building
  • Halsey House
  • Van Valkenburg House
  • Wax House
  • Guaranty Building
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • Dacamara House
  • Woodlawn Cemetery Gate
  • Palm Beach Cadillac Company
  • West Palm Beach Fishing Club
  • Sadler House
  • Ferndix Building
  • Bullock House
  • George House
  • Hurricane of 1928, Mass Burial Site
  • 927 Paseo Andorra House
  • Gordon House
  • Wilkinson House
  • Evergreen Cemetery
  • Rogers House
  • Palm Beach Junior College Building
  • Temple Beth Israel
  • Harvey Building
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • Arc-Rib Building
  • Florida Health Lab Building
  • Locust House
  • Karl Riddle House 464 Fern Street
  • Palm Beach Atlantic Rotunda Building 1101 S. Olive Avenue

Historic Districts

  • Old Northwood Historic District
  • Northboro Park Historic District
  • El Cid Historic District
  • West Northwood Historic District
  • Belair Historic District
  • Flamingo Park Historic District
  • Prospect Park/Southland Park Historic District
  • Northwest Historic District
  • Central Park Historic District
  • Grandview Heights Historic District
  • Mango Promenade Historic District
  • Clematis Street Historic Commercial District
  • St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church District
  • Northwood Hills Historic District
  • Northwood Harbor Historic District
  • Vedado-Hillcrest Historic District

National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places was created in 1966 to preserve and protect the unique heritage of the United States. The Secretary of the Interior was given the responsibility of maintaining a national register of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, and culture.

Historic Sites
Seaboard Airline Station
Mickens House
Norton House
Old Palm Beach Junior College
Old West Palm Beach National Guard Armory
Palm Beach Mercantile Company
Hatch’s Department Store
Clifton Rice House
Comeau Building
Professional Building
American National Bank Building
Guaranty Building
Ferndix Building
Van Valkenburg House
Comeau House
Pine Ridge Hospital
Hurricane of 1928, African-American Mass Burial Site

Historic Districts
Northwest Historic District
Old Northwood Historic District
El Cid Historic District
Clematis Street Historic Commercial District
Mango Promenade Historic District
Grandview Heights Historic District
Central Park Historic District
Flamingo Park Historic District
Northboro Park Historic District