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CITY OF WEST PALM BEACH CELEBRATES HISTORIC MILESTONE
Season's Worth of Events Planned to Commemorate City's 125th Anniversary
(West Palm Beach, Fla.) – It’s a Quasquicentennial celebration! You might need 125 tries to spell or pronounce the word, but only one guess to know that the City of West Palm Beach is celebrating its 125th anniversary!
 
With a series of West Palm Beach 125 events planned to mark the milestone, the festivities kick off on October 5 at the first GreenMarket of the season – also celebrating an anniversary of 25 seasons – and culminate at 4th on Flagler in July 2020. Events and activities include a comprehensive exhibit at the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, lectures at the Mandel Public Library, special boardwalk tours at Grassy Waters Preserve, neighborhood bike tours, a special light show shining on the Banyan/Quadrille parking garage and much more!
 
“We are excited to celebrate this milestone,” said Mayor Keith A. James. “As our City staff focuses on creating community-wide engagement and commemoration to mark 125 years, we are reflecting on where we have been while we look to the exciting future. I am honored to be this great city’s leader during this historic time.”
 
Some of the celebrations will be a part of the City’s heritage events, such as Clematis by Night, and community leaders have rallied their support as well.
 
“We are grateful to join with organizations such as the Norton Museum of Art, the Palm Beach Outlets, Hyatt Place West Palm Beach, Visit Palm Beach, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, the Palm Beach County Convention Center and many others,” said Mayor James. “We could not have put together such a comprehensive celebration without support from our wonderful community partners.”
 
In conjunction with the City of West Palm Beach for the 125th Anniversary, the Community Redevelopment Agency will be highlighting a few of the Historic Northwest’s most notable figures during Black History Month. Partnering with the Bob Carter’s Actor’s Workshop & Repertory, three African-American playwrights will work to bring to life the stories of James “Cracker” Johnson, Augusta Savage and Hazel Augustus.
 
Other organizations participating in the City’s anniversary milestone include Rosemary Square, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, The Ben, the Downtown Development Authority, Related Companies, Discover the Palm Beaches and the West Palm Beach Fishing Club.
 
Chartered on November 5, 1894, the City of West Palm Beach has a rich and diverse history. In 1893, Standard Oil magnate Henry Morrison Flagler bought real estate in modern-day Palm Beach County, building on what is now the island of Palm Beach. Across the waterway, he carved out a 48-block town site to provide housing for island staff, which became what we know as West Palm Beach. From there, Flagler’s railroad connected West Palm Beach to the north, and later, Miami to the south, starting the economic boom that would lead to the city’s population growth.
 
The height of West Palm Beach’s real estate boom from 1920-1927 saw the formation of now-historic neighborhoods including El Cid, Flamingo Park, Old Northwood, Northwest and more than a dozen others. Directly following this boom until 1945, over-speculation in South Florida, the Great Depression, several major hurricanes and World War II ground the once-prosperous years to a halt. Those challenges turned around after the war when residents pulled through to lay the foundation for the thriving economy we now enjoy. The 1960s welcomed the South Florida Science Museum, the Municipal Stadium with spring training, the Palm Beach Mall and Palm Beach Atlantic College, and the subsequent decades brought growth in leaps and bounds.
 
Today, the City of West Palm Beach is a diverse and vibrant city of more than 110,000 residents. A world-class destination to live, work and play that has retained its small-town charm, West Palm Beach is poised to usher in the next 125 years and continue welcoming newcomers to discover this special place. Perhaps pioneer Marion Geer said it best in 1896, when she wrote in a memoir how a visitor seeing West Palm Beach for the first time described it: “Truly this is a paradise, you have made the wilderness to blossom.” 
 
A calendar of the special events confirmed to date can be found below. For a full list and to read a comprehensive historic City timeline, visit http://www.wpb.org/125. Continue the celebration online by searching #WPB125.

 
SEPTEMBER:      
  • September 3 Historical Society of Palm Beach County hosts West Palm Beach 125 exhibit through June 27, 2020 at 300 N. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-4164 or visit http://www.hspbc.org/.
 
OCTOBER:           
  • Historical Society of Palm Beach County hosts West Palm Beach 125 exhibit through June 27, 2020 at 300 N. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-4164 or visit http://www.hspbc.org/.
  • October 5 GreenMarket celebrates City’s 125th Anniversary and its own 25th season with special festivities on opening day. FREE.
  • October 7 – Mandel Public Library Presents City History and Architecture Lecture from 6-7:30 p.m.; Library auditorium; 411 Clematis St. FREE.
  • Lecture will spotlight the fascinating historical and architectural evolution of the City of West Palm Beach from its origins to the present. For more information, visit http://www.wpbcitylibrary.org/ or call 561-868-7701.
  • October 19 GreenMarket Quasquicentennial Walking Tour will spotlight the last 125 years of city history with landmark stops and stories. Tours begin at 10 a.m. by the banyan tree on the east end of Clematis Street, 101 N. Clematis St., and end at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, at 300 N. Dixie Hwy. Tickets are $10 per person and tours are rain or shine. Call 561-832-4164, ext. 2 for more information or reservations.
 
NOVEMBER:       
  • Mandel Public Library hosts month-long book display related to City history with special images showcasing the past.
  • Historical Society of Palm Beach County hosts West Palm Beach 125 exhibit through June 27, 2020 at 300 N. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-4164 or visit http://www.hspbc.org/.
  • November 5 – Facebook Live Event with Mayor James to Unveil historical documentary on City’s Quasquicentennial. Join us on your lunch break to step back in time and learn about your City’s history! Starting at noon, find the City of West Palm Beach’s page at https://www.facebook.com/CityofWPB/.
  • November 16 GreenMarket Quasquicentennial Walking Tour will spotlight the last 125 years of city history with landmark stops and stories. Tours begin at 10 a.m. by the banyan tree on the east end of Clematis Street, 101 N. Clematis St., and end at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, at 300 N. Dixie Hwy. Tickets are $10 per person and tours are rain or shine. Call 561-832-4164, ext. 2 for more information or reservations.
 
DECEMBER:        
  • Historical Society of Palm Beach County hosts West Palm Beach 125 exhibit through
  • June 27, 2020 at 300 N. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-4164 or visit http://www.hspbc.org/.
  • December 21 – GreenMarket Quasquicentennial Walking Tour will spotlight the last
  • 125 years of city history with landmark stops and stories. Tours begin at 10 a.m. by the banyan tree on the east end of Clematis Street, 101 N. Clematis St., and end at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, at 300 N. Dixie Hwy. Tickets are $10 per person and tours are rain or shine. Call 561.832.4164, ext. 2 for more information or reservations.
2020
JANUARY:           
  • Historical Society of Palm Beach County hosts West Palm Beach 125 exhibit through June 27, 2020 at 300 N. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-4164 or visit http://www.hspbc.org/.
  • January 11 – Historic Bicycle Tour of the north end of the city, led by City of West Palm Beach Historic Preservation Planner, Friederike Mittner. Group meets in the courtyard of City Hall at (time TBD) and join VisionZero for bicycle safety materials and giveaways.
  •  January 18 – GreenMarket Quasquicentennial Walking Tour will spotlight the last
  • 125 years of city history with landmark stops and stories. Tours begin at 10 a.m. by the banyan tree on the east end of Clematis Street, 101 N. Clematis St., and end at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, at 300 N. Dixie Hwy. Tickets are $10 per person and tours are rain or shine. Call 561-832-4164, ext. 2 for more information or reservations.
  • January 25 Historic Bicycle Tour of the south end of the city, led by City of West Palm Beach Historic Preservation Planner, Friederike Mittner. Group meets in the courtyard of City Hall at (time TBD) and join VisionZero for bicycle safety materials and giveaways.
 
FEBRUARY:         
  • Historical Society of Palm Beach County hosts West Palm Beach 125 exhibit through June 27, 2020 at 300 N. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-4164 or visit http://www.hspbc.org/.
  • Community Redevelopment Agency in partnership with the Bob Carter’s Actor’s Workshop and Repertory presents the life stories of James “Cracker” Johnson, Augusta Savage and Hazel Augustus through three African-American playwrights.
  • February 1, 15 and 29 – Grassy Waters Preserve Presents A Walk Through Time: Feb. 1 and 15 from 10-11 a.m. and Feb. 29 from 3-4 p.m. Join a Grassy Waters naturalist for a FREE family-friendly hike on our accessible boardwalk through the Florida Everglades. From pre-historic time through the 21st century, Grassy Waters is the place to be to celebrate the City’s 125th anniversary. Registration is required as space is limited. Visit http://wpb.org/grassywaters/
  •                                 February 15 – GreenMarket Quasquicentennial Walking Tour will spotlight the last
  • 125 years of city history with landmark stops and stories. Tours begin at 10 a.m. by the banyan tree on the east end of Clematis Street, 101 N. Clematis St., and end at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, at 300 N. Dixie Hwy. Tickets are $10 per person and tours are rain or shine. Call 561-832-4164, ext. 2 for more information or reservations.
  • February 23Mandel Public Library Presents Floribbean Cuisine Lecture from 2-3:30 p.m.; Library’s Clematis Room; 411 Clematis Street. FREE. Join Lori J. Durante, Taste History Culinary Tour creator and Executive Director of the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History, to learn about the significance of food in West Palm Beach history. This lecture will discuss the migration of Caribbean cuisine to the Palm Beach area and the influences of the early African-American residents. The discussion also covers how food emigrates, the importance of how foods are prepared, and the concept of foodways (the cultural, social, historic, and economic practices tied to traditions and the production and consumption of food). The cuisine takes the elements from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Asia and includes dishes like key lime pie, conch fritters, mango salsa, jerk chicken, and seafood gumbos and salads. For more information, visit http://wpbcitylibrary.org/ or call 561-868-7701.

MARCH: 

  • Historical Society of Palm Beach County hosts West Palm Beach 125 exhibit through
  • June 27, 2020 at 300 N. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-4164 or visit http://www.hspbc.org/.
  • March 21 – GreenMarket Quasquicentennial Walking Tour will spotlight the last
  • 125 years of city history with landmark stops and stories. Tours begin at 10 a.m. by the banyan tree on the east end of Clematis Street, 101 N. Clematis St., and end at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, at 300 N. Dixie Hwy. Tickets are $10 per person and tours are rain or shine. Call 561-832-4164, ext. 2 for more information or reservations.
  • March 26 & 27 – Historic West Palm Beach Fishing Club FREE Open House to Celebrate 125 Years of West Palm Beach from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at 201 Fifth Street, West Palm Beach (corner of Fifth Street and North Flagler Drive). Catch a glimpse of the city’s past and enjoy a tour of the historic West Palm Beach Fishing Club (WPBFC), one of the oldest fishing clubs in America. This organization was founded by city leaders in 1934 as a civic anecdote to the Great Depression and helped fuel the region’s economic recovery through sportfishing tourism. On site volunteers will share the Fishing Club’s unique historical role in the city and in the development of the sportfishing industry. The WPBFC is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an official historic landmark in the City of West Palm Beach. Free snacks and drinks will be available during the open house. For more information, call 561-832-6780 or visit http://www.westpalmbeachfishingclub.org/.

 
APRIL/MAY 

  • Historical Society of Palm Beach County hosts West Palm Beach 125 exhibit through
  • June 27, 2020 at 300 N. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-4164 or visit http://www.hspbc.org/.
  • April 18 – GreenMarket Quasquicentennial Walking Tour will spotlight the last
  • 125 years of city history with landmark stops and stories. Tours begin at 10 a.m. by the banyan tree on the east end of Clematis Street, 101 N. Clematis St., and end at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, at 300 N. Dixie Hwy. Tickets are $10 per person and tours are rain or shine. Call 561-832-4164, ext. 2 for more information or reservations.

 
JUNE:  

  • LAST CHANCE: Historical Society of Palm Beach County hosts West Palm Beach 125 exhibit through June 27, 2020 at 300 N. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-4164 or visit http://www.hspbc.org/.
  • June 25:Celebrate Clematis by Night’s 25th Anniversary with 125th theme. Celebrate the last 125 years of West Palm Beach history with music, activities and giveaways.

 
JULY: 

  • July 4: 4th on Flagler Presents a Fantastic Finale in honor of 125th Anniversary

 
For more information WPB 125, visit wpb.org/125, call (561) 822-2222 (TTY 800-955-8771) or follow the City of West Palm Beach on Facebook @CityofWPB and on Twitter and Instagram @westpalmbch.