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Palm Beach County Has Part Of Five Other Counties

Q: What was here before Palm Beach County?
A: A mosquito. Actually, a lot of them – and a county name. That’s just one of five different counties that once included present-day Palm Beach County.
The state’s first two counties were Escambia, which mostly encompassed the Panhandle, and St. John, which covered most of the peninsula. In 1824, Mosquito County was formed from St. Johns; it sprawled from near Daytona Beach all the way to Miami and over to the Fort Myers area.
This area would later be part of Dade – now Miami-Dade – County, but it wasn’t when Dade was first formed in 1836. It stayed in Mosquito County. The new Dade County covered 6,000 square miles, but started at the Hillsboro River, which now separates Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach. It stretched to the
upper Keys and over to the south shore of Lake Okeechobee.
At the time, the census counted about 500 people in the southern portion of the Florida peninsula.
In 1844, this area became part of St. Lucie County, created from Mosquito County; it went from Cape Canaveral to near Orlando, south to near Pompano Beach and west to Lakeland. But about a decade later, Dade County expanded north to the St. Lucie Inlet. In 1889, the county seat moved from Miami to Juno, a settlement several miles from present-day Juno Beach that was later abandoned. Dade County’s population had grown to about 1,000. A decade later it had five times that.
In 1907, a move to split off a new county from Dade failed. But two years later, another attempt worked. Palm Beach County was formed on April 30, 1909. There were about 5,000 residents. West Palm Beach was named the county seat. Palm Beach County shrank to its current boundaries in May 1925, when portions
of Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties were split off to form Martin County.
Florida Historical Society: (888) 224-1526/(321) 690-0099. Web page: www.florida-historical-soc.org/
Read More About It: Our Century, by Palm Beach Post staff

Posted in Eliot Kleinberg December 13, 2000 at 3:01 pm.

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