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Town Names Have Several Origins

Readers: At times we diverge from our question-and-answer format to mark a key anniversary. Seventy-five years ago, on May 15, 1931, the town of Boynton Beach split from Boynton. We’ve covered this complicated chronology before, but here’s the explanation one more time:
The town of Boynton – no “Beach” – was incorporated in 1920. It was named for Maj. Nathan Smith Boynton. In 1931, a tax dispute about beach area properties emerged. Then the town’s debt brought it near bankruptcy. On May 15, 1931, a stretch of oceanfront land 3 miles long and a half-mile wide, a
third of it under water, split off and became a separate town called Boynton Beach.
Later, the town discovered that postal clerks were confusing “Boynton Beach” with “Daytona Beach.” Leaders also worried about confusion with nearby Boynton. So in April 1937, the mayor had a contest for a new name, with a $100 prize. The winner: his daughter. Her suggestion: Ocean Ridge. The change became effective in 1939. Two years later, the town of Boynton changed its name to Boynton Beach.
Then, in 1951, a ballot question suggested changing Ocean Ridge’s name again, this time to “South Palm Beach.” It failed in a 10-7 vote. But four years later, the name was adopted when a new town incorporated up the road.
City of Boynton Beach: (561) 742-6100. Web page: www.boynton-beach.org.
Town of Ocean Ridge: (561) 732-2635. Web page: www.oceanridgeflorida.com.
Boynton Beach Historical Society: Box 12, Boynton Beach 33435.

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Posted in Eliot Kleinberg May 17, 2006 at 10:16 am.

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