West Palm Beach, Florida

county seat of Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

West Palm Beach is a city of Florida in the United States. West Palm Beach is the county seat of Palm Beach County, Florida. As of 2020, the population of West Palm beach was 117,415.[3]

West Palm Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach skyline
West Palm Beach skyline
Official seal of West Palm Beach, Florida
Orchid City, West Palm, WPB
Location in Palm Beach County and the state of Florida
Location in Palm Beach County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 26°42′35″N 80°03′51″W / 26.70972°N 80.06417°W / 26.70972; -80.06417
Country United States
State Florida
County Palm Beach
Settledc. 1884[1]
Incorporated (Town of West Palm Beach)November 5, 1894[1]
Named forPalm Beach
 • TypeMayor–Commission
 • Total57.98 sq mi (150.18 km2)
 • Land53.82 sq mi (139.39 km2)
 • Water4.17 sq mi (10.79 km2)
13 ft (4 m)
 • Total117,415
 • Rank239th in the United States
17th in Florida
 • Density2,181.7/sq mi (842.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code561
FIPS code12-76600
GNIS feature ID0293097[4]



The city was founded by Henry Flagler as a community to house the servants working in the two grand hotels on the neighboring island of Palm Beach, across Lake Worth. The original spelling was "Westpalmbeach", but it was feared that the 13-letter word would be a bad omen for the new community. On November 5, 1894, 78 people met at the "Calaboose" (the first jail and police station located at Clematis St. and Poinsettia, now Dixie Hwy.) and passed the motion to incorporate the Town of West Palm Beach in what was then Dade County (now Miami-Dade County).[5] This made West Palm Beach the oldest incorporated municipality in the county and in South Florida. The town council quickly addressed the building codes and the tents and shanties were replaced by brick, brick veneer, and stone buildings. The city grew rapidly in the 1920s as part of the Florida land boom. Many of the city's landmark structures and old neighborhoods were built during this period.[6]

Originally, Flagler intended for his Florida East Coast Railway to end in West Palm but after the area experienced a deep freeze, he chose to extend the railroad to Miami instead.

In the 1960s, Palm Beach County's first enclosed shopping mall, the Palm Beach Mall, and an indoor arena were completed. They led to a short revival for the city, but crime continued to be a serious problem and by the early 1990s there were not many people living or working in downtown. Since the 1990s, developments such as CityPlace and renovation of 1920s architecture on Clematis Street have brought people back to downtown for the entertainment and shopping district.

Notable area residents, past and present



  1. 1.0 1.1 "(Chapter) III: A Brief History of West Palm Beach (pages 21-24)" (PDF). wpb.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 10, 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  2. "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "P2: HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT ... - Census Bureau Table". P2 | HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 12 June 2023.
  4. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. "Historic Gallery". The City of West Palm Beach. Archived from the original on 2010-11-21. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  6. "West Palm Beach Neighborhood Guide". The One Palm Group. Retrieved February 7, 2024.