Historical Beach Walk
Note to my readers: This Delray Beach historical beach walk article can serve as a mini pocket-guide as well as a narrative for the Delray Beach historical markers along the way. The Delray Beach historical beach walk begins at the north end of Ocean Boulevard (A1A) and walks you south approximately one mile, ending near Causarina Blvd.
Hint: If you would like to divide this beach walk into two half-mile beach walks, I suggest using the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and A1A as a halfway point.
Historical Beach Walk
By McCall Credle-Rosenthal
The famed Barefoot Mailman walked from Palm Beach south to Miami along, what are now mainly, Ocean Boulevard and A1A. The U.S. Mail route was established in 1885.
Since fresh water was unavailable for horses, the only means of delivering the mail was by row boat as far as the Lake Worth Lagoon and walking south from there.
He stopped at the Orange Grove House of Refuge in Delray Beach before continuing his route to Miami.
One mailman, Ed Hamilton, mysteriously disappeared while making this six day trek.
Speculations abound about what may have happened to him as he walked through the Hillsborough River area known to be heavily populated with alligators. His mail pouch and some of his clothes were found at the edge of the inlet by Charles Pierce another pioneer.Looking South on Ocean Boulevard
Sidewalk and Beach are to the Left
Today, a sidewalk with the beach on the east of Ocean Boulevard (A1A) begins south of George Bush Boulevard and extends south to Casuarina Road. Approximately one mile, this beach walk is filled with historical markers and landmarks.
Walking south on A1A and approaching Beach Drive, the area extending between Ocean Blvd. (A1A) and Andrews Avenue is the location of the Bay Ridge Cemetery.
This was the graveyard of the pioneer families of Delray Beach.
Looking west at 120 N. Ocean Blvd, The Grosvenor House condominium is seen. This was once the site of the Orange Grove House of Refuge that had been built in 1876 by the US Life Saving Services.
It was the first known building in Delray Beach and was used by the Barefoot Mailman on his overnight rests before continuing to deliver the mail up and down South Florida's beaches.
East of the sidewalk, continue your historical beach walk beachside, and pass the Orange Grove House of Refuge Marker.Orange Grove House of Refuge Historical Marker
(Photo Courtesy of Pat Healy Golembe)
Intersection of Atlantic Avenue and
Ocean Blvd. (A1A)
Built upon the site of the 1923 Seacrest Hotel which was demolished in the early 1980’s, the Marriott Hotel stands gracefully on the corner of Ocean Boulevard (A1A) and Atlantic Avenue.Delray Beach Marriott Hotel
Corner of Atlantic Avenue and Ocean Blvd.
(Photo Courtesy of Photographically Yours, Inc.)
Located east of the sidewalk, on N. Ocean Blvd. is the Bicentennial Marker erected for July 4, 1976.
On the southwest corner of Atlantic Avenue and 2 South Ocean Boulevard, is the Visitors Information Center and Sara Gleason Park.
This is the former site of the Old City Casino and salt water pool, built during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
Directly across from the Visitors Information Center is the Delray Beach Pavilion which served as the center for many activities of the pioneer families beginning early in the 20th century. The present pavilion is an architectural homage to the Orange Grove House.
Pavilion at Ocean Blvd and Atlantic Avenue
Delray Beach Historical Beach Walk
Comment by Danika Dahl: If you'd like to take it easy and turn your beach walk into two half-mile beach walks, this is a good halfway point.
Go ahead and stick your feet in the sand and have some fun on the beach or maybe you'd like to enjoy the magnificent ocean view from the balcony of Boston's or if you just want some tasty beverages, how about planning your beach walk so you can indulge in the pleasures of happy hour at the beachfront restaurants.
Beach Walk Continues
South of Atlantic Avenue
Located west at 40 South Ocean Blvd on the site of the Old Casa Las Olas Hotel is Boston’s on the Beach Restaurant.Boston's on the Beach Restaurant
Continue walking south to The Dover House Resort, located at 110 South Ocean Boulevard and Bermuda Resort, both reflecting Revival Style architecture of the 1950’s.Dover House Resort in Delray Beach
Soon, on the west side of the street is the Sandoway House Nature Center, built in 1936 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Offering unique educational experiences, Sandoway House is a wonderful place for the entire family. A historic marker has been erected there.
Note to my readers: Sandoway House Nature Center offers shark feedings six days a week.Sandoway House Historical Marker
Nassau Park Historic District
(Photo Courtesy Pat Healy-Golembe)
At the corner of Nassau Street and Ocean Boulevard begins the Nassau Park Historic District. This two-block historic district in Delray Beach consists of eighteen one- and two-story Cape Cod Colonial Revival Style Cottages built in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
This district is located at Nassau Street and extends to Venetian Drive Historic District. A historic marker has been placed on Nassau Street near the corner of Venetian Drive.
Continue your beach walk beachside, east of the sidewalk at 200 Ocean Boulevard and Bay Street, is the most recently placed historical marker.
It commemorates the dedication of the Delray Beach Municipal Beach which was donated to the City of Delray by the Hunt and Gleason families (as in Gleason Street) in 1899.
Sara Gleason held the title to the Delray Municipal Beach. Gleason Historical Marker
(Photo Courtesy Pat Healy-Golembe)
At 340 South Ocean Blvd is Anchor Park so named for the ship’s anchor in front. Anchor Park is the home of the Ocean Rescue Division Headquarters.
This park offers outdoor showers; a playground, picnic tables and a barbecue grill, making it an ideal place for a family outing.
The Delray Wreck Historical Marker
(Photo Courtesy Pat Healy-Golembe)
On the beachside, approaching Casuarina Road, is the S.S. Inchulva Wreck State Marker.
Wrecked by a fierce September 11, 1903 hurricane, the S.S. Inchulva in 5 broken sections is scattered at the south end of the Delray Beach Municipal Beach.
This is considered one of the best diving spots in Florida and is located only 150 feet offshore and under 25 feet of water.
The mile-long Delray Municipal Beach ends at this point.
What's Beyond the Beach Walk...
South toward Linton Boulevard are pristine beach properties, the backdrop for the magnificent homes found just east and west of the sidewalk on South Ocean Boulevard (A1A).
At the corner of Casuarina and (A1A) Ocean Boulevard, is the captivatingly, luxurious British Colonial Style Seagate Hotel Beach Club. This private club offers its members dining, swimming and beach privileges just across the street from elegantly appointed tropical distinguished residences.
Continue walking prior to Linton Boulevard is the Atlantic Dunes Park, funded by a Land and Conservation Grant from the Dept. of the Interior through the auspices of the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection. In the park is a serene, tropical forest with a path that leads to the ocean.
For a free copy of The Historic Sites Walking Tour brochure, published by the Delray Beach Historical Society visit the DBHS at 3 NE First Street or the newly opened Ethel Sterling Williams Learning Center at 1908 Hunt House located at 111 N. Swinton Avenue.
McCall Credle Rosenthal is author of the best-selling Florida history book Images of America: Delray Beach available at Hands Stationary, Amazon.com, Books A Million, The Beached Boat Company, Seagate Hotel, and CACACE Studio. McCall serves on the Marketing Committee of the Destination Delray Beach Task Force and on the Advisory Committee of the Delray Beach Historical Society.
Comment by Danika Dahl: I am always honored when McCall contributes to I-Love-Delray-Beach.com because she is passionately in love with Delray Beach just like I am! And she always provides my readers with insightful information delivered first-hand directly from her heart! Thank you McCall for another exceptional contribution to I-Love-Delray-Beach.com.
You also might like to read McCall's boating articles she wrote on Delray Boat Club and the Intracoastal yacht cruise on Lady Atlantic.
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