New Delray Beach Historical Society Exhibits Showcase Life In Delray During Booms, Busts, Every Day Life


By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor

Did you know the origins of the mango daiquiri can be traced to the current location of Caffe Luna Rosa? Or that Delray had a song? Or that the city’s original pioneers were not the ones that came from Michigan?

These facts, artifacts and tidbits of the city’s history fill three new exhibits at the Delray Beach Historical Society.

Exhibits “La Florida,”“The Last Frontier” and “Sunny Greetings from Delray Beach” are now open to the public. They take a comprehensive look at what living in Delray Beach was like in different time eras from the earliest days to the 1940s. From building the city to enjoying the land boom, photos and stories share what daily life was like in the “Ocean City”— what Delray was called long before “Village by the Sea.”

The first two exhibits take visitors all of the way back in time to the earliest history of the city, prehistoric times.

The exhibits feature large graphic panels and interactive stations where you can learn about indigenous cultures, how Florida became a state, the impact of Henry Flagler’s railroad, environmental challenges of living and building in South Florida, the mosquito plight, agriculture, architecture, infrastructure, economy, lives of women, communication and the enduring pioneer spirit.

Tools from the city’s first contractor Irwin J. Sinks line the top of the historic cottage in one of the rooms.

Executive Director of the society Winnie Edwards said those were the tools that literally built Delray.

Photos show how people took their horse and carriage to their beach house on an all-day trek. Portraits of known Delray game changers like George Morikami and Ethel Sterling Williams line the top of one room of the cottage.

Edwards said the goal is to keep that exhibit up permanently so residents, visitors and students can learn how the city came to be.

The third exhibit, “Sunny Greetings from Delray Beach,” which is on display in the 1926 Bungalow, picks right up from where the other cottage leaves off.

A giant postcard featuring 1930s women in swim suits welcomes you to continue on the Delray story.

From the 20s-40s, the city went through the land boom, became home to an artist colony and prohibition.

This cottage features never before seen images and rare artifacts of a town full of entrepreneurial optimism and passion for the arts, polo, tennis, fishing and dining.

Stories of iconic people, hotels and places provide visitors an in-depth, multi-media experience of what life was like.

There are outfits people would wear and a police blotter from the years of prohibition highlighting $25 fines for public intoxication.

This exhibit also features a “postcard wall” with over 200 iconic and rare postcards from the Delray Beach Historical Society archives plus rare art collections and travel memorabilia.

The Delray Beach Historical Society’s exhibits and tours of Cason Cottage Historic House Museum are open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Call 561-274-9578 for more information.