A short history of Flamingo Park
Flamingo Park Historic District has two legacies, both much appreciated in the 21st century.
First is the green one: Before the area was platted in 1921 for construction of single-family homes, today’s Flamingo Park was a pineapple plantation and mango orchard. Between and around the homes today, hundred-year-old mango trees tower over our streets, sidewalks and houses.
Botanical artifacts abound, such as the magnificent kapok tree at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Biscayne Drive and the monstrous banyan trees of Ardmore Road.
While gardening in the 21st century is nothing like the 1920s, many homeowners plant native and xeriscaped yards to conserve water and help surrounding nature survive our hurricane seasons well into the future.
The second legacy arose from the 1920s Florida land boom, when Mediterranean Revival and Spanish Mission homes filled out what was a “suburban” strip of land perched on the Atlantic coastal ridge south of downtown West Palm Beach.
Indeed, with nearby Dixie Highway bustling with shops and businesses, Flamingo Park became THE place to buy or build a new home.
Alfred Comeau, developer of West Palm Beach’s first “skyscraper” (the Comeau Building), built his home here at 701 Flamingo Drive.
As in many urban areas, the 1970s and ’80s drew many residents out of the city to newer suburbs. The ensuing urban downturn continued until in the early-1980s, when energetic buyers saw the value of solid old homes and began to restore them. Thus the rejuvenation of central West Palm Beach was underway.
In 1987, some of those tireless neighbors formed the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association.
The restored homes became important as “contributing properties” in awarding the local Historic District designation in 1993. Now homes built as late as the 1950s have “grown up” into historically contributing properties.
Time does fly, doesn’t it?
We watch — with decades behind us, as nearby Dixie Highway revs up again with new restaurants and shops and the Norton Museum of Art turns its face toward us — and we marvel at what changes and what doesn’t.
Many of those 1980s homeowners remain — still helping ensure Flamingo Park is the vibrant place we love.
Thanks to them, to others who alighted awhile and moved on, and to the “new folks” who have taken their place, our Flamingo Park reigns as a gleaming gem of a neighborhood.