Along with beautiful landscapes and great weather, Boca Raton, Florida, has a rich history, and there are many historical attractions and landmarks nearby. Here are some of the best places where you can explore Boca Raton’s rich history.
The Boca Raton History Museum
The Boca Raton History Museum, also called the Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum, is in downtown Boca Raton. It has a prominent gold dome, and was built in 1927. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was once the town hall. The Boca Raton Historical Society runs it, and they offer 40-minute guided tours. Each tour includes a short video about the architecture of the building, including the former tax collection vaults.
If you want to learn more about the history of the city, you can take a step-on tour with a guide. The guide will step onto your vehicle and lead you around the city. Sites include Old Floresta, Spanish Village, Pearl City, Royal Palm, and Mizner Park. These tours are from 10 a.m. to noon. You can also see permanent exhibits about the founding of the town, World War II, IBM, and the Boca Raton Army Air Field.
The other exhibits change regularly, but they always highlight local history. Until the end of March, you can see an exhibit about Boca Raton’s first responders. The museum store has a variety of books and DVDs on local history. You can also get gifts, clothing, decor, and more. The Boca Raton History Museum is open from Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse
The Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse was finished in 1907. It’s surrounded by beautiful scenery, and the view from the top is amazing. The light is at the northern edge of the Florida Reef, the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States. It was built in Detroit, Michigan, and the lens came all the way from Paris, France. It’s 9 feet wide, weighs 3,600 pounds, and contains 356 hand-ground glass panels in a brass frame.
The original light was a kerosene lamp, and a lighthouse keeper carried fuel up the 175 steps to the top of the lighthouse several times per night. In the 1920s, the lamp was replaced with electric bulbs. In 1974, the lighthouse became fully automated. The Hillsboro Inlet Light Station was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1979. In 2003, the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse was on a U.S. postage stamp.
Along with the lighthouse, you can see the light keeper’s quarters, a shop and garage building, a timer and generator building, a barracks building, and senior officer recreation quarters. For an excellent view of the lighthouse, visit Hillsboro Inlet Park. There’s also a historical marker that commemorates the lighthouse. Tours of the tower are available once or twice per month, and kids who visit must be at least eight years old. You can also check out the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society Museum at nearby Pompano Beach. It’s open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is on the site of the Yamato Colony, a settlement of Japanese farmers in northern Boca Raton. Yamato is an ancient word for Japan. Jo Sakai founded the colony after he visited Florida in 1903. He was from Miyazu, Japan, and he graduated from New York University. For many decades, people farmed pineapples and many other fruits and vegetables in the area. In 1942, the Federal government confiscated most of the land for a military installation.
George Sukeji Morikami was one of the last original settlers. He donated the land for the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, and it opened in 1977. Visitors can learn more about the history of the Yamato colony and Japanese culture. The museum’s original building looks like a traditional Japanese villa, and it has a ring of exhibition rooms around an open-air courtyard.
The courtyard has a dry garden with small boulders, gravel, and pebbles. The main building has three galleries for exhibits, a 225-seat theater, classrooms, and an authentic tea house with a viewing gallery and over 500 tea ceremony items. Exhibits change often, and the museum’s collection has more than 7,000 artifacts and pieces of art.
You can also visit the museum store or the Cornell Cafe. Its lakeside terraces provide panoramic views while you dine. The gardens cover 16 acres, and they include a bonsai collection and several ponds with koi fish and other wildlife. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens are open from Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Sports Immortals Museum Showcase
The Sports Immortals museum and store has more than a million items. This collection is the largest and most varied in the world, and it’s worth more than $250 million. Joel Platt runs it, and he’s been collecting sports memorabilia for more than 75 years. Visitors can see one of Chris Evert’s Wimbledon tennis rackets, an Olympic jacket that belonged to Cassius Clay, a jersey autographed by Michael Jordan, and a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb.
The collection has been on the Discovery Channel, on ESPN, and in a variety of magazines. The Sports Immortals International Hall of Fame selects new athletes every year, and traveling exhibits go all over the country. More than 10,000 items are for sale, and you can buy many rare collectibles. The museum is on the third floor of the Presser Law Building, and is open from Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At these interesting places, you can learn more about Boca Raton and history in general. Did we miss any of your favorite sites? Contact us at Titan Funding and let us know which spots you and your friends and family members like best. We’re open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and we can help you get the funds you need.