Delray Beach is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The population of Delray Beach was estimated at 69,451 in 2019, up from 60,522 according to the 2010 United States Census. Situated 52 miles north of Miami, Delray Beach is in the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,198,782 people in 2018.
The earliest known human inhabitants of what is now Delray Beach were the Jaega people. Tequesta Indians likely passed through or inhabited the area at various times, and an 1841 U.S. military map shows a Seminole camp located in the area now known as Lake Ida. Few other recorded details of these local indigenous settlements have survived.
In 1876, the United States Life Saving Service built the Orange Grove House of Refuge to rescue and shelter ship-wrecked sailors. The house derived its name from the grove of mature sour orange and other tropical fruit trees found at the site chosen for the house of refuge, but no record or evidence of who planted the trees was discovered.
The first non-indigenous group to build a settlement was a party of African Americans from the panhandle of Florida, who purchased land a little inland from the Orange Grove House of Refuge and began farming around 1884. By 1894 the black community was large enough to establish the first school in the area.
In 1894 William S. Linton, a Republican U.S. Congressman for Saginaw, Michigan, bought a tract of land just west of the Orange Grove House of Refuge, and began selling plots in what he hoped would become a farming community. Initially, this community was named after Linton. In 1896 Henry Flagler extended his Florida East Coast Railroad south from West Palm Beach to Miami, with a station at Linton.
The Linton settlers established a post office and a store, and began to achieve success with truck farming of winter vegetables for the northern market.