Within months after Paris Singer completed the Everglades Club in Palm Beach in 1919, he and other members purchased about two square miles of land for another golf club, 13 miles south along A1A. The Gulf Stream Golf Club was chartered in 1924, and the Town of Gulf Stream in 1925. Their names came from the Gulf Stream current, which flows nearest the Florida coast along Palm Beach County. Several Palm Beach architects were commissioned for houses: Maurice Fatio, Howard Major, John Volk, and Marion Sims Wyeth. Although the Palm Beach Times predicted the “possibility of a rather heavy exodus from Palm Beach to Gulf Stream,” both towns continued to grow.
The town grew into a winter resort for the wealthy after brothers John Shaffer Phipps and Howard Phipps officially opened the Gulf Stream Polo Club in 1927. In 1938 the Gulf Stream School opened to educate residents’ children during the season.
The first rental units were built in 1940 at Jamaica Square, but gas rationing and travel restrictions kept half of them empty during World War II. Instead, about 280 beach watchers lived in barracks. Armed with pistols and rifles, these local volunteers patrolled the beaches all night on horses shipped in from Kansas by the Coast Guard, which leased the polo club’s stables to house the horses.
In 1946 Michael Phipps resurrected the fields; his family sold the polo grounds in the early 1960s. Philip Iglehart and eleven others moved the club to Lake Worth, where their descendants still play at the Gulfstream Polo Club, with its slightly modified name.
The state opened A1A in 1916 in this area, and, in the 1920s, planted Australian pines as a windbreak on both sides of the road from Jacksonville to Miami. The trees formed a canopy over A1A, which remains only in Gulf Stream. In 1992 the state designated the two-mile stretch as a historic and scenic highway, prohibiting the removal of healthy Australian pines. Another law in 1996 allowed the town to cultivate new plants to maintain their rows of more than 300 pines, although they are banned elsewhere as environmental hazards.
In the 2000 census, Gulf Stream ranked as the 11th highest-income locale in the United States. William F. Koch, Jr. has served as the city’s mayor since 1966.