Western County: The Acreage
In 1956 Russian immigrant Samuel Nathan Friedland (1896-1985), founder of the Food Fair grocery chain, purchased the 100-square-mile Indian Trail Ranch in central Palm Beach County from Southern States Land and Timber Company. The Indian Trail Water Control District (present-day Indian Trail Improvement District) was established in 1957 to construct and maintain canals and roads on the land. Friedland planted 12,000 citrus trees on the property in the 1960s to supply fruit to his stores; he sold some of the groves to Callery-Judge Groves and other growers. Other parts of Friedland’s land became the J. W. Corbett National Wildlife Refuge and Pratt and Whitney Aircraft.
Friedland sold 3,750 acres in 1959 to Lefcourt Corporation, which developed Royal Palm Beach. The remaining property—north of Royal Palm Beach and south of the Wildlife Refuge—is a roughly defined community known as The Acreage. Friedland’s Royal Palm Beach Colony, Ltd., heavily advertised lots of about an acre for $5,000—$95 down and $25 per month. Buyers arrived to find swampland, and Palm Beach County denied building permits, as no drainage plan had been approved by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Variances were granted one by one until owners formed an association in 1978 to address their collective issues, especially drainage. Most of today’s 40,000-plus residents live in single-family homes on lots of one acre or larger where they can enjoy rural, equestrian, and agricultural ways of living. A contest in the 1980s suggested over 60 new names for the area, but residents voted to stay with The Acreage.
© Historical Society of Palm Beach County.