"I built Palm Beach Gardens without knocking one tree down, [and] I moved the biggest tree ever moved in Florida.
-John D. MacArthur-
The start of the Cold War (1945) between the United States and the Soviet Union and the
Korean War (1950-1953) resulted in expanison of the West Palm Beach Natioal Guard for local defense. A new airport was constructed at Morrison Field in 1947 and renamed Palm Beach International Airport; in 1952 part of the airport was reactivated as an air force base.
An era of prosperity arrived after World War II, and the mobile class that had emerged in the 1920s became considerably larger and even more mobile. During the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, an average of a thousand retirees moved to Florida each week. Many of them came to Palm Beach County, where the population doubled during the 1950s. Servicemen and women who had been stationed in south Florida during World War II returned to vacation or set up permanent residence. West Palm Beach became the one of the nation's fastest growing metropolitan area during the '50s; the city's borders spread west of Military Trail and south to Lake Clarke Shores. From 1970 to 1980, the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton are rose to second place in growth in the United States.
In central Palm Beach County, Louis R. Perini, Sr. turned a swamp into a commercial and residental center of West Palm Beach. Development spread to the unincorporated areas of the county, where a few men of vision purchased large amounts of vacant land that they subdivided, developed, and resold. In "North County," John D. MacArthur, E. Llwyd Ecclestone, and Otto "Buz" DiVosta created residential subdivisions for the new arrivals and attracted big industry to the area. South County's largest developer Arthur Vining Davis, in Boca Raton and Samuel Friedlands' land holdings in westerm Palm Beach County were the basis for new western communities. As in earlier periods, expansion of services and businesses were required to serve a growing population
Because of the explosive growth experienced in the county, the first zoning regulations for Palm Beach County were approved by the Board of County Commissioners in 1957. The zoning code was greatly expanded in 1973 and the county rezoned to ensure consistency with the new code.
© Historical Society of Palm Beach County.