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Briny Breezes

A grandmother with her grandson walking back from the beach along a street lined mobile homes in Briny Breezes, 1992.

A grandmother with her grandson walking
back from the beach along a street lined
mobile homes in Briny Breezes, 1992.

In 1919 Ward Beecher Miller (1861-1937) left Michigan with his wife, Agnes and purchased 43 acres on the barrier island near Boynton (now Boynton Beach); he named it Shore Acres. Miller built a 2½-story stucco house and started a 500-head dairy farm. To take advantage of the real estate boom, in 1925 he turned Shore Acres into Briny Breezes, laid out 15- to 30-foot lots, and sold out the subdivision for close to $2 million. By 1927, all of the land came back to him due to the real estate bust.

The Millers raised turkeys and dairy cattle on the west side of A1A and turned Ruthmary Avenue into a strawberry patch. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, he allowed tourists to park their travel trailers on his land for three dollars per week, advertising in northern newspapers. By 1937 there were 40 trailers in the park, and Briny Breezes separated from Boynton Beach (now Ocean Ridge). In the 1940s, at least 50 children from Briny Breezes attended nearby schools in the winter season.

In 1958 the residents pooled their resources to purchase the Millers’ land at $2,000 to $2,500 per lot, a total of $1.5 million; they paid off a $350,000 mortgage in three years. The trailer park was incorporated as the Town of Briny Breezes in 1963.

The residents, as Briny Breezes, Inc., agreed to sell their town to Ocean Land Investments, a developer, in 2005, for an average of $1 million per home. The buyer exercised its right to cancel the purchase before it was complete.

Briny Breezes is believed to be the only oceanfront mobile home park in Florida and one of two Florida towns that are mobile home parks; the other is Ocean Breeze Park in Martin County. Its original residents were seasonal families; today mostly retirees live in approximately 488 mobile homes in Briny Breezes either seasonally or year-round.

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