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University Park

Royal Palm Polo Club, Inc., 1981

Polo match at Royal Palm Polo Club, Inc., 1981.

In 1956 Arthur Vining Davis (1867-1962) purchased 850 acres in Boca Raton, including the Boca Raton Hotel and Club. A local real estate boom resulted when Davis purchased another 1,500 acres in the surrounding rural community. Davis transferred all of his property to a new public corporation, Arvida, in 1958, while retaining 60% of the stock.

The IBM complex, in University Park, now part of Boca Raton

The IBM complex, in University Park,
now part of Boca Raton.

The stock sale provided capital for Davis, as Arvida, to develop other projects in Boca Raton. North of Glades Road, he created University Park, a company town of almost 5,000 acres that was incorporated in 1959. Fewer than 50 households resided here, but University Park became home to the St. Andrews School, Marymount College of Boca Raton (now Lynn University), and IBM (where the personal computer was developed in 1981). Davis moved the Royal Palm Polo Club here from his Boca Raton Hotel and Club; the club relocated again to Jog Road in 1977.

Arvida had until 1971 to turn over the town to its residents, which had increased to about a thousand people; they voted to be annexed to Boca Raton, and Boca voters agreed. Two years later, Arvida tried and failed to get 2,800 acres back. One of University Park’s residents, Dorothy Wilken, was elected mayor of Boca Raton in 1976 and later became a Palm Beach County commissioner and three-term clerk of the court.

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