Town of Boynton Subdivision and Ocean Avenue

Town of Boynton Subdivision and Ocean Avenue


Town of Boynton Subdivision

The Town of Boynton Subdivision was platted in 1898 by Byrd Spilman Dewey and her husband Fred Sidney Dewey. The subdivision is bounded by Boynton Beach Boulevard (Lake Avenue) to the north, SE 2nd Avenue (Dade Street) to the south, SE 1st Street (Pine Street) to the west, and South Federal Highway (Lake Street) to the east. Note: Boynton Beach Boulevard (Lake Avenue) is also shown on the plat as Lake Street. The streets within the subdivision are forty feet wide with the exception of Ocean Avenue which is fifty feet wide to signify its importance as the main east/west route.

As the Deweys sold lots to settlers, commercial and residential buildings began to appear which led to the creation of the downtown area around Ocean Avenue. In 2013, Veterans Park was renamed Dewey Park in their honor. Dewey Park is outlined in green on the map below.

Town of Boynton PlatTown of Boynton Plat

Ocean Avenue

The following photographs illustrate the development of Ocean Avenue from c.1909 to c.1950. The c.1909 photo appears to show Ocean Avenue prior to the construction of the first Woman’s Club building which was constructed in 1910. The photograph from 1910 shows the Boynton Woman’s Club on the left hand side next to the tree. Both of these photographs provide an informative insight into the early days of the downtown area. Of particular note are the Frame Vernacular buildings constructed from a wood frame and wood siding, and the shell rock road. The building to the foreground on the right of the 1910 photograph is Boynton’s first church which, although Methodist, accommodated all denominations1.

Main Street c.1909c.1909 (Florida Memory)

Main Street 19101910

The photographs from 1945 and c.1950 show a significant expansion and improvement to the downtown area. The wood frame structures have been replaced with stucco and concrete block buildings, the road has been widened and surfaced with asphalt to cater to the increased use of motor vehicles, sidewalks have been created, and traffic signals and street lights have been installed. The 1945 photograph shows, on the left: Sinclair Station, Buck Muster’s Saloon, and the 500 building and, on the right: Paul Mercer’s Standard Oil Station, the Oyer Building, and the one-story post office building2.

Ocean Avenue 19451945

N. Ocean Blvd c.1950c.1950

Boynton Woman’s Club Building

Boynton Woman’s Club c.1910Boynton Woman’s Club c.1910
The first Boynton Woman’s Club building was built in 1910 on the corner of Ocean Avenue and SE 4th Street. Built from “Coquimbo” lumber salvaged from a Norwegian barkentine which ran aground off Boynton in 1909, the building cost $10,000. The women held meetings and operated a volunteer library in one half of the second floor and rented out the rest of the building.

Woman's Club c.1920Meredith’s Electric shop c.1920
Meredith’s Electric shop was a later tenant of the Woman’s Club building. The photograph shows Mrs. Anna Meredith and her husband John B. Meredith 3rd and 4th from the left. They also lived in one half of the upstairs with their daughter Margaret. Meredith wired Boynton for its first electric lights in 1921.

The photograph shows that both the first and second floor porches have been removed from the building and a modern store front has been installed.

Woman's Club c.1950Western Auto franchise as occupant (c.1950)
The Woman’s Club sold the building to the Masons for $10,000 who used it until 1949 when a new lodge was built to the east. The following owners rented it to a Western Auto franchise as shown in the photograph to the left from the 1950s.

By this time, the front elevation had been coated with stucco, the side elevation had a stone veneer, and a small one-story addition had been built.

Woman's Club c.1995Woman's Club c.1995
The building was still in use in the 1990s although the exterior had been significantly altered again by the addition of vertical wood siding. The former Boynton Woman’s Club building has now been demolished3.

Bank of Boynton Buildings

Bank of Boynton c.1915Bank of Boynton c.1915
The first home of the Bank of Boynton Building was built c.1915 and was located on the south side of Ocean Avenue just east of the Boynton Woman’s Club building. The bank shared the first floor with Newlan’s Pharmacy and Harold’s Barber Shop. On the second floor was the Boynton Hotel, later known as the Jones Hotel which operated from 1924 until 1928. This building has been demolished.

The style is typical of a two-part commercial design organized into an upper and lower zone. Notable features include the plate glass store fronts and ribbon windows in the lower zone; the parapet, cornice, and brackets in the upper zone; and the two rows of decorative panels above the windows.

Bank of Boynton c.1961Bank of Boynton c.1961
The next home of the bank was located at the southeast corner of Ocean Avenue and Federal Highway. The bank failed in 1929 and was re-organized in 1948 as the Boynton Beach State Bank. In 1953, the bank moved to larger premises on the west side of Federal Highway (now used by the Boynton Beach Congregational Church). The old bank building was demolished in 1961.

Notable features include the arched door and window openings, the spiral pilasters at the entrance, and the cornice around the parapet.

The Oyer Buildings

Ocean Avenue c.1961Ocean Avenue c.1961
The Oyer Buildings are located on the north side of Ocean Avenue between Dewey Park and the convenience store on Federal Highway. The photo on the left is from c.1961 and shows the buildings almost as they exist today.

Old Post Office HurricanOldest commercial building in Town of Boynton Subdivision
The oldest building of the group, and the oldest commercial building in the Town of Boynton Subdivision, is the two-story structure in the distance which was built in 1919. The one-story central structure, now known as the Arcade building, was built in the 1940s and occupies the site of the city’s first Post Office building as shown in the lower photo. The two-story structure adjacent to Dewey Park was also built in the 1940s4.

  • 1. Farace V.K. et. al., Boynton Beach, The First 100 Years, Boynton Beach Historical Society & Friends of the Boynton Beach City Library, 1995, p.15
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Smith V., personal communication