BOCA RATON, Fla. — A map maker’s mistake.
It’s funny to think about the name of Boca Raton as that, but it’s true.
The term Boca meant “jagged edge” or “rocky inlet” and was supposed to describe an area in the Biscayne Bay.
It somehow made it on the map in Palm Beach County….so that “mouth of the rat” literal translation you may have heard really doesn’t mean anything to the naming of the city.
These are facts that can be experienced at the soon-to-be reopened Boca Raton Historical Society Museum.
“I’m very excited, the whole staff is excited. We can’t wait to open it up,” said Boca Raton Historical Society Executive Director Mary Csar.
Csar said the museum on Federal Highway is likely re-opening by the end of the summer.
“Every story is great. Boca has an amazing history. We are really, really fortunate,” said Csar.
Csar hopes it will change the current local, and national perception of Boca Raton.
“I think a lot of people think Boca Raton is a place people come to retire, you come here to vacation, or you come here for a meeting at the resort. And little do they know we’re a thriving, business oriented wonderful town,” said Csar.
The museum features interactive displays about Boca’s earliest settlers and the plotting of the Florida East Coast Railway for Henry Flagler
Also featured is a room featuring Addison Mizner’s contribution to the city, IBM’s origins tied to Boca and the Boca Raton Army Airfield.
“At the field they taught radar, which was top secret. So we like to say we helped win the war,” said Csar.
If you’ve lived around here long enough, you’ve probably heard someone mispronounce the city as Boca RaTAHn.
Early settlers put an “E” on the end making sure people would pronounce it correctly.
In 1924, it was dropped when the city was established.
Then in the 80’s there was a city resolution encouraging people to pronounce it correctly. Boca RaTONE, as the early settlers intended.
The pandemic may have kept visitors away from the museum….but the historical society used that time to gather funds and build a new chapter of this South Florida gem.
The Historical Society is also very excited about the new Brightline Station being build blocks away from the museum.
A perfect way to make a stop, learn something and then hit the beaches and everything Boca is known for today.