After the Historical Society of Palm Beach County was formed in 1937, West Palm Beach attorney A. Stanley Bussey donated a vintage black-and-white photograph of an island street scene to the new organization, the first gift to what would become a remarkable collection of artifacts and documents representing the cultures and communities, failures and successes of life in Palm Beach County.
The Society has moved its offices and growing collection several times, including at least these locations, in this approximate order:
- Society of the Four Arts, Royal Palm Way, Palm Beach (1940s-1950s)
- Whitehall, 1 Whitehall, Palm Beach (1960s to mid-1990s)
- Palm Beach County Library, Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach (1990s)
- Citizens Building, Narcissus Avenue, West Palm Beach (1990s)
- A small building at 400 North Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach
- Paramount Building, 139 North County Road, Palm Beach (2000s)
On January 9, 2008, the Society moved their offices and archives into the restored 1916 Courthouse at 300 North Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach. On March 15, 2008, they opened the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum on the second floor. The Museum finally solved the problem that had prevented the collection from fully serving its critical purpose: to share and showcase the rich history of Palm Beach County and the larger context of Florida’s heritage dating back at least 12,000 years.
For the full story of the restoration of the 1916 Courthouse, click here.