Readers: In booming Florida, towns pop up seemingly faster than you can keep track. Every once in a while — very rarely — a town goes away. It’s happened twice in Palm Beach County. The most recent: Golfview, 20 years ago this week.
Q: What happened to Golfview?
A: The 61-year-old hamlet near Palm Beach International Airport was dissolved on Sept. 1, 1998, to make way for airport expansion.
Golfview started as a golf course and was chartered as a town June 11, 1937. It covered about 80 acres and boasted 63 homes and a population of about 150.
The original West Palm Beach Country Club golf course was bulldozed after World War II for the Morrison Field military base.
In 1985, several of the homeowners got together and offered to sell their properties for $35 million, suggesting a developer could build an airport hotel or office park. Private buyers weren’t interested. The county eventually offered up to $19.5 million, but dropped its price when appraisals came in lower. The sides agreed to $16.3 million in 1997. The final figure was $15.9 million.
Longtime residents moved out and boarded up homes in preparation for oblivion. The town’s 20-foot concrete entrance arch, dating to 1934, was taken down and moved to Yesteryear Village at the South Florida Fairgrounds in July 1998, just weeks before Golfview formally dissolved.
The document was filed at the courthouse by Richard Berryman, the town’s final mayor. At 10:01 a.m., intake clerk Gloria Johnson stamped the papers in, and Golfview was stamped out.
“It’s like death,” Berryman philosophized afterward. “You grieve a little bit, then you kind of analyze and (ask) ‘Is it for the best?’ and go on.”
While the town’s death certificate was being filed a few miles away at the courthouse, wrecking crews were demolishing two more of Golfview’s old houses along Country Club Road.
Two homes along Belvedere Road and a small commercial strip along Military Trail were not sold and became part of unincorporated Palm Beach County.
Golfview’s arch now stands at the entrance to Yesteryear Village.
Golfview is not the first city or town in Palm Beach County to be dissolved. Boca Raton’s University Park neighborhood, which sprawls north of the Town Center mall, incorporated in 1959. The Arvida development firm created the “company town” of 7.5 square miles from scratch. It had fewer than 50 families, one service station, a mayor and four commissioners and a lone police officer. The legislation that created it decreed that by 1971, Arvida had to turn it over to residents for self-government. That year, residents voted to have the town annexed into Boca Raton.