Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club A History In Time
Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club is one of the oldest developments in Boca Raton and one with an interesting history.
To start, a gentleman by the name of Arthur Vining Davis (who incidentally is also the founder of ARVIDA (a well know local Real Estate development Company)– Arvida is actually the first 2 letters of his first, middle and last name – go figure!) and also owner at that time of an Aluminum Company called Aluminum Company of America. Mr. Davis owned about 100,000 acres of land in the State of Florida. Back in 1958, he was short a bit of cash and decided to sell off some of that land for development and sale – and this is how Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club and the Arvida Corporation came to be.
Just as an aside, Mr. Davis had also acquired at one point The Boca Raton Resort and Club which was originally built in 1928 (also known as the “pink tower” or the “pink hotel”) and during WWII, was known as “the most elegant army barracks in history”. In 1983 it was subsequently sold to VMS Realty, Inc. who incidentally changed the name in 1988 to The Boca Raton Resort and Club from The Boca Hotel and Club.
If you have never visited the community, Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club is nestled East of Federal Highway (US1), surrounded by the Intracoastal Waterway to the South and East of the development and Camino Real (that’s a real road) to the North.
Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club is approximately 450 acres of land and originally had been platted for 723 lots but was later redesigned to 742 lots and built Bermuda Style homes, though in those days, they were known as “cottages”. What was unusual at that time is that Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club had some seriously tight building and design specifications such as white roofs ONLY, all utilities must be buried under ground and lot or parcel sizes were to be larger than other comparable nearby developments. So much so that some of the builders at that time were upset and stated that there was no way that they could build these single family homes and sell them at competitive prices – but they did. And all the while, Arvida controlled the Royal Palm Improvement Association with a very tight fist.
Since that time, Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club has undergone a serious face-lift (at least in the last 15 years) and many of those cottages are now 2-story Palm Beach mansions that overlook the Intracoastal Waterway or the exclusive Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club Golf Course. Currently there are 688 single family homes down from the original 742, as some owners purchased more than one property and razed those homes to build bigger and better Palm Beach mansions with some incredible amenities. You will still find some homes from the 1960’s and 70’s but those are more of a rare find.
What is interesting to note – and most do not know this little bit of history – is that Al Capone has a past with Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club. I have Amy from the City of Boca Raton Building Department to thank for this nugget of information. :)
Now, directly to the South of the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club community, there is an island called Capone Island (which is also known as Deerfield Island Park). It is known that in the 1930’s Al Capone bought this island because it is secluded (and what gangster wouldn’t want seclusion). He was planning on building a huge home worth about $250,000 (a significant amount of money then) on the island but the residents of Boca Raton at the time vetoed that plan in a hurry because they did not want the likes of Capone as a neighbor. The zoning and planning department at the time made him jump through hoops then denied him the right to build (not that it mattered because a few years later, he wound up in Federal Prison).
Another little bit of folklore about Capone Island is that good ole Al went ga-ga over an Italian Opera Star by the name of Carmella Cantella, who was visiting an opera house in Fort Lauderdale and he had his henchmen kidnap her. The rumor is that they grabbed her and took her to the Island where she was held for a while (though no one really knows for how long). While I cannot confirm this kidnapping information with 100% certainty, it does make for a good story :)
The island is triangular in shape and its northern stretch of land overlooks 18 homes in Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club which are on the South side of Alexander Palm Road in the development. It is this Island that ARVIDA (Mr. Davis) conserved the interest of the development in 1965 by maintaining a 50 foot strip of land that runs East/West of the Island which is a nature preserve (and will continue to be). But the deal was that the homes across from Capone Island in Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club can only forever be single family homes – strict zoning on that one. Capone Island is only accessible by watercraft or by swimming over (though not recommended). The state was eventually granted a 99 year lease on the Island that it received in 1966 from the Florida Inland Navigation District.
Some additional history on Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club is that at one time, it was home to a polo club and field. That has since changed, just as there was once only a 9-hole golf course which then became, and still is today, a gorgeous 18-hole course and the clubhouse has been subsequently rebuilt as well.
The Yacht Club has some beautiful facilities as well as extensive dockage for those homes that are not intracoastal properties in the community, or of course unless you have a few extra yachts on hand and need the additional dockage. :)
I love this development and the luxury that it exudes the moment you drive in past the guardhouse (and no, it is not a gated community but does have 24 hour private security that roams the development with 18 guards on staff – though not all at the same time). If you are interested in more history detail or if you have some history that I did not mention here that you’d love to share (such as the very first resident in this development, Mr. and Mrs. Lunsford T Nuckols, whose address at the time was 2148 West Silver Palm Road, and which address no longer exists), let me know.
For additional information please call Gia or Grant at 561-395-8418 or