Belle Glade, Florida
Belle Glade, Florida
Belle Glade is the largest city of the subtropical Everglades in the heartland of Florida. It was originally known as Hillsboro; the name was changed to Belle Glade by popular vote of the community who believed the settlement was “The Belle of the Glades.”
The Hillsboro Community Council was formed in 1919 and was the town’s governing body until its incorporation in 1928. The population was less than 500 at that time; today it is home to multicultural population of almost 20,000 people, mostly of African-American and Latin American origin.
About The Community
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The Calusa Indians were the earliest known inhabitants of the Belle Glade area. During the early 1930’s the Smithsonian Institution excavated the area and discovered their prehistoric habitation and burial mounds. Archaeologists from the Florida State Museum in Gainesville also worked on sites to the west of Belle Glade, known as the Indian Mounds. They gave the lake region the name “Okeechobeeland,” meaning Land of Big Water.
Lake Okeechobee, called Lake of Mayami by the Spanish, is the second largest fresh water lake within the continental United States. Belle Glade on its southern shores offers the perfect blend of modern growth and a relaxed country lifestyle. It is easily accessible from U.S. 27 or U.S. 441, and is a comfortable drive to either coast. Belle Glade is just a few minutes away and a world apart from the Florida known to most visitors. People visiting for business, relocation, or recreational activities are delighted by the friendly and relaxed life in a rural setting. Agriculture is the major occupation and it is well known for its ornamental and sod farms. The soil is perfect for growing sugar cane, celery, lettuce, sweet corn, and other vegetables.
Vicinity of Belle Glade
Lake Okeechobee provides unlimited fishing, boating, or just plain relaxing and the Belle Glade Marina Campground has something for everyone. People who camp there come from far, looking to catch the famous wide mouth bass. Lake Okeechobee provides unlimited fishing, boating, or just plain relaxing. The campground offers 350 campsites, tent camping, boat ramps, picnic facilities and miniature golf. It is in walking distance to a challenging 18-hole public golf course.
The Lawrence E. Will Museum is housed in the Belle Glade Branch Library. Mr. Will’s father, Dr. Thomas E. Will, was a pioneer in the settlement and development of the upper Everglades. Mr. Lawrence Will worked in agriculture, land development, land and water transportation and merchandising and wrote five books on Lake Okeechobee and the upper Everglades.
The Palm Beach Community College in Belle Glades opened in 1972 and serves the western communities of Palm Beach County. The Glades Initiative Partnership Council, a consortium of educational, community and civic leaders has guided the college since 1999 and helped it expand to meet the diverse educational needs of the area. The Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center named after a local pioneer and champion presents plays, music of all genres and ballets.