For you history buffs, here's an interesting item I read in South Florida's The Coastal Star newspaper: even before Pearl Harbor, the military had begun building bases across South Florida's flat terrain to train air crewmen.
The town of Boca Raton already had an airport then, although the population was only 700. And it had lots of vacant land, much of it owned by the Japanese-American pineapple growers at the struggling Yamato Colony. Susan Gillis, curator at the Boca Raton Historical Society, stated, "Before the war, the town had two traffic lights and two bars. It's changed a little."
There was a ready-made military headquarters in the Boca Raton Resort, originally designed by Addison Mizner and opened in 1926 as The Cloister Inn. During World War II army officials dubbed the barracks at the Resort "the most elegant barracks in history." The Army Airfield on what is now Florida Atlantic University grew to 800 buildings housing more than 16,000 troops and employing more than 1,200 civilians. Yet the base operated in secrecy.
Why? Because it was our nation's only development and training center for a new technology developed by the British: radio detection and ranging - radar.
Florida Atlantic University now occupies some of the remaining vintage buildings. When local journalist and author Sally Ling wrote a book about the Army Air Field during World War II (Small Town, Big Secrets: Inside the Boca Raton Army Air Field during World War II), Miami public television station WLRN produced a documentary. The film screened at Florida Atlantic University before its TV debut, and several airfield vets showed up to repeat the popular phrase, "Radar won the war; the A bomb ended it."
(Information courtesy of "Film recalls Boca airfield's vital contribution to victory in WWII," The Coastal Star, December, 2017, Pg. AT8.)
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.