7 things to know about Wellington, Florida: Swamplands turned stomping grounds (2024)

Rachida Harper Skinner|Palm Beach Post

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How much do you know about where you live? This story is part of a series diving into quirky histories and fun facts about cities across Palm Beach County. Click here to read more.

Wellington will celebrate its 26th year as an incorporated village this December, but its history datesto the 1950s and involves land speculators, acres of fruit, leaders of industry and visits from Britain's royal family.

Here are seven things you may not know about it.

1. Who was Wellington? And what's this about aflying cow?

In 1951, a New York businessman and investor named Charles Oliver Wellington purchased 18,000 acres of swampland at the edge of the Everglades on the advice ofArthur William "Bink" Glisson, an agent for the Bateman Real Estate Agency of Pompano Beach.

That land later became the Village of Wellington. The key change took place in the early 1970s. Investment Corp. of Florida in 1971 bought 7,400 acres from Wellington's estate for $5.9 million. Palm Beach County approved a plan for the area in 1972, with plans to house 37,000 people. 1974 saw the first homes occupied.

Charles Oliver Wellington also was a pilot and used a western section of his property as a landing strip for his plane. Today, that landing strip is known as Flying Cow Road, "COW" being Wellington's initials.

2. Who was Bink, and who named a forest after him?

The village may carry Wellington's name, but it was theman nicknamed "Bink" – Arthur William Glisson – who catalyzed its transformation from swampland to the mix of farmland, neighborhoods and equestrian areas it is today.

He was proudest of what he called the Big Blue, 91 acres of cypress he discovered and demanded that developers preserve when Palm Beach Polo and Country Club was under construction decades ago. Legend has it he pulled a gun on a Polo employee who drove a tractor too close to the preserve.

Although the village he helped create does not bear his name, a stretch of the village at Southern Boulevard and Flying Cow Road reminds visitors of his presence: Binks Forest Drive, Binks Forest Elementary School, and the Binks Forest residential community. Old-timers just referred to the area as Bink's woods.

3. The AcmeImprovement District: Is this a Warner Brothers cartoon?

No. It's real, not something out of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, and it's still part of Wellington life today.

Two years after Wellington bought the property, the Florida Legislature created the AcmeImprovement District todrain the land and control flooding in the area, and then four years later to build and maintain roads to prepare the area for development.

Bink served as the district's first employee and general manager, and Wellington was its first chairman.

Up until Dec. 31, 1995, the special district served as Wellington's local government.

Acme is now a dependent district of the village, and the two bodies share the same governing board. In addition to providing water, it still builds roadways and maintains equestrian trails.

4. Strawberry fields, for a while

After the AcmeImprovement District was established, Wellington became a suitable location for agriculture, and portions of the land were sold to farmers for growing crops such as strawberries. In all, there were 2,000 acres of farmland growing them, making Wellington for a time the world's largest strawberry patch.A variety of citrus fruits thrived on the property as well.

Nowadays, strawberries can be found at local farmer's markets. The Lakeside Market at Wellington Town Center will open every Friday from 5-9 p.m. beginning Oct.1 to offer a selection of fresh produce. There are other markets in the western communities as well.

5. Population of Wellington has grown larger and more diverse

At one point, the number of horses in Wellington today outnumbered the people living there in 1953, when fewer than 100 people called it home. By 1980, about 8,000 people lived there, and according to the 2020 Census, the village's total population is now 61,637, making it about equal in size to Jupiter.

The village has grown in both number and diversity over the years. Today, about 3-in-5 residents are white. In 2010, when the total population was56,508, about 4-in-5 of the residents were white.

Over the past decade, Black, Hispanic, and Asian populations have grown in Wellington, with 6,718 Black residents, 3,245 Asian residentsand 14,912 Hispanic residents now making up about 40% of the total population.

6. Wellington is the 'Winter Equestrian Capital of the World'

The village is deeply rooted in the equestrian lifestyle, so much so that a horse outline appears on its community emblem, and it has been deemed the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World.

During the height of the season, up to 20,000 horses can be found in Wellington at any given time.

Many of these horses compete at thePalm Beach International Equestrian Center during the Winter Equestrian Festival,the longest-running equestrian event in the world. From January to April, thousands of athletes, some of them Olympians, demonstrate their skills in sports such as dressage and show jumping.

After the competitionended two weeks early duein 2020, and closed to spectators this year because of COVID-19,the Winter Equestrian Festival will make a full return Jan. 12.

To stay up to date with the festival, visit the equestrian center's website atPalm Beach International Equestrian Centeror call the center at561-793-JUMP (561-793-5867).

7. Prestigious polo players and million-dollar spectators

Wellington's prestigious polo grounds put the village on the map as a community fit for royalty.

William T. "Bill"Ylvisaker is largely credited with bringing the so-called sport of kings to Wellington in the late 1970s, when he opened Palm BeachPoloand Country Club, just west of the present-day homes of the Mall at Wellington Green and Wellington Regional Medical Center.

Prince Charles often visited the club to compete in the days before the village was incorporated. In 1985, he was joined by Princess Diana, where she presented the winning team with the Princess of Wales trophy.

Prince Harry, Diana and Charles' son, followed in 2016 when he played a charity match at Valiente Polo Farm.

Polo also helped raise Wellington's profile with people of wealth, many of whom have become part-time residents and the owners of multimillion-dollar homes.

They include former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose daughter Georgina competes in equestrian events; Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates; and rock star Bruce Springsteen, whose daughter, Jessica Springsteen, won an Olympic silver medal as an equestrian this summer in Tokyo.



7 things to know about Wellington, Florida: Swamplands turned stomping grounds (2024)


What is a fun fact about Wellington Florida? ›

In fact, the area that is known as Wellington was once the world's largest strawberry patch. Bink Glisson was hired by Charles Oliver Wellington to oversee the property that was soon to become known as the Flying Cow (Charles Oliver Wellington) Ranch.

Why is Wellington, FL famous? ›

Known as the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World, Wellington is home to an international equestrian community featuring more than 57 miles of trails for horseback riding. This elaborate trail system provides residents the opportunity for recreation, exercise, and transportation throughout the community.

What is replacing fresh market in Wellington, FL? ›

The new Publix store will replace the Fresh Market near The Mall at Wellington Green on Forest Hill Boulevard.

Who developed Wellington, FL? ›

History. In the 1950s, Charles Oliver Wellington, an accountant from Massachusetts, purchased about 18,000 acres (73 km2) of central Palm Beach County swampland located south of Florida State Road 80 (locally known as Southern Boulevard) and west of U.S. Route 441.

What is unique about Wellington? ›

Wellington is famous for its tucked-away bars, café culture, award-winning restaurants and bars, and great coffee.

What is the most expensive neighborhood in Wellington FL? ›

Explore Wellington, FL

There are 8 neighborhoods in Wellington. Paddock Park of Wellington has a median listing home price of $2.4M, making it the most expensive neighborhood. Sugar Pond Manor of Wellington is the most affordable neighborhood, with a median listing home price of $635K.

What famous person lives in Wellington, Florida? ›

And other famous folks settled in the Wellington area, such as Tommy Lee Jones, Lou Dobbs and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Is Wellington, FL a wealthy area? ›

The Village of Wellington is a relatively newly incorporated city in Palm Beach County, known for its abundant parks, quality schools, attractive neighborhoods and equestrian interests. Today, Wellington is an affluent and thriving community that is home to upscale gated communities and equestrian estates.

Is Wellington FL expensive to live? ›

The Cost of Living in Wellington

For townhomes and condos, the median price is $305,000, which has also increased by 1.7% since the previous year. It's worth noting that for Wellington real estate specifically, the median sold price sits even higher, at approximately $678,000.

Why is Publix Wellington closed? ›

The Publix at Courtyard Shops at Wellington has recently been destroyed by construction workers so that they can make it new and improved. Many people know about how the Publix in Wellington Florida at Courtyard shops is being renewed.

Who owns Fresh Market in Florida? ›

As of July 5th, 2022, Cencosud completed the acquisition of 67% of the shares of The Fresh Market Holdings, Inc, with Apollo Global Management and other shareholders retaining 33% of the shares. For more information regarding Cencosud and The Fresh Market results, please visit the Cencosud Investor Relations website.

What makes fresh market different? ›

The Fresh Market is a destination for those looking to discover the best including convenient, restaurant-quality meals, hand-picked produce, premium baked goods, fresh-cut flowers, custom-cut meats and carefully curated offerings for holidays and special occasions.

What is the racial makeup of Wellington Florida? ›

Race and Ethnicity

In 2022, there were 4.24 times more White (Non-Hispanic) residents (33.4k people) in Wellington, FL than any other race or ethnicity. There were 7.88k Two+ (Hispanic) and 6.5k Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) residents, the second and third most common ethnic groups.

How old is the town of Wellington? ›

The settlement was named in 1840 in recognition of the aid given the company by Arthur Wellesley, 1st duke of Wellington. It was made a borough in 1842 and a city in 1886.

How many people in Wellington in 2024? ›


What is a fact about Wellington? ›

Wellington is New Zealand's centre of government and the world's southernmost capital city. Wellington is also the country's cultural capital and the third most populous urban area in New Zealand. The city is home to: many museums, including Te Papa Tongarewa (the Museum of New Zealand)

What is a fun fact about Wellington for kids? ›

  • 10 interesting facts about Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Wellington's real name is Te Whanganui-a-Tara. ...
  • Wellington is the most remote capital city in the world. ...
  • Wellington is the windiest city in the world. ...
  • Wellington scores high for quality of life. ...
  • Wellington has more cafés per capita than NYC.
Apr 1, 2022

What is a fun fact about Mount Wellington? ›

Mount Wellington lies directly behind Hobart and is the city's dominant feature. It is 1,270 metres high and was formed during the Permian, Triassic and Jurassic ages. The Organ Pipes are the predominant feature, named for both appearance and sounds produced by the wind.

What are Florida's fun facts? ›

Florida is the boating and fishing capital of the world. It has more than 7,700 lakes, 11,000 miles of rivers, 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline, and has produced more than 900 world fishing records, more than any other state, or country.

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