From relaxing on the beach to fine dining and terrific shopping, Pompano Beach has it all. Centrally located between Palm Beach and Miami, Pompano Beach is often called “the Heart of the Gold Coast.” The city is known for its excellent boating and fishing, accentuated by an offshore living coral reef accessible to scuba divers and snorkelers. Anglers and families flock to the 1,000-foot-long municipal fishing pier, beachside playgrounds, grills and picnic tables.
Pompano Beach also maintains more than 50 local parks for sports enthusiasts or those who have a penchant for outdoor relaxation. Local attractions and shopping in Pompano Beach provide myriad entertainment options. Annual special events include a holiday boat parade in December, seafood festival in April, and fishing rodeo in May.
Its name is derived from the Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus), a fish found off the Atlantic coast.
There had been scattered settlers in the area from at least the mid-1880s, but the first documented permanent residents of the Pompano area were George Butler and Frank Sheen and their families, who arrived in 1896 as railway employees. The first train arrived in the small Pompano settlement on February 22, 1896. It is said that Sheen gave the community its name after jotting down on his survey of the area the name of the fish he had for dinner. The coming of the railroad led to development farther west from the coast. In 1906 Pompano became the southernmost settlement in newly created Palm Beach County. That year, the Hillsboro Lighthouse was completed on the beach.
On July 3, 1908, a new municipality was incorporated in what was then Dade County: the Town of Pompano. John R. Mizell was elected the first mayor. In 1915, Broward County was established, with a northern boundary at the Hillsboro Canal. Thus, within eight years, Pompano had been in three counties. Pompano Beach experienced significant growth during the Florida land boom of the 1920s. In 1940, the U.S. Supreme Court disallowed forced confessions in Chambers v. Florida, a dispute stemming from a murder in Pompano Beach.
Following the population boom due to World War II, in 1947 the City of Pompano merged with the newly formed municipality on the beach and became the City of Pompano Beach. In 1950, the population of the city reached 5,682. Like most of southeast Florida, Pompano Beach experienced great growth in the late 20th century as many people moved there from northern parts of the United States. A substantial seasonal population also spends its winters in the area. The city of Pompano Beach celebrated its centennial in 2008.