BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA
Palm Beach County
MAR 4 9
Part A---General Information
Belle Glade is in South Florida, 45 miles west of West Palm Beach, and 77
miles northwest of Miami. It is near Lake Okeechobee. The elevation is
Florida Highways 80 and 15 pass through Belle Glade. Glades Motor Lines
provides bus service for Belle Glade. Air and rail service is not available,
Palm Beach County had a population of 112,311 in 1945. The population of
Bele Glade is 11,796, according to a survey made by Florida Power & Light
Normal Normal Normal Normal
Temperature Rainfall Temperature Rainfall
January 63.4 1.68 July 80.1 6.90
February 64.2 1.48 August .80.4 8.06
March 66.2 2.70 September 79.4 7.41
April 70.2 2.94 October 75.0 4.84
May 74.2 3.60 November 68.1 2.90
June 78.2 9.01 December 64.5 1.32
Annual. 72.0 62.84
Belle Glade was incorporated in 1928 under a commission form of government.
It is the second largest city in.Palm Beach County. It is in the heart of
the richest soil in America, the Everglades muckland, and is the world's
largest winter vegetable, shipping center.
6. Major Sources of Income:
Farming and cattle raising are the main industries in Belle Glade. There
are few tourists:nd little commercial fishing. Manufacturing plants are
Florida Food Products (canned and frozen beans), precooling and padk- :
aging of vegetables; Florida Ramie Products, ramie fiber; Florida Precooling
Company, packed vegetables; and City Ice and Fuel Company.
Part B---Recreation and Entertainment
1. Special Events:
2. Athletic Events:
The high school has athletic events during the school term.
3. Tourist Clubs:
4. Recreational Clubs:
BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA
;AR 49 .J
Part A--Natural Resources
Chief topographical features: Flat Everglades muck (up to 50% organic matter)
and Everglades peat (up to 90% organic matter); two miles east of Lake
Okeechobee. Elevation, 14.6 feet,
Annual January rl July Octobe
Temperature averages 72.3 63.5 70.4 80.1 75.1
Rainfall averages 56.74 1.70 3.33 7.66 4.50
Growing season: During a 23-year period, the U. S. Weather Bureau recorded
killing frosts in the Spring in only 15 years and in the Fall in only nine
3. Local Raw Materials:
Timber: None in commercial quantities
Minerals: Starling and DeLaney operates a lime rock pit and Landers Con-i.:.
struction Company is working marl deposits in this area.
Agricultural products: (Carloads shipped during 1945-46 season) Beans, 4,088;
cabbage, 1,903; carrots, 11; celery, 4,017; chicory, 296; chihili, 24; corn,
30; eggplant, 24; endive, 21; escarole, 599; lettuce, 22; mixed vegetables,
2,304; peas, 47; peppers, 23; potatoes, 1,745; radishes, 161; romaine, 6;
tomatoes, 42; turnip greens, 5. It is impossible to allocate exact quantities
to each community of the Everglades. The figures given above are the totals
produced on all of the muck lands in the western half of Palm Beach County.
However, 70% of the agricultural products listed above were shipped from the
Belle Glade area. The entire Everglades area, including Belle Glade, produced
87,355 tons of raw sugar and 500 acres of ramie.
Other: Beef cattle (approximately 10,000 head in area, principally Brahman
Part B--General Economy
Est. 1947 1945 190 1922 129
County total 115,000 112,311 79,989 53,194 51,781
City total 12,000 11,796* 3,806 1,646 926
Negroes in county 47,000 45,467 28,380 17,550 16,760
Negroes in city 10,000 9,667* --- 1,127 --
*These figures are local estimates and are considerably higher than published
1945 State Census figures.
Predominant nationalities: Native-born white; Negro.
Unions: Construction workers, employees of U. S. Sugar Corporation and
scattered workers in other fields are members of A. F. of L. unions.
Female employment: Approximately 40% of the total employment is female. Ap-
proximately 275 women are employed in manufacturing industries.
Approximate hourly wages: Unskilled white male, 550-800; unskilled Negro
male, 550-650; unskilled white female, 500; unskilled Negro female, 504;
skilled white male, $1.20-41.85; skilled Negro male, few used; skilled white
General: Quality of labor force is fair for field work and supply is usually
adequate. Quality of skilled labor is fair to good, but supply is inadequate.
BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA
A3 Retail Market:
General: Belle Glade is the retail trade center for the western section of
Palm Beach County south of Pahokee and 20 miles east of Lake Okeebhobee.
1946 Effective Buying Income per family in county, $3,053,*
1946 Estimated retail food store sales in county, $19,981,000.*
1946 Estimated retail general merchandise store sales in county, $6,534,000.*
1946 Estimated retail drug store sales in county, $2,908,000.*
*Copyright 1947, SALES MANAGEMENT Survey of Buying Power. Further reproduction
4. Manufacturing Industries:
General: Total number of manufacturing establishments, 27; total number em-
ployed at all manufacturing plants, 2,700.
Principal manufacturing plants: Florida Food Products, Inc., canned and
frozen green beans; Florida Food Products, precooling and packaging of vege-
tables; Florida Ramie Products, ramie fiber; Florida Precooling Company,
packed vegetables; City Ice and Fuel Company, ice.
5. New Industries:
General: Two new industries, employing a total of 30 persons, were establish-
ed during 1946.
6. General Remarks on Economy:
This area is a highly developed agricultural section devoted to winter vege-
tables and sugar cane production in vast quantities. Vegetable farming is a
highly mechanized process. The muck and peat soils in this area are regarded
by the U. S. Department of Agriculture as among the richest in America.
The area is protected from the waters of Lake Okeechobee by seventy miles of
government-maintained dyking. The area produces an annual income of approxi-
mately $23,000,000. The fattening of steers is increasing rapidly as a source
Vegetable farms average from 160 to 320 acres, with some as great as 5,000
acres. Twenty-two varieties of vegetables are raised in commercial quantities.
The entire Everglades area, of which Belle Glade is a part, has increased its
production of Fall, Winter and Spring vegetables from 2,104 cars in the 1929-
30 season to 15,739 cars in the 1945-46 season. Approximately 70% of these
vegetables were raised and shipped from the Belle Glade terminal section.
Extremely modern methods of vegetable processing are employed, such as pre-
cooling, mechanical grading and infrared potato conditioning.
Ramie fiber is being produced in two decorticating plants adjacent to Belle
Glade. Present indications are that the production, decorticating and degum-
ming of ramie fiber will become a major industry in this section of Florida.
Approximately 22,000 acres are planted in sugar cane in the western part of
Palm Beach County. Approximately half of this acreage is grown adjacent to
The Federal government has now promulgated plans for adequate flood control
on approximately 500,000 acres of muck and peat land in and around Belle
Officials: Mayor, George A. Taylor; City Manager, H. 0. Earwood; City
Attorney, Herbert D. Beck.
BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA
1# Administration: (cont.)
Special departments: City has an active building inspector, electrical in-
special, plumbing inspector, park and recreation board, zoning board, street
department and sanitary and water department. A planning board is being
Zoning: City has a zoning ordinance.
Current city tax rate: Operations, 16 mills; debt service, 0.
Average city tax rate for last five years: Operations, 15 mills; debt ser-
City basis of assessment: 100% of actual value.
Total assessed value of real property in city: $4,847,055 (January 1, 1946).
City license tax on manufacturing plant: $50 maximum.
City utility tax: 10% on first $25; 5% on next $50, and 1% on balance.
Other major city taxes: Garbage tax, $1 per month for domestic service and
$2 per month for commercial service.
Current county tax rate: Operations, 23.01 mills; debt service, 5.35 mills.
Average county tax rate for last five years: Operations, 15.21 mills; debt
service, 6.01 mills.
Special district taxes: Everglades Drainage District, $1.50 per acre; South
Florida Conservancy District, $5.25 per acre; western Palm Beach County
Hospital District, 3.75 mills.
Bonded debt: City, 0; county, $2,052,773.02.
Other long-term obligations: City, water plant revenue bonds; county, 0.
Part D---Community Facilities
1. Available Data:
Mapst City street, trunk water main and zoning maps are available.
Reports: Information on the city is available at the Chamber of Commerce.
2. Transportation Facilities:
Railroad: Belle Glade is served by a branch line of the Florida East Coast
Railway with six vegetable and miscellaneous freight trains daily and three
sugar cane trains daily. Passenger service is not available. Pick-up and
delivery of less than carload freight is [t available.
Express: Railway Express Agency, Inc., provides rail express service. Di-
rect air express service is not available. Free pick-up and delivery of
express is available.
Highway: Florida Highways 15 and 80 pass through Belle Glade.
Local bus service: None.
Intercity bus service: Glades Motor Lines, Inc., has 18 buses daily through
Intercity trucking facilities: Tamiami Trail Tours, Inc., provides trucking
service to all sections of south Florida. West Palm Beach, Miami, Orlando,
Jacksonville, Tampa and Fort Myers are the principal cities that can be
reached by one-day truck service.
BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA
2t TransDortation Facilities: (cont.)
Air: Belle Glade Airport, a municipal field, is one-half mile from town.
The field has 15,000 square feet of hangar space and two 1,000 feet grass
runways. The field is open to private planes.. Charter cross-country flights
are available. Commercial air transportation is not available.
Florida Power and Light Company owns and operates the generating and dis-
tributing systems. Copies of rate schedules may be obtained at the company's
Coalt Coal is not used in this section.
Gas: Neither artificial nor natural gas is available.
Bottled gas: Atlantic Fuel Company distributes liquefied petroleum. De-
livered cost is 300 per gallon for first 10 gallons per month and 250 per
gallon for balance consumed during one month.
Other: Eight local distributors handle fuel oils.
5. Sewage and Waste Disposal:
Sewage: Individual septic tanks are used for sanitary sewage disposal. No
storm sewers are installed. City plans to install a sanitary sewerage
Industrial waste disposal: No local industries have large amounts of liquid
waste. Dumps and fire are used to dispose of other waste. City has no
ordinances on industrial waste disposal.
Garbage: Garbage is collected daily in the business district and twice
weekly in residential districts.
6. Water Supply:
Source: Lake Okeechobee. Present source is adequate for expansion.
Treatment: Filtered, chlorinated, color removed.
Consumption: 700,000 gallons per day.
Pumping capacity: 3,000,000 gallons per day.
Per 1.090 gallons
First 2,000 gallons, $1.50 minimum
Next 3,000 gallons 60O
Next 10,000 gallons 500
Next 10,000 gallons 400
All over 25,000 gallons 304
7. Communications Facilities:
Telephone service: Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company operates
a manual exchange serving 612 company-owned stations in town, nine rural
stations and 34 toll circuits.
Telegraph service: Western Union has office hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on
week days and 9 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.
BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA
8. Educational Facilities:
Number of schools 2 1
Present enrollment 560 325
Present capacity 400 320
Number of schools 2 1
Present enrollment ..867 200
Present capacity 400 200
*Includes grades 8-12.
Vocational training for white students: Agricultural and mechanical.
Vocational training for Negro students: None.
Libraries: Belle Glade Free Public Library, 3,500 volumes.
9. Health Facilities:
City health department: City operates emergency and obstetrical clinics for
County health department: County health department operates a tuberculosis
clinic in West Palm Beach.
Hospitals: Belle Glade Migratory Hospital, a general hospital, is owned by a
U. S. Government corporation. It has 60 adult beds and 16 infant beds.
10. Recreational Facilities:
Public parks: City Park has a limited amount of playground equipment.
Athletic fields: Memorial Athletic Field has a baseball diamond, lighted
football field and limited playground equipment.
Other: Four tennis courts and school gymnasium.
11. Police Protection:
City: Force consists of seven policemen,. City has two patrol cars, without
radio equipment. Patrolmen are uniformed. Regular beats are maintained at
night. City jail is approved for quartering Federal prisoners.
County: Police protection outside the city is provided by a deputy sheriff,
a constable and the State Highway Patrol.
12. Fire Protection:
City: Force consists of four full-time and 15 volunteer firemen.
City has three engines and one station.
Insurance rating: SEAU, Class 3; NBFU, Class 8.
County: Fire protection outside the city is provided by the Everglades Fire
13. City Streets:
Mileage: Total, 21.3; paved, 10.6; gravelled, 10.7.
General: Rock and oil are the principal type of surfacing used. About 2% of
the streets are curbed and about 2% have sidewalks. Approximately 85% of the
streets should be rebuilt or extensively repaired during the next five years.
BELLE GLADE RLORIDA
14. Banking P litiess
General: Florida National Bank at Belle Glade, total sources, $2,485,113;
Everglades Federal Savings and Loan Association, $1,100,000.
15. Construction and Service Facilitiep:
type and number: General contractors, 3; architects, 1; land surveyors, 0;
general machine shops, 2; machine repair facilities, 4; foundries, 0; auto-
motive repair facilities, 10; consulting engineers, 0.
16. Retail Facilities:
Type and number: Dry goods stores, 8; department stores, 3; grocery stores,
33; drug stores, 4.
Parking: City has 220 parking meters and no parking lots*
Vacant stores: There were no vacant stores in the business district at the
time of this survey.
17. Wholesale Facilities:
General: Only limited wholesale facilities are available in Belle Glade.
Special markets for the wholesale distribution of vegetables and cattle are
available. Commercial cold storage and commercial freezing facilities are
available and adequate.
Deficiencies: Wholesale grocery, bakery and stock feed businesses are needed.
18. Housing Conditions:
General: The housing shortage has been acute in this community but is improv-
ing. Approximately 100 homes and apartments have been built during the last
year and eight two-family apartments and 20 houses were under construction on
July 3, 1947. Building permits from October 1946 through June 10, 1947 totaled
19. Hotels and Restaurants:
Hotels: Number, 2; rooms, 52.
Restaurants: Number, 2; seating capacity, 108.
Other: City also has 50 Negro rooming houses, with a total of 750 rooms.
Daily: Palm Beach Post and Times are delivered in Belle Glade.
Weekly: Belle Glade Herald, circulation, 1,350.
21, Radio Stations:
Generals Station WSWN operates on 1,000 watts, daytime only.
22. Laundries and Dry Cleaners:
Commercial laundries: Number, 3.
Commercial dry cleaners: Number, 2 white, 3 Negro.
23. Civic Organizations:
Name and name of president: Lions, Ralph Kirk; Rotary, Jamer Ball; Woman's
Club, Mrs. J. Ball; Business and Professional Women's Club, srs. Sarah Creech;
Parent-Teachers Association, Roscoe Braddock.
Denomination: Methodist, Christian Science, Seventh Day Adventist, Lutheran,
Church of God, Church of Christ.