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History

Daphne du Maurier, a famed British author, in her novel Frenchman's Creek, tells the story of a French pirate on the run who finds refuge in a small Cornish waterway and later wins the heart of a local lady.

imgIn 1935, the Hoyt family bought land on North Prosperity Farms Road near the Intracoastal Waterway. They were attracted to a fresh water basin and a hurricane haven for boats. By the 1940's, the family owned much of the area, then known as Paradise Port. In the later 1940's, federal surveyors found a small wooden sign that one of the Hoyt children, Billy Hoyt, had placed on a small creek. It turned out the children had informally named the stream for one of their mother's favorite novels: Du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek. The name became official and still marks the small waterway that runs through the Frenchman's Creek neighborhood and connects to the nearby Marina.

In 1977, developers Burt Haft and Jack Gaines purchased the 1,400 acres of land formerly owned by the Hoyts, including two public golf courses, from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for $61 million. The 700 acres south of Donald Ross Road, which included the two golf courses, became Frenchman's Creek. The 700 acres north of Donald Ross Road were sold and are now home to The Bear's Club and Ritz Carlton Golf and Spa communities. Palm Beach County approved the development of 3,300 housing units at Frenchman's Creek; Haft and Gaines chose a much lower density of only 600 homes sites. Houses ranging in price from $325,000 to more than $3 million were then marketed. In 1986, land on the Atlantic Ocean in Juno Beach was purchased and the Beach Club was built.