Boca Express Train Museum

The Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum (BRHS&M) announces that the FEC Railway property, affectionately known as the Depot and/or the Boca Express Train Museum, sold on September 1, 2020. The buyer is Mizner Arts LLC and they intend to renovate the building’s interior to accommodate a variety of special events and community activities, and she will allow the BRHS&M to continue its public programs in the rail cars. A preservation easement on the exterior of the building will ensure that it remains a historic icon for Boca Raton. It is anticipated that the Depot will become a gathering place for residents and visitors.

“We feel very strongly that we have found the right owner and we are confident that the Depot will once again become an icon and hub of activity in downtown Boca Raton,” states Mary Csar, Executive Director of the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum. “The sale is a win-win for the community.”

The depot property sold for $2.1 million, and the BRHS&M will invest the proceeds of the sale to secure its sustainability as a historical society and museum for the Boca Raton community. This financial security will enable the organization to focus on maintaining the new exhibits currently being installed in the History Museum in old Town Hall and to expand its programs for the community.

Today’s Needs
As our community has grown, so has the demand for services provided by the Historical Society, particularly now that it has become a Welcome Center for visitors and new residents. The Historical Society Board made the decision in 2015 to find a new owner for the Depot whose intended use would be compatible with the historic site. It looked for someone with the conviction and ability to maintain public access and to preserve the design and spirit of the historic building and rail cars.

History Alive!, the current project of the Historical Society & Museum, includes renovations to historic Town Hall and the installation of new, immersive exhibits in the History Museum. The “new museum” will open to the public by early 2021.

What is the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum’s Connection to the Depot?
The Florida East Coast Railway Station at 747 South Dixie Highway, better known as the Depot, was opened in 1930 and was operational until 1968. When passenger service ended, the Depot was left abandoned for decades and fell into serious disrepair.
In the late 1980’s Boca Raton Historical Society, now the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum (BRHS&M), with the help of the Community Redevelopment Agency, rescued the building and completed a full restoration in 1989. Today, the Depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Following the restoration of the Depot, the Historical Society accepted donations of four rail cars to add to the site, and in 2003 completed the restoration of the streamliners. These cars are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are the location of the Historical Society’s highly successful Ticket to Ride children’s educational program. The cars are also open for guided tours.
In 1993, the Historical Society signed a contract with the City of Boca Raton enabling the City’s Recreational Services Department to use the Depot as an adjunct to the Community Center. In exchange, the City assumed responsibility for the day-to-day upkeep of the building and the grounds. While this arrangement helped with the ongoing expenses of the Depot and allowed for public use, the Historical Society received no income and continued to be responsible for the maintenance of the building’s exterior and structural aspects of the building and rail cars.

BOCA RATON HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUM
71 North Federal Highway|Boca Raton, Florida 33432
P: 561.395.6766 F: 561.395.4049| CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS
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