Since 1876, the area that is now Delray Beach has been the home to many colorful characters. From businessmen to celebrities, murderers to rum runners, each has put their own spin on a town whose primary thoroughfare, Atlantic Avenue, has been named “Best Main Street in Florida” on more than one occasion.

IMG_1911To get a taste of some of this history, you might want to check out Wicked Delray Ghost Tours. Now, we know what you’re thinking; a ghost tour? If you’re expecting spirits to jump out from behind every corner and try to bring you to the underworld, this isn’t the tour for you. But, if you want to spend an hour or two learning a bit more about one of the largest cities in Palm Beach County, this is the place to be.

delraywreckLed by local realtor turned historian Marilyn Egan, Wicked Delray is a slow paced journey into the past, present and future of Delray Beach. Beginning with a bit of maritime lore, including the story of the ill fated SS Inchulva, who ran aground in the early part of the twentieth century, the tour highlights how the city evolved into what it is today. It mentions the beachfront colony, inhabited by a group of Bahamian immigrants known as the “Nassaws,” and their interaction with white settlers on the mainland.

The tour also delves into the rum running history of the town, whose proximity to the islands and the lax law enforcement of the day made the city a boom town.

It also briefly covers swashbuckling actor Errol Flynn, who used Delray Beach as a haven from the hectic life of Hollywood, and is said to still voyage through the Intracoastal aboard his yacht to this day!

abnIt talks about the historic London Pub, the Blue Anchor Inn, and how the owner had to change the menu and vibe to appease the spirits after it was moeved to it’s Atlantic Avenue location, which include a 19th century party girl named “Bertha,” who was brutally murdered inside it’s walls.

ch_nightOne of the most informative, and spooky spots on the tour has to be the Colony Hotel. Located on Atlantic Avenue in the heart of the cities vibrant entertainment district, this 1920s era building is still maintained by the same family who started it more than 90 years ago. It is said that Charlie, the founder and first manager, can still be seen wandering the halls, checking on staff and making sure business runs smoothly.

Of course, the past is not the only thing the tour covers. It touches on the issues caused by climate change, including flooding which has become a regular occurrence. It also mentions the newest development in town, Atlantic Crossing, how it has been hampered by legal issues, as well as the fact that the spirits of the dead, buried under the site, have done their best to slow the project to a crawl.

So, if you are a history buff who enjoys to dabble into the world beyond, be sure to check out Wicked Delray Ghost Tours. Happy haunting!

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