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31 Vintage Photos Of Florida's Booming Retirement Communities In The 1970s

Florida, retirement, 1970sFlip Schulke / EPA (via archives.gov)

In the 1970s, thousands of retirees from the Northeast started migrating to Florida for warmer weather and stress-free living.

Developers quickly realised the opportunity and started building retirement communities like Century Village in West Palm Beach.

The “Grey Wave” of the 1970s resulted in a construction boom in the state, created a new industry of catering to the retired population, and made Florida a key political state.

Photographer Flip Schulke was commissioned by EPA to document the rise of retirement communities in Florida in the mid-1970s as part of the Documerica project. He captured the active lives of retirees in West Palm Beach, Miami and Key West.

From riding bikes to hanging at the pool to playing shuffleboard, retirement in Florida was the epitome of the American dream.

Tricycle Club of the Century Village Retirement Community (West Palm Beach)

Riding Three-Wheelers.

Tourists at the Public Beach Pier (Miami Beach)

Waiting to Play Shuffleboard at the Century Village Retirement Community. (West Palm Beach)

Shuffleboard at the Century Village Retirement Community (West Palm Beach)

South Beach, Miami Beach -- One of the Many Retirement Areas in Southern Florida. Income of the Retirees in This Area Was Not High, and Most Lived in Residential Hotels Such as the One Pictured Here. (Miami Beach)

South Beach Has the Longest Stretch of Public Beach in the Miami Area. Thousands of Retired Persons Settled Here in Inexpensive Residential Hotels Built Within Walking Distance of the Beach. The Area Soon Faced Problems of Over-Development. (Miami Beach)

The South Beach Area of Miami Beach Attracted a Large Population of Retired Persons. The Public Beach Is the Largest in the Area, and the Life of the Retirees Revolved Around It. (Miami Beach)

Some of the Male Residents of the Century Village Retirement Community Played Water-Volleyball in the Club Pool Every Evening. (West Palm Beach)

On the Croquet Court at Century Village Retirement Community. (West Palm Beach)

Residents of the Century Village Retirement Community Gathered Around Pool for Daily Exercise Session. (West Palm Beach)

Playing 'Mah-Jong' at the Clubhouse of the Century Village Retirement Community. (West Palm Beach)

Residents of the Century Village Retirement Community Took Part in Organised Daily Exercises. (West Palm Beach)

Organised Daily Exercises at the Century Village Retirement Community. (West Palm Beach)

Residents of Century Village at Poolside. The Entire Village of 7,838 Units (Individually-Owned Condominiums) Was Due for Completion in the Spring of 1974. (West Palm Beach)

Ocean Reef Club at North Key Largo.

Resident of a Retirement Hotel in South Beach with Harmonica. (Miami Beach)

Paddle-Boating on One of the Lakes in the Century Village Retirement Community. (West Palm Beach)

On the Public Beach Pier. (Key West)

Park Benches of the South Beach Area of Miami Beach Were Favourite Meeting Places for Members of the Area's Large Retirement Community. (Miami Beach)

Inexpensive Retirement Hotels Were a Hallmark of the South Beach Area. A Favoured Place Was the Front Porch, Where Residents Sat and Chatted Or Watched the Activities on the Beach. (Miami Beach)

Feet Up.

Neighbours at the Century Village Retirement Community Gathered Behind Their Apartments for an Outdoor Supper. All Units in the Complex Were Individually-Owned Condominiums.

Residents of Century Village at Poolside (West Palm Beach)

Retired Resident, Formerly a Worker Up North, at the Municipal Boat Docks. (Key West)

Lives of the Many Elderly Persons Who Chosen South Beach for Their Retirement Years Revolved Around the Beach. (Miami Beach)

Land Developer's Advertisement. (Marathon, Florida Keys)

Marco Island Land Development on the Southwest Florida Coast. Many Coastal Developers Dug Channels for Waterfront Property Lots.

Boating on One of the Lakes in Century Village Retirement Community. (West Palm Beach)

A Member of the South Beach Retirement Community Enjoying the Sun and Sea Air. Most of the Retirees in the Area Live in Inexpensive Residential Hotels Within Walking Distance of the Public Beach. (Miami Beach)

A Resident of the Century Village Retirement Community Watering the Flowers in Front of His Apartment. All Units in the Complex Are Individually-Owned Condominiums. (West Palm Beach)

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