Published On: Fri, Feb 2nd, 2024

The Boca Raton Historical Society Announces Town Hall Talks Series: Florida During World War II Edition

February 8, March 7, May 8 & May 16 at 6 p.m.

Boca Raton, FL – The Boca Raton Historical Society has announced Town Hall Talks:  Florida During World War II Edition, an evening lecture program given in Boca Raton’s original “Town Hall” at The Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum, 71 North Federal Highway. 

“This season’s Town Hall Talks series is the perfect complement to our latest exhibit, Florida During World War II,” said Mary Csar, Executive Director of the Boca Raton Historical Society.  “Each of our speakers will shed light on different aspects of Florida’s unique role during World War II with personal stories, experiences and perspectives.”

  • Thursday, February 8 at 6 p.m.

Eliot Kleinberg:  Florida During WWII

Eliot Kleinberg is a native Floridian and longtime Palm Beach Post reporter known for his “Post Time” weekly history column and “Florida Time.”  He will share his extensive research on World War II’s impact on the Sunshine State. This talk is courtesy of the Florida Talks Program, sponsored in part by Florida Humanities.*

  • Thursday, March 7 at 6 p.m.

Sally Ling:  Small Town, Big Secrets

Sally Ling, “Florida’s History Detective,” will delve into the intriguing history of the Boca Raton Army Air Field, providing insights into its wartime radar training base. 

  • Wednesday, May 8 at 6 p.m.

Thomas R. Wood:  BRAAF Fire Department & the 1944 Crash (May 8 – 80 years ago)

Thomas R. Wood, CFO, FIFireE, and retired Chief of the Boca Raton Fire Department, will share his extensive research on the Boca Raton Army Air Field and its Fire Department.  Wood will discuss incidents handled by the BRAAF Fire Department, including the tragic crash of a B34 Lexington bomber in 1944.  Through Wood’s efforts, a state historical maker was unveiled on FAU’s campus in 2021.

  • Thursday, May 16 at 6 p.m.

Dr Peter Barrett:  The Spies Next Door

Dr. Peter Barrett, a Boca Raton native, will share thrilling tales of espionage during World War II.  Growing up in a family that owned the Boca Raton Villas, Barrett’s stories include witnessing evidence of German submarines attacking merchant shipping off the shores in 1942 and probable espionage activities next door.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for check-in and refreshments, the lecture begins at 6:30 p.m.

Admission is $10 for non-members, free for members of The Boca Raton Historical Society.  Register in advance at:  RSVP For Town Hall Talks (

Florida in World War II will run from January 22 to May 17 at the Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum, 71 N. Federal Highway.  This engaging exhibit, on loan from the Museum of Florida History, sheds light on the state’s significant role during the Second World War, to include its remarkable contributions and sacrifices during this pivotal era.

“This profound exhibit showcases artifacts, stories and memories that reflect the courage, resilience and unwavering spirit of Floridians, who, in the face of great challenges, united to support the war effort,” said Mary Csar, Executive Director of the Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum.  “Supplementing this exhibit are items from our collectionto highlight our hometown heroes.”

During World War II, Florida played a crucial part in the war effort, becoming home to hundreds of military installations.  Notably, the 5,800-acre Boca Raton Army Air Field was one of the most important installations in the state.  Florida’s strategic location, excellent flying weather, and proximity to vital shipping lanes made it ideal for both army and navy airfields.

Florida in World War II explores:

  • Home Front Contributions – Civilians throughout Florida played a vital role in supporting our nation.  Contributions included manning aircraft spotting towers, enduring rationing, volunteering for organizations such as the Red Cross and Civil Air Patrol, and more.
  • Military Training – Florida was a major hub for rigorous military training programs during World War II.  This exhibit depicts the preparation and dedication of service personnel during that time.
  • The U-Boat Threat – Florida’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meant it was not immune to the U-boat threat.  Delve into a time of tense moments when U-boats prowled the state’s waters and the response to this danger.
  • Floridians in Service – Learn about the brave Floridians who served in various branches of the military, including the Army, Navy and Coast Guard. 

The exhibit will include additional items on loan from the Delray Beach Historical Society such as a souvenir pennant and pillowcase and items from the Boca Raton Army Air Field.  Boca Raton Historical Society’s collection includes an Army Air Force Lt. Colonel’s winter dress uniform; WWII era toy tanks, planes and wartime children’s books; and insignia from soldiers stationed here collected by 10-year-old Peter Barrett, who lived in Boca Raton at that time.

For more information, visit

The Schmidt Boca Raton History Museum is the home of the Boca Raton Historical Society, whose mission is to collect, preserve, and present information and artifacts relevant to the past and evolving history of Boca Raton and to maintain a visible role in the education and the advocacy of historic preservation in the community. Now open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, the museum is in historic Town Hall at 71 N. Federal Highway (33432). For more information, please call 561.395.6766 or visit

The Florida Talks program is sponsored in part by Florida Humanities with funds from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the aforementioned entities.

About the Author

Discover more from The Boca Raton Tribune

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading