12369347061?profile=RESIZE_584xThe historic Singing Pines building that housed the former Boca Raton Children’s Museum will be moved along with two other old homes. 2018 file photo

By Mary Hladky

Three buildings that have long housed the Boca Raton Children’s Museum near City Hall will be relocated to make way for a new structure to house the city’s building department.

The museum, which offered educational programs to children and was operated for many years by the Junior League of Boca Raton, closed at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and never reopened. It is located on city-owned land at 498 Crawford Blvd.

City officials have been looking for a place to move the historically significant buildings, but ran into obstacles when objections were raised to placing them in Hughes Park or Sugar Sand Park.

Now, officials have settled on moving the Singing Pines and Rickards houses to city-owned Meadows Park at 1300 NW Eighth St. The less significant cottage building, known as the Rickett House, will go to the city cemetery for use by staff.

As of January, no date had been set to move the historic buildings or to begin construction of the new city building, said city spokeswoman Anne Marie Connolly.

The department currently is housed immediately north of the Police Department at 200 NW Second Ave. Other city offices also are in that building.

The Meadows Park location is acceptable to community residents and the Boca Raton Historical Society, said Susan Gillis, the society’s curator.

“As long as they are saved, we are happy,” she said.

The city is still deciding how the Singing Pines and Rickards houses will be used, but does not intend to operate a children’s museum, Connolly said.

The Singing Pines house, built in 1913 or 1914 at 301 SW First Ave., is the most historically significant building because it is the second-oldest home in the city that still exists, Gillis said. It was built by William Myrick on property purchased from Henry Flagler’s Model Land Co.

The Rickards house, built in the 1890s, looks like the original that once was located on Palmetto Park Road. But it was completely rebuilt and so has less historical importance, she said. It was built by the city’s first settler, Thomas Moore Rickards, who made his first expedition to Florida in 1876.

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