Henry Morrison Flagler — Spends the next decade chasing his personal “moon.” A dream to take his railroad 150 miles farther south, across near open ocean, to Key West, building a string of historic hotels along the way.
•St. Augustine (Ponce de Leon)
•Ormond Beach (The Ormond)
•Palm Beach (The Breakers)
One of the earliest (1903) post card images of Miami Beach
a natural ocean dune lined with randomly growing coconut palms.
The first development
carving out a narrow sand trail along the coast
coconut palms then planted in a more organized (plantation) style
The first attempt to commercialize the newly found barrier island.
• 1900-1915 — Florida’s first coastal development
• 1915-1925 — A Bridge to the Future (Agricultural to Tourism Conversion)
• 1925-1935 — Prohibition, Gangsters, Land Boom, Depression, and an Art Deco Arrival
• 1935-1945 — A resort in the making, Ocean Drive and a Hotel Explosion
• 1945-1955 — WWII as an unlikely local attraction, The Glamorization of Miami Beach
• 1955-1965 — Frank, Elvis, Fidel, Arthur Godfrey, Jackie Gleason,and Ricky Ricardo
The Original, and Historically Significant Cuban Migration.
• 1965-1975 — Time Waits for No One, deteriorating into “Death’s Waiting Room”
• 1975-1985 — Cocaine, Columbia, Mariel, and Vice
• 1985-1995 — Versace, Fashion, and the lighting of Miami’s Artistic Fuse
• 1995-2005 — A Creative Explosion with Designs on the Future
• 2005-2015 — The Party Never Stops!
Ponce de Leon
Flagler’s first, Flagler College, today.
The Alcazar was also a popular casino and spa
Featuring private lounges and cabanas
“a place for recreation and amusement”
said a promotional line for Florida’s inaugural “season” in 1899.
The Alcazar was a casinofeatured an artesian well-fed, 120ft long pool, its own “fountain of youth.”
Architects who designed the Hotel Ponce de Leon and the Whitehall.
The smallest of the three St. Augustine hotels.
Located in the same square as the other two.
Flagler changed the name from Hotel Casa Monica to Hotel Cordova.
The great depression forced the Cordova to close in 1932.
Today, the hotel is active as the Hotel Casa Monica.
A first “summer” hotel/resort
Opened late March, closed late August
The Ormond Hotel
Flagler’s first East Coast Railroad stop after St. Augustine
Flagler bought the Hotel Ormond, and it became a destination for automobile enthusiasts, especially those chasing land speed records.
Flagler spent much of his Florida time at the Ormond, socializing and strategizing with friends
— John D. Rockefeller
— Henry Ford
— Havey Firestone
— Thomas Edison
Also enjoying winters in Florida, Rockefeller built a house (The Casements) just across the street.
The Royal Poinciana
With indoor plumbing, electricity and a telephone system, The Royal Poinciana’s first guest list was made up of America’s most prominent citizens. Industrial Revolution titans, those creating the coming century’s new world order.
In 1905, The Royal Poinciana was the World’s largest hotel and wooden structure.
… and was torn down in 1936.
Flagler’s second Palm Beach hotel, stands on the island’s east shore, directly across from Flagler’s home/mansion he called Whitehall.
At first, the hotel was called the Palm Beach Inn, until Flagler took control and re-named it. and got changed to The Breakers when Mr. It Originally, it was to be a overflow hotel, but it’s location on the beach made it desireable as a first choice.
Fires in 1903 and 1925 both destroyed The Breakers. After the second fire, it took architects and workers 11 months to design and build The Breakers as it still sits today, nearly a century after its 1926 reopening.
After the devastating freeze in Palm Beach, Flagler was lured south to Miami (Fort Dallas at the time) by a woman named Julia Tuttle. One of Florida’s earliest pioneers, she sent a living orange branch, a survivor of the freeze, along with a message telling Flagler that Florida’s grass was greener at its southernmost tip.
Julia’s successful seduction, not only extended Flagler’s journey to Miami, but inspired his imagination to making the Florida East Coast Railroad’s terminal 150 miles south, on the last of a string of small barrier islands called Key West. (Flagler’s Moon)