Flagler’s anniversary is coming up which means that the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach celebrates its anniversary by opening to the public free of charge in honor of Henry Morrison Flagler and his granddaughter, Jean Flagler Matthews, who rescued the estate from being demolished in 1959. The Flager Museum always celebrates their anniversary on Founder’s Day which happens to fall this weekend on June 5th from noon-5:00pm. ( Download a museum brochure) Admission is FREE this Sunday June 5, 2016
One Whitehall Way
Palm Beach, FL 33480
PC Flagler Museum
Flagler has had a major impact on Florida; known as being “the brains” behind Standard Oil, and railroads. His business ventures never seemed to be anything but a massive success bringing jobs and business to Florida. He first came down when his wife was suggested to visit Jacksonville for recovery, unfortunately Mary, his beloved wife, and mother to their son passed away in Jacksonville, May 18, 1881 at age 47. 2 years after Mary’s death, Flagler remarried to Ida Alice Shourds and traveled to St. Augustine, Florida where Flagler believed that Florida had the potential to attract large numbers of tourists. Though Flagler remained on the Board of Directors of Standard Oil, he gave up his day-to-day involvement in the corporation in order to pursue his interests in Florida. Later, Flagler returned back to St. Augustine in 1885 and began the construction of Hotel Ponce de Leon. Realizing the major importance of a transportation system to support his hotel ventures, Flagler purchased the “Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Halifax” Railroad, the first railroad in what would eventually be known as the “Florida East Coast Railway” system. On January 10, 1888 Hotel Ponce de Leon opened and was a major hit, which left to the opening of the Hotel Royal Poinciana on the shores of Lake Worth in Palm Beach and the extension of his railroad. The Hotel Royal Poinciana soon became one of the largest resorts in the world. In 1896 Flagler built the Palm Beach Inn (which was later renamed The Breakers in 1901) overlooking the ocean in Palm Beach.
PC Palm Beach Daily News
As time went on Flagler’s 2nd wife passed away from mental illness, and he remarried for the 3rd time in 1901. As a wedding present to Mary Lily in 1902 Flagler had Whitehall built and designed by architects John Carrère and Thomas Hastings, Whitehall became Flagler’s and Mary Lily’s winter home. Whitehall was built with over 70-rooms and more than 90,000 square feet. New York Herald described Whitehall as, “… more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world.”
As time went on, and a year past, Mr. Flagler was in the Whitehall when he fell down the flight of stairs and never recovered from the fall, and died of his injuries on May 20, 1913, at 83 years of age. Flagler became known as “the brains” behind Standard Oil and our Florida Railroad System. Some say he was the inventor of “Modern Florida”. “I have come to the conclusion that the best way to help others is to help them help themselves,” said Flagler, and it shows with what still remains today, tourism, transportation, and all.