Palm Beach is a town situated in the eastern end of Florida, located on a 16-mile long barrier island. Palm Beach was created as a resort by Henry Morrison Flagler who opened up access to the Atlantic coast barrier island by means of his Florida East Coast Railway.
The heart of Palm Beach was established by Flagler’s two luxury resort hotels, the Royal Poinciana Hotel and The Breakers Hotel.
Located at Cocoanut Row and Whitehall Way in Palm Beach, the Flagler Museum has its foundations rooted in rich history and glorious architecture. Built in 1902, the Flagler Museum was originally named Whitehall. A house built by Henry Flagler for his third wife Mary Lily Kenan.
Henry Morrison Flagler was a “Gilded Age” businessman, one of the founders of Standard Oil. He aimed to create a mansion that would rival the profligate manors in Newport, Rhode Island. It started off as 55,000 square-ft of land, purchased in 1893; however, construction started well after.
Finally, by the beginning of 1902, the mansion was ready for Flagler and his wife to move in. The Whitehall was designed by the renowned architects of the time, John Carrere and Thomas Hastings in a Classical Revival Style, built to reflect a diverse variety of themes, ranging from Louis XIV to a Swiss chalet.
It is built around a large open-air courtyard and is designed similar to palaces in Spain and Italy. The building is three stories tall with several wings and fifty-five fully restored
rooms furnished with antique pieces.
The rooms are large and extremely lavish with marble floors, columns and walls, ceilings adorned with murals and heavy gilding.
The Whitehall served as a winter residence for Henry Flagler and his wife- they would travel every year to Palm Beach to spend the season.
Flagler died in 1913 sustaining serious injuries from a fall down the stairs. Four years later, his wife passed away too, after which, the house was inherited by her niece. Louise Clisby, the niece, sold the property to investors who commercialized it, turning grand mansion into a hotel.
In 1959, one of Henry Flagler’s granddaughters Jean Flagler Matthews saved the manor from impending demolition by forming the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum non-profit corporation, which bought the mansion and prepared it as a museum for the public.
When it was completed in 1902, the mansion was termed, “more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world” by the New York Herald.
The Whitehall, built by Henry Flagler, is probably one of the purest instances of the Gilded Age buildings and constructions.
The Whitehall today is regarded in the same sense of grandiosity and magnificence as it did when it was built. It is now a part of the National Historic Landmarks and serving as the popular Flagler Museum to the public.
It features guided tours of the building, various exhibitions, and special programs. It also plays host to a number of local balls and galas throughout the year for the elite of Palm Beach, Florida.
If you are visiting the Palm Beaches or a full time resident looking for something fun to do, look no further than booking a 2 hour tour on our Segways. The tour starts at our office rolls through the city of West Palm Beach, along the waterfront and over the bridge to Palm Beach Island.
While on Palm Beach the tour will take you through the Flagler Museum where you will have an opportunity to take a photo in front of the Flagler Museum.
To learn more about our Segway Tours, please click here for more information. No experience necessary, easy to learn within minutes! Tours fill up fast. Booking in advance recommended.