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Palm Beach Homes

By Dave Keys

This is a little history on Palm Beach homes for sale and Palm Beach Real Estate. Palm Beach, Florida was pretty much founded by Henry Morrison Flagler in the early 1890s when he built his first hotel on Palm Beach, the 1100-room Hotel Royal Poinciana on the west side of the island, the largest wooden structure in the world which soon became the largest resort in the world at the time. A couple of years later in 1896 Flagler built the Palm Beach Inn on the ocean side of the island, renaming it The Breakers in 1901.

Palm Beach Homes in Florida

Being one of the co-founders of Standard Oil, along with John D. Rockefeller, Flagler’s wealth gave him all of the right connections to sell his new paradise in Florida to the wealth set of his time. He also owned the Florida East Coast Railway, which was the only comfortable way to get south of Jacksonville and St. Augustine at that time.
In order to service the ever-growing population of wealthy patrons, Flagler designed and built West Palm Beach, across the lake from Palm Beach, a place where the servants could live out of sight and out of mind. Up until that time most of the servants, had lived in a small area known at the Styx, which was owned by the wealthy landowners who rented these places to their own servants to live in. Up until the 1960s there was still a law on the books that required all non-residents who did not have an overnight permit to leave the island.
When they were evicted to West Palm Beach, Edward R. Bradley bought most of the land. He was a passionate horseman, racetrack proprietor and breeder of racehorses who owned 4 Kentucky Derby winners. His exclusive restaurant and private casino, the Beach Club, ran unimpeded  — gambling was officially illegal — up until his death, even during Prohibition, openly serving alcohol. He bequeathed the land to the Town of Palm Beach with the proviso that it be used as a public park forever.

Palm Beach FL tropical climate

With the advent of the Jet Set, Palm Beach really came into its own, being one of the requisite stops on the unending trail of parties around the world that the bored set followed. Many Palm Beach palacial mansions were built to be occupied only for 2-3 weeks each year in the winter after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Up until the last year or two, Palm Beach Florida was always ranked as the richest zip code, 33480,  in the United States. Palm Beach homes is now in 3rd place, but still ranks in 1st place based upon net average worth according to Forbes.
Along with the architect Addison Mizner, Flagler built Worth Avenue, today one of the premier shopping streets in the world, with all of the famous names on the street, endless jewelry stores, boutiques, and restaurants. The Mediterranean-Moorish style of Addison Mizner became the signature style of Palm Beach and continues to be so to this day.

Palm Beach homes fl luxury living

The list of famous people who have lived in Palm Beach reads like a Who’s Who of the world’s richest and most famous. Just some of the names are Marjorie Merriweather Post, E.F. Hutton, William S. Burroughs, Jr., Donald Trump, Michael Jackson, Jimmy Buffet, Rush Limbaugh, John Kluge, the Kennedy Family, Rod Stewart, Vera Wang, Lilly Pulitzer and John Lennon.  Today’s Palm Beach is becoming  more egalitarian in some superficial ways but it is also becoming much wealthier, with a lot of big new money moving to town.  It is a living movie during ‘The Season’ from Thanksgiving to Easter, where you’re just as likeley to see a Rolls Royce or a Ferrari as you as you are a VW or a Toyota.


Posted in Palm Beach homes, Palm Beach real estate on September 30, 2011 at 10:58 am.


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