West Palm Beach was the brainchild of Henry M. Flagler, Florida railroad magnate, and Standard Oil partner. Founded as a commercial and residential center to support Flagler’s hotels, West Palm Beach rose from sandy scrub to become the leading metropolitan and governmental center for Palm Beach County. In 1894 it was much different. In fact, a resident described the town as “ a stretch of the whitest of white sand, two steel rails, and a few acres of pineapples.
Henry M. Flagler visited the Lake Worth area in 1892 while scouting a route to extend his railroad south. He bought land on Palm Beach to construct the first of his two hotels, the Royal Poinciana (1894) on the west side of the island and in 1896 the Palm Beach Inn (later known as the Breakers Hotel) on the ocean. With the influx of workers, Flagler looked across the lake to the mainland to establish a residential and commercial center to support the resort. With $45,000, he purchased the O.S. Porter and Louis Hillhouse properties, creating the nucleus of downtown
The area was laid out in the typical gridiron pattern of the day with the streets alphabetically named after plants common to the area. The town was only 48 blocks and stretched from Lake Worth on the east to Clear Lake on the west and from Althea (now Second Street) on the north to Fern Street on the south. The first lots were sold at auction on February 4, 1894, at the newly constructed, but not yet opened, Royal Poinciana Hotel.
The city continued to grow, and its fate was sealed when the state legislature passed Senate Bill Number 18 in April 1909 establishing Palm Beach County with West Palm Beach as the new county’s seat of government. In 1919 West Palm Beach initiated several changes including the reorganization of the police department, starting with eight men. The town marshal, Frank H. Matthews, was renamed police chief. The same year, the city built a city hall and hired its first city manager.
As one of the three largest cities making up the South Florida region, and the central city of Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach is a vibrant, growing, waterfront city that offers the business advantages available in the region, combined with a more refined and relaxed environment for living and working.
West Palm Beach
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West Palm Beach
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Listing information last updated on April 16th, 2021 at 3:22pm EDT.