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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

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Royal Poinciana: 1910

Royal Poinciana: 1910

Palm Beach, Florida, circa 1910. "Lake Worth and the Royal Poinciana." Henry Flagler's giant hotel, named after the flamboyant flowering tree, holds a place in the record books as the planet's largest wooden structure. At the other extreme: Snell's Menagerie. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


Even harder to believe:

This hotel did not burn to the ground one fatal evening (like its companion, The Breakers), but survived to be razed as unprofitable by its owners. That's an awfully large mass of seasoned timber piled in one place.

I would not be here without it.

I live in the City of Lake Worth, which would not exist if that hotel had not been built. I think the building to the right of the hotel is Whitehall, which was he home of Flagler and still stands as the Flagler museum. Interestingly, Lake Worth is not a closed shore lake, but rather a lagoon, and is part of the Intercoastal Waterway.

Short lifespan

It's hard to believe that such a magnificent building was demolished after standing for barely 40 years.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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