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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: 1900

Royal Poinciana: 1900

Florida circa 1900. "Hotel Royal Poinciana, Palm Beach." Shown here is the merest sliver of Henry Flagler's gigantic hotel, at one time the largest wood-frame structure in the world. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

 

Very impressive

As a retired carpenter, I'll say that the milled material depicted in this photo is amazing for the period. The first floor concrete base is surprisingly left exposed, but one could suppose they did not have the elaborate methods we employ in modern construction to connect sheathing to concrete. All in all, most impressive given the lack of modern equipment. What a painting nightmare it must have been given the moist climate.

Royal legacy

The Royal Poinciana was directly west of the current Breakers on the lake side of Palm Beach.

The Breakers burned twice and almost took the Poinciana with it. The current Breakers was completed in 1926.

More than 500 local homes were built from pieces of the Royal Poinciana including a large church made from bricks from the chimneys.

West Coast Body Double

The long-gone Royal Poinciana was the kind of grand resort hotel that Billy Wilder had in mind for the locale of "Some Like It Hot," but by 1958, Palm Beach was so redeveloped that it could no longer play itself as it had been in the 1920s. But the 1888 Hotel del Coronado was just 120 miles south of Hollywood, and the largest surviving wood frame hotel on the West Coast. This 1958 production still of Marilyn Monroe and her make-up man Whitey Snyder shows the family resemblance between the two hotels.

Well Razed

It's amazing that this huge wooden structure never burned but instead was torn down in 1934.

Look at the size of that thing!

It was gigantic. Such a shame it was torn down.

Sho' Nuff

Yup, the same palm trees they grow back east.

 
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Shorpy.com | 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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