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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SPANGLES: THE CONTINENTAL CIRCUS

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.

 

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Lake Worth

At the time this photo was taken Lake Worth was an actual lake. It became a "lagoon" after the Palm Beach and Boynton Beach inlets were dug. Until that time it was a freshwater lake. And it wasn't until some time in the 80's that the all wise Palm Beach County commission decided to start calling it a lagoon.

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.

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