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Palm Beach: 1905

Palm Beach: 1905

Florida circa 1905. "The Palm Beach 'trolley.' " Early development in the Sunshine State. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Old Florida

Having grown up in South Miami, I'm loving this series.

Anyone who attended South Florida schools in the 1960s would know all about Henry Flagler and his railroads and hotels. If I'm ever offered a time machine, my first trip will be to South Florida and the Keys circa 1900. It's wall-to-wall concrete now even compared to when I was a kid, but the pristine, undeveloped wilderness of the area must have been stunning at the time.

Flagler hotels

This trolley led from the the gargantuan Hotel Royal Poinciana about a half mile east to the Breakers on the ocean. Guests could also choose to take the palm-lined "Ocean Walk."

The hotel closed around 1930 and was razed in 1936. It was the largest wooden structure in the world when it was built.

Flagler System

The trolley is owned by Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad. Flagler was the man most responsible for early real estate development and resort building in Florida, bringing all interested parties down there via his own railroad, which ran all the way to Key West, with ferry service to Havana.


Another reason I visit Shorpy every day is to give myself a linguistic tuneup.

Trolleys = Go-karts

In New Zealand (and probably other places) go-karts are "trolleys." There are annual "trolley races" all over. A friend is an organizer for one.


Whatever it is, it gets around on 1 HP.

A quibble

is that the term "trolley" refers to the apparatus for picking up electrical power from an overhead wire, absent in this case.

[The word meant "cart." As in horse trolley. It eventually came to be applied to the apparatus drawing electrical current from overhead wires to power a trolley car. Strictly speaking, this conveyance is a horsecar. Which is why the caption puts the word trolley in quotes. - Dave]

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