Monday, January 10, 2011

Florida History: "Glittering Palm Beach"

An article written by Harford Powell, Jr. for Harper’s Bazaar in 1931 offers a glimpse of early Palm Beach*. It must have captured the imagination of those shivering “up North” and, who, during those drab days of the Depression, could not travel but only read about that glittering place in the sun. No doubt Powell contributed to the glamorous stature of the island. Excerpts follow:

Palm Beach is at your elbow. Some genius has put the Florida bound railroad trains on wings … you have no more shaken the snowflakes off your hat before the porter is opening the windows and starting the electric fan.

The charm of Palm Beach comes from something which one cannot fully analyze and understand at first but it comes from the fact that, at Palm Beach, men have really tamed the tropics.

… Palm Beach’s social centre was its hotels – the Breakers and the still more prodigious Royal Poinciana – until the war. In 1918 arrived Mr. Paris Singer and Mr. Addison Mizner, the two men chiefly responsible for making Palm Beach a winter home community, and not merely a hotel community.

Singer built the Everglades Club designed as a home for the convalescent war officers. Before it was finished, the war ended and … it was opened as a club.

Mrs. Edward T. Stotesbury of Philadelphia saw it, admired the totally new note in architecture which Mr. Mizner had struck, and commissioned him to build a home in similar vein for herself. So began the astonishing change in Palm Beach.

 Palm Beach Post, January 11, 1931
*For more history of Palm Beach, see:

Or use search box at top right for "Palm Beach history."

Tags: Florida history, Palm Beach history, Palm Beach hotels


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