Who is Henry M. Flagler?
Henry Morrison Flagler ( b:January 2, 1830 , d:May 20, 1913) was an american tycoon, real estate promoter, railroad developer, and partner of john D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil. He was a key figure in the development of the Eastern coast of Florida, along with the Atalantic Ocean and was the founder of what became the Florida Eastcoast Railway. He is considered to be the "Father of Miami" and also founded Palm Beach Florida.
Realizing the need for a sound transportation systen to support hisnhotel ventures, Flagler purchased short line railroads in what would later become known as the Florida East Coast Railway.
The Ponce de León Hotel, now part of Flagler College, opened January 10, 1988 and was an instant success. This projected Flagler's interest in creatng a new "America Riviera." Two years later, Flagler expanded his Florida holdings and built a rilroad bridge across the St. John River to gain access to the southern half of the state, and purchased the Hotel ormond, just north of Daytona. his personal dedication to the state of Florida was demonstrated when he began construction on his private residence, kirkside, in St. Augustine.
Flagler completed the 1,100 - room Royal Poinciana Hotel on the shores of lake Worth in Palm Beach and extended his railroad to its service town, Palm Beach and West Palm beach. The Royal Poinciana Hotel was at the time the largest wooden structure in the world. Later on, he built the Palm Beach Inn (renamed Breakers Hotel Complex in 1901) overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach.
Flagler originally had intended West Palm Beach to be the terminus of his railroad system, but in 1984 and 1985, severe freeze hit the area, causing him to rethink his original decision. Sixty miles south, the town known today as Miami was reportedly unharmed by the freeze. To further convince him to continue the railroad to Miami was the offer of land he was given in exchange for laying rail tracks from private landowners, including Julia Tuttle, who he had met in Cleveland, Ohio. She ran a trading post on the Miami River, the Florida East Coast Canal, and Transportation Company, and the Boston and florida Atlantic Coast Land Company.
Such incentive led to the development of Miami, whoch was unincorporated at the time. Flagler encouraged fruit farming and settlement along his railway line and made many gifts to build hospitals, churches, and schools in Florida.