The Boating Party


The docks were situated on the south side of the north bridge where the Royal Poinciana Theater now stands. In this animated stereograph, guests from the hotels (the Hotel Royal Poinciana is in the background) embark on a sightseeing trip.

Boat Party


The original stereograph comes from the University of California and is captioned "Party on the boat, Palm Beach, Florida. Taken ca. 1900, once you get past the past the flashing movement you really get the feel of being a passenger.

The Party's Over!


As the party boat hasn't met a Titanic-style disaster, "women and children" disembark in reverse order.

Looking For the Bar?


Turn left at the pillar. You can get there via "Hypocrite's Row." Just look for the door inside the men's room.

Pictured here is an animated gif of this stereograph. I'll be adding more gifs this week.


The North Entrance

This picture, courtesy of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, was taken just inside the north entrance of the hotel. The window on the right faces north. Outside the door, a long piazza stretched to the little train station. The tennis courts were on the east side of the piazza. From here, guests started their very long walk to the front desk.

The picture is rich in detail. The room looks to be set up for a high tea. Note the elegant lace tablecloths and curtains. A string surrounds the table beneath the sconce (center left) to keep guests away from some very fancy glass and china.

The china on the table to the right is white with green and orange trim. Examples are on display at The Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum located in the restored courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach, Florida.      



A clipping of a newspaper rotogravure page showing a view of the north entrance lobby taken from the same spot as this one, in a different year. Guests were treated to music throughout the hotel- there was at least one more piano, placed just outside the Garden Grill.

Photogravure courtesy of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County.

I'll Wait For You in the Lobby.

"The garden effect is carried to the interior interior decorations, where palms, ferns, crotons and other foliage plants are banked around the rotunda. The floors are carpeted in moss green and the walls are tinted in pale green and delicate pink. Even the furniture, in white and gold gives the place an air of summer that can not be erased from the mind. This is perpetual summer, with electric lights casting a glow over the scene , the opening Wednesday at dinner, was a pretty sight."
Palm Beach Daily News, Jan. 17, 1902. 

These photos, which come courtesy of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, show two adjoining rooms of the north entrance lobby. This was the first room guests saw as they entered the hotel after traversing the long piazza from the railroad depot. The windows at the rear face east offering a clear view of the Hotel Breakers across the island and the tennis courts just below.

The same room, taken from the adjoining room but on a different day (or year.) The pattern on the wicker furniture is different. The details of design in the carpeting as well as the pottery are crisp. Click to enlarge.


The Dining Room, Appetizer

After a second wing was added in 1902, the main dining room was capable of serving 1700 guests at once. The Head Waiter had thirty-two assistants and five hundred waiters who served meals to from twenty-three hundred to twenty six hundred people three times a day.  150 cooks and an equal number of assistants worked in the kitchen. Guests looking for a more intimate meal could always have it at the Palm Grill.

This rare photo- taken shortly after the hotel opened- shows waitresses and other staff  lining the center aisle of  the dining room. The ladies are wearing dark shirtwaist dresses and full length aprons. This is one of a very few pictures of the hotel staff in existence. 
A heavily retouched photograph of the dining as it looked when it opened in 1894. The main aisle where the staff is standing in the top photo is just past the arches at the right. 
The picture is taken from a rare angle that almost gives a "diner's eye view" of the table. It includes lots of great detail; from the water carafe, glasses, napkins and condiment servers to the arrangement of the silver and design of the chairs. Click to enlarge.

 The Hotel's print shop produced thousands of menus every day topped with an elegant engraving of the hotel logo.

A colored postcard gives a hint of a later color scheme.  The arched doorway  at the entrance found a second life as a garage door at a Palm Beach home after the hotel was demolished.

The dining room doubled as a ballroom when parties featuring upwards of two thousand guests couldn't be accommodated by the octagonal ballroom.


Rotunda- looking south

A rare view from inside of the Rotunda. Most views are taken from the opposite direction across the Rotunda. In this picture the main entrance is to the right. 

The picture was dated 1900- the same year the picture at the top was taken. The wicker furniture has a natural color- later the furniture was painted white. The hallway ahead leads to the Doctor's office, elevators and writing room.

Poinciana Blue

This is a rare cyanotype taken of the HRP shortly after it opened in 1894. The building is only half its ultimate size and the great piazza that extended from the porch west toward the docks hasn't been built yet.

The famous gardens haven't been planted offering an unobstructed view of the porch and ground floors.

Click to enlarge- note the arched entrance to the lobby at the top of the porch. Pass through that door. You are standing in the Rotunda.

The Rotunda

At the top of the steps of the main entrance you'll pass through one of three doors into the Rotunda. The ceiling rises straight up to the great cupola. It's furnished with white wicker furniture and spittoons.

To your left is a long hallway leading to smart shops featuring the latest in fashion, jewelry, souvenirs and candy. Just to the right is a writing room where you can send postcards just like this one to your friends and family in the frozen north.

The stairway straight ahead takes you to the mens (to your left) and ladies (to your right) lounges. A secret hallway leads from the men's toilet to the bar. The passage is affectionately called"Hypocrite's Row." A floor plan will be posted shortly to get you there.

Click to enlarge.


Palm Beach 1906- The Gift Shop

Support this blog! Visit the gift shop!

A few products, designed by artist Pat Crowley are available here with more designs on the way. 


Souvenir Vendor

An extremely rare picture of a souvenir vendor in Palm Beach. The picture was taken by a hotel guest in 1899 or 1900 on the Breakers beach. Note the pier in the background.  There are lots of great details in this picture. Hanging from the top left of the rack are hats matching the one he's wearing.

This photograph was taken just in front of the Poinciana on the famous Ocean Walk facing east. The trolley tracks run parallel to the walk just out of view on the left. The souvenir vendor has moved from the beach to try his luck at the hotel with the aid of a friend. A bicylechair driver stands at the ready in tunic and cap (no. 41.) Click to enlarge.

In this view we are standing on the Walk facing west towards the Poinciana. The steps to the entrance on the southern side of the hotel are in clear view. Two men are standing in the same spot as the cocoanut head vendors. It appears that Ask Mr. Foster, travel guide and purveyor of photo albums and framed souvenir pictures had his first store inside the hotel. It later moved into the bank of stores on the west lawn of the Poinciana. The ? sign served as Foster's logo.

Guest Photo

A rare view of the hotel taken by a guest in 1899 or 1900. The picture was taken with a Brownie style camera from the first bridge linking West Palm Beach to Palm Beach. The bridge stood between the hotel and the site of Henry Flagler's future home -Whitehall. When Whitehall was completed a few years after this picture was taken, Mrs. Flagler asked that the noisy railroad bridge (note the tracks on the left of the pedestrian walk) be moved. It was- to the spot where the north bridge stands today.

At the time, this rail line dropped guests off right at the hotel and could continue on to the pier next to the Breakers hotel. The line was also used for the Palm Beach Trolley.

Here's the trolley, taken by the same photographer, carrying guests west to the Poinciana from the Breakers hotel. The hotel burned to the ground a few years later in the summer of 1903 and was quickly rebuilt . The hotel was once again destroyed in a devastating fire in 1925.