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.