Mystery Shirt and The Boys of Winter

In this photo, taken in 1915, the bicycle chair operator is wearing a hotel uniform complete with cap badge.

What's intriguing about the picture are the letters on his shirt
There appears to be the letters "R, P (or R,) E and an A" affixed to the front.

 Is it an athletic jersey?  Do the letters denote a team?

During the season, both the Royal Poinciana and Breakers Hotel fielded teams as entertainment for the guests. The diamond was located in between the hotels where the golf course is now. Players, most of whom played in the Negro League held other jobs inside the hotels. The team photo, taken in 1906 comes from the NLBPA website.

This picture, from an online auction, was taken a year after the mystery photo, a player, front row- second from the left, wears the RP uniform. Some players are wearing undershirts (the games were played in the Winter, after all!)

The Breakers team in 1915. All of these guys played in the Negro League during the regular season. More info and identity information here.

I want to believe that our guy is in one of these team photos. Unfortunately, they are too lo-res to zoom in and study.

One last tidbit from the Historical society of Palm Beach County:
During the 1920s and ‘30s, The Breakers hotel and the Royal Poinciana (until it closed) continued their tradition of hiring baseball players from the Negro Leagues to entertain their guests. The players also worked in the hotels as waiters and busboys. Several times a week, the two teams would play well-attended games on the diamond at County Road and what is now Royal Poinciana Way. 


Ghost in the Garden

A nice view of the hotel taken in 1915 from deep inside the garden. The main entrance to the hotel is just out of the frame to the left. The garden appears to be deserted except for one ghostly apparition . Zoom in to find it!

This picture is from an album I recently purchased. Stay tuned for some new, rare scenes! How about those hand-written captions!

Tea Garden

By 1915, the year this picture was taken, the Coconut Grove had taken on a Japanese theme.  Later on a pagoda and paper lanterns were added to give guests the feel of a Japanese Tea Garden. Note the electric lights strung through the trees, the meandering walks and the little teashouse (center right.)