Step inside this grand mansion and discover the Gilded Age, when Henry Flagler's railroads and luxury hotels established tourism as the mainstay of Florida's economy.
In 1902, the New York Herald proclaimed that Whitehall, Henry Flagler’s home in Palm Beach, was “more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world.” Today, National Geographic Traveler proclaims about Whitehall, "An absolute must-see for visitors to Palm Beach."
Address & Phone:
One Whitehall Way
P.O. Box 969
Palm Beach, FL 33480
Henry Morrison Flagler:
One of the original partners in Standard Oil, Henry Flagler and his ailing wife spent the winter of 1881 in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, his wife died that May. Two years later, he remarried and the couple traveled to St. Augustine where Flagler found the city charming, but without adequate hotel facilities and transportation systems. He recognized the potential to attract out-of-state visitors; and, as we often say, the rest is history.
Flagler gave up his day-to-day involvement in Standard Oil and began construction in 1885 on the 540-room Hotel Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine. He also purchased the Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Halifax Railroad, the foundation of what would eventually become the Florida East Coast Railway.
The success of the Hotel Ponce de Leon, which opened in 1988, was just the beginning. Flagler built an empire of hotels that stretched southward along his railway, eventually reaching Key West.
Henry Flagler's second wife was institutionalized in 1895 and he married his third wife in 1901. The couple moved to Palm Beach and Flagler built Whitehall as a wedding present to the new bride. The 60,000 square foot, 55-room winter retreat, built in just 18 months, is a monumental example of the high culture and technology marked by the Gilded Age.
At the time Whitehall was built, Palm Beach was one of the least developed and most remote locations in the United States. Whitehall ushered in the Gilded Age in Florida and helped to establish Palm Beach as a wealthy retreat.