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Henry M. Flagler Elementary School

Henry M. Flagler

 

Reference Wikipedia

Henry Morrison Flagler January 2, 1830 – 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 the Atlantic Ocaen and was founder of what became the Florida East Coast Railway. He is known as the father of Miami, Florida and also founded Palm Beach Florida.

Flagler purchased short line railroads in what would later become known as the Florida Eastcoast Railway.

Realizing the need for a sound transportation system to support his hotel 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 on January 10, 1888 and was an instant success. This project sparked Flagler's interest in creating a new "American Riviera." Two years later, Flagler expanded his Florida holdings. He built a railroad bridge across the St. Johns 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, West Palm Beach, by 1894, founding Palm Beach and West Palm Beach.The Royal Poinciana Hotel was at the time the largest wooden structure in the world. Two years later, Flagler built the Palm Beach Inn (renamed Breakers Hotel Complex in 1901) overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach.

Flagler originally intended West Palm Beach to be the terminus of his railroad system, but in 1894 and 1895, severe freezes hit the area, causing Flagler to rethink his original decision. Sixty miles south, the town today known as Miami was reportedly unharmed by the freeze. To further convince Flagler to continue the railroad to Miami, he was offered land in exchange for laying rail tracks from private landowners, including Julia Tuttle, who he had met in Cleveland, OH and who 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, which was an unincorporated area 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.