The 75+-room Whitehall mansion Henry Flagler built as a wedding gift for his third wife Mary Lily, is a Beaux Arts masterpiece. Completed in 1902 in just 18 months, the Palm Beach estate featured all the latest technical advances including electricity and telephones. Palm Beach was just one stop of Flagler’s famous Florida East Coast Railway, fulfilling his dream of reaching Key West in 1912, the year before his death at 82. His private rail car, #91, is housed on the property and also available to tour. We didn’t hear about Flagler’s rivalry with Henry Plant, a wealthy entrepreneur who was building his own railway and resort hotel along Florida’s gulf coast.
Both original and typical furnishings from the Gilded Age are on display throughout the mansion. Pictured here, part of a set of Tiffany dinnerware, typical of the era, but not original to the home. Tours are available four ways: with a docent, audio, by app or self-guided. Tours with a docent are about an hour and are offered three times a day. Be sure to leave time for a tasty high tea in the lovely Cafe des Beaux-Arts. Admission is $18 and all tour categories are included at no additional charge. For information: 561-655-2833 http://www.flaglermuseum.us, and/or download the Flagler Museum smartphone app.