The island of Palm Beach has long been the resort community of choice for the social elite. With miles of pristine sugar sand beaches, exclusive clubs, incomparable estate compounds, designer shopping along Worth Avenue and Michelin-quality dining, life on this barrier island is unlike anywhere else.
Here quiet opulence is the order of the day…and life revolves around its unique village center. Many aspire to its lifestyle. Most were born to it. Long a haven for old money, captains of industry and political scions, it is the East Coast answer to Malibu, Cannes and Lake Como all rolled into one…where mega-yachts are de rigueur, and the social calendar dictates events at such landmark resorts as The Breakers and Mar-a-Lago.
The Rich History Of Palm Beach
It began with the 1878 wreck of the ship Providencia, which set sail from Havana with coconuts bound for Barcelona. When the ship serendipitously washed ashore on what is now Palm Beach, early settlers planted those coconuts to launch a commercial enterprise. The palm trees flourished. The coconut business floundered. But by 1880, word of this superlative spot had spread north and the establishment of the Coconut Grove House Hotel was the early response to incipient tourism.
By the mid 1890’s the railroad had arrived, and Henry M. Flagler had opened both his Royal Poinciana Hotel, and oceanside Palm Beach Inn, destined to be renamed The Breakers.
100+ years of graceful evolution later, Palm Beach is now an incorporated town separated from neighboring West Palm Beach by the Intracoastal Waterway. The easternmost town in Florida, it covers about 10.4 square miles, of which only 3.9 square miles is land! It is home year ’round to 9,000 fortunate few, with an additional 20,000 who winter there “in season.”
The Palm Beaches Today
Today Palm Beach is a community with an elected Mayor and City Council, an active historic preservation society, highly active charitable organizations, 3 miles of superb public beaches, the world’s finest shopping on Worth Avenue, multiple country clubs with award-winning golf and tennis facilities, The Flagler Art Museum, Four Arts Gardens, innumerable private banks lining Royal Palm Way, and the remarkable Palm Beach International Airport barely 15 minutes away.
The city of West Palm Beach, which began as an adjunctive service community for Palm Beach, has itself developed into a vibrant neighboring community just across the bridge on Flagler Way. From Kravis Center opera and theatrical entertainment to diverse clubs, restaurants and galleries on Clematis Street and the exceptional El Cid historic residential district, the energy of this adjacent section of West Palm Beach has made it the natural choice for affluent active professionals.
Classic Palm Beach Architecture
Four prominent architects each had a hand in influencing what is known today as Palm Beach architecture…Addison Mizner, Maurice Fatio, Marion Sims Wyeth, and John Volk. The unmistakable styles they created, from Mediterranean Revival to Tropical Georgian, became the hallmark of Palm Beach architecture.