henry flagler railroad
Henry Flagler and the Railroad There are just 44 days until our next trip to Key West. That railcar, No. He was responsible for building the Florida East Coast Railway from Daytona to Key West. In the early 1900s Flagler, affiliated with John D. Rockefeller in the Standard Oil Company, conceived and oversaw the construction of the Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad, paving the way for the Keys’ evolution into the destination that is internationally recognized today. Despite the hardships, the final link of the Over-Sea Railroad was completed in 1912 and the first official train to reach Key West pulled Henry Flagler's private Railcar No. Florida East Coast Railway In 1912 Henry Flagler arrived aboard the first train into Key West, marking the completion of the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway's Over-Sea Railroad to Key West. Within months he opened the 1,100-room Royal Poinciana hotel, which Chandler called “the largest resort hotel in the world… equipped and staffed in the most luxurious manner imaginable,” and extended the railroad south to reach it. Along with John D. Rockefeller, they created a corporation worth millions of dollars. He even arranged a link-up with weather forecasters, and if a serious drop in temperature was predicted, his engine drivers sounded six long blasts on their whistles as they thundered through the orange groves, calling on farmers to hurry out with their “smudge pots”—oil-burning heaters that prevented frost from forming on the fruit trees. He was joined by Henry H. Rogers, another leader of Standard Oil who also became involved in the development of America's railroads, including those on ne… The whole Florida East Coast Railway project was completed at a cost of $20 million ($500 million in today’s money) and in less than seven years. Collectors of all ages will enjoy our railroad-related collections and history-themed gift sets. Ida Alice (née Shourds) Flagler had been a caregiver for Mary Flagler. Anyone glancing at a map could see that Miami was the end of the line, but Flagler kept on going, out to sea, away from the mainland and over the Florida Keys—an archipelago that sweeps southwest from Miami to Key West, far out in the Gulf of Mexico. Indeed, Flagler had contributed more than Rockefeller to the organization of the Standard, and was wholly responsible for the clever legal structure that protected it against antitrust lawsuits. Henry Flagler vowed that he would never, ever enter into a business on a whim again. It failed to attract many passengers, and proved to be unreliable since it was affected by bad weather. This hotel was completed in 1888, and it was during it's construction that he began to add railroads to his collection of businesses. Henry Flagler was best known for being a co-founder of Standard Oil. When he started work it was one of the poorest states in the Union—today it has one of the strongest economies in the world. But Flagler persisted and seven years later he was aboard his private railcar on the first train into Key West. This was largely thanks to the loyalty of Flagler’s men, one of whom told a reporter “there isn’t one of us who wouldn’t give a year of his life to have Mr. Flagler see the work completed.” And see it he did, opening the line to the public on January 22, 1912, tearfully exclaiming: “my dream is fulfilled, now I can die happy.” He had never expected to see the project completed, predicting 20 years earlier that it would take 30 years to finish, and accurately forecasting: “I have only 20 more years to live.” The line’s completion was celebrated by the introduction of the Havana Express, a regular through service that arrived at Key West only 52 hours after leaving New York, giving passengers the luxury of strolling across the quay to take a ship to Cuba, a mere 90 miles (45km) away. Henry Flagler Railroad Empire His first project was the beautiful and sophisticated Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine. ©Flagler Museum Archives. With the completion of the Over-Sea Railroad the entire east coast of Florida, from Jacksonville to Key West, was linked by a single railroad system. Henry Morrison Flagler By Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC In 1890, America was astounded by Henry Morrison Flagler whose Florida East Coast Railroad was pushing southward along the Atlantic Coast from St. Augustine to Miami. Before his death in 1899, Plant helped to develop Florida with railways, steamships, and luxury hotels. The Begining Of Henry Flaglers Railroad Building Adventure. It was then that he decided to expand his railroad from Miami through the Florida Keys. Henry Flagler and the origin of the Florida East Coast Railway Henry Flagler (1830–1913) was a principal in Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler and later a founder of Standard Oil during the Gilded Age in the United States. That was in 1912. At the time, the area was “mostly swamp, and was filled with mosquitoes, snakes, mangrove thickets and Spanish Bayonet” (a nasty type of cactus), but Flagler tamed it and brought water and electricity to the town he established there. Henry Flagler died at age 83, on May 20, 1913, as a result of injuries he sustained in a fall at Palm Beach's Whitehall, the 55-room mansion he built as a wedding gift for his third wife. Henry Flagler was a native New Yorker and he was born in 1830. Flagler built a palace, called Whitehall, as his residence in Palm Beach. Ida Alice (née Shourds) Flagler had been a caregiver for Mary. FAQ; Railroad News . Flagler’s railroad, renamed the Florida East Coast Railway in 1895, reached Biscayne Bay by 1896. To foster local industry, Flagler also established a “Model Land Company,” which, in Chandler’s words, “did more perhaps to actually building up the Florida East Coast than any of his other undertakings.” He encouraged people to plant vegetables, citrus fruit, and pineapples, and when an unprecedented snowstorm wiped out the fledgling industry in the winter of 1884 he secretly spent a fortune helping the affected farmers. Henry Flagler's non-Standard Oil interests went in a different direction than Henry Rogers', however, when in 1878, on the advice of his physician, Flagler traveled to Jacksonville, Florida for the winter with his first wife, Mary (née Harkness) Flagler, who was quite ill. Two years after she died in 1881, he married again. Henry Morrison Flagler is best known for his development of Florida's east coast. The locals wanted to call the town “Flagler,” but Flagler declined the honor, preferring to name it after the river. According to Flagler’s biographer, David Chandler, Rockefeller readily admitted that Flagler was an inspiration. The Plant system of railroads helped to create modern Florida. What was needed was a reliable railroad that would link the town directly to New York, so Flagler bought up the existing lines and converted them to standard gauge. Extending the railroad also entitled him to land grants, and on the basis of these he accumulated over two million acres of territory, including Biscayne Bay, a beautiful spot protected from the Atlantic by a barrier island and watered by the little Miami River. 1844: Went to Ohio to earn his own livelihood. Consequently, the railroad went bankrupt in 1932, and the offshore track was destroyed on Labor Day 1935, during the worst storm of the century. ©Flagler Museum Archives. The elements also caused havoc, not least in 1906, when a hurricane sank an accommodation barge, causing at least at least 70 deaths, and delaying construction for a year. After their wedding, the couple traveled to Saint Augustine. Search . Thus Miami was born. Plant was born in 1819, Florida was still under Spanish control. Henry Flagler and the Overseas Railroad H E WAS UNIQUE in the history of the United States. Aerial of FEC railroad through Pigeon Key. Flagler’s hotels and railroad established Palm Beach as a winter resort for the wealthy members of American society. In 1904, the brilliant and driven entrepreneur Henry Flagler, partner to John D. Rockefeller and the true mastermind behind Standard Oil, concocted the dream of a railway connecting the island of Key West to the Florida mainland, crossing a staggering 153 miles of open ocean—an engineering challenge beyond even that of the Panama Canal. ©Flagler Museum Archives. For decades before his great Florida adventure, Flagler had been a key partner in the creation of Rockefeller’s gigantic Standard Oil monopoly. In one respect Flagler was lucky. “There is an impelling force within me,” he told a friend, “and I must carry out my plans”—and the result was his 128-mile (206-km) “overseas railway.”. The railroad arrived at Miami in 1896, completing a 500-mile (800-km) line that ran south from the neighboring state of Georgia through Jacksonville and the resorts Flagler had built. ©Flagler Museum Archives. For the first time, Flagler was able to experience the warm, sunny atmosphere of Florida. Henry Flagler saw the benefit of connecting Key West with the rest of the country after construction of the Panama Canal began. Railroad Forums . He knew this would not be an easy feat and was told by many engineers that it … Many considered the project impossible, but build it they did. More . Then he faced the 37 miles (60km) of the “overseas” railroad itself, a route demanding 17 miles (27km) of bridges and 20 miles (32km) of embankments—a feat of engineering that has never been equaled. The Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden celebrates Henry Flagler, founder of Standard Oil, who leased black prisoners to build railroad lines throughout the state. Highway 1, which replaced it, was constructed on the roadbed that Flagler had financed. Seven years earlier Flagler built the 450 room Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine where Ponce had planted In 1904, the brilliant and driven entrepreneur Henry Flagler, partner to John D. Rockefeller, dreamed of a railway connecting the island of Key West to the Florida mainland, crossing a staggering 153 miles of open ocean—an engineering challenge beyond even that of the Panama Canal. Henry Flagler had one last accomplishment in mind: the monumental task of building a 128-mile-long oversea railroad to link the mainland with Key West. By the time his plans were ready, President Theodore Roosevelt had authorized the construction of the Panama Canal, making Key West a potentially vital transportation hub. As always, he inspected the site incognito, to avoid attracting attention, and then returned openly to buy the land he wanted. 91. When Flagler's first wife Mary (née Harkness) fell sick, his physician recommended they travel to Jacksonville for the winter to escape the brutal conditions of the North. The Story Behind Florida’s Abandoned Overseas Railroad Will Boggle Your Mind. Henry Morrison Flagler (* 2.Januar 1830 in Hopewell, New York; † 20. Another great draw was an annex called the Breakers, which proved so popular that Flagler turned it into a casino. Without dry land for accommodation, the 4,000 workers were housed on enormous barges, which contained all the facilities needed for survival, including vast quantities of fresh water. Workers lay rail tracks for the Florida East Coast Railway. Flager’s next port of call was Palm Beach, a natural harbor that he explored in 1893. ©Flagler Museum Archives. Formed at Cleveland, Ohio as Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler in 1867, Standard Oil moved its headquarters in 1877 to New York City. ©Flagler Museum Archives. He could have been as rich and as famous as John D. Rockefeller. At the time, Florida was still a young state and was keen to sell its land rights, and Flagler saw that even underdeveloped St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the US, was attracting plenty of wealthy tourists. Flagler, his life’s work accomplished, died a happy man the following year. Click here to learn more about our New Visitor Experience and Public Safety Protections. As for getting the work done, Flagler simply found the right man for the job and left him to it, ignoring the question of cost, even though there were no more grants to be had. Sadly, however, the line never prospered. Find the perfect flagler railroad stock photo. If you live in Florida, you’re probably familiar with some of oil tycoon Henry M. Flagler’s work. He could have been as rich and as famous as John D. Rockefeller. ©Flagler Museum Archives. On January 22, 1912, Henry Flagler was greeted by thousands of well-wishers. Instead, Henry Flagler chose to spend the last 30 years of his life building a railroad line in Florida and establishing Florida’s tourist industry. “FLAGLER’S FOLLY” his critics called it, when Henry Morrison Flagler announced that he planned to run a railway out to sea, down the Florida Keys all the way to Key West. One Whitehall WayPalm Beach, FL 33480(561) 655-2833Terms & Conditions - © Flagler Museum, 2020, Walk This Way: Historic Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection. Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean - Kindle edition by Standiford, Les. Flagler had some success in … Instead, Henry Flagler chose to spend the last 30 years of his life building a railroad line in Florida and establishing Florida’s tourist industry. However, the local railroads were a deterrent, for they ran on a variety of gauges (see The Track Structure) and so demanded frequent changes of train. Historic candid photograph of Henry Flagler sitting at Knights Key. The first passenger train, called Mr. Flagler’s Special, arriving at Key West on January 22, 1912. He wholly' or at least partially redeemed his reputation in the eyes of subsequent generations by devoting his energies and lots of his wealth in creating a railroad the length of Florida, continuing all the way across the Oceanic Keys to Key West. I've been working my way down through the Keys the past couple of weeks in my writing and I'm getting back into another part of the Keys that is among my favorites. Later, the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line railroads built their tracks through Central Florida to the Gulf Coast. However, real development arrived after the Civil War with lines eventually becoming of Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad and Henry Plant's Plant System. HE WAS UNIQUE in the history of the United States. Indeed, Florida, the Sunshine State, has much to thank him for. The guests did full justice to the luxury of the accommodation, with a hundred private railroad cars arriving each winter for the George Washington Birthday Ball—an event at which the most powerful men in America, including Flagler himself, dressed in the most elaborate drag costumes, complete with fishnet stockings, powdered wigs, and strings of diamonds. The Main stuff. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. Flagler found the city charming, but the hotel facilities and transportati… Sensing a golden opportunity, he gave up his daily involvement in the Standard, and set about building a chain of hotels along the east coast—the first of which, the 540-room Ponce de León, opened in St. Augustine in 1888. It was whilst he was with his wife in Florida that he really started to see the potential of the state. His chosen engineer was Joseph Carroll Meredith, who had already built the massive docks at Tampico on the Gulf of Mexico. The Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) was developed by Henry Morrison Flagler, an American tycoon, real estate promoter, railroad developer and John D. Rockefeller's partner in Standard Oil. Florida East Coast Railway train crossing Long Key Viaduct. As he noted: “the average passenger will take a through car ninety five times in a hundred in preference to making a change.” Another problem was that the lines only ran to Daytona, a beach about a third of the way down the coast—beyond that, Flagler would have to lay his own tracks. However, Flagler craved an outlet for his colossal creative energies, and that was just what he found in Florida, which he explored in 1883 while on honeyoon with his second wife, Ida. FEC workers clear the roadbed before laying down rail tracks. Mr. Flagler was in Key West to celebrate the method by which he had just arrived there: the Florida Overseas Railroad, which had just carried him, his moustache, his newsboy cap, and his wife, Mary, over 128 miles of railroad via a specially designed Pullman sleeping car train boasting three bedrooms, one bathroom, a salon and a kitchen. Flagler made a significant contribution to Florida's economy through tourism and agriculture. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. News and Articles. Another consequence of these freezes was Flagler’s decision to extend his railroad south, for only 60 miles (100km) away the climate was warmer and better suited to farming. When Henry B. Milestones in the Life of Henry M. Flagler. In 1885, Flagler took a trip to Jacksonville, Florida that would change his focus. Flagler dredged a channel, built streets, instituted the first water and power systems, and financed the town’s first newspaper, the Metropolis. HENRY M. FLAGLER'S Florida East Coast Railroad kept Mrs. Julia Tuttle of Fort Dallas in a fever heat of excitement. No need to register, buy now! In discussions of railroads and their impact on “An old spur that was part of Henry Flagler’s railroad a century ago will become West Palm Beach’s latest park, a linear spot to rise near the northern edge of downtown. However, there was still a high casualty rate, both from accidents and disease, and a hospital was built in Miami to treat the afflicted. Flagler found the city charming, but the hotel facilities and transport… I am very much interested in the history of the Keys and the Florida East Coast Railroad. Henry Flagler acquired his unseemly wealth by highly debatable means during his partnership with John D Rockefeller at Standard Oil. Historic photograph of Henry Flagler's first hotel, Hotel Ponce de Leon, in St. Augustine (now Flagler College). 1870: Planned the formation of the Standard Oil Co. 1880: Recognized as one of the big Captains of Industry. The dream of one man changed the isolation of the Florida Keys for all time. His final triumph, completed only a year before he died in 1913, was the construction of the world’s most ambitious “overseas railroad”—a line stretching all the way from the mainland across the Florida Keys to the southernmost tip of the US, Key West. Guests in front of Flagler's 1,150-room Hotel Royal Poinciana (demolished) in Palm Beach, 1886. 1883: Brought his first wife to Florida for her health. The Long Key viaduct alone measured 2½ miles (4km), and was second only to the 7-mile (11-km) Knights Key viaduct, which rested on 366 concrete columns and had a swing bridge to allow ships to pass through it. Henry Flagler’s dream of a Jacksonville to Key West railroad had come true. Nevertheless, Meredith had built his railroad well. She knew it would eventually open up all south Florida to northern commerce and she was keenly aware of the boon it would be to the … Flagler and his family relocated there as well. 1859: Had accumulated $50,000 capital. Two years after his first wife died in 1881, he married again. However, before he got started on the offshore part of the route, Meredith had to lay 91 miles (146km) of railroad through the Everglades, an ordeal in which every kind of danger and annoyance was encountered, from apparently bottomless swamps and uncharted lakes to snakes, alligators, mosquitoes, and obstacles that only the biggest dredgers in the country could move. Designed by the architects of the Metropolitan Opera and New York Public Library, the Ponce de León was the height of luxury and immediately attracted visitors. If you live in Florida while seeking a warmer climate for his ailing first wife in the late 1870s time! Was able to experience the warm, sunny atmosphere of Florida York, January 2 hotel Royal Poinciana click to. D. Rockefeller, they created a corporation worth millions of dollars Gulf Coast was with his in! For being a co-founder of Standard Oil days until our next trip Key! 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