Historic Structures

The Breakers Hotel, Palm Beach Florida

Date added: October 11, 2016 Categories: Florida Hotel

Henry Morrison Flagler—-the owner and builder of The Breakers Hotel, one of several hotels designed to serve the railroad system owned by Flagler, the Florida East Coast Railroad Line—came to Palm Beach in May 1893. He remained only three days, but in that short time he had decided what land he wanted to purchase and to build upon. Before he departed he instructed Albert Robert to purchase certain lands on both sides of Lake Worth. Flagler paid $75,000 for the land on which he built the Royal Poinciana Hotel on Lake Worth, and the Breakers Hotel on the ocean* The former was begun in 1893 by McGuire and McDonald. They also began work on the Palm Beach Inn on the site of the future Breakers Hotel in the summer of that same year.

A Casino and Beach Club were built on the site of the present Beach Club, together with cabanas to the. south. A pier which was capable of servicing ocean liners was also built between the Casino and the hotel. The Palm Beach Inn was opened for the 1895-1896 winter season. According to Mrs. Stanley Banash, Librarian, Historical Society of Palm Beach County, the Henry M. Flagler Museum, "In 1903, the name of the Inn was changed to The Breakers. It was being enlarged when a disastrous fire reduced it to ashes. Mr. Flagler was notified that the building was doomed, and he instructed that it be rebuilt immediately. Work was rushed, and as the new structure was nearing completion it again caught fire,.and was again a total loss. Once more orders came to put up another one immediately. It was finished, reopening on February 1904."

On March 18, 1925, The Breakers Hotel again burned down in a spectacular fire. Although the season had not ended and persons were living in the hotel, no one was injured.

The existing Breakers Hotel was opened on December 29, 1926, and has remained in operation since that time. In the summer of 1971, for the first time, the hotel remained open to guests during the off-season.