By Ruby Lynn Holden, North Palm Beach Village Historian
Whitehall, Henry Flagler’s Palm Beach palace of 55 extravagantly furnished rooms was imagined and created by architects John Carrere and Thomas Hastings as a wedding gift to his third wife, Mary Lily.
American artisans as well as Italian and French contributed their lavish creations of sculpture, bronzes, rugs and tapestries which would mingle with room after room of antique furnishings. The style of decor also varied room to room: the Music Room was Louis the XIV; the Ballroom, Louis XV; the Breakfast Room in the Elizabethan style with windows hung with Arabian lace curtains. The most beautiful of all the bedrooms was Mrs. Flagler’s, the walls covered with gold silk damask and a large bathroom featuring an onyx toilet and a sunken bathtub. Though electricity was still considered a novelty in 1900, every room in Whitehall was wired for electric lighting.
For anyone fascinated by the history of the area, the Flagler Museum is a must-see.
Hours at the Flagler Museum:
Closed Mondays, open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 to 5:00