How The Other Half Bathes-1915

The same group of people seated in the foreground can also be seen here, posing amid the souvenirs at Gus' Baths. The adults are dressed in the same outfits while the two younger people have switched to bathing suits. Note that, for the young girl, proper swimming attire included a bulky cap and a heavy wool bathing dress. She's actually wearing MORE clothes than in the earlier picture!

At least four of the men in the photo are wearing identical suits so they are likely rentals (from Gus' Baths.)

The members of this party were staying at the Palm Beach Hotel which might explain why they weren't enjoying the facilities that Flagler's Breakers hotel provided a mile or so to the north.


Dining Room - The One That got Away

This picture, the only true color photograph of the main Dining Room that I've ever seen, was offered for sale on eBay a few years ago. Foolishly, I didn't buy it. But I did grab this lo-res copy.

The Memorial Presbyterian Church on Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach, was built entirely from the bricks of the hotel after it was demolished in 1936. It appears that much of the woodwork, windows and ornamentation came from the hotel as well.

Historians Debi Murray and Richard Marconi note that the floor of the church came from the ballroom. The dining room doubled as a ballroom when the events required more space than the octagonal ballroom could provide. 

The long dining room carpet has been rolled up to make way for the waltz.

Welcome to the The Hotel Palm Beach!

The Hotel Palm Beach stood on the spot where the Biltmore (originally the Alba Hotel ) stands today. The popular hostelry met its demise in 1925 when cinders from the Breakers fire set it alight and burned it to the ground. The first three pictures were taken in 1915. The last one was taken in 1900- shortly after it opened.

Looking north from an adjacent pier in front of the hotel. Note the flags flapping on the "Skylark." 

Turning the camera a few degrees to the northeast- bicycles and bicycle chairs line the lake trail in front of the hotel. 

Guests were provided with this card to help with planning their daily activities. At the time these pictures were taken the only wheeled vehicles allowed on Palm Beach were the trains, mule trolley, bicycle chairs and bicycles.    

A small building just out of view on the left hosted several shops including one that offered "Scientific Palmistry and Astrology." The three people gathered near the sign appear to be shop/hotel staff. The lady in the bicycle chair holds a cluster of coconuts.

The hotel, ca 1900. At the time most of the houses and hotels were situated on the more desirable lake side. The Breakers, on the ocean (and hence its name) served only to accommodate the overflow from the lakeside hotels.

You Are Here

West Palm Beach and Palm Beach in 1907- The Hotels Royal Poinciana and Breakers dominate the upper right quadrant. Just north of the Poinciana is the Hotel Palm Beach. The Jungle Trail is at the bottom. Much of the lagoon just west of the Jungle Trail was filled in and developed later.

I believe Alligator Joe's Alligator Farm was based in the lagoon at the end of the Jungle trail- not where it is labeled on the map. Alligator Joe's attraction later became The Everglades Club.  Download the map for better details.


"Welcome to Our Ocean"

Gus' Baths (later the Lido Pools) was a saltwater pool complex located on the ocean at the east end of Worth Avenue. A Danish immigrant, Gus Jordahn, opened the business in 1910- this picture was snapped in 1915- one of the earliest in existence.  According to M.M. Cloutier, swimmers payed daily, weekly or monthly dues for use of the pools, picnic facilities and access to the ocean via a tunnel. Jordahn later added a 920 foot pier. Cloutier has an excellent write-up here.

Ohio tourists on their Winter holiday pose amid the conch shells (five cents each,) sea fans, coral and cloth pennants featuring Gus' famous "Welcome to Our Ocean" slogan. This picture has it all- smartly attired vacationers, a sullen pre-teen dutifully holding on to one end of the pennant and a man who is probably a lifeguard- one of Gus' fabled "Cowboys of the Sea"- in attendance.