27 Photos That Show What Palm Beach County Used To Look Like

by Brooke Baitinger Aug 07, 2014 10:19 AM

The evolution of Palm Beach County, as seen through a series of photos from the late 1800s to the 1980s.
schoolhouse in Palm Beach

The first schoolhouse in Palm Beach County in 1886.

The first school teacher was 16-year-old Hattie Gale, shown in the doorway here. (image via)


Banyan Street

In the 1890s, then-notorious Banyan Street was the only place operating saloons, gambling halls and brothels.

It was the only place where alcohol was even legal. As a result, city leaders changed the name to First Street between 1925 to 1989. City leaders then decided that enough time had passed that no one would remember the street’s past. (image via)


Royal Poinciana Hotel

Royal Poinciana Hotel opened in 1894.

Pictured here is the ballroom. (Date unknown.) (image via)


The Breakers

The Breakers was built as the Palm Beach Inn in 1896.

Henry Flagler renamed his hotel The Breakers when guests continually requested rooms “over the breakers.” It burned down twice in its lifetime and once during Flager’s, but after its first reopening, it housed guests such as the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan. Rooms started at $4 per night, including three meals a day. (image via)


The Breakers South Porch

The Breakers South Porch.

Date unknown. (image via)


Edward Riley Bradley

The nation’s longest-running illegal gambling casino was in Palm Beach from 1898 to 1945.

Edward Riley Bradley owned and operated the nation’s longest-running illegal gambling casino in Palm Beach from 1898 to 1945. (image via)


mule train

The old mule train.

In the 1900s visitors rode the mule train from the Royal Poinciana Hotel to The Breakers Hotel. (image via)


Palm Beach beach day

Palm Beach beach day in 1904.

Beachgoers enjoy the water. (image via)


early beach day

Another early beach day.

Men and women enjoy a day at Palm Beach in 1905. (image via)


Delray packing house

Early Delray packing house.

Early Delray had many farmers. Pictured here is a vegetable packing house in Delray Beach. Date unknown. (image via)


Washington Birthday Ball

The Washington Birthday Ball.

The Washington Birthday Ball was held in the Royal Poinciana Hotel’s ballroom in 1908. (image via)


West Palm beach

West Palm beach day.

People enjoy a day at West Palm Beach in 1910. (image via)


Good Samaritan hospital

The Good Samaritan hospital opened on May 19, 1920

The Good Samaritan hospital opened as the area’s first permanent hospital. It started with 35 beds but grew to 135 beds by 1928, including state-of-the-art operating rooms and a Class A rating from the American College of Surgeons. (image via)


Lake Worth beach

Lake Worth beach in the early 1920s.

(image via)


The Kettler theater

The Kettler theater in the 1920s.

Former child actor Carl Kettler replaced the city’s first theater, the Bijou (which he opened in 1908), with The Kettler (pictured here in the 1920s). It cost $500,000 in 1920s dollars and boasted 1,400 seats, colored lights, fans and smoking rooms. (image via)


Boca Raton Resort & Club

The Boca Raton Resort & Club opened as The Cloister Inn in 1926.

The resort was designed by famed architect Addison Mizner. (image via)


St. Edward Church

St. Edward Church in the 1920s.

Groundbreaking for St. Edward Church, April 25, 1926. (image via)


Paramount Theatre

The Paramount Theatre opened on January 26, 1927.

In 1982, the town of Palm Beach declared it a town landmark. It has survived 83 years of demolition attempts and hurricanes. (image via)


Palm Beach Junior College

Palm Beach Junior College opened in 1933.

Palm Beach Junior College (today Palm Beach State College) was founded in 1933. (image via)


Boca Raton Army Air Field

Boca Raton Army Air Field opened in 1942.

In 1942, flight and radar training base Boca Raton Army Air Field opened – home to about 16,000 troops. (image via)


The Palm Beach Post

The Palm Beach Post's new building opened in the 1960s.

About 2,500 people attended the grand opening of The Palm Beach Post-Times’ new building on Nov. 13, 1960.


1960s printing press

1960s printing press.

L. Boswell for The Palm Beach Post works with a stereotype dry mat, which was a part of the printing press process. (image via)


West Palm Beach Library

The West Palm Beach Library held its opening ceremony in 1962.

It was later replaced with a new library in a new location in 2009. The original was demolished in May of the same year. (image via)


Lake Worth beach

Lake Worth beach in 1969.

(image via)


Coral Beach Club

The Beach Club was built as the Coral Beach Club in 1941.

It was demolished and rebuilt as the Beach Club we know today in 1970. (image via)


Palm Beach ferry

West Palm Beach ferry.

Bruce Coyler and his mother Lucile owned and operated the ferry that carried tourists and residents from the West Palm Beach municipal docks on Flagler Drive to the Biltmore Hotel in Palm Beach until 1966. In 1941, the ferry was remodeled for war-time ferry service. (image via)


Easter Weekend in Lake Worth

Easter Weekend in Lake Worth in the '80s.

On April 4, 1983, the Lake Worth Beach was packed with people celebrating Easter weekend. (image via)


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