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Whitehall - Henry Flagler Mansion

Whitehall is a 75-roomGilded Age mansion open to the public in Palm Beach, Florida in theUnited States. Completed in 1902, it is a major example of neoclassical Beaux Arts architecture designed by Carrère and Hastings for Henry Flagler, a leading captain of industry in the late 19th century, and a leading developer of Florida as a tourist destination. The building is listed a National Historic Landmark. It now houses the Flagler Museum, named after its builder.

Henry Flagler, one of the founders of Standard Oil, built Whitehall as a gift for his third wife, Mary Lily Kenan.

The site of the home was purchased for $50,000 in 1893 (as of 2010 that would be $1,197,562.39) by Flagler; later surveyed for construction in July 1900 and the home completed in time for Flagler and his wife to move in on February 6, 1902.

The architects were Carrère and Hastings, who had earlier designed the Ponce de Leon Hotel and several other buildings in St. Augustine for Flagler. Whitehall was to be a winter residence, and Henry gave it to Mary Lily as a wedding present. They would travel to Palm Beach each year in one of their own private railcars, one of which was No. 91. One of the railcars still remain on the property in the newly added pavilion in a matched Beaux art style.

Railcar 91

Flagler died of injuries sustained in falling down a flight of marble stairs at Whitehall in 1913, at the age of 83. Mary Lily died four years later, and the home was devised to her niece Louise Clisby Wise Lewis, who sold the property to investors.

Grand Hall - 1972

Grand Hall - Today

They constructed a 300-room, ten-story addition to the west side of the building, obliterating Mr. Flagler's offices, the housekeeper's apartment, and altering the original kitchen and pantry area.

Carrere and Hastings were the architects of the 1925 reconstruction. In 1939 it was described as a $4,000,000 building and Palm Beach's second-largest hotel.

In 1959, the site was saved from demolition by one of Henry Flagler's granddaughters Jean Flagler Matthews. She established the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum non-profit corporation, which purchased the building in 1959, opening it as a museum in 1960. The upper ten stories of the hotel addition were demolished in 1963 in preparing the museum for the public.

Drawing Room

Today, Whitehall is a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as the Flagler Museum, featuring guided tours, changing exhibits, and special programs. It also hosts a variety of local galas and balls throughout the year. The Museum is located at Cocoanut Row and Whitehall Way, Palm Beach.


Distinct from northern homes, Whitehall had no outbuildings or subsidiary structures. Nor had it elaborately planned or cultivated gardens. Plants, flowers, trees and shrubs were allowed to grow unaided.

The mansion is built around a large open-air central courtyard and is modeled after palaces in Spain and Italy. Three stories tall with several wings, the mansion has fifty-five fully restored rooms furnished with period pieces. These rooms are large with marble floors, walls and columns, murals on the ceilings, and heavy gilding.

A bedroom in Whitehall

Today, you can tour the Flagler Mansion and eat in the cafe housed in the pavilion. Information and photos via Wikipedia, and the Henry Flagler museum website.

Music Room with built in organ

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