The Flagler Museum was the residence of Henry Flagler, called Whitehall. Today, this National Historic Landmark is open to the public so that others may marvel at the beautiful estate. My husband (Blake), mom (Melody), and I took a day trip to Palm Beach to visit the Flagler Museum. What an incredible time we had!
History of Whitehall
Henry Morrison Flagler, a founder of Standard Oil, played a crucial role in the expansion of Florida. With the construction of the Florida East Coast Railroad, the Atlantic side of Florida was able to be developed. Referred to as the father of Palm Beach, Henry built a home there as a wedding present for his third wife, Mary Lily Kenan. This Palm Beach estate, Whitehall, became the Flagler’s winter destination.
Upon completion in 1902, Whitehall was “more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world,” according to the New York Herald. This mansion is built around an open-air courtyard and uses marble throughout.
Since 1960, Whitehall has been open to the public as the Flagler Museum.
Visiting The Museum
The Flagler Museum is open to visitors all year, except on Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission prices are as follows: Adult $18, Youth (13-17) $10, Child (6-10) $3, and Groups of 20 or more $14. You may purchase tickets online or at the Museum.
In addition to a self-guided tour, there are 4 tours available at the Flagler Museum. The first is led by a Museum Docent and lasts 1 hour. The second is a free audio tour. Simply visit the audio attendant at the Museum’s entrance to pick up your headset. Download the Flagler Museum App to your smart device and explore the museum using it as a guide. The last tour option is for children and it includes an activity guide.
For more Flagler history, visit The Breakers hotel, Henry’s Palm Beach winter resort.
Our Tour Of The Flagler Museum
The museum’s Public Affairs Director, David Carson, took Blake, Melody, and I on our tour of Whitehall. From the moment that we stepped inside of this beautiful home, we were speechless. It is incredible! The house is exactly as Henry Flagler left it, extravagantly decorated. We loved seeing all of the Gilded Age architecture and learning about its origin.
My favorite part of the tour was getting to see Railcar No. 91. Located in the Kenan Pavillon, this was Henry’s personal railcar that he used to travel the entire East Coast. Another highlight was seeing the master bedroom closet. It is quite impressive! Not only were there designated spaces for hanging clothes and shoes, but also trunks, and lots of them.
Afternoon Tea At Café des Beaux-Arts
The Flagler Museum offers afternoon tea in the Hotel Royal Poinciana’s Coconut Grove, just as it could have been in the early 1900’s. The price is $22 per person for members of the museum and $40 for non-members, which also includes museum admission. Both prices include both tax and gratuity. Afternoon tea is available from 12-3PM on Sundays and 11:30AM-2:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday.
Blake, Melody, and I had a great time having afternoon tea! We had stellar views of Lake Worth and enjoyed the Kenan Pavilion’s glass room. The only thing that could have made our experience better was if Henry Flagler himself had joined us.
Our beverage options were Whitehall Special Blend Tea or Berried Lemonade. The Harney & Sons’ Whitehall tea is exclusive to the Flagler Museum and can be purchased in the gift shop. We had quite a selection of sandwiches to choose from Cucumber, Smoked Salmon, Turkey Breast (pinwheel with Chestnut Stuffing and Cranberry relish), Curried Egg Salad, Organic Chicken Salad, and Caesar Salad. There was also seasonal bread (Apple and Raisin) and sweets (Mini Pumpkin Pie, Cappuccino Mousse, Cupcakes, and Cranberry Scones with whipped cream and strawberry preservatives) on our tray. Melody appreciated the beauty of crafting delicate portions and the selection of bread (mini Naan, phyllo pastry, and flour tortillas).
Come See Whitehall
The Flagler Museum is the most beautiful home that I have ever seen. The tiny, intricate details in each room are spectacular. Henry Flagler certainly had exquisite taste! If you find yourself in the Palm Beach area, visit the Flagler Museum. You are sure to leave in shock and awe after touring this magnificent home.
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One Whitehall Way
Palm Beach, Florida 33480
Sunday 12-5 PM Tuesday-Saturday 10AM-5PM
Taylor Pittman Hardy wrote this article.
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