Distinctive Palm Beach Properties

Quick Search


History of Palm Beach

In the early 1880’s Henry Flagler, a wealthy Northern industrialist, founded the Town of Palm Beach with the extension of Flagler’s East Coast Railway. Enchanted by Palm Beach’s warm balmy weather and tropical environment, Flagler envisioned Palm Beach as a playground for wealthy Northerners during the cold winter months.

The Royal Poinciana Hotel

Courtesy of the Preservation Foundation of
Palm Beach

Henry Flagler thought an elegant and lavish hotel would entice his Northern guests to spend the winter, so he completed the Royal Poinciana Hotel in 1894, and followed by the Breakers Hotel on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in 1901.

The Town of Palm Beach was largely built in the 1920's during the industrial revolution. Palm Beach became the winter retreat for a new kind of American royalty with tremendous newfound wealth and the desire to display it to the world. The estates were inspired by the grand, stately palaces of Europe, and intended to establish the families’ lineage and status, which was rarely more than a generation old.

Palm Beach soon became a resort town with lavish hotels and opulent residences. Winter residents decided to build homes of their own, and commissioned some of the grandest homes from the most well-known architects of the time to showcase their wealth.

Courtesy of the Preservation Foundation of
Palm Beach

One of the most significant Palm Beach architects was Addison Mizner, whose Venetian-inspired buildings exist today in some of Palm Beaches’ grandest homes, as well as the Town’s buildings and its European vias and palazzos.






Courtesy of the Preservation Foundation of
Palm Beach

Maurice Fatio, born in Switzerland in 1897, is another noted Palm Beach architect. Fatio opened his first office in New York and later in Palm Beach in the 1920's. Fatio’s celebrated Italian Renaissance style blended beautifully with Palm Beach’s Mediterranean architecture, and he was quickly embraced by high society. Later in the 1930s, Fatio’s style became more modern encompassing a Georgian-inspired classism, symmetry, and simplicity of forms in keeping with the new modern aesthetic. 



Courtesy of the Preservation Foundation of
Palm Beach

Other architects also had a significant influence on Palm Beach’s character. Marion Syms Wyeth arrived in Palm Beach in 1919 after graduating from Princeton, where he was trained in the Beaux-Arts style. He designed houses in a variety of architectural styles, including Spanish Mediterranean, Southern style and Modernist Contemporary style. 




Courtesy of the Preservation Foundation of
Palm Beach

Howard Major, a graduate of the Pratt Institute, arrived in Palm Beach in 1925.   He was less enchanted with the Spanish style of Mizner’s architecture, and more interested in the Georgian style of the British West Indies, which he believed was better suited to Palm Beach’s tropical environment. Interestingly, Major’s first commissions featured Mizneresque details, but later his architecture transformed into a tropical, classic Georgian design, which later became his signature style.

In the 1930’s, Major’s style reflected the evolution to lighter more tranquil colors and contemporary forms. 


Courtesy of the Preservation Foundation of
Palm Beach

John Volk, born in Austria, and educated at Columbia University and the Beaux-Arts Institute in New York, arrived in Palm Beach in 1926. He and his partner Gustav Maas initially embraced the Mizner style of Spanish architecture, but in later years his residences and commercial buildings reflected varying styles, including Italianate, Regency and Modernist. 





Courtesy of the Preservation Foundation of
Palm Beach

Clarence Mack, born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1888, studied Renaissance architecture in Europe before arriving in Florida in 1935. Mack combined his experience as a designer and builder of chateau-style homes with the knowledge he acquired during his travels, to create grand estates in the Georgian and classical French styles.
Mack’s designs were inspired by tradition, but featured large-scaled floor plans to meet the demands of modern life. He is best known for his grand Regency style estates.



Today, Palm Beach retains its original charm and gracious elegance thanks to efforts by the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, which is dedicated to the preservation of the historic, architectural and cultural heritage of Palm Beach. www.palmbeachpreservation.org



Zimmerman Douglas Elliman

340 Royal Poinciana Way, Suite 302
Palm Beach, FL 33480

Jacqueline A. Zimmerman (561) 906-7153 Direct jz@PalmBeachProperty.com

Adam M. Zimmerman (561) 906-7152 Direct az@PalmBeachProperty.com

(561) 655-8600 Main Office


The Definitive Source for Palm Beach Real Estate

Jacqueline A. Zimmerman(561) 906-7153pAdam M. Zimmerman(561) 906-7152pMain Office(561) 655-8600
Douglas Elliman, Licensed Real Estate Broker | 340 Royal Poinciana Way, Suite 302, Palm Beach, FL 33480


Equal Housing Opportunity

Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions

Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved

No warranty or representation, express or implied is made as to the accuracy of the information contained herin, and same is submitted subject errors, omission, change of price rental or other conditions, withdrawal without notice, and to any special listing conditions imposed by our principals.