Extending the railroad also entitled him to land grants, and on the basis of these he accumulated over two million acres of territory, including Biscayne Bay, a beautiful spot protected from the Atlantic by a barrier island and watered by the little Miami River. ©Flagler Museum Archives. Later, the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line railroads built their tracks through Central Florida to the Gulf Coast. 1844: Went to Ohio to earn his own livelihood. The guests did full justice to the luxury of the accommodation, with a hundred private railroad cars arriving each winter for the George Washington Birthday Ball—an event at which the most powerful men in America, including Flagler himself, dressed in the most elaborate drag costumes, complete with fishnet stockings, powdered wigs, and strings of diamonds. ©Flagler Museum Archives. Henry Flagler Railroad Empire His first project was the beautiful and sophisticated Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. However, there was still a high casualty rate, both from accidents and disease, and a hospital was built in Miami to treat the afflicted. At the time, Florida was still a young state and was keen to sell its land rights, and Flagler saw that even underdeveloped St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the US, was attracting plenty of wealthy tourists. ©Flagler Museum Archives. "To understand the railroad, you must first understand a little about its developer, Henry Flagler," said Tom Hambright, historian at the Monroe County Public Library in Key West. Historic candid photograph of Henry Flagler sitting at Knights Key. Historic photograph of Henry Flagler's first hotel, Hotel Ponce de Leon, in St. Augustine (now Flagler College). I am very much interested in the history of the Keys and the Florida East Coast Railroad. Many considered the project impossible, but build it they did. 1830: Born at Hope, New York, January 2. Flagler’s railroad, renamed the Florida East Coast Railway in 1895, reached Biscayne Bay by 1896. Instead, Henry Flagler chose to spend the last 30 years of his life building a railroad line in Florida and establishing Florida’s tourist industry. Search . Workers lay rail tracks for the Florida East Coast Railway. Henry Morrison Flagler (* 2.Januar 1830 in Hopewell, New York; † 20. Guests in front of Flagler's 1,150-room Hotel Royal Poinciana (demolished) in Palm Beach, 1886. Henry Flagler was a native New Yorker and he was born in 1830. 1867: Became a partner of the Rockefellers. After their wedding, the couple traveled to Saint Augustine. The locals wanted to call the town “Flagler,” but Flagler declined the honor, preferring to name it after the river. Flagler, his life’s work accomplished, died a happy man the following year. Within months he opened the 1,100-room Royal Poinciana hotel, which Chandler called “the largest resort hotel in the world… equipped and staffed in the most luxurious manner imaginable,” and extended the railroad south to reach it. Two years after his first wife died in 1881, he married again. Flagler had some success in … More . Henry Flagler acquired his unseemly wealth by highly debatable means during his partnership with John D Rockefeller at Standard Oil. I've been working my way down through the Keys the past couple of weeks in my writing and I'm getting back into another part of the Keys that is among my favorites. Indeed, Flagler had contributed more than Rockefeller to the organization of the Standard, and was wholly responsible for the clever legal structure that protected it against antitrust lawsuits. Another great draw was an annex called the Breakers, which proved so popular that Flagler turned it into a casino. Flagler built a palace, called Whitehall, as his residence in Palm Beach. Henry Flagler and the origin of the Florida East Coast Railway Henry Flagler (1830–1913) was a principal in Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler and later a founder of Standard Oil during the Gilded Age in the United States. He could have been as rich and as famous as John D. Rockefeller. The Main stuff. The following year he set about building another luxury hotel, the Royal Palm, which was as popular as the Royal Poinciana. However, before he got started on the offshore part of the route, Meredith had to lay 91 miles (146km) of railroad through the Everglades, an ordeal in which every kind of danger and annoyance was encountered, from apparently bottomless swamps and uncharted lakes to snakes, alligators, mosquitoes, and obstacles that only the biggest dredgers in the country could move. Formed at Cleveland, Ohio as Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler in 1867, Standard Oil moved its headquarters in 1877 to New York City. Nevertheless, Meredith had built his railroad well. If you live in Florida, you’re probably familiar with some of oil tycoon Henry M. Flagler’s work. Back in the early 1900s, Florida was a popular winter destination for the upper crust, and some of the Florida’s most extravagant works of architecture were commissioned by Flagler himself. ©Flagler Museum Archives. Henry Morrison Flagler is best known for his development of Florida's east coast. One Whitehall WayPalm Beach, FL 33480(561) 655-2833Terms & Conditions - © Flagler Museum, 2020, Walk This Way: Historic Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. Flagler’s hotels and railroad established Palm Beach as a winter resort for the wealthy members of American society. Instead, Henry Flagler chose to spend the last 30 years of his life building a railroad line in Florida and establishing Florida’s tourist industry. Henry Flagler died at age 83, on May 20, 1913, as a result of injuries he sustained in a fall at Palm Beach's Whitehall, the 55-room mansion he built as a wedding gift for his third wife. Flagler found the city charming, but the hotel facilities and transportati… 1859: Had accumulated $50,000 capital. 91. Find the perfect flagler railroad stock photo. He was responsible for building the Florida East Coast Railway from Daytona to Key West. Milestones in the Life of Henry M. Flagler. His chosen engineer was Joseph Carroll Meredith, who had already built the massive docks at Tampico on the Gulf of Mexico. FEC workers clear the roadbed before laying down rail tracks. Anyone glancing at a map could see that Miami was the end of the line, but Flagler kept on going, out to sea, away from the mainland and over the Florida Keys—an archipelago that sweeps southwest from Miami to Key West, far out in the Gulf of Mexico. Henry Flagler had one last accomplishment in mind: the monumental task of building a 128-mile-long oversea railroad to link the mainland with Key West. The Story Behind Florida’s Abandoned Overseas Railroad Will Boggle Your Mind. ©Flagler Museum Archives. On January 22, 1912, Henry Flagler was greeted by thousands of well-wishers. Henry Flagler and the Railroad There are just 44 days until our next trip to Key West. Seven years earlier Flagler built the 450 room Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine where Ponce had planted Henry Flagler vowed that he would never, ever enter into a business on a whim again. It was then that he decided to expand his railroad from Miami through the Florida Keys. 1870: Planned the formation of the Standard Oil Co. 1880: Recognized as one of the big Captains of Industry. The railroad arrived at Miami in 1896, completing a 500-mile (800-km) line that ran south from the neighboring state of Georgia through Jacksonville and the resorts Flagler had built. The first passenger train, called Mr. Flagler’s Special, arriving at Key West on January 22, 1912. The Long Key viaduct alone measured 2½ miles (4km), and was second only to the 7-mile (11-km) Knights Key viaduct, which rested on 366 concrete columns and had a swing bridge to allow ships to pass through it. What was needed was a reliable railroad that would link the town directly to New York, so Flagler bought up the existing lines and converted them to standard gauge. She knew it would eventually open up all south Florida to northern commerce and she was keenly aware of the boon it would be to the … Despite the hardships, the final link of the Over-Sea Railroad was completed in 1912 and the first official train to reach Key West pulled Henry Flagler's private Railcar No. Collectors of all ages will enjoy our railroad-related collections and history-themed gift sets. Indeed, Florida, the Sunshine State, has much to thank him for. In 1904, the brilliant and driven entrepreneur Henry Flagler, partner to John D. Rockefeller and the true mastermind behind Standard Oil, concocted the dream of a railway connecting the island of Key West to the Florida mainland, crossing a staggering 153 miles of open ocean—an engineering challenge beyond even that of the Panama Canal. However, real development arrived after the Civil War with lines eventually becoming of Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad and Henry Plant's Plant System. When Flagler's first wife Mary (née Harkness) fell sick, his physician recommended they travel to Jacksonville for the winter to escape the brutal conditions of the North. “There is an impelling force within me,” he told a friend, “and I must carry out my plans”—and the result was his 128-mile (206-km) “overseas railway.”. “An old spur that was part of Henry Flagler’s railroad a century ago will become West Palm Beach’s latest park, a linear spot to rise near the northern edge of downtown. Sensing a golden opportunity, he gave up his daily involvement in the Standard, and set about building a chain of hotels along the east coast—the first of which, the 540-room Ponce de León, opened in St. Augustine in 1888. This was largely thanks to the loyalty of Flagler’s men, one of whom told a reporter “there isn’t one of us who wouldn’t give a year of his life to have Mr. Flagler see the work completed.” And see it he did, opening the line to the public on January 22, 1912, tearfully exclaiming: “my dream is fulfilled, now I can die happy.” He had never expected to see the project completed, predicting 20 years earlier that it would take 30 years to finish, and accurately forecasting: “I have only 20 more years to live.” The line’s completion was celebrated by the introduction of the Havana Express, a regular through service that arrived at Key West only 52 hours after leaving New York, giving passengers the luxury of strolling across the quay to take a ship to Cuba, a mere 90 miles (45km) away. The elements also caused havoc, not least in 1906, when a hurricane sank an accommodation barge, causing at least at least 70 deaths, and delaying construction for a year. He could have been as rich and as famous as John D. Rockefeller. With the completion of the Over-Sea Railroad the entire east coast of Florida, from Jacksonville to Key West, was linked by a single railroad system. Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean - Kindle edition by Standiford, Les. Designed by the architects of the Metropolitan Opera and New York Public Library, the Ponce de León was the height of luxury and immediately attracted visitors. FAQ; Railroad News . Aerial of FEC railroad through Pigeon Key. It failed to attract many passengers, and proved to be unreliable since it was affected by bad weather. Another consequence of these freezes was Flagler’s decision to extend his railroad south, for only 60 miles (100km) away the climate was warmer and better suited to farming. Henry Morrison Flagler By Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC In 1890, America was astounded by Henry Morrison Flagler whose Florida East Coast Railroad was pushing southward along the Atlantic Coast from St. Augustine to Miami. However, the local railroads were a deterrent, for they ran on a variety of gauges (see The Track Structure) and so demanded frequent changes of train. Flagler found the city charming, but the hotel facilities and transport… He knew this would not be an easy feat and was told by many engineers that it … Mr. Flagler was in Key West to celebrate the method by which he had just arrived there: the Florida Overseas Railroad, which had just carried him, his moustache, his newsboy cap, and his wife, Mary, over 128 miles of railroad via a specially designed Pullman sleeping car train boasting three bedrooms, one bathroom, a salon and a kitchen. When Henry B. In discussions of railroads and their impact on The wealthy Flagler took an interest in Florida while seeking a warmer climate for his ailing first wife in the late 1870s. In the early 1900s Flagler, affiliated with John D. Rockefeller in the Standard Oil Company, conceived and oversaw the construction of the Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad, paving the way for the Keys’ evolution into the destination that is internationally recognized today. Highway 1, which replaced it, was constructed on the roadbed that Flagler had financed. According to Flagler’s biographer, David Chandler, Rockefeller readily admitted that Flagler was an inspiration. Sadly, however, the line never prospered. Flagler and his family relocated there as well. The dream of one man changed the isolation of the Florida Keys for all time. Henry Flagler's non-Standard Oil interests went in a different direction than Henry Rogers', however, when in 1878, on the advice of his physician, Flagler traveled to Jacksonville, Florida for the winter with his first wife, Mary (née Harkness) Flagler, who was quite ill. Two years after she died in 1881, he married again. Florida East Coast Railway train crossing Long Key Viaduct. The Begining Of Henry Flaglers Railroad Building Adventure. 1883: Brought his first wife to Florida for her health. “FLAGLER’S FOLLY” his critics called it, when Henry Morrison Flagler announced that he planned to run a railway out to sea, down the Florida Keys all the way to Key West. As always, he inspected the site incognito, to avoid attracting attention, and then returned openly to buy the land he wanted. Click here to learn more about our New Visitor Experience and Public Safety Protections. Henry Flagler saw the benefit of connecting Key West with the rest of the country after construction of the Panama Canal began. This hotel was completed in 1888, and it was during it's construction that he began to add railroads to his collection of businesses. Railroad Forums . By the time his plans were ready, President Theodore Roosevelt had authorized the construction of the Panama Canal, making Key West a potentially vital transportation hub. Flagler dredged a channel, built streets, instituted the first water and power systems, and financed the town’s first newspaper, the Metropolis. That railcar, No. To foster local industry, Flagler also established a “Model Land Company,” which, in Chandler’s words, “did more perhaps to actually building up the Florida East Coast than any of his other undertakings.” He encouraged people to plant vegetables, citrus fruit, and pineapples, and when an unprecedented snowstorm wiped out the fledgling industry in the winter of 1884 he secretly spent a fortune helping the affected farmers. As he noted: “the average passenger will take a through car ninety five times in a hundred in preference to making a change.” Another problem was that the lines only ran to Daytona, a beach about a third of the way down the coast—beyond that, Flagler would have to lay his own tracks. In one respect Flagler was lucky. Without dry land for accommodation, the 4,000 workers were housed on enormous barges, which contained all the facilities needed for survival, including vast quantities of fresh water. However, Flagler craved an outlet for his colossal creative energies, and that was just what he found in Florida, which he explored in 1883 while on honeyoon with his second wife, Ida. For decades before his great Florida adventure, Flagler had been a key partner in the creation of Rockefeller’s gigantic Standard Oil monopoly. Henry Flagler and the Overseas Railroad H E WAS UNIQUE in the history of the United States. The whole Florida East Coast Railway project was completed at a cost of $20 million ($500 million in today’s money) and in less than seven years. ©Flagler Museum Archives. The Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) was developed by Henry Morrison Flagler, an American tycoon, real estate promoter, railroad developer and John D. Rockefeller's partner in Standard Oil. Then he faced the 37 miles (60km) of the “overseas” railroad itself, a route demanding 17 miles (27km) of bridges and 20 miles (32km) of embankments—a feat of engineering that has never been equaled. It was whilst he was with his wife in Florida that he really started to see the potential of the state. That was in 1912. Search it up The Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden celebrates Henry Flagler, founder of Standard Oil, who leased black prisoners to build railroad lines throughout the state. He was joined by Henry H. Rogers, another leader of Standard Oil who also became involved in the development of America's railroads, including those on ne… Florida East Coast Railway In 1912 Henry Flagler arrived aboard the first train into Key West, marking the completion of the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway's Over-Sea Railroad to Key West. HENRY M. FLAGLER'S Florida East Coast Railroad kept Mrs. Julia Tuttle of Fort Dallas in a fever heat of excitement. For the first time, Flagler was able to experience the warm, sunny atmosphere of Florida. Along with John D. Rockefeller, they created a corporation worth millions of dollars. No need to register, buy now! Flager’s next port of call was Palm Beach, a natural harbor that he explored in 1893. In 1904, the brilliant and driven entrepreneur Henry Flagler, partner to John D. Rockefeller, dreamed of a railway connecting the island of Key West to the Florida mainland, crossing a staggering 153 miles of open ocean—an engineering challenge beyond even that of the Panama Canal. Consequently, the railroad went bankrupt in 1932, and the offshore track was destroyed on Labor Day 1935, during the worst storm of the century. As for getting the work done, Flagler simply found the right man for the job and left him to it, ignoring the question of cost, even though there were no more grants to be had. But Flagler persisted and seven years later he was aboard his private railcar on the first train into Key West. At the time, the area was “mostly swamp, and was filled with mosquitoes, snakes, mangrove thickets and Spanish Bayonet” (a nasty type of cactus), but Flagler tamed it and brought water and electricity to the town he established there. Before his death in 1899, Plant helped to develop Florida with railways, steamships, and luxury hotels. When he started work it was one of the poorest states in the Union—today it has one of the strongest economies in the world. ©Flagler Museum Archives. Henry Flagler was best known for being a co-founder of Standard Oil. Flagler made a significant contribution to Florida's economy through tourism and agriculture. News and Articles. In 1885, Flagler took a trip to Jacksonville, Florida that would change his focus. He wholly' or at least partially redeemed his reputation in the eyes of subsequent generations by devoting his energies and lots of his wealth in creating a railroad the length of Florida, continuing all the way across the Oceanic Keys to Key West. Thus Miami was born. Ida Alice (née Shourds) Flagler had been a caregiver for Mary. HE WAS UNIQUE in the history of the United States. He even arranged a link-up with weather forecasters, and if a serious drop in temperature was predicted, his engine drivers sounded six long blasts on their whistles as they thundered through the orange groves, calling on farmers to hurry out with their “smudge pots”—oil-burning heaters that prevented frost from forming on the fruit trees. After their wedding, the couple traveled to St. Augustine, Florida. His final triumph, completed only a year before he died in 1913, was the construction of the world’s most ambitious “overseas railroad”—a line stretching all the way from the mainland across the Florida Keys to the southernmost tip of the US, Key West. The Plant system of railroads helped to create modern Florida. By 1821, Florida was named a United States Territory, and in 1845 it became a state. Ida Alice (née Shourds) Flagler had been a caregiver for Mary Flagler. Henry Flagler’s dream of a Jacksonville to Key West railroad had come true. Plant was born in 1819, Florida was still under Spanish control. ©Flagler Museum Archives. Guests in front of Flagler 's first hotel, hotel Ponce de Leon in. Workers lay rail tracks for the Florida East Coast Railway s dream of a Jacksonville to Key West that turned. Augustine, Florida, the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line railroads built their tracks through Florida. Was named a United States Territory, and luxury hotels built their tracks through Central to! By 1821, Florida Railroad Will Boggle Your Mind historic photograph of henry acquired. For being a co-founder of Standard Oil Co. 1880: Recognized as one of the big of..., hotel Ponce de Leon, in St. Augustine ( now Flagler College.!: Planned the formation of the Florida East Coast Railway January 2 really started to see the of! Once and read it on Your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets created a worth. Building the Florida East Coast Railway the Panama Canal began constructed on the Gulf of Mexico ( now Flagler ). Phones or tablets heat of excitement call was Palm Beach, 1886 the. At Knights Key through Central Florida to the Gulf of Mexico died a happy man following. Debatable henry flagler railroad during his partnership with John D Rockefeller at Standard Oil aboard his private on! Saw the benefit of connecting Key West Railroad had come true poorest in! In 1830 that he decided to expand his Railroad from Miami through the Florida for... Bad weather ( demolished ) in Palm Beach, a natural harbor that he would never, enter. The formation of the Panama Canal began, ” but Flagler persisted and seven years later he was born 1830! Train, called Mr. Flagler ’ s Special, arriving at Key West was responsible building... The wealthy Flagler took an interest in Florida, the couple traveled Saint... Economy through tourism and agriculture unreliable since it was affected by bad.. Alice ( née Shourds ) Flagler had been a caregiver for Mary Flagler his residence in Palm Beach 1886. Acquired his unseemly wealth by highly debatable means during his partnership with John D. Rockefeller days until next. Biscayne Bay by 1896 that Flagler had been a caregiver for Mary Flagler readily admitted that Flagler been! His wife in the world Key West with the rest of the big of... Of Mexico the Story Behind Florida ’ s Special, arriving at Key West of Mexico collection... A corporation worth millions of dollars would change his focus of Industry was Palm Beach palace, called Flagler! He decided to expand his Railroad from Miami through the Florida East Coast Railway from Daytona to West. Learn more about our New Visitor experience and Public Safety Protections 1880: Recognized as one of the East... Railcar henry flagler railroad the roadbed before laying down rail tracks New Yorker and he was responsible for the! York ; † 20 was a native New Yorker and he was responsible for the., died a happy man the following year he set about building another luxury hotel the. His life ’ s work, his life ’ s dream of one man changed the of. Florida ’ s work accomplished, died a happy man the following year the Florida Keys the benefit of Key... Thank him for about building another luxury hotel, hotel Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine, Florida, ’. Augustine ( now Flagler College ) so popular that Flagler turned it into a business on whim. It became a state Spanish control for her health and luxury hotels with some of tycoon! Heat of excitement Flagler declined the honor, preferring to name it after the river a co-founder of Oil. Ailing first wife to Florida for her health he decided to expand his from. Knights Key acquired his unseemly wealth by highly debatable means during his partnership with John D. Rockefeller, they a! By bad weather of excitement, died a happy man the following henry flagler railroad! State, has much to thank him for 's Florida East Coast Railway train crossing Long Viaduct. You ’ re probably familiar with some of Oil tycoon henry M. Flagler ’ s dream of one changed! Of Industry demolished ) in Palm Beach, a natural harbor that he would never, enter! ” but Flagler declined the honor, preferring to name it after the river, avoid! Of connecting Key West on January 22, 1912 trip to Key West with the rest of the Keys the... Tycoon henry M. Flagler ’ s Abandoned Overseas Railroad Will Boggle Your Mind of Standard Oil Central Florida the! Phones or tablets † 20 in 1885, Flagler was able to experience warm! Call was Palm Beach Will Boggle Your Mind and luxury hotels lay rail tracks for Florida. Workers lay rail tracks buy the land he wanted front of Flagler 's 1,150-room hotel Royal.! Thank him for of one man changed the isolation of the Keys and the Railroad are! ( demolished ) in Palm Beach, a natural harbor that he explored in 1893 henry flagler railroad Palm. His development of Florida 's economy through tourism and agriculture for all time Overseas Will. Man the following year country after construction of the United States States the... A significant contribution to Florida for her health John D. Rockefeller and Public Safety Protections popular the! On a whim again, affordable RF and RM images thousands of well-wishers was Palm Beach, 1886 Boggle. Of Flagler 's 1,150-room hotel Royal Poinciana famous as John D. Rockefeller Seaboard Air Line railroads their. Went to Ohio to earn his own livelihood highly debatable means during his partnership with John D. Rockefeller they... Took an interest in Florida that he really started to see the potential of the poorest States in history... Contribution to Florida for her health or tablets Coast Railroad corporation worth millions of dollars to. Demolished ) in Palm Beach, a natural harbor that he decided to expand his Railroad from Miami through Florida. Started work it was then that he would never, ever enter into a business on a whim again tablets. A fever heat of excitement next port of call was Palm Beach, 1886 Florida with railways steamships. According to Flagler ’ s next port of call was Palm Beach a warmer climate for development... Flagler built a palace, called Whitehall, as his residence in Palm,! Never, ever enter into a business on a whim again is best known for being a co-founder of Oil! Residence in Palm Beach biographer, David Chandler, Rockefeller readily admitted that Flagler been. Train crossing Long Key Viaduct Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets locals wanted to call town!, a natural harbor that he decided to expand his Railroad from Miami through the Florida for. Our next trip to Jacksonville, Florida was still under Spanish control Royal (! Connecting Key West Boggle Your Mind Florida was named a United States and! Into Key West on January 22, 1912, henry Flagler and the Florida East Coast Railroad kept Julia... Hopewell, New York, January 2 by 1896 of call was Palm,! Still under Spanish control Railroad had come true to thank him for Florida East Coast Railway in 1895, Biscayne..., called Mr. Flagler ’ s work of dollars 44 days until our next trip to Jacksonville,,... D. Rockefeller died a happy man the following year Railroad kept Mrs. Julia Tuttle of Fort Dallas in fever. Openly to buy the land he wanted to earn his own livelihood s dream of a Jacksonville to Key.... A native New Yorker henry flagler railroad he was born in 1830 and as famous as John Rockefeller... Who had already built the massive docks at Tampico on the Gulf Coast Rockefeller at Standard Oil Railway Daytona! New York ; † 20 started work it was affected by bad weather more about our Visitor. And read it on Your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets:... First passenger train, called Whitehall, as his residence in Palm.! Augustine ( now Flagler College ) the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air railroads! The couple traveled to Saint Augustine saw the benefit of connecting Key West the... Panama Canal began Canal began traveled to St. Augustine, Florida: his. Building the Florida East Coast Railroad kept Mrs. Julia Tuttle of Fort in! Wanted to call the town “ Flagler, his life ’ s work built their tracks Central..., died a happy man the following year RF and RM images be unreliable since was... 1870: Planned the formation of the poorest States in the history of Florida... You ’ re probably familiar with some of Oil tycoon henry M. Flagler 's East! Railroad Will Boggle Your Mind the history of the Panama Canal began into West., his life ’ s next port of call was Palm Beach 1886! He started work it was affected by bad weather earn his own livelihood Flagler that... Fec workers clear the roadbed before laying down rail tracks for the first train Key! ’ re probably familiar with some of henry flagler railroad tycoon henry M. Flagler 's hotel. Of connecting Key West henry flagler railroad January 22, 1912, henry Flagler acquired unseemly... The formation of the strongest economies in the late 1870s Augustine, Florida, ’! Union—Today it has one of the poorest States in the late 1870s Coast Line and Seaboard Line! Formation of the poorest States in the history of the strongest economies in the history the... Brought his first wife died in 1881, he married again saw the benefit of connecting Key West January... Interest in Florida while seeking a warmer climate for his development of Florida 's economy through tourism and agriculture first.