The Centennial of the Overseas Railway
Henry Flagler was one of the richest men in the country when he first visited St. Augustine in the 1880s. He had made a fortune as a partner with John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil.

He found Florida's winter weather ideal but the lack of transportation and hotels led him to his first major investment in Florida: the Ponce de Leon Hotel. The hotel opened in 1888 as the first of the of the Florida East Coast Hotel Company.

During the building of the hotel he realized the need for better transportation. He purchased all the assets of the Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Halifax River Railway which was to become the Florida East Coast Railway Company. To connect the island portions of his empire, he created a steamship line that would become the Peninsula & Occidental Steamship Company.

The crowning achievement of his Florida Empire was completion of the railroad to Key West on January 22, 1912. After Flagler’s death in 1913, all his Florida holdings were combined under the name Flagler System.

This project was made possible solely by super volunteer Mary Haffenreffer who digitized these photos for the Web. The images have been donated to the Monroe County Public Library from various contributors over many years. We're grateful for our generous donors and volunteers.
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