Trivia Tuesday: Getting There

The Royal Poinciana, Palm Beach’s first luxury hotel, opened in 1894. Henry Flagler’s railway was still several years away. How did the hotel transport its guests in the early days?

  1. Houseboat
  2. Mule-drawn trolley
  3. Converted stagecoach
  4. Steamship

Answer: A houseboat. Flagler’s company bought the houseboat St. Augustine in, well, St. Augustine. He brought it south so he could more easily transport hotel visitors from the west bank of Lake Worth over to the island. By 1896, the train delivered guests directly to the south side of the hotel, where they were greeted by an orchestra.


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Trivia Tuesday: The Inventor

Gum illustration JPG.jpgWe often think of Henry Flagler as the first millionaire to recognize Palm Beach as paradise. One of the wealthy industrialists who beat him here, however, made what product?

  1. The stop sign
  2. Tutti-Frutti chewing gum
  3. Shredded Wheat breakfast cereal
  4. The zipper

Answer: It was the gum. While all these innovations dated to the late 1800s (the stop sign was conceived in 1890, but not put into use for 25 more years… yikes!), it was Thomas Adams who discovered that Mexican chicle produced a smooth, snappy chewing gum. His company produced the first flavored gums – licorice and fruit – inventions that were almost literally eaten up by the American public. He made a fortune, and spent some of it on Palm Beach real estate.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

Trivia Tuesday: Mr. Khan

khan

Courtesy of New York Social Diary

Mr. Otto Kahn never quite gained the caché of some of the other early Palm Beach elite. It wasn’t for lack of trying; Khan first visited the island in 1916 and soon supported the Palm Beach Art League, built an impressive home on Sunset Avenue, was a shareholder at Palm Beach Stores (a purveyor of gourmet foodstuffs for the early/wealthy “pioneers”), and became a partner in Palm Beach Estates. He and his wife, Addie, belonged to the Bath & Tennis Club, Seminole Golf Club, Oasis Club, Palm Beach Yacht Club, Palm Beach Country Club, and the Palm Beach Angler’s Club, (later the Sailfish Club), and he was a member of the Palm Beach Men’s Club and the Palm Beach Gridiron Club. Khan even thought about buying Whitehall. But he earned lasting fame for a different reason. What is it?

  1. Working as a waiter in New York City, Charlie Chaplin once got a generous tip from Kahn. Chapin later carried a cane in his movies as a tribute to Kahn’s kindness.
  2. Khan, an opera fan, coined the phrase, “It’s not over ’till the fat lady sings.”
  3. Khan asked his Saville Row tailor to add a vest to his suits, to help guard against chilly autumn days in Maine (the Kahns had a home in Cold Spring Harbor). In doing so, he inadvertently invented the three-piece suit.
  4. Khan may have been the inspiration for Monopoly’s “Mr. Moneybags.”

 

mr-moneybags

Hasbro

Answer: 4. Khan’s Palm Beach holdings were but a small part of his portfolio. The German-born railroad/banking tycoon owned high-end properties all over the country. His Long Island home, Oheka Castle, had a golf course, a palatial formal garden and a private landing strip. It was among the largest private residences in the country, second only to the Vanderbilts’ Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. The Monopoly character certainly bears a strong resemblance to Khan (though some say it was based on businessman J.P. Morgan). The cartoon tycoon was later renamed Milburn Pennybags.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

 

 

Trivia Tuesday: The Artist

mizner-trivia-tuesday

Addison Mizner, by F.C. von Hausen. Image courtesy of The Palm Beach Daily News

German-born F. C. von Hausen – Frank – came to Palm Beach with his oils and his canvases. A gifted portrait artist, he exhibited at the Palm Beach Art League and the Society of the Four Arts during the 1930s and ’40s. Among a long list of other notables, he painted E.F. Hutton, Henry Flagler and Addison Mizner. Which of the following is true?

  1. Von Hausen found Mizner an especially challenging subject; the architect simply wouldn’t sit still, and neither would his ever-present pet monkey.
  2. For recreation, the artist swam long distances in the sea.
  3. Von Hausen built his first studio on Worth Avenue in 1922; there were no shops, and County Road had yet to be paved.
  4. It was not unusual to see a group of fans sitting beside von Hausen’s easel, watching him paint.

Answer: All of the above. Von Hausen’s work gives us an rich, opulent glimpse into a rich, opulent time. Read more about his work in the newly released book, Palm Beach Visual Arts, by Deborah Pollack. We’ll review it soon!


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

Trivia Tuesday: Red Bugs

Trivia Tuesday 24Jan.pngAbout 100 years ago, Palm Beach was introduced to the “Red Bug.” What was it?

  1. The brilliant Red Lily Beetle, which could be found on the underside of coconut palm fronds. Not a native insect, the beetle arrived on a steamer of fresh produce from Central America and wasn’t eradicated for decades.
  2. Sunburn. The northerners who patronized the first Palm Beach resorts often failed to protect their oh-so-fair skin from the southern sun. When ladies were unable to appear at dinner or tea because of sunburn, they sent their regrets by saying they’d “caught a touch of the Red Bug.”
  3. The Briggs & Stratton Flyer. Getting around the island by “wheelchair” (wicker conveyances powered by hotel employees) was dull. Enter the Red Bug, a little go-cart that let brave motoring enthusiasts zip around at 20-25 mph.
  4. Sweetened palm fruit, a local delicacy. Sold in the lobby of the Royal Poinciana Hotel, the red seeds were a particular (and particularly odd) part of the courting ritual of the young wealthies. Apparently, buying a cone of seeds and presenting them to a young woman’s mother was the island way for a man to declare himself a suitor.

Answer: 3. From 1919-1921, the little “Red Bugs” were all the rage. Selling for about $190, they were an odd little marriage of a low buckboard and early automobile. The Red Bug had a 1- or 2-horsepower engine and a brake… on one wheel. Not only did the swells motor along the trails from hotel to club and back again, they decorated them and staged parades and races.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

Trivia Tuesday and the Statue Man

When did Palm Beach become an actual town… and why?

  1. Trivia Tuesday logo JPG1894. For tax purposes, Henry Flagler needed to establish his railroad and hotel properties in an incorporated municipality.
  2. 1898. That’s the year Alligator Joe was paid a princely sum of $900 by Sir Edward and Lady Colbrooke of England, for the simple task of bagging an 11-foot alligator for them to stuff. He used the funds to file a claim of municipality for his property at the west end of Worth Avenue, current site of the Everglades Club.
  3. 1911. In the course of gaining land and permission to build a second bridge, developers got wind of West Palm Beach’s intention to annex the island. The new town was formed in order to escape becoming the eastern part of West Palm Beach.
  4. 1903. After an inferno destroyed the wood-framed Breakers, town leaders decided to incorporate – not for the purpose of being governed (to which they strongly objected) but so taxes could be collected to support a proper fire department.

28840810.jpgThe answer? 1911. Former state legislator and Palm Beach pioneer Elisha Dimick, with a consortium of other speculators, formed the Palm Beach Improvement Company and planned to build homes near what is now Royal Palm Way. But they didn’t want to bring their potential buyers over Flagler’s bridge, so they needed to build a new one. When they inquired about buying a parcel on the west side of Lake Worth, they learned of the city’s planned land grab. Within three months, Palm Beach became a town and “Cap” Dimick its first mayor. And yes, that’s Dimick who greets you as you drive over the Royal Park Bridge. (Photo courtesy of The Palm Beach Daily News.)

Oh, and the story about Alligator Joe? Only partly true. He did – as instructed – capture and kill an 11-footer for Sir Colbrooke to take to the taxidermist for the trophy room back home in England. But Joe was paid just $25 for his trouble.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

Trivia Tuesday: Mizner’s Monkey

 

monkey

Which of the following is NOT true of Johnnie Brown, Addison Mizner’s ever-present spider monkey companion?

  1. Trivia Tuesday logo JPGWhile always the favorite, Johnnie shared Mizner’s affections with two other monkeys – Deuteronomy and Ethel.
  2. Johnnie Brown ran for mayor of Palm Beach. He got votes, but not enough to win.
  3. His final resting place is one of only two marked graves on the island.
  4. He wore a hand-stitched, silk-lined sombrero.
  5. He had a longstanding feud with a silent-film actress.
  6. While still a very young monkey, he learned to make Mizner’s favorite cocktail, a Bee’s Knees (gin, lemon juice and simple syrup, combined with ice in a cocktail shaker).

Mizner, the architect who shaped Palm Beach’s iconic style, lived a famously eccentric lifestyle surrounded by a menagerie that included three monkeys, parrots, macaws, raccoons and an anteater. He never left his Via Mizner home without Johnnie Brown camped on his shoulder. Legend says the sombrero-wearing monkey ran (unsuccessfully) for mayor and bedeviled actress Marie Dressler, one of Mizner’s business partners. Johnnie is buried in Via Mizner, just beside Rose and Morton Sachs’ beloved Scottish Terrier, Laddie.

So far as we know, Johnnie Brown never learned to mix a drink. The detail in our photo comes from the handmade wallpaper, created by acclaimed textile designer Wook Kim, in the Club Lounge at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. This bit of whimsy is, indeed, a tribute to Johnnie and one of his spider-monkey drinking buddies.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

Trivia Tuesday: Palm Beach, By Gum!

Trivia Tuesday logo JPGWe often think of Henry Morrison Flagler as the first millionaire to recognize Palm Beach as paradise. A handful of the wealthy industrialists beat him here, including the man who invented which of the following?

  1. The stop sign
  2. Tutti-Frutti chewing gum
  3. Shredded Wheat breakfast cereal
  4. The zipper

Answer: Tutti-Frutti chewing gum. While all these innovations dated to the late 1800s (the stop sign was conceived in 1890, but not put into use for 25 more years… yikes!), it was Thomas Adams who discovered that Mexican chicle produced a smooth, snappy chewing gum. His company produced the first flavored gums (licorice and fruit), inventions that were almost literally eaten up by the American public. He made a fortune, and spent some of it on Palm Beach real estate.

Want to spend some of your fortune on Palm Beach real estate? Subscribe to the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide by calling 561-659-3810, or visit the Guide online.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

 

Trivia Tuesday: A Day in the Life

Royal Poinciana  postcard, c, 1894

Florida historian Donald W. Curl set down a description of life as a turn-of-the-century visitor to Palm Beach’s grand hotels. You’ll see we’ve taken some liberties with his text. Can you pick out the correct facts?

Trivia Tuesday logo JPG“After breakfast, you went to the beach until lunch, taking the train/mule car/sand chair, and then in the afternoon you rocked on the porches of the hotel, where you met your bridge partners/Mr. and Mrs. Flagler/everybody that counted. If you were energetic, you went sightseeing/skindiving/climbing in the coconut palms. On the pine walk between the Royal Poinciana and The Breakers, or along the Lake Trail, you could rent a paddleboat/wheelchair/jitney to take you to Alligator Joe’s or Cragin’s Garden of Eden…

“Then you got dressed rather formally and went to the Cocoanut Grove at the Royal Poinciana for tea, dancing, gossip, and Mrs. Roche’s famous rum punch/coconut cake/moonlight serenade. Then you dressed more formally and dined at the Grille Room of the Royal Poinciana for dinner or to Bradley’s Beach Club. Colonel Bradley only waived the rules of dress if you were planning to walk back to your hotel/go night fishing/catch a late train.”

Answers: mule car; everybody that counted; sightseeing; wheelchair (see last week’s Tuesday Trivia for more about this unusual mode of transportation; coconut cake; catch a late train.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

 

New! Trivia Tuesday Starts Today

Now that Season is over, let’s have some fun with Palm Beach’s rich past. Every Tuesday, we’ll test your knowledge of Palm Beach lore and lifestyle. Ready? Begin:Trivia Tuesday logo JPG

In the late 1800s, Henry Morrison Flagler introduced one- and two-seated wicker “wheelchairs,” powered almost exclusively by workers peddling bicycles attached at the rear. These chairs, called “Palm Beach chariots” or “lazy-backs,” served for years as one of the primary ways for wealthy tourists to get from place to place.

Before the wheelchairs, Flagler had experimented with Japanese rickshaws. They didn’t work so well here on the island. Why not?

  1. Wealthy patrons did not care to view the sweat-stained backs of the men pulling them.
  2. They were unstable and tended to topple over.
  3. When the thin, wooden wheels got mired in the sand, occupants were forced to get out and help push the vehicle free.
  4. Baby alligators were fond of crawling up into the rickshaws when they were out of service.

Answer: The rickshaws toppled over, apparently with some regularity. Part of the reason? Their drivers tended to be quite lean, and the passengers, well, less so. We’ll turn to area pioneer Mary Majewski Brewer’s writing for an explanation: “They [the rickshaws] didn’t last too long, because they had quite a few accidents with them. Sometimes the passengers were heavier than the man pulling them and over they would go. So after a few lawsuits, Flagler decided that was it!”


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.