Friday, May 30, 2014

Good Food in Ten Mile Tennessee!

Laurie and I were on one of our patented drives...just cruising the back roads in East Tennessee seeing what we could see.  We really had no intention of eating out as we had defrosted some pork steaks to put on the grill when we got home...

But then we spotted this eye-catching restaurant as we cruised along TN Route 304, which runs along the east side of Watts Bar Lake.  Since it was so cute, we just had to check it out!

It was about 2:30 pm on a Sunday, right about in the middle between an early day brunch and before any traditional early supper crowd.  As you can see, Carter's doesn't just have a restaurant, the owners also have a small RV park and a mini-golf course. 

Here's a photo of the miniature golf course...a true putt-putt course!  Its more like the kind that I grew up with.  No castles, flying dragons, mountains...just quirky little putting greens.  Cost: $4.00 per person for 18 holes and only $2.00 additional for individual replays!

Danny and Patsy Carter are collectors, that's for sure!  There is so much going on inside the restaurant that you could spend a half hour just looking at all of the detail...

The restaurant is warm and inviting...with the appearance a bit reminiscent of an upper Midwest north woods supper club.  The entire restaurant...including the restrooms...was spotless!

Here's another view of the decor in this warm and inviting yet quirky restaurant.  One room is chock full of Danny Carter's golf memorabilia.  We had a chance to visit with Danny and we learned that his grandfather was one of the very first to buy property and develop it along this part of the shores of Watts Bar Lake.  Like grandpa, like grandson...entrepreneurs!

Carter's Restaurant does not employ a waitstaff... You order your food at the counter, the cashier gives you a number and a server brings your food to the table when its ready.  Danny told us that he can operate with fewer people this way.  He has to pay them more but he avoids the larger payroll and challenging staffing issues in a tough labor market.

Carter's Restaurant offers all of the basics...burgers, chop sirloin with sauteed onions, a country fried steak sandwich, hot dogs, onion rings, a fish sandwich, sub sandwiches, a bunch of salads...and for dessert the house old fashioned apple dumpling with ice cream.  Prices are very reasonable!  Four young guys were scarfing down grilled cheese sandwiches and French fries with a beverage. ($6.17 each + tax and tip)

This is the service counter...complete with a pizza oven.  The kitchen is immediately to the rear of this area.  Danny's wife and partner, Patsy, is the primary cook for the restaurant.  Danny told us that we'd just missed the Sunday morning after church crowd...

We have been starved for good thin crust pizza since we came to East Tennessee... Danny told us that his is the best there is!  We promised to come back soon and test out his claim.  The price is certainly right on!  How about a big 16" thin crust pizza with cheese, pepperoni and Italian sausage for only $13.49!  Or...a 16" all meat pizza, with pepperoni, sausage, ground beef and ham for a mere $14.99...

Laurie and I both ordered the Sunday Fried Chicken Special. ($8.29) This special consisted of 2 boneless chicken breasts, a choice of a roll or cornbread, and 2 sides.  This was my plate and I chose the coleslaw and squash.  I didn't expect the squash to be deep fried but what the heck, it was good!  Being transplanted northerners, we had unsweet tea with our meals. ($1.99 each)

Laurie ordered potato salad and green beans as her sides.  The corn bread was good, my slaw was very good, Laurie's green beans w/ ham were excellent and so was her potato salad!  While we both generally prefer our chicken with bones, Patsy managed to deliver moist and tender chicken that was very enjoyable!

All dinners at Carter's Restaurant come with 2 sides...and there are 15 sides to chose from.  The most expensive item on the dinner menu is a 10 oz. Angus ribeye steak. ($14.99)  Other choices include such items as Chicken Parmesan, Fried Fish on Friday nights, Fried Shrimp, Hand-Breaded Chicken Livers, and a Pork Tenderloin...grilled or breaded.  Other than the steak, $8.29 is as much as you can spend for dinner!

This is Danny's office...a little log cabin in the woods close by the restaurant.  We told him that it was so attractive he should rent it out! We think he's thinking about it! 

We will be back to Carter's Restaurant!  For one thing, the food was very good and secondly, we have to take on Danny's pizza 'challenge'!  It's easy to get to this restaurant.  Exit I-75 at TN Route 68 West towards Watts Bar Dam and Lake.  Just a mile or so before you get to the dam, look for Route 304 north. The restaurant is just a couple of miles up the road on the right hand side.

Carter's Restaurant is located at 3430 State Highway 304 in Ten Mile Tennessee.  Phone: 423-334-3300.  The restaurant is open from Wednesday through Sunday starting at 11 AM.   Check out Danny and Patsy's website with lots of photos at

Just click on any photos to enlarge them...

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Miami - Terrific Pizza!!

Well, it’s been a long journey for those who read my blog…but this is the last post about our mid-winter break in southeast Florida.  Given my true passions, ending our trip with a post about food is right on the mark!

Dawn Marie had one other restaurant in her neighborhood that she wanted us to experience before we headed north…   

This is Spris…the home of artisan pizzas since 1998.  Spris first restaurant is located in Miami Beach.  There are now 3 locations…and we visited the one in Midtown Miami. 

At Spris you order your food and drinks at the counter.  A lot of their business in this high rise community comes from take-out and delivery orders.

The interior of Spris is straightforward and simple.  The décor is a mix of industrial modern and color.  The restaurant was very clean…

In addition to Pizza, Spris offers a number of antipasti/starters, panini/sandwiches, insalate/salads, paste/pasta and dolci/desserts.  Many of these offerings are quite imaginative.  For meat lovers, there is this sandwich creation…the Antipasto Spris (grande).  It consists of prosciutto from Parma, mortadella Modena, speck alto adige, soppressata coppa, salamino picante, asiago cheese and olives. ($18.00)

We were happy that they serve beer and wine.  Laurie had a very nice Tilia Malbec from Argentina. ($6.50) I like lighter beers so I ordered a Blue Moon. ($5.00)

For more about Tilia Wines, go to For information about Blue Moon beers, a division of MillerCoors, you can go to

I will start by saying that we sort of ‘lost it’.  We ordered way too much pizza for any 3 people to eat…unless they were teenage boys!  We ended up taking a fair amount of pizza back to Dawn’s condo…

Dawn ordered the “Hawaiana”…with tomato sauce, mozzarella, sliced pineapple and ham. ($12.50) It’s one of her favorites!

Laurie and I shared each other’s pizzas.  This is the “Diavola” with tomato sauce, mozzarella and imported Italian spicy salami. ($10.50) Can you spell EXCELLENT!

Spris offers 23 different thin crust pizzas!  They are all the same size and they range in price from $9.00 to $14.50.  Customers can choose between regular pizza dough, whole wheat and gluten free.  The latter is an extra dollar…

Our other choice was the “Salsiccia e Gorgonzola” with tomato sauce, mozzarella, Italian blue cheese and crumbled Italian sausage. ($13.00) It was rich, spicy and terrific!

To summarize…these were the best pizzas that we’ve had in at least 2 and a half years which is when we visited upper New York State.  We love crispy thin crust pizzas with lots of flavor…i.e. great tomato sauce and top notch ingredients. Spris Artisan Pizzas meet all of our requirements!  We would recommend this restaurant to anyone who loves thin crust pizza…

This branch of Spris Pizza is located at 3201 North Miami Avenue in Midtown Miami Florida.  Phone: 305-576-0999.  Spris website can be found at   

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a slice of pizza with us!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014 – A Look Back

For my Memorial Day posting this year, I decided to focus entirely on my father.  Ronald Allen Myers was killed in action in Czechoslovakia on May 6, 1945.  Sadly, I have no memories of him.  I was about 2 years 10 months old when my mother got the following telegram.

My dad was born in Jackson Michigan on April 2, 1911.  His parents were Frank J. Myers and Mary Ethyl Cerrow Myers.  He had an older brother Clifford.  Ronald met my mother, Elizabeth (Beth) Weed while he was working his way through college as a ‘soda jerk’ in a drug store.  My dad graduated from Michigan State College with a degree in Forestry in 1938.   Ron and Beth were married on January 5, 1939.

They didn’t have too much time together as the USA was at war with Japan as of December 7, 1941...followed shortly by Germany.  Because my dad had a degree, he applied for and was accepted at Officer’s School.  He was washed out because he was color blind.  After completing his training he was shipped out to Europe in 1945, where he served for only about 4 months before being killed.  He was buried in the Lorraine American Cemetery near the town of St. Avold France.

For some reason, my mother and my dad’s family never kept in touch…even though they lived in the same town.  Consequently, I know very little about him, his family or his life growing up. 

This is a photo of my mom Beth and my dad Ron with me.  This picture was taken in front of my grandmother and grandfather Weed’s house on Prospect Avenue in Jackson Michigan.  I’m guessing that this photo is from sometime in early 1943.

I was a little older in this photo.  I believe that this was the last photo I have of my dad and me…probably sometime in the summer of 1944.  He was shipped over to Europe in January of 1945…arriving only 4 months before the end of the War in Europe. 

Note: German forces surrendered in Italy on April 29, 1945.  A total and unconditional surrender was signed on May 7th, to be effective by the end of the day on May 8th.  Nevertheless, German Army Group Centre resisted in Prague Czechoslovakia until May 11th.   As I mentioned previously, my dad was killed on May 6th...

This obituary was taken from the Jackson Citizen Patriot Newspaper…
The electronic age does dish up some interesting connections…surprises that probably never could have happened back in the day when the internet and today’s information overload didn’t exist.

Recently I received a phone call from Mark…a historian with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  He told me that he’d been looking for me for some time and after finding my blog site with last year’s Memorial Day posting, he knew that he’d finally located the right person.

He had been contacted by Maureen from Corunna Michigan.  She’d been looking for me too…but had little success.  Prior to World War II, her father and my father had been close friends.  They’d also worked together at Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources as Conservation Officers.  Maureen asked for Mark’s help in finding me.  She had something from my father that she wanted to pass on to me.
After Mark found me he gave my information to Maureen and then he gave me her phone number.  When I called, she told me that she had a letter that my dad, Ron, had sent to her parents, Frank and Frances, during WWII.  Maureen felt that since her parents had held onto the letter all of these years, it indicated that my dad was very special to them.

This is the letter that her parents had been saving for all these years…

I thought that with the receipt of the letter to his good friend Frank and his wife Frances, this would be a good time to publish the last letter that my father wrote to my mother… You may notice that the tone of the second letter is a bit different than the one that he’d sent to his friends…

Note: If you enlarge the pages, you can read the lines that are creased...

What else is there to say…?  My dad died defending our…my freedom!  I just wish that he had lived long enough for me to know him.  Who knows where my life might have gone…what road I might have followed. 

We can never forget those who have died and suffered for us, for our way of life.  God Bless America and God Bless our heroes!

Just click on any of the photos or pages of the letters to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by…
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, May 23, 2014

Railroad Depots and a Luxury Rail Car…

It’s time for a change of pace.  I haven’t posted any railroad related blogs in some time.  Railroads and railroading were a couple of the topics that I’d originally planned to focus on…but to photograph depots and railroad equipment we would need to visit new locations.  While we’ve taken a couple of trips, most visits have been to areas that we’d covered before...hence very few new railroad related photos to post.

However, Laurie did take a few photos of an interesting rail car while we were in Palm Beach Florida…and we’ve taken a few photos of existing old time depots here in Knoxville Tennessee.  

The Louisville and Nashville Station is a former rail passenger station in Knoxville.  Like most old time depots, it’s located in the downtown area of the city.  The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, both for its architecture and its role in Knoxville’s transportation history.

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad completed a rail line running from Cincinnati to Atlanta in the early 1900s.  The company's Knoxville station was the city's largest it was considered by some the "finest" along the entire route.  It served as a passenger station until the railroad ceased passenger train service to Knoxville in 1968.  The building continued to house the company’s offices until 1975.  This L and N passenger station is referred to in several scenes in author James Agee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, ‘A Death in the Family’.

The tracks that originally served this classic depot used to extend from the rail yard up to the rear of the building.  At this point in time, the tracks, rail yard and train sheds are long gone…

When the depot was operational, the main floor consisted of waiting rooms in the west wing, a dining room in the northeast corner tower, and a kitchen, lunch counter, and baggage areas in the south wing.  The waiting rooms included a general waiting room, a ladies' waiting room, (with a private entrance and an entrance from the general waiting room), on the northwest corner, and a "colored" waiting room on the southwest corner.  The colored waiting room, a relic of segregation, had a separate entrance. The second and third stories were used by Louisville and Nashville for offices and workspaces. 

The Louisville and Nashville Depot’s most recognizable feature is this tower topped by a pitched, clay-tiled roof with decorated dormers.  A smaller tower rises at the end of the west wing, giving the building its chateau-like appearance. A wrap-around veranda allows access to the main floor on the south side of the building. The north side of the west wing originally included frosted glass doors and glazed transoms, which have been restored.

The building has been refurbished and repurposed on several occasions since the railroad vacated the station in 1975.  It remained vacant following Louisville and Nashville’s departure until it was purchased by an investor in 1980.  In 1982, the station was renovated for use in Knoxville’s 1982 World's Fair.   Two restaurants were located in lower floors of the building, while the second floor offices were converted into meeting rooms for the fair's VIPs.

After 1985, 2 companies used the building as office space and for special events.  A restaurant that had suffered serious damage in a fire operated in the station from 2002 – 2004.  In 2010 Knox County remodeled the interior of the old depot so a magnet high school could take over the facility.  This STEM school (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) opened in August 2011 with 180 students.

This is the old Louisville and Nashville Freight Depot at 203 West Jackson in Knoxville’s ‘Old City’ area.  The one-story 20-bay brick freight depot was originally constructed ca. 1870.  In the late 1990s, this building was extensively renovated by its current occupant…

You’re right!  This classic building has nothing to do with railroading…but it is special!  Sullivan's Saloon, located at 100 E. Jackson in Knoxville's Old City, is a two-story Romanesque Revival building with some Queen Anne touches. 

The building was constructed by saloonkeeper Patrick Sullivan (1841–1925) in 1888.  Sullivan opened his saloon near the railyard just after the Civil War.  The building housed the saloon until 1907, when it was forced to close due to citywide Prohibition. Then the building was the home of “Patrick Sullivan's Steakhouse and Saloon” from 1988 to 2011.  Unfortunately Sullivan’s is now sitting empty… The building has been called the "best extant example of a downtown saloon in the southeastern United States”.

The Southern Railway Terminal is a former railway complex located at 306 West Depot Avenue in Knoxville, Tennessee.  The complex, which includes a passenger terminal and express depot adjacent to a large rail yard, was built in 1903 by the Southern Railway.  In 1985, the terminal complex, along with several dozen warehouses and storefronts in the adjacent ‘Old City’ and vicinity, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Southern Terminal and Warehouse Historic District.  The building originally included a clock tower.  However it was removed in 1945, apparently due to structural problems.

During the 1850s, the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad and its predecessor lines, changed Knoxville from a small river town with a population of just over 2,000 people to one of the Southeast's major wholesaling centers.  Dozens of large warehouses were built along Jackson Avenue and adjacent streets, where small town merchants from across East Tennessee would purchase goods and supplies to resell at rural general stores.  In 1894, the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad was absorbed by the Southern Railway.  Then, in 1982, Southern was absorbed by the Norfolk Southern Railway.

At its peak, the Southern Railway Terminal was servicing 26 passenger trains daily!  With improved roads and the rise of automobile, passenger rail service declined.  After World War II, the Southern was operating 8 expresses and 12 local lines out of Knoxville.  By 1956, the local lines were gone and then most of the expresses were eliminated by the late 1960s.  The last regularly scheduled passenger train left the Southern Terminal in August of 1970.
The railroad rolling stock along the passenger boarding platform above belongs to the Old Smoky Railway Museum…

This smaller but equally spectacular structure is located right next to the Southern Railway’s Passenger Depot.  Both buildings were designed in the Classical Revival Style…with this structure being completed in 1907, 4 years after the passenger terminal was operating. 

The passenger terminal building is now used for office space and special events…such as the Winter Farmer’s Markets.  The express or freight depot is used as a meeting or event venue by a local caterer.

This is another view of the rolling stock owned by the Old Smoky Railway Museum.  These rail cars do provide a look of nostalgic authenticity to the Southern Railway Passenger Depot.  The Old Smoky Railroad Museum is a small museum with the actual display of railroad ephemera located in an RPO (Railway Post Office Car).  In addition to the RPO, several other historic railway cars and cabooses are on site.  Another plus is the fact that the depot and the Museum are right next to an active Norfolk Southern freight yard.

Club meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at 7PM in one of the rail cars on site.  To learn more about the Old Smoky Mountain Railway Museum, go to

Note: An RPO was a railroad car that was normally operated with passenger trains as a means to sort mail en route in order to speed delivery.  Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, many American railroads earned substantial revenues through contracts with the U.S. Post Office for carrying mail aboard high-speed passenger trains.  In fact, a number of companies maintained passenger routes where the financial losses from moving people were more than offset by the profits from transporting the mail.

Back to our winter break in Florida for just a moment… This is Henry Morrison Flagler’s private railcar.  It’s on display at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach Florida.  It’s protected from the weather as its on display in the museum’s new 8,100 square foot Pavilion.  This facility is adjacent to Whitehall, Flagler’s mansion which looks out over the Intracoastal Waterway. 

To learn about Whitehall and its Pavilion, see my previous posting regarding the Flagler Museum at for Monday, May 19, 2014.

Flagler's private railcar, Railcar No. 91, was built in 1886 by the Jackson and Sharp Company of Wilmington, Delaware.  The railcar was one of two private railcars that Flagler used to survey his railroad empire. Flagler traveled in this railcar back in 1912 along the Over-Sea Railroad over the Florida Keys in order to celebrate the completion of the Florida East Coast Railway all the way to Key West…a phenomenal engineering feat.

A newspaper article written at the time of its delivery to Flagler heralded this railcar as "A Palace on Wheels" and went on to praise the car's fine appointments such as its oak paneling and desk. The railcar was one of two private railcars Flagler used to survey his railroad empire.

Henry Flagler died in 1913.  In 1935, the Florida East Coast Railway sold Flagler's private railcar to the Georgia Northern Railroad and it was renamed the ‘Moultrie’.  By 1949 the Railcar had been sold again and was being used as housing for migrant farm workers in Virginia.  The Flagler Museum acquired Railcar No. 91 in 1959.

Henry Flagler’s private railcar has now been restored to its original appearance using documentation from the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian, the Delaware State Archives, and the Hagley Museum and Library in Delaware.  Visitors to the Flagler Museum and the Pavilion are able to tour Railcar No. 91's salon, master bedroom, master bathroom, guest quarters, and kitchen…all which are restored to their original splendor.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Panther Coffee – Miami Florida

Continuing with our Winter break in Southeast Florida...

Well, it had already been a busy day when Dawn Marie decided that it was time for a good cup of coffee and a little ‘pick me up’ snack.  So we headed off to her favorite coffee house.

This is Panther Coffee in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami.  They have another store in Miami Beach. 

This is a view of the patio at Panther Coffee.  Many of the locals were just lounging around outside sipping their coffee…but the seating inside was more comfortable and we liked watching the personal interactions.

Most of the buildings in this area have been ‘decorated’ with what is mostly creative and sometimes beautiful graffiti.  Just click on this photo to view the artistic graffiti across the street.  I found one photo of Panther Coffee when it was adorned in the same manner.  Apparently the coffee house changed their look and the local artists have resisted spray painting these beckoning walls… We learned that periodically, the buildings in the area are repainted…providing a blank canvas so the artist can start over again.

This is one very busy place, attracting all types of people from just about every walk of life.  It was an interesting scene to view and the baristas were not only well trained and efficient, they also had personality!

Panther Coffee is a Miami-based specialty coffee roaster, retailer and wholesaler specializing in the small-batch roasting of coffee beans and the preparation of coffee beverages.  I checked out some photos of both this and the Miami Beach location for Panther Coffee and the differences in appearance are radical.  The Miami Beach location has art on display and it is very upscale.  It appears that both locations provide live entertainment at various times…

The roaster used by Panther coffee pre-dates WWII… The owners of Panther Coffee are a husband and wife team.

“…Every cup of coffee Panther serves is roasted on site, in small batches, each of which has their origin in farms personally-selected by the owners for taste as well as individuality.  The owners benefit from longstanding relationships with coffee producers throughout the world, and these friends and colleagues not only possess generations of knowledge and passion, but they produce some of the finest lots of coffee available anywhere.”

We had a couple of different snacks such as this brownie as well as coffee or cappuccino.  Nothing about this little coffee house is inexpensive…but it sure isn’t hurting their business!

Dawn Marie bought some Panther Coffee to take home including a pound for us!  This product was very good indeed, but it is a bit costly.  Depending on the roast and source, a half-pound of coffee ranges from $10.00 to $12.00 and a full pound costs from $19.00 to $22.00.

This was a nice spot to take a break…the surroundings were entertaining, the coffee was top notch and the sweets were very nice.  The Miami location for Panther Coffee is at 2390 Northwest 22nd Avenue.  Phone: 305-677-3952.  Website:  You can order packages of coffee on-line.  To see lots of photos of Panther Coffee…both locations…you can go to

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for taking a break with us during your busy day!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Flagler Estate and Museum – Palm Beach Florida

During our winter break in southeast Florida, we visited many attractions and several of them were museums… This time Laurie, Dawn Marie and I headed up to Palm Beach to check out the former home of one of Florida’s most historically important citizens.

Whitehall, the former home of Henry Flagler, is located in Palm Beach on the Intracoastal Waterway.  The home and its setting are magnificent!

In 1902, the New York Herald printed a story describing Whitehall as, "More wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world..."  Flagler built the 75-room, 100,000-square-foot Gilded Age mansion as a wedding present for his wife, Mary Lily Kenan Flagler.  The couple used the home as a winter retreat from 1902 until Flagler's death in 1913.  In doing so, they established “the Palm Beach season” for the wealthy of the Gilded Age.

How’s this for a reception foyer!?  It might just be a little over the top…  In actuality, the main purpose of the overwhelming facade and first floor of these gilded age homes was to serve as a not so subtle means of communication.  The message communicated was that these buildings did in fact represent the highest and best in literature and the arts.  They indicate that their builders were not simply business titans, but society's leaders, or as Andrew Carnegie liked to point out, they were society's "trustees."

It should be noted that Henry Flagler was not ‘just’ a co-founder of Standard Oil.  He was also a key figure in the development of the Atlantic coast of Florida, the founder of what became the Florida East Coast Railway, the father of Miami and the founder of the city of Palm Beach.  At the time of his death, Flagler was worth the equivalent of a little over $1,400,000,000 in today’s currency.

This is definitely a desk intended to dominate and impress any business associates… This photo is from Whitehall’s library.

Henry Morrison Flagler was born on January 2, 1830 in Hopewell, New York.  At the age of 14, after completing the eighth grade, Flagler moved to Bellevue, Ohio where he found work with his cousins in a grain store at a salary of $5 per month plus room and board.  After organizing and operating a grain company with a half-brother, Flagler and a brother-in-law founded the Flagler and York Salt Company, a salt mining business in Saginaw, Michigan. When the Civil War ended, salt, a key preservative during wartime was no longer in high demand and Flagler lost everything! 

Then Flagler re-entered the grain business and paid off his debts.  During this time, he became acquainted with John D. Rockefeller, who was also in the Grain business.  Rockefeller decided to leave the grain business to start his own oil refinery.  In need of capital for his new venture, Rockefeller approached Henry Flagler, with whom he had business dealings for many years.  Flagler secured $100,000 from a relative on the condition that he be made a partner in the new venture…owning 25% of the shares.   The rest, as they say, is history!  In 1870, the company was organized into a new corporation…Standard Oil.  In just two years Standard Oil became the leader in the American oil refining industry.

Built around the central courtyard, the house consists of two floors, an attic and a basement. Besides the grand public rooms on the first floor there are twelve guestrooms, house servants rooms on the west side of the second floor and guests servants rooms in the attic along the east side.  Also included were a pantry and kitchen as well as private offices for Mr. Flagler and his secretary.

In 1900, when the construction of Whitehall began, Palm Beach was one of the least developed and most remote locations in the United States.  It was arguably America's last frontier. However, with 22 bathrooms, electric lighting, central heating, and a telephone system, Whitehall was not only an impressive statement of high culture, but perhaps the most technologically advanced home in America.

This is the Breakfast Room.  It was used daily by the Flaglers for less formal meals.  Henry and Mary Lily Flagler ate breakfast in this room each morning. Servants had direct access to the Breakfast Room through a door that connected to the butler’s pantry and kitchen area.  The room's elaborate décor and color palette are modeled after the State Dining Room in Warwick Castle, England.

White Hall’s Dining Room was designed in the French Renaissance style.  This is where the Flaglers entertained large parties.  These dinners were not only elegant, they were lengthy.  The rug was specially made for the room and it’s recessed into the parquet floor. The wall coverings are green silk. The ceiling is cast plaster painted to look like wood. 

The fireplace mantle is one of the Dining Room’s most outstanding features.  Craftsmen created a piece that boasts elaborately carved culinary references such as shells, crabs, and fruit.

During the winters the Flaglers spent at Whitehall, the couple entertained constantly.  When Henry Flagler died in 1913, the house remained closed until the season of 1916.  His wife visited the home only once more in 1917 and then she died later that year.  Whitehall was left to her niece, Louise Clisby Wise Lewis.  She sold Whitehall to a group of investors who added a ten-story 300-room tower on the west side and converted the entire structure into a hotel.  The hotel operated from 1925-1959.  During that time, the original portion of the house was used for lobbies, card rooms, lounges, a bar and guest suites.

In 1959, the entire building was in danger of being torn down.  Henry Flagler's granddaughter, Jean Flagler Matthews learned of this and formed a nonprofit corporation to purchase the property.  The following year, Whitehall was opened to the public with a grand "Restoration Ball" on February 6, 1960.

Then there is Whitehall’s Ballroom!  Above the 15 doors and windows in the Louis XV-style Grand Ballroom are paintings created specifically for Whitehall.  These canvas paintings alternate between pastoral scenes and scenes featuring Cupids. The chandeliers are hung with Baccarat crystals.

In 1903, the Grand Ballroom was the scene of the ‘Bal Poudré’, a lavish party given in honor of George Washington's birthday. The Florida Times-Union called the Bal Poudré "the most brilliant social function in fair Florida's history," while the New York Herald described the event as "one of the most sumptuous social affairs ever attempted south of Washington." Guests danced the Minuet and the Virginia Reel.

After dinner, the ladies would retire to the Drawing Room for conversation and music… The gentlemen often gathered in the Billiard Room for entertainment.  During the Gilded Age, interest in sport was heightened and billiards became popular with men of that period.  Most estates included similar game rooms.  A Caen Stone mantle with Swiss-style decoration is the predominate feature of this room.

The Billiard Room's molded plaster ceiling is painted to reflect the Swiss design of the room, with plain panels painted to look like zebra oak, popular at the time.

Can you guess which bedroom and which bathroom belongs to the Mr. and Mrs. Flagler?  The other one…which at least had a sink in the bedroom…was used by a couple of the house servants.  A regular staff of servants accompanied the Flaglers to Whitehall each winter. 

Mr. and Mrs. Flagler shared the Master Suite.  This was uncommon at the turn-of-the-century.  Their suite included two separate dressing rooms, the large bath area, and the bedroom. The bedroom, which was decorated in the Louis XIV style, is furnished with the original bedroom furniture.  The fabrics are reproductions.

This 18-karat gold box and Western Union telegram are replicas of the ones that were sent to Flagler to announce the completion of the Key West extension of his Over-Sea Railway in 1912.  It is on display in the Flagler Kenan History Room.  This room is designed to give visitors a sense of Flagler’s extensive accomplishments as a founding partner in the Standard Oil Company and as Florida’s most important developer.

The original gold telegram and gold jeweled box and these replacements were made by Tiffany and Co.  The original was a gift from the employees to Flagler during the dedication of this rail link.  For several decades after Flagler’s death, the original artifacts were kept on display at the Hotel Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine Florida.  When the hotel was sold to Flagler College in 1966, these items were transferred to the museum.  However, despite being under lock and key, the originals were stolen in April of 1974.

Note: The Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway was completed in 1912.  It continued to operate until it was basically destroyed by the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.  The state of Florida bought the remaining bridges and roadbeds and they are the foundation of today’s Overseas Highway (US Rte. 1) to Key West.

Parts of Whitehall are used for changing exhibits or for the display of items of interest from back in the Gilded Age.  Among the items we viewed were an extensive display of hand-made lace from around the world, some colorful high-end glassware and a very large display of sterling silver items.

The Brandywine Bowl (ca. 1700) was made by Benjamin Wynkoop. (1675 – 1751) These bowls are associated with the Dutch ritual of “kindermaal”, a celebratory feast held in honor of a mother and her newborn.  Guests sipped a potent mixture of brandy and raisins from the communal bowl.
The Art Nouveau trophy was completed in 1907.  It was presented to an early aeronautical pioneer, Alan Hawley.  In 1910, Hawley set a record by making a balloon flight from St. Louis Missouri to a spot in Quebec Canada…a distance of over 1,172 miles.

For those of you who would like to spend a little more time in this classy atmosphere, a pavilion adjoins Whitehall.  It was built in the style of the times and it features a restaurant…Café des Beaux-Arts.  For $22.00 per person, you can partake of a luncheon that fits the Gilded Age…tea, lemonade, tea sandwiches and sweets.  To see the menu, you can go to  However, we opted for the local diner just down US Hwy.1 that I’d previously reported on…

This is the view from the lawn behind Whitehall looking west across the Intracoastal Waterway to West Palm Beach.

I took this photo of Laurie and Dawn Marie…flowers against flowers… We definitely enjoyed our tour of this outstanding museum.
To learn more about the Flagler Museum, go to  To read about Henry Flagler, his life and accomplishment, you can go to

This is more our style… This beautiful ‘cottage’ sits just outside the Flagler museum property.  Sea Gull Cottage was originally built by R.R. McCormick, a Denver based railroad developer.  Henry Flagler bought the cottage in 1893 and it served as his first winter residence in Palm Beach. 

The cottage now serves as the Parish House for the Royal Poinciana Chapel…a ‘post-denominational” congregation.  I had to check… Post-denominationalism is the attitude that the Body of Christ extends to born again Christians in other denominations, and is not limited just to one's own religious group.  I learn something new every day…

Just click on any of the photographs to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for the tour!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave