Henry Morrison Flagler made his first trip to Florida because his wife’s doctors told her to leave the northern winters behind and spend time in a warmer climate. It was1878, and in those days Florida was not easy to reach. Northern states like New York had cities and roads and even some railroads, but Florida was filled with deep woods, mosquitoes, alligators, sandy roads, and some small settlements. In the 1870s there were no cars, so visitors traveled by horseback, bumpy stagecoach, or boats along the dangerous coastline. There were a few railroads in Florida, but they mostly went for short distances. They did not connect for one long continuous ride, and most did not connect with the northern states.

When Henry Flagler made his second trip to Florida several years later, he noticed not only the problems, but also the potential, the possibilities, in the state. By his third visit, he decided to build a grand hotel in St. Augustine.

—Henry Flagler, Builder of Florida 9781561644674