A personal perspective
So how many reasons do you need to head to West Palm Beach?
The facts West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach, in South East Florida and an hour from Miami, was first established in the 1890's by oil baron Henry Flagler, who also owned the Florida East Coast Railway.
by Ashley Gibbins
Lois Frankel, Mayor of West Palm Beach, agreed to give me just one good reason for visiting her city.
"We have created a living environment that our residents love and respect and this rubs off on our visitors", she told me.
But then being a politician - and a passionate advocate of her city - I just knew Lois would not leave it there.
"West Palm Beach is now safe and clean and very walking and cycle friendly - day and night”.
True to be sure! Having parked up on arrival I cycled almost everywhere and found it a real pleasure.
And as for safe, the downtown safety patrols (in their yellow shirts) always seem to be at hand.
But far from needing to keep the peace and restrain the rowdy, they spend most of their time being really friendly and oh so helpful to question hungry visitors like myself
The city has also introduced an 11pm downtown curfew on unaccompanied youngsters under 18 and this has also gone down well.
The renaissance in the city, during the decades either side of the Millennium, has enabled West Palm Beach stand proud as a visitor destination.
Flagler had purchased what is now Palm Beach Island as the site for his two ultra- luxury hotels - Royal Poinciana and Breakers – and West Palm Beach, just across Lake Worth, developed in tandem to house the construction workers, craftsmen and hotel staff.
A winter watering hold
The hotels prospered and the Island became a much sought after winter watering hole for the mega rich, including the Vanderbilt, Woolworth, Dodge, Ford and Singer family dynasties.
These families vied to build the stunning, beachfront, mansions that still astonish with their opulence.
As the feeder community, West Palm Beach grew in tandem before suffering severe economic decline during the middle part of the 20th century.
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