Many people think of the Florida of today as a travel destination full of theme parks, sunshine, beaches, and as a family fun vacation spot. Florida’s history is rich in culture from Ponce de Leon to its Latino and Spanish history to the Osceola Indians.
De Leon named Florida “la Florida" meaning feast of the flowers most likely for the abundance of the flora and fauna all around. As the state grew into a top vacation stop throughout its history, many famous entrepreneurs from Florida emerged with greatness.
Perhaps it was Henry Morrison Flagler, a New Yorker who is responsible for Florida as it is today. Born in 1830 and of Standard Oil fame, Flagler turned to the state of Florida when his wife became ill—Florida’s climate was better for her tuberculosis.
It has been said that upon entering Florida, Flagler thought it a backward state with difficult access from one town to the next. Among his other entrepreneurial efforts, Flagler purchased a short-line railroad that traveled from Jacksonville to St. Augustine and eventually became the Florida East Coast Railway.
Despite the challenges of convincing investors the railway system should grow, Flagler’s efforts eventually set up railways that traveled to Palm Beach, the Florida Keys, Key West, and Miami.
Flagler was inspired by Florida and built a home in Palm Beach that still stands as the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum today and is a must see if a trek to Florida is on your travel to do list. This New Yorker, gave others access to the state that would spawn very many famous entrepreneurs from Florida in the years ahead.