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Florida East Coast Hotels and Railway

Through the development of rail transportation, South Florida emerged as a vacationer’s paradise, replete with balmy winters, tropical beaches, and all the amenities the wealthy had come to expect. Owners of railroads used new advertising and sales techniques to lure travelers to these tropical destinations.

Both Henry M. Flagler and Henry B. Plant transformed the east and west coasts of Florida, respectively, by creating some of the most elaborate resort hotels to date as a means of enticing travelers to use their railroads.

These resort hotels developed in conjunction with railway lines created a vacation complex of transport and lodging that attracted thousands of visitors yearly. Railroads also shaped patterns of land use throughout Florida. Flagler’s Model Land Company, the land purchasing arm of the railroad company, acquired several million acres of real estate in Florida between 1885, the year he first purchased two St. Augustine rail lines, and 1912, when he completed the Key West extension of the Florida East Coast Railway.

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