The Key West Art & Historical Society is excited to partner with Comedy Key West to offer a series of fun historical lectures entitled ‘Happy Hour with the Historian’. Attendees will receive a complimentary drink (beer, house wine or soft drink), and treated to a short presentation by the historian.
Historian: Cori Convertito Ph.D.
Topic: Henry Flagler: A Man Whose Vision Changed Florida
Henry Morrison Flagler is best known for his development of Florida’s east coast. He was responsible for building the Florida East Coast Railway from Daytona to Key West. Flagler made a significant contribution to Florida’s economy through tourism and agriculture.
Early in his life, Flagler enjoyed some financial success in the grain business. Then he joined John D. Rockefeller to found The Standard Oil Company in 1870. Within two years, Standard Oil was leading the U.S. oil industry. At the time, Flagler, his wife and children lived in New York but his wife’s health was not good. The doctor recommended they spend the winter in Florida since it would be less harsh on her ailing body. The Flagler family tried wintering in Jacksonville, then the only accessible city in the state. On Flagler’s second trip to Florida in 1882, he visited St. Augustine – he was charmed by the city and the weather but frustrated by the lack of hotels and transportation. He recognized Florida’s potential to attract out-of-state visitors. He decided to pour his oil fortune into the state’s development.
This talk will focus on the entire life and career of the oil tycoon who enjoyed a second career developing the east coast of Florida into a playground for the rich and providing a lasting infrastructure that Floridians still use today.
This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the State of Florida, with additional support provided by The Helmerich Trust and Comedy Key West.