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Address: Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone Number:
+1 561-404-9787

The History of Clematis Street & West Palm Beach

Henry Flagler

A history...

The History of Clematis Street & West Palm Beach

Henry Flagler

A history of the Clematis Street District or of West Palm Beach cannot be told without mentioning the name of Henry Flagler. Anyone who has been in Florida for even a short amount of time will recognize the name. It's all over Florida roads, bridges and beaches as well as countless other monuments and museums.

Flagler's Dream:

Palm Beach

Henry Flagler co-founded Standard Oil Company with John D. Rockefeller and also built the Florida railroad from Jacksonville to Key West. He came to the West Palm Beach area in 1893. After being impressed with the natural beauty of the area, he sought to create the most famous resort in the world, Palm Beach. The resort would be conveniently accessible by his own railroad. He built two major hotels, The Breakers and the Royal Poinciana Hotel (later destroyed by a hurricane). He also built what is now West Palm Beach directly across Lake Worth for the service people who worked on the island and as a commercial district.

Clematis Street

Not only is it one of the trendiest places to be today, it also boasts a long and important history. Clematis Street began as the main thoroughfare of West Palm Beach in the early 20th century. It connected the train station on the west with the ferry to Palm Beach Island on the east.

Early 20th Century:

Storefronts logically multiplied and lined each way, as Clematis became the "Main Street" of West Palm Beach. The commuters of the day would traverse Clematis Street and frequent these shops before and after work, much like we do today. It's many older buildings display a fascinating journey through South Florida history.

Automobiles Change Everything

Eventually automobiles, bridges and highways replaced the train, ferry and buggies as the main means of transportation. While once the train station was the link to the outside world, visitors could now arrive via various routes. Okeechobee Boulevard would eventually become the main connection from route 95 over to Palm Beach and Clematis Street would lose its steady flow of passers-by. As the area progressed, suburban sprawl contributed to the growth of metropolitan West Palm Beach, yet the downtown business area remained.

The Downtown Development Authority

In 1967 the Downtown Development Authority was created to impact Downtown's economic conditions, formulate long-range plans for improving the appeal and accessibility of Downtown facilities, promoting their use, providing remedy to any deterioration of Downtown property values, and most importantly, retaining and attracting businesses to Clematis Street.

In short, the DDA works to retain and attract business and to protect the investments of its constituents. Largely due to the Downtown Development Authority Clematis Street is still considered the Main Street of West Palm Beach.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 598 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 252
  • 205
    Very good
  • 56
  • 25
  • 12
some great shops/restaurants in a picturesque setting

many wonderful places to eat and shops to examine in one two block area. 'Pistache' one of the best brunch cafes I've ever visited in the world.

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Falls Church, Virginia
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598 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 550: English reviews
Falls Church, Virginia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

many wonderful places to eat and shops to examine in one two block area. 'Pistache' one of the best brunch cafes I've ever visited in the world.

Thank rwscjs
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Good time,lots to do, hot chicks and nice cars everywhere. Luv west palm beach! Can't wait to see it on the weekend.

Thank lonzD
West Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

The Clematis street district has many things to offer from the local library, to restaurants, bars, and clubs. There is no shortage of flavors on Clematis with restuarants ranging from mexican style, japanese, mediteranean, and classic american. There are also a flew places to pick up a quick bite if you want to grab it and eat down by the... More 

Thank Brittany M
Level Contributor
45 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

I remember back in 1976 my family moved to Palm Beach , and my father wanted to show us down town Clematis. It was a ghost town ' not a soul was walking around. Burdines department store was a place to go and shop. Roxy's was not on Clematis. Pioneer linins is still in it's the original spot. Now it's... More 

Thank Catie C
Boca Raton, Florida
Level Contributor
325 reviews
87 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 328 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

So pretty just to walk around. Always something to do and eat within feet of where you are. It's a very pretty area all times of the year. We live in Boca and come here to destress and feel the vibes of happiness, partying, shopping or just relaxing while people watching. Make it a stop whether on vacation or living... More 

Thank Loveagoodmeal
Sugar Land
Level Contributor
384 reviews
104 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

My wife and I started at one end of the street walked down to the harbor, had lunch, and strolled back on the other side of the street. There are many interesting art galleries and restaurants along the way. It was an enjoyable walk

Thank Greg W
West Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

A good place if you like to have a night out drinking to have fun. Many bars and restaurants to choose from which all have a history behind them.

Thank recruitjas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

A must for visiting west palm. The city puts its best foot forward to welcome vacationers and present free entertainment to locals. Great bands, valets parking casual free. Bring a lawn chair to spend the evening watching folk dance in the lawn. Casual food stalls walk to the sea wall to gawk at the mega yachts Thursday evening is the... More 

Thank Rosebud6637
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

There's a big turn over is restaurants on clematis street. Rocco tacos is great for quacamole. They could use some better shops. The trolley is a good resource.

Thank Susan F
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
158 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Two or three blocks filled with various restaurants and bars. Many with outdoor seating. Plenty of on street parking and two municipal garages close by. You can Google restaurants on Clematis St to get a better idea of the restaurant offerings.

Thank gjet72

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