The Breakers Palm Beach commemorates its 125th anniversary on the Atlantic

The Breakers is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

Henry Morrison Flagler was a visionary, but even he probably could not have imagined what The Breakers, now a premier resort known worldwide, would become when he founded it 125 years ago.

Flagler, who made his fortune as a partner in the Standard Oil company and as a developer and railroad pioneer, opened the Palm Beach Inn on Jan. 16, 1896. It was the only oceanfront hotel south of Daytona Beach and attracted the famous people of its day including the Astors, Rockefellers, Carnegies and Vanderbilts.

Regular guests from his other nearby hotel, the 1,100-room Royal Poinciana, asked for rooms “down by the breakers.” When Flagler doubled the size of the inn for the 1901 season, he renamed the oceanfront resort The Breakers.

Henry and Mary Flagler

Today, as The Breakers celebrates its quasquicentennial throughout the year, it prevails as one of just 1,000 family-owned businesses in the  United States that is  more than 100 years old and still under its original ownership. Owned by the heirs of Flagler, who died in 1913 at 83, and his wife, Mary Lily Kenan, who died in 1917 at 50, it also is the only large, historic luxury hotel in America still in the same family.