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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 611 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 258
  • 208
    Very good
  • 59
  • 25
  • 12

This was fun. Good music and beautiful surroundings. The food and drinks were reasonably priced. Walked and saw that there were many restaurants nearby.

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
El paso
via mobile
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611 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 562: English reviews
West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

A perfect location with the intracoastal as a backdrop to dance or relax to well picked local bands. Water fountain for childrens play, bar for adult play and some vendors. During season there is also a fabulous saturday morning green market.

Thank Chris P
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

My husband and I visited the popular Clematis St. and really enjoy our time. There was a lot to offer and something for everyone. Lots of shops, restaurants, Cafe's, ice cream shops and more. We were able to have dinner and drinks in a nice atmosphere. Even though the area was crowded,, We felt very safe as law enforcement was... More 

Thank Tasha1173
Clearwater, Florida
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

It felt like West Palm Beach was just waking up after a good sleep, there is a lot of development, but the potential is there, I think it will be great once everything is up and running

Thank Noeline L
Jupiter, Florida
Level Contributor
63 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Clematis Street offers great restaurants and shops for all ages. Whether you want to have a great cup of coffee at a cafe, nice lunch or brunch or grab dinner, Clematis Street is the place that offers it all. I was surprised at the late night scene there as well. Its a vibrant nightlife with a lot of options. I... More 

Thank LizMoo007
Level Contributor
49 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

a great place if you are looking for any type of cuisine anytime, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Many have sidewalk tables for people watching. High energy area great for strolling around.

Thank johnniepalmtree
El paso
2 reviews
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

This was fun. Good music and beautiful surroundings. The food and drinks were reasonably priced. Walked and saw that there were many restaurants nearby.

Thank pattye830
Level Contributor
150 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 April 2017 via mobile

I think the title says it all. Its a food mecca. There are really no stores so unless your hungry really no need to visit.

1 Thank Denise H
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 17 April 2017

Nice area to walk around, shops, restaurants. Thursday's there is a concert! Activities close by, Palm Beach Segway Tours, Fun time.

Thank Robin S
Vero Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
64 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2017

The scenery is lovely, the streets are clean, and the area feels safe. Whenever there is a holiday or special events, this is usually where it happens. Tip: arrive early to get a good parking place and take time to walk around exploring or to simply enjoy the lovely vistas.

Thank MzElaineous
Lake Worth, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
18 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2017

Clematis Street is a nice place to walk around to check out its upscale stores and restaurants! However many establishments do not make it and they go out of business due to the extremely high rent costs! This is a bummer because if the rental prices were more affordable the shoppers would have a much better experience. The area at... More 

Thank Barry C

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