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Speaker Series: Lost Landscapes at Palm Beach with Historian Augustus Mayhew

Jan 22, 2020@5:30 pm-7:00 pm

Guest speaker Augustus Mayhew explores Palm Beach landscapes that were once the island’s main attractions from its experimental botanical stations to the Garden of Eden and the Jungle Trail that led to an Ostrich Farm and Alligator Joe’s. With historical images, Mayhew illustrates the island’s earliest descriptions as a terra incognita — a tropical swamp with the smell of sulphur water and rich black mud as well as dark fertile soil above a coral ridge with scrub palmetto and Indian rubber trees. Along the ocean, a summit bluff was covered with trees and wide views north and south overlooking a beach blanketed with shells. Following its settlement, The New York Times proclaimed Palm Beach in 1892 as “The garden spot of Florida” with “banana plants, coconut trees, acres of roses, violets, dahlias, and pineapples from Africa, Antigua, and Nassau.” By the turn of the century, Palm Beach gardens had become golf courses and tennis courts, as the barrier island refuge became a resort. And later, the island was again transformed, from a resort to a residential community, as automobiles, streets and subdivisions took hold.

Augustus Mayhew is a longtime historic preservationist, architectural historian, and cultural columnist. Along with appointments to local and regional historic preservation boards, he served as chairman of archives and collections for the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. A featured columnist at the New York Social Diary, he has been a guest lecturer at The Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Historical Society of Palm Beach County, Coastal Georgia Historical Society, and the Colonial Dames. He was the curator for the recent exhibition Building Paradise: Addison Mizner’s Legacy at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum. The author of Lost in Wonderland: Reflections on Palm Beach and Palm Beach: A Greater Grandeur, he is a recipient of the AIA-Palm Beach Historic Preservation Award. Born in Camaguey, Cuba, Augustus Mayhew grew up in Delray Beach.


To reserve your place, please call 832-5328
Admission is complimentary to Gardens Conservancy Members, $25 for Individual and Family Members, $35 for non-members
Entire season speaker series for Individual and Family Members $100, non-members $125



Jan 22, 2020
5:30 pm-7:00 pm
Event Category:


Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
253 Barcelona Rd
West Palm Beach, FL 33401 United States
(561) 832-5328