First Train to Key West (January 22, 1912)

On this date in 1912 the first passenger train arrived in Key West, marking the completion of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railroad from Jacksonville to the Southernmost City.

Detail from Rand McNally’s 1912 map of Florida showing Flagler’s East Coast Railroad through southeastern Florida and the Florida Keys

Detail from Rand McNally’s 1912 map of Florida showing Flagler’s East Coast Railroad through southeastern Florida and the Florida Keys

Awaiting the train…

Awaiting the train…

Greeting the train…

Greeting the train…

Henry M. Flagler disembarking the first passenger train to Key West

Henry M. Flagler disembarking the first passenger train to Key West

Parade celebrating the arrival of the East Coast Railroad in Key West

Parade celebrating the arrival of the East Coast Railroad in Key West

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2 thoughts on “First Train to Key West (January 22, 1912)

  1. The photo of Henry Flagler disembarking the “first” passenger train to Key West raises several questions about when and/or where the photo was taken.
    1. In the photo in question, he is wearing a cap and a medium colored suit, but in photos supposedly taken only minutes later he is carrying a straw boater and wearing a very dark or black suit.
    2.The photo in question shows him disembarking a car which is not coupled, but in the photo showing the crowd greeting the first train, Mr. Flagler’s car (the one with the distinctive oval window in the third bay) is clearly between two other cars.
    3. The car pictured is not Mr. Flagler’s personal car, number 91. Careful observation will reveal numerous differences with his personal car which is on display at Whitehall in Palm Beach. Mr. Flagler is also shown descending from the car by means of a rough plank ramp rather than the steps of the car, which also do not match the steps of his personal car.
    Conclusion: If the photograph was taken in Key West, it was probably on an inspection tour and not on the rather formal occasion of the arrival of the “first train”.

    • Tom, thank you for the comment. We’re doing more research, but your doubts are logical. Does anyone else know more about this photograph?

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