Flashback Friday: The Washington Birthday Ball


Subscribers can get more Throwback Thursday fun in The Palm Beach Post Archives. Search and browse articles, photos and ads from the print edition dating back to December 2006, and browse far back as 1916 in our historic archive.

And see more photos and stories about local history on our Historic Palm Beach blog.

The Washington Birthday Ball was THE event of the social season during Palm Beach's Gilded Age.

The Feb. 22 ball is sometimes recalled as the end of the winter season in Palm Beach, but most resorts remained open well into March, so historic newspaper accounts more accurately describe the ball as the highlight of the season. 

The Palm Beach Daily News declared the 1915 ball the "biggest event of the biggest season in the history of America's most famous winter resort."

In 1928 the Shiny Sheet rapsodized:

Thirty-three seasons, each one a little more brilliant than the last, have come and gone since the first Washington's Birthday Ball was given at the Royal Poinciana, and like the seasons, the balls have grown more gorgeous in decorations and more imaginatively beautiful with every succeeding year.

During the Flagler era the ball was held in the ballroom at the Royal Poinciana Hotel, but in later decades it changed venues — to the  Colony Club in 1938 and  Whitehall in 1956

 



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