Flashback Friday: The Washington Birthday Ball

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


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

library life

Begin a storytime journey with “Había una vez/Once upon a time.” Carrie Sue Ayvar flows seamlessly between Spanish and English as she chooses from her large repertoire of personal and traditional tales to connect people, languages and cultures. This program for all ages comes to the Clarence E. Anthony Branch 10 a.m. Oct. 4; and...
Rabbit rescue team faces charges of grand theft, trespassing

PALM BEACH GARDENS POLICE THEFT A man was seen shuffling through items in an aisle at a store in the 3100 block of Northlake Boulevard. Later, as he exited the business, the store’s security alarm went off. The suspect, who was wearing a red hat and riding a blue bicycle was quickly spotted and stopped by police a few blocks away. The man told...
Kids break into business, steal ammunition, defecate in flower pots

WEST PALM BEACH POLICE BUSINESS BURGLARY Police responded to an alarm at a business in the 3300 block of South Dixie Highway at 2:23 a.m. They found a window shattered, but a sheet of plywood behind it thwarted the burglar. The assistant manager arrived at the scene to assess the situation and told police the plywood had been installed after previous...
Senior citizen caught stealing two pairs of sunglasses valued at $510

BOCA RATON POLICE THEFT Bikes were stolen in the 100 block of East Camino Real and the 1200 block of West Palmetto Park Road. A woman stole $1,200 worth of handbags from a store in the 1400 block of West Glades Road. Police arrested a 65-year old man after he stole two pairs of sunglasses valued at $510 from a store in the 6000 block of West Glades...
Mandel Public Library launches new creative space
Mandel Public Library launches new creative space

The Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach has opened a new studio space on the second floor of its Clematis Street location. The venue, named Studio 411, aims to support the library’s multiple and growing range of arts programs, and to create one central location for those interested in the arts to learn about a variety of crafts such as painting...
More Stories