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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 493 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 208
  • 166
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  • 7
Great people watching

Clematis street Ina Thursday night will vet you every type of stereotype you can image and more . Was there this week. Children playing in fountains, lots of couples and... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 1 week ago
Boynton Beach, Florida
via mobile
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493 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 454: English reviews
Hollywood, Florida
Level Contributor
199 reviews
112 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 245 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

This seems to be main street of West Palm Beach. It contains a few restaurants and bars. Personally I much prefer City Place which is a very short drive from here. There is metered parking all the way along the street, as well as parking structures close by.

1 Thank Hal93
Boynton Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
236 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Clematis street Ina Thursday night will vet you every type of stereotype you can image and more . Was there this week. Children playing in fountains, lots of couples and families. Much ethic diversity, a lot of single women in groups. Pleasant officers, sadly aware of security... Lots of restaurants full of people, very happening place. Able to park but... More 

1 Thank redbook2
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 attraction reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

I enjoyed Baileys a bar and restaurant close to the water. I found the area conventional and uninteresting,

Thank Tourist-Accidental
Stavanger, Norway
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Great for a walk by the seaside, super park for kids. Friendly people, good resturants. Free concerts.

Thank Grethe_Rognoy
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
114 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Anytime is great time to walk Clementis Street. I prefer the less crowded times, but the evening rush gives off a great vibe. You can window shop or take in a drink or meal (i like Tin Fish). Enjoy the park and walk all the way to Flagler and the intercoastal. Pay parking is available or you can walk a... More 

Thank Marybeth C
Hamilton, Canada
Level Contributor
54 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Visit this street every time we are in West Palm. Fun little jaunt that's like a tame New Orleans :) Jump in the water feature for the best time ever! PS parking is easy on the street so definitely check it out.

Thank Glenroadmomma
Out Islands
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Fun place to bike around....especially at night. Lots of light. Can ride along the ICW...good roads and again, plenty of light. Pleasant environment. Lots of food choices.

Thank sailingveterinarian
Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
325 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We took a walk and enjoyed the park but we were approached by a panhandler and there were some questionable people hanging out in the park. Nice but would be situation aware and avoid after dark or off hours.

Thank Cspear
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Clematis street is convenient and great! The Mandel public library which is huge (4 story's tall) is on Clematis street and is a great place to go even if your note going for the books. Clematis street hosts many events year round and has something for everyone. There are plenty of restaurants on Clematis from Pizza to Sushi it's on... More 

Thank André R
Palm Springs, Florida
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2016

There is always something going on at downtown Clematis Street. They have Thursday night concerts which are free and well attended. They have movie nights once a month on Fridays. Cute little shops to explore up and down both sides of the street. Multiple choices for great food and drinks all along the street. Take a walk across the street... More 

2 Thank Kim V

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