|The banner for the Coastal/Greenacres Oberver.|
Below is an excerpt from the introduction of that series in October of last year that sums up nicely the early history of the Gulfstream Hotel, the highs points and the low ones as well. But first, what has stopped this historic hotel from being a success? The answer is a simple one: Parking.
Somewhere laying around I have an article written by Deacon Rhodes in The Lake Worth Herald on December 6th, 1984 titled, "Gulf Stream Hotel Is Seeking Larger Dining, Parking Areas". What struck me was the very same problems the hotel experienced over 30 years ago would remain a problem today if the hotel were open for business without a parking garage nearby. In a blog post from last year wrote this after reading that article from 1984:
What’s interesting about this article is this: sans names and factual references this article could appear in the Herald today and apply to the current situation with the Gulfstream Hotel as it exists now and have existed for many years.
Why is that? One of the main issues with the hotel has nothing to do with the actual building itself but the lack of parking. Remember, the Gulfstream was constructed in the 1920’s and the automobile wasn’t as yet the public’s preferred transportation option when visiting the state of Florida.
Most visitors to the hotel in the early years arrived by train, planned stays of long duration, and didn’t need or particularly want to have their own personal vehicle.
Just like a modern business traveler, visitor, or tourist wants safe and secure accommodations for themselves, they also want a safe and secure place for their personal vehicle, be it their own car or a rental. And they also want their car nearby, the freedom to come and go as they please. A crucial part of the Gulfstream redevelopment is a parking garage: something the hotel has needed for many decades. Finally, that is becoming a reality.
Below is a good summation of the early history of the Gulfstream Hotel, from the introduction to the series that appeared in the Coastal Observer:
Most Lake Worth residents are familiar with the historic Gulfstream Hotel, originally called “El Nuevo.” Building of the hotel started in 1923 and the stately Mediterranean Revival, six story building opened in 1925. Its opening coincided with the end of the Florida real estate boom of the 1920s. That boom opened the world, particularly the northeast and midwestern United States, to discovering Florida as an escape from the frigid winter weather.
The advent of railroads and train travel in last decade of the 19th Century, combined with the introduction later of the automobile and the roads upon which to travel, contributed to expansion of both the tourist trade and permanent residents in the south Florida area. Lake Worth played its own role in this expansion, promoting itself as the “Wonder City”, complete with its own electric power company meant to fuel the growth and prosperity of the area.
[and. . .]
Early in its history the hotel suffered some devastating circumstances that were beyond its control. First, a strong hurricane hit the Miami area in 1926. For many historians this signaled the end of the 1920s boom years of development in south Florida. Investors began to question whether the unbridled growth of the previous years, much of it based upon rampant speculation, could continue.
Then, in 1928, Lake Worth itself was hit by one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall ever in the continental United States. The hurricane’s impact on the Gulfstream Hotel was so severe the hotel would remain closed from the damage for eight years.
Upon re-opening, the hotel found its niche through aggressive marketing almost immediately. Under the same ownership, it stayed open during World War II, catering to officers and others stationed here during the war years. After the war years turned out to be the best years for the Gulf Stream Hotel.
It's time to get excited about the redevelopment of our iconic, historic hotel. Those who filed the lawsuits will not go away and they'll continue to be negative and spiteful. Don't get angry. Stay positive and engaged. It's an exciting time to be a resident in the City of Lake Worth.
|The Gulfstream: Standing tall.|