Saturday, March 21, 2020

Statement Regarding Suspension of Utility Disconnections From the Desk of the City Manager

Statement Regarding Suspension of Utility Disconnections
From the Desk of the City Manager

There has been information circulating regarding the City of Lake Worth Beach’s Suspension of Utility Disconnections.   In an effort to ease any fear being experienced by any of our residents and customers, and to set the record straight I want to provide the facts.

During the COVID-19 crisis the City of Lake Worth Beach IS NOT DISCONNECTING UTILITY SERVICES for any utility accounts within the entire utility service area.  This includes within the City limits and the areas our utilities serve in unincorporated Palm Beach County and the Village of Palm Springs.  Any information to the contrary is false.  All will continue to receive electricity, water and sewer services.

The suspension of disconnections began on Wednesday March 18th and is in effect until April 30th.  It may be extended based on the needs of the community at that time.

There were customers whose service was temporarily suspended during the transition period earlier in the week before the suspension was fully implemented.  Most contacted the City and they were reconnected immediately, and all fees and charges are being credited back to those customers.   A few accounts did not contact the City for reconnection and staff is visiting those addresses in person to confirm that these units are vacated either because the customer moved at an earlier date or because they are one of our ‘snow birds’ who are living somewhere else right now.

Please know City staff and the City Commission are doing our very best to address the issues involved in this crisis and to take care of our residents.  Thank you for remaining calm and understanding as we move forward together.

Town of Palm Beach - Action Plan for Condos - COVID-19

From the Town of Palm Beach:

"COVID-19 Notice #1 for 3/21/20 (Action Plan for Condos)
When a virus with pandemic potential emerges, it is vitally important for citizens to take steps to help slow the transmission throughout our community. In multifamily buildings where residents encounter each other frequently in the elevators, corridors, and other common areas, the need to address preventative measures much more involved than in single-family homes that have limited common areas. This communal living presents a unique set of issues when dealing with the spread of a virus as dangerous as the Covid-19."

Click here for link to download an action plan for multifamily buildings from CDC.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Palm Beach County's Lack of Intensive Care Unit and Isolation Rooms

Of all the things I heard yesterday, one of the more revealing turned out to be the briefing given by the Palm Beach Town Manager. It aired at 3 p.m. Carried on the Town's website, these are supposed to occur daily at the same time. Yesterday's lasted 38 mins. You can hear the whole thing on the Town's part of the website that has a list of past meetings.

They solicited comments via email and combined 65 responses/questions into 12 different categories related to Town operations.

This is the headline: Palm Beach County has a population of 1.4 million people. The entire county only has a total of 112 ICU beds. and just 63 isolation rooms. This number adds up all the facilities in all hospitals in Palm Beach County. 

If this doesn't underline the importance of hand washing, social distancing and isolation, nothing will.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

March 19, 2010 Special Commission meeting - Unique in Many Ways

Here is the agenda for tomorrow's meeting which begins and 6 p.m.
You can find the entire packet by clicking here, taking you to the city's website. In the middle of the page, look for the March 19, 2020 meeting in the table and look under the column labeled "Packet."

There are a number of items on the consent agenda. Perhaps the most important item will come under New Business, Item A  - Resolution No. 11-2020 - Mayor’s and City Manager’s Emergency Powers. You may want to take a look at that one since the procedures of how an emergency is declared and who's responsibility it is to carry out special powers. In short, the proposed resolution would reaffirm that the Mayor is responsible for declaring an emergency and the City Manager would carry out actions during that emergency. In that capacity, if an action conflicts "with an existing ordinance, resolution or policy of the City Commission, the City Manager shall temporarily activate said policy and seek ratification of the policy by the City Commission at such time as is reasonably possible and consistent with all Federal, State, County and/or Local emergency directives."


Due to the pending Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Federal, State and Palm Beach County’s Declarations of State of Emergency, the City of Lake Worth Beach will be conducting the March 19, 2020 Special Meeting via Communication Media Technology (“CMT”). Use of CMT will allow the City to have City Commission meetings as necessary during the COVID- 19 pandemic. The following specific information is provided as to the March 19, 2020 Special Meeting:

(1) The Meeting will be held at City Hall, 7 N. Dixie Highway, Lake Worth Beach, Florida. Physical access points will be City Hall Commission Meeting Room (Chambers) and City Hall Main Conference Room, both of which are normally open to the public. In keeping with social distancing and limiting gatherings to less than 10 persons, once a physical access point reaches capacity, the next physical access point will be opened to the public.

(2) Persons interested in attending the meeting may go to City Hall to an available physical access point.

(3) If the physical access point at City Hall Commission Meeting Room (Chambers) is full, the City will provide access via video with closed captions and/or via audio access at the other physical access point(s).

(4) Interested persons may also access the meeting online on the City’s website at: Interested persons are encouraged to utilize this alternative access point in keeping with social distancing. After the Meeting, the audio recording will be available by contacting the Office of the City Clerk.

(5) If interested persons need more information, they may contact the Office of the City Clerk at 7 N. Dixie Highway, Lake Worth Beach, FL; email the Office of the City Clerk at: or call the Office of the City Clerk at (561) 586-1662.

(6) In order to address the concerns with the COVID-19, for this Meeting, public comment will be handled as follows: If an interested person desires to provide public comment, all comments must be directed to the Office of the City Clerk at the above provided physical address, e-mail address or by telephone. The City will receive such public comment up to fifteen (15) minutes before the start of the Meeting. If timely received by the Office of the City Clerk, the Chair will read the public comment at the Meeting. Public comment cards are available on the City’s website.

Consistent with section 286.0105, Florida Statutes, if a person decides to appeal any decision made by the City Commission with respect to any matter considered at such meeting or hearing, he or she will need a record of the proceedings, and that, for such purpose, he or she may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which record includes the testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is to be based.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Celebrate Saving of the Gulf Stream Hotel with Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive [Official Video] 1978

The final two precincts reported in sometime during the day...

This morning there were still two precincts that weren't reporting on the Supervisor of Election's website. The results of the election were never in doubt as it relates to the City of Lake Worth Beach's three questions. I thought that it would be good to share the final results, just to be official.

And this is what I posted on Facebook last night as the results became undeniable. I stand by every word. Then I'll share one of the videos that I share in virtual celebration of the victory for the Gulf Stream Hotel.
Lake Worth Beach peeps: I'm nearly weeping in excitement to report that, although not final, it looks like three questions on the city's BALLOT are PASSING BY WIDE MARGINS.
As of 7:42 p.m. with 11 of 17 precincts reporting. Question 1 is the closest with a total of 76.8% YES votes. Question 2 has the greatest margin with a total of 89.9% voting YES.
And, Question 3, which will lay the groundwork to save our historic Gulf Stream Hotel, is showing that 81.9% voted YES! Out of the 11 of 17 precincts reporting, none shows less than 70% YES on Question 3!
LAKE WORTH BEACH PEEPS, (excuse the virtual shouting here), I THINK WE CAN POP THE CORKS ON THIS ONE!

Historic Postcards from Lake Worth, Florida

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

March 19, 2010 Special Commission meeting - SPECIAL INFORMATION

Attached is the Agenda (below) for the March 19, 2020 Special Commission meeting.  This is going to be the first Communication Media Technology (“CMT”) meeting and there will also be a Notice regarding this type of meeting posted online tomorrow.  While this meeting is open to the public we will strictly enforce the current regulations in place to keep everyone safe.  This meeting will be shown in real time with closed captions to encourage members of the community to watch and listen to this meeting online instead of coming to City Hall.  The blue cards will be online and you will be able to send them to us before the items are heard and they will be read into the record.  If you have questions please feel free to contact my office at 561-586-1662 or email me at the email address below. 

These are very difficult times for all of us.  It is important that we follow the acceptable guidelines for meetings and practice social distancing policies.  I ask for your patience and also your feedback.  In the following weeks we will have time to make this process more efficient and with all of your help, we will get through this.  

Deborah M. Andrea, CMC, BPA

City Clerk

Supporting Local Businesses Amid COVID-19 -- INFO REQUEST

Discover The Palm Beaches' PR team seeks information from restaurants, attractions and hotels offering opportunities for residents to support local businesses through ways such as:

Take-out/delivery services
Purchases allocated toward employee compensation
Drive-through or virtual experiences
Other "goodwill" initiatives

The information will be used to craft a story-line around the acts of kindness taking place throughout The Palm Beaches during this difficult time, with information on ways residents can support.

Thank you,
Gina Kramer

Deadline : Thursday, March 18, by 5 p.m. EDT
Respond To:

Coronavirus Updates from PBSO District 14 - Lake Worth Beach


Here are some updates on the Coronavirus Pandemic that pertain to law enforcement activity in Lake Worth Beach: 

·         The Town of Palm Beach enacted a curfew – There is no curfew in Lake Worth Beach or anywhere else in Palm Beach County 

·         Our dispatchers will be asking additional questions to determine if persons at that location are exhibiting flu-like symptoms – when possible we will meet callers outside their residence 

·         Expiring DL/ ID cards will be extended through April 30th 

·         Citizens can receive an emailed copy of police reports by contacting our central records at 

In patrolling the city yesterday I saw many people out and about - not participating in social distancing. This is key to slowing/ stopping the spread of the virus and returning to normal life. Please help us help you by limiting your activities to those that are absolutely necessary. Look out for your neighbors, particularly those that are elderly or have compromising health issues. 

Be safe and be a good neighbor, 

Captain Todd Baer

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

Commander – District 14 – City of Lake Worth Beach

March 19 Special City Commission Meeting NOT CANCELLED

This announcement just came from the City Clerk's office at 12:53 p.m., Tuesday, March 17th. 

"...the agenda will be posted soon and we will follow all current regulations regarding social distancing measures.  I will get this out to you as soon as I am able.  Thanking you for your understanding during this most difficult time."

Monday, March 16, 2020

Gulf Stream Hotel Lake Worth Herald/Coastal Observer Installment 5

This is the 5th in the series on the City of Lake Worth’s historic Gulf Stream Hotel. To some, it is their first introduction to the hotel and to others this series may offer a fresh perspective on the history of one of the more prominent properties in Lake Worth. The iconic structure occupies a key location in our city near the waterfront, off of the main east/west street and is the tallest building in the immediate area. When it is lodging guests it has the potential to offer visitors and tourists alike a unique and historic place to stay in south Florida. It is one of the few properties in the city that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

What follows will buttress the information from earlier installments about the inherent problems the hotel faces in the modern day, most important being the lack of parking. Below are excerpts from two articles written by Fred Lowery in the Sun Sentinel from the late 1980s. Future installments will focus on events and news from the 1990s going forward to the present day as the hotel now stands, once again empty. Expect a timeline in the future showing the hotel’s ownership under various owners over the years.

It’s crucial to understand the hotel in historical context. In the 1920s boom era hotels were essential for the success of Henry Flagler’s railroad on his way to the Florida Keys. Florida, especially south Florida in the early 20th Century, was an entirely new experience for American adventurists, tourists, business people, and others just wanting to escape the harsh northern Winters. All of these people needed a place to stay and some with the resources required more substantial accommodations that offered the comforts of home to early visitors.

It wouldn’t be until the WWII era and post-war years that motor vehicles would change the landscape of Florida in such a dramatic way. Prior to the WWII era, railroads were “king” and that’s how many tourists travelled to Florida. Dixie Highway in Lake Worth was once a major thoroughfare with motels and hotels strung along the highway much like in other cities along the east coast.

Construction of the Florida Turnpike and later, I-95, drastically hurt the hotels/motels and one by one they went out of business.

In the 1920s no one involved in the planning or construction of the Gulf Stream Hotel envisioned how the motor vehicle would change the country’s landscape. Since nearly everyone arrived by train, there wasn’t a need to plan for parking for a structure of its size. Today, parking is a required and fundamental component of every building project before a shovel ever hits the ground.

Hotels still standing from the 1920s are a rare feature of the built environment in Palm Beach County, the state of Florida and the nation. Many structures from the early 20th Century exist only as pictures in history books or in the memories and collections of historians. From a historic preservation perspective, it’s crucially important to save the Gulf Stream hotel by adapting the structure to present-day tastes and realities.

 As we have seen in previous installments in this series the problem with parking at the hotel was understood many years ago. Here is an excerpt from the first article by Sun Sentinel staff writer Fred Lowery from May 14th, 1986 (“Hotel Area’s Renovation Progresses”):
LAKE WORTH -- There still may be a few kinks to work out, but plans are progressing on developing the block that is home to the historic Gulfstream Hotel.
     For the next two or three years, though, that development is going to flow beyond the block on the southwest corner of Lake Avenue and Golfview Road -- at least to a temporary parking lot on a now-vacant area across Lake Avenue.
     This week, city commissioners gave an informal nod of approval to plans for the hotel’s expansion of its parking areas, to be phased in over the next few years.
     “We’ve been phasing since we got into the hotel,” said developer Stephen Alex. “We have three to four more years` worth of plans. We’ve got a lot of property to develop, and we’re doing it as fast as we can.”
     Plans, he said, include the eventual removal of nearly a half-dozen villas on the hotel grounds to provide parking which, when completed, will still not come up to city requirements.
     The villas, however, probably won`t be gone until September 1987, Alex said. If they are not demolished by then, work would be held off until after the 1987-88 winter season.
     “Parking is a prime concern,” said City Engineer John Sczymanski. “Traffic (flow) and parking must be more fully developed.”
Below are two excerpts from another Fred Lowery article dated November 14th, 1989 (“Landmark Gulfstream Hotel In Lake Worth To Reopen”).
LAKE WORTH -- From the beginning, there have been heady visions for the elegant hotel on the corner of Lake Avenue and Golfview Drive, even in the pre-boom days before the Roaring ‘20s when Golfview was called Q Street.
     These were visions of a luxury hotel acting as a beacon for tourists from the world over seeking a respite from the world’s hustle.
Here is the second excerpt. If you recall from earlier in this series on the history of the Gulf Stream this deal did not quite come to fruition:
     For much of its life, the Gulfstream has served as a seasonal hotel, opening for winter tourists and then closing during the heat of the summer months.
     The last owners of the hotel, an investment group headed by Steven Alex, had visions of opening it as a year-round hotel, but those ended when the Gulfstream was suddenly closed in early 1987, leaving prospective guests and groups that had booked hotels with meaningless reservations.
     When plans to affiliate with a national chain went awry, the property was foreclosed on, and the mortgage holder, Barnett Bank, purchased the property at auction.
     The new owners plan to pay cash for the hotel, said attorney Ed Lammi, a former local Finnish counsel serving as legal representative for the buyers.
     Once the purchase is completed, Lammi said, the public areas and about 60 percent of the rooms will be opened around the first of the year while the rest of the building is rehabilitated, along with the grounds and outbuildings.
      Eventually, Lammi said, the Gulfstream will grow beyond its present building. Plans are to build a two-story parking garage and additional hotel rooms.
A consistent theme is the need for parking facilities and a way to provide for contemporary lodging expectations by the use of the property west of the historic hotel. We can expect to see a proposal soon from the current property owner. Everyone needs to realize that the future of the historic Gulf Stream hotel hangs in the balance.

In the Sun Sentinel column by Fred Lowery on November 14th, 1989, is a special historical treat that followers of this series will appreciate – lunch at the hotel in 1926:
     On March 3, 1926, luncheon guests were offered their choice of boiled pork spareribs with sauerkraut, breaded veal cutlets ala Milanese, fried calf liver on toast with bacon or roast young chicken with dressing and pan gravy, appetizer, salad, vegetables and their choice of hot mince pie, tapioca or peaches and cake for dessert for $1.25.
     The menu also offered other culinary treats, such as a dozen fried oysters for 90 cents -- oyster stew with a dozen oysters was $1 -- a top sirloin steak for $1.75 or filet mignon for $1.50.
     For the really adventurous, there was the lettuce, tomato and sardine sandwich for 65 cents, or the ``Gulfstream Special,`` lettuce, tomato, egg and Russian caviar for $1.
     By 1985 the luncheon menu was offering items like pompano almondine for $9.25, linguine with white clam sauce and calamari for $5.95 or quiche for $4.95.
Maybe some time in the near future you’ll be able to order the “Gulf Stream Special” but it will cost more than the $1 it did almost 90 years ago. That one dollar would equal $13.57 in 2015 dollars.

Gulf Stream Hotel Lake Worth Herald/Coastal Observer Installment 4

From The Lake Worth Herald, dated February 1st, 1990 titled "Historic Landmark,
Financial Nightmare: The Gulf Stream Hotel May Be Holding Her Head High For The
Last Time", written by Greg Brown:

Some call it Lake Worth’s own “pink elephant.”

The Gulf Stream Hotel on Lake Avenue may now be just so much useless real estate to investors, but it has a glorious past. For many seasonal visitors it has been a second home and a storehouse of decades of memories.

Perhaps someone will buy her and return her to her former glory. Perhaps as easily she has a date with the wrecking ball. Only time will tell that.

The Gulf Stream was abruptly closed about three years ago. New owners had renovated the state-registered historic site and re-opened it as a hotel only three seasons before.

I had arranged to take a full tour of the Lake Worth landmark only to be sent away. A Barnett Bank representative had given tacit approval to the idea, but then never confirmed our set time. When I tried to contact them about the tour later no one was available to speak on the subject.

In an effort to see as much of the Gulf Stream as possible I went to the hotel itself and talked to a guard. He invited me in and told me to wait while he called the bank. While waiting I explored.

An Abandoned Lobby

Standing in the lobby of the now-closed resort gives the feeling of time suspended. It should be because of the 1920s Art-Deco architecture, but it’s largely due to the dust.The furniture in the lobby is draped with white sheets like in a Gothic horror film. The lamps and tables are tagged with pale yellow inventory stickers. Nothing much has gone on here since the closing.

The only things out of place are the stacks of current magazines. Subscriptions to everything from Sports Illustrated and to Forbes are piled up in neat rows on the lobby’s squat coffee tables. They were meant for guests but are now thumbed through by security guards who now pass their hours here.

The main room itself is huge with high-ceilings. Tasteful floral drapes hang from high arched windows. Subdued, frosted Art Deco lamps are suspended from the ceiling. The elevators have the old style gates that must be closed by hand before the car will operate.

A fireplace with a marble hearth and a brass screen holds two logs. Over the fireplace hangs a large oil painting in the impressionist style of two women in summer dresses. A small brass plate on the ornate gilded frame reads “Lazy Afternoon.” It fits here.

No Media

The hotel is old Florida in the tradition of Henry Flagler. One could imagine that it was once a grand hotel, a home to prominent social figures is search of the Florida sun. Golf, sailing, tea on the veranda are all the things that make a Florida resort what it is would have been available.

The guard returned from what had been a half-hour long telephone conversation. “No media” he said. No media? Then why did my contact at Barnett Bank originally agree to the idea, I asked him.

He didn’t know but summed up the situation well with a succinct observation. “He works for someone, too.”

So it goes for most Gulf Stream negotiations. Cloaked in secrecy, rumors of deals abound and are often given more credit than the record, if there is a record to follow. The best way to reconstruct the current scene regarding the hotel is to create a composite image of talks to re-open it.

An Old Hotel

A source close to the negotiations says that the problem with the old hotel is just that — it’s an old hotel. The demand for hotel rooms is large in Palm Beach County, but not quite large enough to warrant the amount of work required to put the Gulf Stream into working order.

Not that there are that many problems with the place. The main problem is reportedly the rooms. They are small, out-of-date and need modernizing. They just don’t live up to current standards for a resort hotel.

One group has approached Barnett Bank about opening an adult congregate living facility at the hotel. The rest home would serve as a high-rent alternative to existing skilled nursing care available in Lake Worth, they say.

The city commission of Lake Worth, however, rejected the idea by voting to block any ACLF (Assisted Congregate Living Facility) in the downtown area. The commission majority is careful to point out that they are not attacking bank interests in the hotel because they have zoned a large section around the hotel the same way.

The result, however, is conveniently the same. No rest home can move in now.

Council Rule

The ACLF idea has its adherents, notably Mayor Ron Exline. He makes the case that there is a market among Palm Beachers looking for a nearby place to place their aging parents in need of medical care.

The commission majority, however, felt that keeping the Gulf Stream as a hotel was vital to the future of downtown Lake Worth. Both schools of thought have their proponents in and out of city hall. It just depends on who you ask. Several groups have made moves to acquire the Gulf Stream for development as a hotel. The last serious offer was made by a shadowy group of Finnish investors
speaking through a local attorney.

The rumors concerning them and their maneuvers have been wild and plentiful. One day they supposedly made several million dollars in non-refundable faith payments. The next day the reportedly hadn’t put up a cent.

The other interesting rumor was the “handshake” story. As that goes, the Finns objected to the hotel deal because contracts in Finland are sealed with a handshake, not legal documents. Naturally, the bank couldn’t agree to this, the story goes, so the deal fell through. Insiders say that the Finns are holding out for a better deal. Others maintain that handshake contracts are normal Finnish practice. Once again, no one will go on record. The facts remain murky at best.

Historical Site

One interesting sidelight to the story is the reported problem with the state historic site designation. That simple recognition — marked by a framed certificate hanging over the check-in desk — may bring the wrecking ball to Lake Avenue in the end. The rules regarding state historical sites protect the hotel from changes that might alter its historical character. If it were renovated on the outside, a facade of the old front of the building must remain intact. Oddly enough, it can be torn down. The historical designation affects only architectural changes, not complete demolition. Because of this, insiders say that it may be worth more torn down. The land underneath is prime real estate. As long as the Gulf Stream occupies it and the hotel remains closed it is not making money. To build a new hotel on the site is seen to be a money-losing proposition. There is a 65 foot height limit downtown. A new hotel would need more room, sources say, to make enough money to pay off construction costs. If the Gulf Stream were torn down, it is not likely that a hotel would replace it, the source says.

Pink Elephant

And so she sits — the pink elephant of Lake Worth. But there’s more to the story than that. Some of it is interesting and some of it is silly but it never fails to paint a nostalgic picture of Lake Worth. In many ways, the chronicle of the Gulf Stream hotel is the chronicle of the city. In 1923 Lake Worth was experiencing the big Florida land boom. Population in the city increased eight-fold in the decade between 1920 and 1930. Like any coastal Florida town, part of that was seasonal.

The citizens recognized the need for a good-sized hotel to put the city on the map. A committee financed a six-story, 100 room hotel to be called the “El Nuevo.” It had five floors of rooms and a restaurant and patio on the roof. The total construction cost $600,000. [$8.1 million in 2015 dollars] Today, it should sell for a reported $12 million.

A series of natural and man-made disasters combined to kill the hotel. The end of the Florida land boom came in 1925. A hurricane came ashore in 1928 and left “seven feet of sand” in the lobby of the hotel and damaged the fifth and sixth floors.

Market Crash

Then, in 1929, the stock market crashed and the depression began. Florida businesses and cities went bankrupt overnight. In 1935 the El Nuevo was ordered sold to the highest bidder. Prior to its sale the management had changed the name of the hotel to the Gulf Stream hotel. It was under this name that it was auctioned off on the Palm Beach County Court steps in 1936.

A bidder was there with orders to buy. At that auction the Hygeia Hotel Company picked up the Gulf Stream for a paltry $5,000. Richard C. Marshall, Jr. and H. Cabel Maddux were the primary investors in the new Gulf Stream. They secured a loan to repair the damaged floors and were able to re-
open the hotel in November, 1936.

What the hotel needed now was paying guests. Through highway signs and by paying young men to distribute hotel literature at intersections within 100 miles north of the hotel, Marshall and Maddux were able to attract a steady seasonal clientele.

The Season

Contrary to current vacation practice, the “Gulf Streamers” would return season after season. Eventually, a newsletter, the “Gulf Stream Ripples,” was begun to keep guests in touch with each other during their stay. Included in each monthly issue was a list of guests soon to arrive at the resort.
Tennis, golf, bridge and the occasional evening at the Patio, the bar upstairs in the hotel, kept the guests busy. For the adventurous there were the polo games, held then in Lake Worth near Military Trail. The dog races at the Palm Beach Kennel Club were popular and three horse tracks were within driving distance.Gulf Stream guests also fished in the ocean on charter boats, took trips to Florida’s
inland waterways and toured what was then called “Africa U.S.A.” Much like today’s
Lion Country Safari west of West Palm Beach, the Africa U.S.A. wild game park was
just west of Boca Raton. There were no carnivorous animals, though, and the train that
toured the park was open.

One recreational activity that is gone from Lake Worth now is the wrestling arena that was on Lucerne Ave. A great number of Gulf Stream guests, mostly women in between the ages of 40 and 80, were regular ringside fans of “Gorgeous George” and his colorful opponents.


During and following World War II Marshall and Maddux embarked on an expansion project at the hotel. In 1940 the Gulf Stream Lodge was bought. In 1941 employee quarters were acquired. The five apartment Gulf Stream Terrace was picked up in 1941. Four more apartments were bought in 1959 and named the Gulf Stream Manor. In 1950 the 32 apartment Statler-Hampshire building was bought. Another 35 apartments were picked in 1963 and named Gulf Stream Towers. In 1967 the Gulf
Stream Royal apartments was purchased and in 1975 the Gulf Stream Inn was bought.

Where the Gulf Stream goes from here remains to be seen. In any case, the steady seasonal business that kept it profitable for decades may be a thing of the past as northern guests turn to other lodging for their time in the sun.

Gulf Stream Hotel Lake Worth Herald/Coastal Observer Installment 3 - Review and Explanation of Series

This is the third installment in a series on the history of Lake Worth’s Gulf Stream Hotel. It is an article that appeared in The Lake Worth Herald twenty-five years ago. New and recent residents of the city will find this perspective revealing, and perhaps a little surprising. Many of the city’s old-timers will recognize the characters and places, either fondly or not so fondly: “Gorgeous George”, former-Mayor Ron Exline, “Africa U.S.A.”, the Finnish investors, the “handshake” deal, and much more. It was written towards the end of a three year period when the hotel was closed, which has happened more than once during its 90 year history

These articles is as it appeared twenty-five years ago. It provides an important insight into the problems that are inherent to the hotel: the hotel was constructed to serve seasonal, long-term guests most of whom arrived by train. The rooms are small and nowhere near the size preferred by today’s hotel, resort customer, and business traveler. Further research indicates that these characteristics were holding the Gulf Stream back from success years before these articles were written.

Other recent developments in the travel industry create a contrast between the environment during the Gulf Stream’s successful period and the one it operated in later in the century. ‘Seasonal’ Florida, which is mentioned in the article, is becoming a thing of the past. Palm Beach County is fast becoming a year-round destination for both tourists and the business traveler. What was once a drawback to the Gulf Stream hotel is no longer the case. South Florida isn’t just for the seasonal guests seeking relief from the cold Winters in the northern climates. This bodes well for the hotel’s future, but only if it adapts to these changed social and economic circumstances.

Enjoy this latest in the history of our iconic Gulf Stream hotel and hope you’re enjoying this special history series on the city’s most iconic structure on its waterfront, what was originally called the “El Nuevo”:

Gulf Stream Hotel Lake Worth Herald/Coastal Observer Installment 2

This is a continuation of a series of articles on the Gulf Stream Hotel that began in last week’s edition of the Coastal Observer. The first installment comes from the Statement of Historical Significance that was filed with the National Register nomination form prepared in 1982. This second installment continues where the previous article left off. You will recall that the hotel’s beginning in the mid 1920s came right at the end of the first boom period of development in south Florida. Then the hurricane of 1928 severely damaged the fifth and sixth stories of the hotel, tearing off the roof and the hotel had about 7 feet of sand in the lobby. It remained dark and closed to the public during most of its first ten years of existence.

The hotel’s fortunes began to improve after 1936 when it was bought out of bankruptcy. Picking up where the previous narrative left off, we find the Gulf Stream operating as an American plan hotel. Such hotels offered three meals a day for guests that stayed for longer periods, weeks or months, as opposed to days. Many hotels in Florida operated in tandem with partner hotels in the north during this period, with many of the same staff and guests travelling to the other associated hotels with the change of season. The Gulf Stream Hotel was no exception, in fact, the ownership had a number of business relationships with other hotels, both near and far.

We pick up where we left off last week in the following portion of the National Register Nomination as written by Leslie Divoll, AIA. The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Note that the text has been edited slightly for purposes of this publication. If you wish to review the footnotes that accompanied the original, please contact the publisher.


The Gulf Stream Hotel was open for the winter season and the Admiral Hotel, for the summer. Management and staff moved seasonally between the two, with great organizational economy. Many guests spent both summer and winter vacations at the paired hotels. This tandem resort system was common until WWII. The Gulf Stream's first manager, George Kreamer, and some of his staff spent their summers at the Wyandotte Hotel, Belleport, Long Island. Later Manager Benjamin Pease also managed the Hamilton Hotel in Bermuda, then the Admiral

Hotel when it was acquired. The Kirkwood had its own retinue of regular guests, but also appealed to the Gulf Stream guests as a pleasant mountain contrast halfway between New York and Lake Worth. Thus the management could sell an extra week or two to many of its regular guests. The Monterey in West Palm Beach was converted to a residential hotel by Marshall and Maddux, except that a large block of rooms was reserved during the winter season to accommodate overbookings at the Gulf Stream. A block of rooms was held at the Biltmore for the same purpose. This allowed tight scheduling of available rooms. Residents of the Monterey Hotel encouraged their visiting friends to stay at the Gulf Stream because of the many benefits of shared management.

General Marshall spent much of his time in Washington, D.C. where the Martinique, like the Monterey, operated year around, and helped reduce the impact of the vagaries of resort town economics on the collection of hotels. There Marshall was able to promote the resort hotels to business, government, military, and sports figures.


The hotel management anticipated that with the coming of the war, the Gulf Stream would be even more in demand, since "so little coastal area is available for civilians." Conservation of fuel oil was offered as a justification for a southern winter vacation. Florida's Atlantic coast became an area of concentrated military activity. The Gulf Stream capitalized by opening the Gulf Stream Patio and Officers Club, in "the biggest social event in the history of Lake Worth." Sixty of the hotel rooms had been set aside for military officers and their families.

The direct mail appeal of January, 1943, advertised the Gulf Stream as "one of the few first class resort hotels open to civilians on the southeastern coast", and by February, the management was turning away guests and referring them to the Kirkwood. At that time the management found it necessary to explain its "restricted clientele" policy: “Under no circumstances do we want you to feel that we are discriminating against the Jewish race or any folks, but we do not want any of our guests possibly to be uncomfortable." [Editor’s note: “Restricted” resorts were once common in the United States. Fortunately, they are now a relic of history, but it is important to note that they did exist.] Notices were sent to guests reminding them to bring their ration books, carry I .D. cards on the beach, and dim the lights on the east side of the building.

The owners revealed plans to double the size of the hotel immediately following the war, and discussed the City's plans to expand the golf course and build a clubhouse at the hotel's front door. Wartime prosperity infused Lake Worth with money and exposed it to a new kind of tourist. Following the war, the younger tourists would return, would prefer the European plan (a Continental breakfast was provided for guests with the price of the room)to the American, stay for a week or two instead of two to four months, and demand active recreation. They would arrive in automobiles instead of the train, in every season of the year.

Following the war, the Gulf Stream resort expanded, and continued to cater to the 72% of its visitors who returned repeatedly. But the direction was set: to survive as an American plan hotel for seasonal visitors, the 1923 Gulf Stream Hotel became one part of a larger resort offering diverse accommodations and active recreation through much of the year. In addition, surrounding property was acquired well before it was needed, allowing expansion and parking facilities. "With a few notable exceptions, the big American plan resort hotel in Florida is over. Not only the turn of the century luxury hotels...but the hundreds, large and small, which came on the scene in the early 20th century...are being razed or turn into retirement homes." The Gulf Stream Hotel is a notable exception.”

Yes, the Gulf Stream Hotel is a notable exception in that it is still standing today. However, the latter part of the 20th century would bring changes which affected the hotel’s continued operation. It’s regular customer base aged and no longer visited the hotel. Their children had travel options other than returning to the same hotel every year. Florida was no longer “new.” Passenger train travel, the primary means of journeying to Florida in the early years, was taken over by Amtrak service and carried less passengers than before. Automobile traffic increased, but moved from relatively close U.S. 1, or Dixie Hwy., through Lake Worth to newly built Interstate I-95. Vacationers sped by at a high rate of speed on their way to other locations. The lure of the city’s beach and Casino building could not compete with other tourist attractions, falling into disrepair over time. Thus, the Gulf Stream Hotel went through a series of owners, all with different plans to bring it back as a tourist destination.

In future installments, we'll look at the Gulf Stream’s history during the later part of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. It will show certain continuing themes that have kept the hotel from thriving in the current marketplace. Among these are the relatively small size of rooms when compared to modern and competitive hotels, the lack of parking to serve hotel guests and the area surrounding the hotel, additional hurricanes and national/global economic challenges.

Introduction: Gulf Stream Hotel Lake Worth Herald/Coastal Observer Installment 1

Most Lake Worth residents are familiar with the historic Gulf Stream 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 the 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.

This is the first of a series of reading installments that will reacquaint Lake Worth residents, and others, about the city’s early history. Not surprisingly, a good portion of that history belongs to the Gulf Stream Hotel. What follows is a portion of the narrative created to nominate the Gulf Stream Hotel to the National Register of Historic Places, and more specifically the history of the Gulf Stream Hotel. As we will see, the fortunes of the Gulf Stream Hotel as a resort rose and fell over its 90 year history. In some ways it paralleled the fortunes of the city of Lake Worth.

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 Gulf Stream 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.

Read the following portion of the National Register Nomination as written by Leslie Divoll, AIA back in 1982. The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Stay tuned for further installments. Note that the text has been edited slightly for purposes of this publication. If you wish to review the footnotes that accompanied the original, please contact the publisher.


The Gulf Stream Hotel is a landmark in Lake Worth: the best hotel in the largest building occupying the most prominent site, built during the years when the town's character was established. It is a rare survivor among the resort hotels built along Florida’s southeast coast during the 1920's Land Boom era. The hotel is significant in the area of commerce because it was a product of one of the most prolific architect-commercial finance collaborative of its time; and because it exemplifies the development of Florida's Gold Coast. The operation of the hotel in tandem with spring and summer season hotels in the North illustrates an important economic and social feature characterizing resort hotels until the close of World War II. The architecture and interior spaces are characteristic of the genteel tastes of a conservative, socially exclusive leisure class clientele. The hotel is nearly unchanged physically, in its operations, and in the patrons it attracts.


El Nuevo Hotel was conceived in early 1923, a result of the development fever that created most of the towns along Florida's southeast coast. The entire nation was aware of opportunities available in the narrow stretch of land between the Everglades and the Atlantic. The Seaboard Air Line and the Atlantic Coast Line railroads made it accessible. The State of Florida and competing canal companies drained areas of the Everglades to create farm land. Henry Flagler, railroad and resort developer, staked farmers with seed, fertilizer, and a weekly wage to promote agricultural freight traffic on his railroad. A nationwide decline in farm prices deflated land speculation in other areas. Florida lands were undeveloped, and its benign winter climate so near northern population centers made the resort areas a land of speculative opportunity. Real estate companies established farming and resort communities on paper, then sent representatives to every state and Canada to entice purchasers with giveaway deals. All advertised heavily in northern newspapers; the press in turn focused attention on Palm Beach, the world's most fashionable resort, and its environs.

Thousands of settlers entered the Everglades region from 1920 to 1925 to acquire lands and cultivate crops, millionaires and nobility established a winter resort season in America, and following them flocked people of moderate wealth seeking relief from the winter and good property investments. There were not sufficient hotel rooms to meet the influx of business travelers, seasonal tourists, and new residents without homes. The towns that had hotels were at a decided advantage in competing for tourists and real estate buyers. It was in this investment climate that El Nuevo Hotel Company was formed.

Those behind the venture sought a lucrative investment in the fastest growing part of the nation. They were not hotel operators: chief organizer G. H. Glover was a field correspondent of Forest and Stream from New York; Dr. William Nutter, a medical doctor from Lake Worth; Frank Heywood, a manufacturer from Minneapolis. Other local stockholders and two local banks were eager to "cooperate and assist in every way possible". Explained Glover, "Lake Worth needed a big modern hotel, and I had enough faith in the town to see that we got it. . .the two banks got behind the movement in the interests of a bigger and better Lake Worth." He predicted that with the building of a modern hotel, "Lake Worth will increase its tourist population and experience a decided permanent growth."


The Gulf Stream Hotel was designed by G. Lloyd Preacher & Company, architects and engineers, and was financed by G. L. Miller Bond & Mortgage Company.

Geoffrey Lloyd Preacher began architectural practice in 1910 in Augusta, Georgia, and eventually established offices in New York, Indianapolis, Memphis, Raleigh, Spartanburg, Miami, St. Petersburg, and San Francisco, with headquarters in Atlanta. Preacher organized his firm so that it had "departments for every class of architecture, engineering, finance and supervision" gaining the "confidence of financiers, developers, and builders". The firm was phenomenally successful, by some accounts grossing $12 million in the first quarter of 1923, worth about $55.6 million in 1981 dollars. Fees in that amount would suggest that in the first quarter alone of 1923, G. Lloyd Preacher & Company was responsible for $200 million in construction activity. If built in 1981, that work would cost roughly $928 million. At the time that the Gulf Stream Hotel was announced, Preacher was introduced as the architect of the recently completed El Verano Hotel and the Citizens Bank Building, both in neighboring West Palm Beach.


he building permit for the original design was taken out in the amount of $225,000 in May, 1923, the largest permit in Lake Worth's eleven year history. After two months of construction, during which the concrete frame was built, all work halted because of financial difficulties. Work resumed eight months later, in March of 1924, following design cutbacks by Preacher, reorganization of the El Nuevo Hotel Company Board of Directors, and selection of a new contractor.

By the end of June, 1924, the building was identified as "the Gulf Stream, Lake Worth’s $400,000 fireproof hotel”, scheduled to open before October 1. Six weeks before the scheduled opening, the bond issue was increased by $65,000 with the consent of the G. L. Miller Bond & Mortgage Company. Scheduled opening date was moved to November 1, with much of the delay attributed to slow shipments of materials. The informal opening finally took place on December 10, with the formal ceremonies and dedication on January 20, 1925. At that point, the hotel was described as having been built "at a cost in excess of $600,000", 140% over the original contract amount.


The timing of the opening was unfortunate. In Miami, extortionate rates prevailed due to a shortage of hotel rooms. Record breaking tourist traffic, construction material freight, and a bumper winter harvest from the newly created farmlands combined to overload the railroads’ capacity. Finance scandals and land sale swindles were in the news, and Florida was getting a reputation for unbridled greed. Speculation reached its apex in the summer following the Gulf Stream's first season; by September, 1925, Florida's prosperity collapsed. All hotels and businesses felt the impact. In September, 1926, the worst hurricane in Florida history struck Miami, devastating the southeast coast. Two years later, again in September, another hurricane struck Palm Beach with great property damage and hundreds of deaths due to immense waves and flooding. The Gulf Stream Hotel was Lake Worth's only Red Cross hurricane shelter. The 132 miles per hour winds had blown the roof off, the fifth and sixth floors were severely damaged, and the Gulf Stream was reported to have seven feet of sand in its lobby. The crippled hotel opened again for an abbreviated season. The next fall the stock market crashed and the Gulf Stream went bankrupt.


Closed until 1936, the hotel was ordered sold at auction to pay tax leins against it. Hygeia Hotel Company, Inc. was the only bidder, paying $25,000. The Company consisted of General Richard C. Marshall II, a consulting engineer and retired WWI Army officer; and Colonel H. C. Maddux, a medical doctor and administrator of military hospitals in Europe during WWI. Upon their return to civilian life, the two had gone into business together, acquiring ownership of perhaps as many as 16 hotels lost in the early years of the Depression. From bankruptcy sale advertisements, Maddux selected the Gulf Stream as the cheapest hotel buy with the most chance of success, and sent Richard C. Marshall III as trustee to bid on the hotel.

Marshall and Maddux borrowed an additional $25,000, and within six months had completely repaired and reconditioned the hotel. Their aggressive advertising campaign included sequential signs of the "Burma Shave" type, newspaper and radio advertising, and young men handing out brochures at major intersections up to 300 miles from the hotel. The Gulf Stream was an immediate success, and quickly established a reputation of providing excellent value for the money, delicious food on the American plan, a superior class of guests, and an abundance of diversions for the vacationer.

Marshall and Maddux began an expansion program that was responsible for the Gulf Stream's survival. They bought almost the entire city block and built an informal bar and restaurant separate from the hotel building, thus correcting a Volstead era deficiency without offending the non-imbibing guests. The other buildings on the property became the Gulf Stream Lodge and the Gulf Stream Annex, offering apartments on the European Plan. Marshall and Maddux operated the Martinique Hotel in Washington, D.C., where General Marshall spent much of his time. The 175 room Hotel Monterey in West Palm Beach was acquired in 1938. In the summer of 1940 they began operating the Admiral Hotel, "one of the most luxurious shore resort hotels on the Atlantic coast. . .the largest south of Atlantic City". Many members of the Gulf Stream management and staff worked winters at the Gulf Stream and summers at the Admiral. The Admiral Hotel is now a religious retreat, part of the Cape May National Landmark Historic District. In the fall of 1942, Marshall and Maddux acquired The Kirkwood, a 164 room golf, tennis, hunting, and Horseman’s resort in Camden, South Carolina.”

(Published with permission, Lake Worth Herald, c. 1990)