Since 1947, the Old Florida motor court inn, formerly the Palms Retro, has been an Atlantic Beach landmark welcoming travelers in search of a peaceful place to rest their head. Prior to the property undergoing its Palms Retro transformation, it was known as the Palms Inn. The inn was also home to its caretakers, whose living quarters once occupied what is now The Suite. If the Hotel Palms walls could talk, we’re betting they’d have a lot of stories to share.
Always a tourist hub, the city of Atlantic Beach is also one of the most desirable communities to live within Jacksonville’s beaches. In 1910, Atlantic Boulevard was completed, which connected Atlantic Beach with south Jacksonville. This allowed for a prosperous residential community to grow and the citizenry eventually changed from a seasonal population to full-time residents creating a year-round town peppered with architecturally significant homes, many of which are still standing today.
The father of both Miami and Palm Beach, Henry Flagler, was instrumental in developing Atlantic Beach through his Florida East Coast Railway. After erecting a station north of where the Adele Grange Cultural Center is currently located (716 Ocean Boulevard), Flagler built the Continental Hotel, a summer resort with 250 guest rooms, on the railroad line between Pablo Beach (Jacksonville Beach) and Mayport. In 1913, the hotel was renamed the Atlantic Beach Hotel but couldn’t sustain itself as a result of travelers not wanting to come to the coast during World War 1. The Atlantic Beach Hotel burned down in 1919, but you can still visit the site by way of a quick bike ride or beach walk from Hotel Palms.