Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Flagler Museum, Part 5

Continuing the tour, we entered a building on the grounds separate from the mansion. At the very center is a relic of an older more genteel time. A time when a guest of the Flagler's would be petaled about the grounds in a wicker carriage. I am sure you can picture in your mind the guests, formally dressed by today's standards — the ladies holding fancy parasols to ward off the bright Florida sun — the men in jacket and tie with a bowler hat.

However, the main attraction here is Henry Flagler's private railway car. This was a frequent mode of travel for yesterday's movers and shakers — much like today's corporate executives and other wealthy individuals have their own customized private jet aircraft.

When you enter, you are transported into a different time, almost a different universe. Fine wood paneling, beautiful cabinets and comfortable seating. The aircraft of the jet-setters may be nice but they simply do not compare to this type of luxury. For one thing, today's aircraft are designed to be as light as possible — you would never see a wood cabinet on such a plane.

And this certainly does not look anything like the commercial aircraft I fly on. Comfortable seats with tables and room to move about as the train is riding the rails.

Of course, as befits a wealthy entrepreneur, even little details denote money — such as the cut glass, fancy molding and even the ceiling panels.

And compare this light fixture to the dinky light over your seat on your next flight. Like I said, you are now in a different universe.

Another seating area — next to the door. I assume one could even walk out on the platform to stretch your legs and watch the scenery pass by.

Train travel being someone slower than air travel, one would naturally need a comfortable bed. Except for Air Force One, I am not aware of many aircraft with real beds.

For the guests accompanying Mr. Flagler, there were...

convertible beds. Just speculating but surely they must have had small ladders to help the guest climb in. I think I might have also wanted some kind of restraint to keep me from falling out while asleep.

Even the well-heeled will get hungry during long journeys — and remember that in those days there was not a McDonalds at every whistle stop. Therefore the car had its own small kitchen complete with stove. Notice the railing about the edge to prevent vibrating pots from "walking" off the stove top.

Wow, what a conveyance! Just once, I would love to take a trip on such a private car. So if any of my friends become fabulously wealthy, please keep me in mind — I will be expecting an invite to ride with you in your private railway car.

(No, I am not holding my breath — but at least I dropped the hint.)

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com