“If We’d Agreed to Meet Up at the Library in 1925…” “Paul’s Safari into Miami’s History”


…THEN this would have been the place.

Henry Flagler was a reader; in fact that was how he’d accomplished much of what he had with scarcely a grade school education. Among many other things, he’d redefined the existing structure of corporate business entities, drafted up contracts on the most complex of subjects so ingenious, thorough, and impressive that the contracting party wouldn’t even realize they’d been cut until the arterial spray began, and so forth. His business partner of many years at Standard Oil, John D. Rockefeller, spoke of Flagler as “the brains of the operation.” And, as did many others, he described Flagler’s particular and formidable genius as “organization.” From similar observations made by others, and from context, I suspect he meant not the “untangle a hopeless mess” kind of gift for organization, but something closer to “Let’s consider our present goals, reduce all relevant systems to their bare component parts, and consider how we might put them all back together to serve our purposes.”

So yes, Flagler had a personal library he valued immensely, and found books indispensable. He always generously donated land for churches, because that tended to build community, and tended to keep a frontier populace from getting riled up, all the time. But libraries, not so much.

When it came to that subject, he was no Carnegie.

Thus, this building, titled in its caption “Flagler Memorial Public Library, Miami, Florida.”

See you there!

Thank you.

(Image: Florida Memory Project)

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