Addison Mizner, the man who, along with his partner Henry Flagler, built some of the most memorable and important structures in Palm Beach, is also remembered for one of the oddest party fouls in American entertaining history at the opening gala of the Everglades Club.
The club was originally intended to be Mizner's post-World War I gift to veterans: A magnificent convalescent hospital of sorts in sunny Palm Beach. Nearly 300,000 invitations to live in the palace of healing were extended but only 33 were accepted. Mizner decided then to turn the intended-hospital into a grand social club with residences, racquet past times, golf, and generally, camaraderie in navy blue blazers in the grill room. What have you.
I doubt very much he would have seen the quiet club full of old multi-residential money types as a place ever taking center stage in the Tiger Woods matter or, for that matter, any scandal. But over the years, whether public or not, the club has been well-versed in the seedy side of up as well as the gracious side of socializing. But that's another thing altogether.
The Everglades Club began, as everything intended to be swell should, with a great party in 1919 and everyone was there.
"The opening of the club was a gala affair with one fatal flaw. Since war precluded furnishing the club with authentic antiques, Mizner made his own Spanish furniture, using quick lime and shellac to antique the leather on the chairs. They looked lovely, but when the beautifully gowned ladies sat on them on opening night, the heat from their bodies and the quicklime softened the shellac, and they were literally stuck. Mizner spent much of the night pulling distraught females from their chairs. The next morning, swatches of material stuck to the shellac testified to who had sat where."
- Social History of Palm Beach
I still read this and cannot help fast-forwarding ninety years and devilishly wondering if it would be at all possible to get the chairs back and host a new gala, say, for all the Real Housewives? Ah-hem.
Photo credits: palmbeachhistory.org, palmbeachhomesforsale.com, thepalmbeachblog.com