Henry Morrison Flagler (Jan. 2, 1830 – May 20, 1913) was an American tycoon, real estate promoter, railroad developer and partner of John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil. He was a key figure in the development of the eastern coast of Florida along the Atlantic Ocean and was founder of what became the Florida East Coast Railway.
The Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway to Key West was heavily damaged in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. Financially unable to rebuild the destroyed sections, the roadbed and remaining bridges were sold to the State of Florida, which built the highway to Key West using much of the remaining railway infrastructure.
When looking back at Flagler’s life after his death, George W. Perkins of J.P. Morgan & Co., reflected, “But that any man could have the genius to see of what this wilderness of waterless sand and underbrush was capable of and then have the nerve to build a railroad here, is more marvelous than similar development anywhere else in the world.”
On February 24, 2006 a statue of Henry Flagler was unveiled in Key West near where the Railway once terminated. You can find this statue of the man who developed Florida into what it is today at 100 Grinnell Street directly in front of the Ferry Terminal in Key West.