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H.R. Anstis family in America
Harold Robjohns Anstis, the son of Samuel Thomas Anstis (1855-1930), was born in Ugborough, Devon, England, March 18, 1886. When he was 25 years old Harold traveled to America to make his fortune. Trained in England as a master carpenter and mason, he was soon able to ply his trade during the building boom taking place in the rapidly developing area of south Florida. With Henry Morrison Flagler's railroad providing access from Jacksonville to Miami (Florida East Coast Railroad), south Florida had become the winter playground for the wealthy. Construction crews were needed to provide the rich with homes, hotels, and country clubs in Miami Beach, Palm Beach, and Jupiter Island.
By 1894, Flagler's railroad system reached what is today known as West Palm Beach. Flagler constructed the Royal Poinciana Hotel in Palm Beach overlooking the Lake Worth Lagoon. He also built The Breakers Hotel on the ocean side of Palm Beach, and Whitehall, his private 55 room, 60,000 square foot winter home. The development of these three structures, coupled with railroad access to them, established Palm Beach as a winter resort for the wealthy members of America's Gilded Age.
As wealthy northerners discovered Juptier Island to be exclusive and undeveloped, the area to the north of Palm Beach began to grow from an initial whistle stop on the railroad at Hobe Sound, to a winter haven for the rich. An inn and yacht club were constructed, as well as individual houses along the beachfront. H.R. Anstis took advantage of this building boom. As a pioneer developer of the area he constructed many vacation houses, beach houses, and other structures on Jupiter Island during the 1920s and 1930s. The image above shows a Jupiter Island beach house built by Harold and his son Edward, who are standing on the deck.
H.R. Anstis had three sons, two born in West Palm Beach (Harold and James), prior to him moving the family to a homestead in Martin County about 1916. His third son, Edward Herbert was born in Hobe Sound — the first "white boy" born in that area. H.R. Anstis owned property in West Palm Beach, Hobe Sound, Cleveland, Tennessee (Cherokee Farm), and Thomasville, Georgia, where he died in 1973.