If you’ve taken a ride down the Palm Beach Lake Trail, you may have seen a charming little house with striped awnings and shingle clad sliding overlooking the Intracoastal.
Now known as Sea Gull Cottage, this is the oldest original residence found in Palm Beach.
Built by railroad developer R. R. McCormick in 1886, then known as McCormick’s cottage boasted sparkling stained glass, a magnificent mahogany staircase constructed from lumber salvaged from a local shipwreck, Georgian marble entryway floors, and a commanding third-story tower. After seeing photographs of McCormick’s gorgeous home in 1893, Henry Flagler purchased the lake-to-ocean property and home for $75,000. Considering inflation rates (not property value), that’s equivalent to $2,101,216 in 2018.
Sea Gull became Flagler’s winter residence until the completion of his adjacent mansion, Whitehall, in 1902.
In 1913, Flagler moved Sea Gull Cottage from lakeside to the oceanfront where it became one of the Breakers Hotel rental cottages, and it was on Breakers Row that it acquired the name, "Sea Gull Cottage."
When the aging and the weathered structure was threatened with demolition in 1984, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach rescued it by relocating the structure again across the island and had it restored to near its original lakefront location on land provided by the adjacent Royal Poinciana Chapel.
Today as the oldest existing house in Palm Beach, the Sea Gull Cottage at 58 Cocoanut Row is now the Parish House of the Royal Poinciana Chapel.
A picturesque spot along with the walking and bike trail, this cottage is private property so unfortunately no entrance is permitted.