One of the most anticipated celebrations of the season is the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, and this year it is being held at a private residence, creating increased excitation. Talbott Maxey, a Chair, and Hilary’s cousin explained it beautifully. “The Preservation Foundation dinner dance is a Palm Beach tradition and highlight of the season. The proceeds from the event provide much of our operating budget each year and help us further our mission to protect and celebrate the architectural and cultural heritage of Palm Beach.”
The Foundation was established in 1980, after many of the architectural treasures considered old fashioned and out-of-date to some, were bulldozed into the sand. The years since have been spent in pursuit of preserving the unique scenic quality of the Town of Palm Beach. Imagine this charming hamlet without the iconic Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture favored by the architects of the time. Addison Mizner, John Volk, Maurice Fatio designed homes, that both described and created the envious Palm Beach lifestyle – soft-shaded clay roofs, hidden courtyards dripping with lush vegetation, spacious breezy logias and verandas for living out of doors, pastel shades of a lingering childhood and the mesmerizing sounds of tinkling fountains.
DPC and Jeffrey Hirsch recently gave a highly entertaining talk on the History of Society in Palm Beach, illustrating its creation by railroad magnate Henry Flagler as a playground for the rich and infamous. It was hosted by the Coudert Institute whose founder Dale Coudert, resides in one of the glorious Mizner designed homes.
The Foundation has attracted dedicated preservationists and philanthropists who share the insightful vision. When they come together to raise funds for the cause, it becomes a who’s who in Palm Beach – attendees kick up their heels and generously open their wallets.
Hilary recollects. “Having grown up spending my winters in Palm Beach, I am extremely grateful for the Preservation Foundation and the work that it does. The town still has the same beauty and charm that I remember as a child. I chose pink hues in my picks for this year’s dinner dance in a nod to the bright colorful bougainvillea that you see hanging on archways and walls throughout the streets and villas. And shopped at Neiman Marcus as it is one of the stores that anchors the east end of Worth Avenue, the shopping mecca of Palm Beach.”
For what to wear to this celebration, I went looking for something festive. Farfetch proved to be a great resource to find two bright blue gowns that will looks as chic at sunset cocktails as they will dancing into the starry night. Jewelry designer Mish Tworkowski, a patron of The Foundation, supplied his exquisite earrings and we accessorized with muted metallics to bring a bit of warmth to the cool shades.
And while not everyone will have the pleasure of attending the festivities, the historic sites and parks secured by The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach are open to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. To find out more about events, visiting, and educational programs, please go to Preservation Foundation Palm Beach.
Sea Gull Cottage is the oldest house in Palm Beach and was once owned by Henry Flagler.
The Little Red Schoolhouse, the oldest one-room school in the area. The Foundation runs an educational living history program for school children.
Pan’s Garden is in the heart of the town and offers educational programs about native plants and butterflies. It is here that you will find the tiled steps used in the invitation, behind the gazebo, on the Western wall of the garden.
The Foundation created the Earl E.T. Smith Park to honor a local legend. Earl served his country in World War II, and as US Ambassador to both Cuba and Switzerland. He was Mayor of Palm Beach and the first Chairman of the Board of Preservation Foundation Palm Beach. He left a legacy of devotion to public service and to the town he loved.
Wonderful photos in the NYSD archives.
Back in the day.
This article was first published on
New York Social Diary