Excerpt from Historic American Buildings Survey (1967)
Henry M. Flagler, the man almost solely responsible for developing the resort economy of the State, introduced the Spanish Revival to Florida. In 1884, he sent the fledgling architects, John Carrere and Thomas Hastings, to Spain for two years to gather impressions and ideas before beginning the design of the Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine. Flagler's commission launched an important architectural firm and established a style that was to dominate Florida resort architecture.
Palm Beach was the most exclusive of the Florida resort communities in the early 20th century. Addison Mizner made the Spanish Revival style de rigueur for palatial building there. For their wealthy clients, he and Marion Sims Wyeth designed numerous Mediterranean villas with patios to take advantage of the winter sun and spacious rooms for lavish entertaining. Mar-a-Lago is one of the grandest of these mansions and is the only one still resided in by the original owner. All of its elaborate decoration and fine furnishings remain intact. It is still surrounded by its landscaped grounds including a golf course on the shores of Lake Worth and a bathing beach on the Atlantic Ocean. Together the house and grounds provide an excellent picture of winter resort life in Palm Beach prior to the Depression…
The site, the style, and a large amount of the decor was personally chosen by Marjorie Merriweather Post (then Mrs. Edward F. Hutton), who had the house built. After searching the area south of Worth Avenue for many months with her agent, Lytle Hull, Mrs. Post found a property which was suitable for the construction of the kind of residence she wanted. The property, overgrown with lush vegetation, consisted of approximately seventeen acres on a coral reef located between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth, The reef provided a firm base for the house which was anchored to it with concrete and steel, and has withstood hurricanes and heavy tropical storms over the years. The name Mar-a-Lago means between sea and lake.