Port of Palm Beach

Breakers' historian, 95, transports guests to the past

Breakers' historian, 95, transports guests to the past

To hear historian James Ponce tell it, you'd think you were back in Old Florida — when Henry Flagler built the luxury Breakers hotel in an area known for farmhouses, when a fire burned the hotel down likely from "a newfangled curling iron" left plugged in, and when guests donned gowns and tuxedos for nine-course dinners to pass the time during winter-long stays.

At age 95, Ponce still mesmerizes groups with stories of The Breakers Palm Beach, every Tuesday and by request. He's been leading groups through the legendary hotel for 30 years, after working there on and off for 30 more. That's enough time to earn him

23°