Cornelius Vanderbilt Barton, son of Samuel and Lydia R. Barton, married Jessie Cluett, daughter of J.W. Alfred and Elizabeth R. Cluett, all from New York State.
C. Vanderbilt and Jessie Barton had established a winter home on the east shore of the lake by 1886, just north of Cap Dimick’s Cocoanut Grove Hotel. Barton Trail (later Barton Avenue) from lake to ocean was named for them.
The Bartons enjoyed the increasing social life of Palm Beach as more winter visitors came to enjoy the delightful climate. On a typical Sunday afternoon, they would join other prominent people in visiting the Charles I. Cragins at their beautiful estate, “Garden of Eden.” Transportation was by launch up the lake or by wheelchair, up the Lake Trail.
The C. Vanderbilt Bartons sold their home on the lakeshore in 1902 and took up residence at the Breakers Hotel.
The Bartons, senior and junior, were strong Episcopalians. They supported the building of the first house of worship in Dade County, the Episcopal Bethesda-by-the-Sea, in 1889. As Bethesda grew and moved into larger buildings, the Bartons continued to participate in and contribute to the church. In 1927, C. Vanderbilt and Jessie Barton donated the Pool of Bethesda in the north cloister wall of the Garth, with a statue of an angel, in memory of their four parents. After Jessie died, C. Vanderbilt gave the choir stalls, lay reader’s stall and clergy seat in memory of his wife.
C. Vanderbilt Barton died sometime between 1928 and 1940.
Lounging the other morning in my massive rocking chair
Upon the front porch of our house I idly wondered where
In all the world, there could be found a spot so passing
And as I sat and gently rocked, the spirit of the place O’er came me. And I yawned, and dozed, and covering up my face, I dreamed a dream whose outlines in these rhymes I’ll try to trace.
The trade wind rustled through the cocoa’s ever-restless boughs;
The crow cawed hoarsely in the tree, his distant mate to rouse, The mocker whistled to his love, “Oh! Come and be my spouse.”
A happy worker, passing by lifted his voice in song; The clock inside tolled out the hour in querulous “dingdong.”
And neighbor Dimick’s loud-mouthed mule brayed oft, and loud, and long.
Yet ears are not the only things that revel at Palm Beach Complete delight for every sense is here within one’s reach;
And Touch, Taste, Sight and Smell can surely nothing more beseech.
But lest these introductory remarks may tedious seem, I’ll cut them short, and quick proceed to tell about my dream -
That vision which afforded me enjoyment so supreme.
As I gazed forth upon the Lake (this was my dream you
A little village I espied, whose houses - white as snow -
Straggled along the water front, for half a mile or so.
I looked again, and doing so, could scarce believe my eyes;
And surely there was cause enough for my complete surprise;
To think that in one day could grow a village of such size!
And while I gazed and wondered, I beheld a lot of steam;
And very much to my surprise, I heard a whistle scream.
It was the southbound “fast mail” train - strange as it may
A hundred eager passengers rushed from the train, pell mell, To board the little steamboat, which, with loudly ringing bell, Would quickly ferry them across to Dimick’s new hotel.
This was a building vast and grand, which fronted on the
With full four hundred guest-chambers, where one could
And every winter, here, did Dimick lots of money make.
Thus, when the horse car passed the door, toward the Inlet bound, The tiniding of the horse’s bells seemed no uncommon sound.
Indeed, I scarcely noticed it nor turned my head around.
So, when I looked at Brelsford’s Point and saw a “Grand Hotel.”
With broad piazzas round three sides, and crowds of people - well -
I marvelled not one whit; nor did I think my dream a “sell.”
But when I took the car and rode down “Lake Worth
Past three good miles of mansions fair, I will confess to
It almost took my breath away ‘Twas too good to be true
And, as I note the changed scene and view the crowds so gay, I slyly hug myself, and think; Didn’t I always say That this lake would become a winter resort some day?
Here, young or old; here, grave or gay; here delicate or strong
Can find that perfect climate which they’ve sought in vain so long.
If ‘tis not so, I pray you then, what means this mighty throng?
And, as I maundered thus, I heard a wild tumultuous
And saw a mighty ocean steamship landing at a pier,
With crowds of tourists, who had come direct from New
Just then my dream came to an end for sure as I’m a sinner, My wife’s voice sounded in my ear, “Go catch some fish for dinner.”
by Samuel Barton, 1891