Palm Beach tales: Flagler Museum docent shares history with others

By Mort Mazor

Sun Sentinel Correspondent

Jan 14, 2022 11:25 AM

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Ed Lamont

Ed Lamont (Ed Lamont / Courtesy)

If you want to know the history of Palm Beach County there is one man that knows it all: Ed Lamont.

Since 1991, he has served as a docent at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum in Palm Beach. He’s led over 2,500 tours at Whitehall. He said his favorite event is Whitehall Holiday Evening Tours each year the week before Christmas.

In 2001, 2006 and 2007, he was recognized as the Flagler Museum’s Interpretive Docent of the Year. Lamont, 67, also leads historical tours of The Breakers Palm Beach and delivers gallery talks at the Society of the Four Arts’ Esther O’Keeffe Art Gallery and leads Talk of Kings book discussions at the Four Arts Gioconda & Joseph King Library.

Daughters & Sons of the American Revolution chapters, National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, Mayflower Society, Lake Worth Pioneer Association, historical societies, Rotary clubs and Raptis Rare Books on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach have brought in Lamont to present historical topics. He’s served as a guest history lecturer at Palm Beach Atlantic University and delivered the 2015 keynote address in commemoration of 9/11 at the Broward College-North Campus.

His Flagler Museum gallery talks also include Knights of the Air: Aviator Heroes of World War I (2017), Masterfully Human: The Art of Gaugengigl (2018), Star Power: Edward Steichen’s Glamour Photography – (2018-19) and Maker and Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry (2019).

At a recent presentation at Embark, an independent senior residence in suburban Lake Worth, Lamont described several of the mansions designed by architect Addison Mizner for multimillionaire railroad and energy tycoons of the Roaring ‘20s such as The Cloister Inn (1926), El Mirasol (1919) and Playa Riente (1923). Mizner also designed iconic Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.

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When Mizner arrived in Florida, he thought he was going to die. Instead, he brought forth the distinctive Mizner style of architecture, interior and landscape design. From the mind of Mizner sprung private clubs, oceanfront and lakeside mansions, and Worth Avenue shopping vias.

Mizner then took his talents to Boca Raton. He morphed from society architect to developer and city planner.

“As a speaker and motivator, Ed brings a great blend of leadership, education and humor to professional and social gatherings,” said Janet Naughton, academic librarian and historian. “His knowledge of local history combined with polished auditory delivery skills make Ed a sought-after lecturer and succinct spokesperson. A true gentleman who can think quickly, this community leader exudes a pleasant medley of model intelligence, wit, etiquette and poise.”

Embark resident Marilyn E. Chagrin called Lamont “a knowledgeable and astute historian for Palm Beach County and surrounding areas.”

“We were enthralled with the amount of information he imparted about the mansions. We look forward to Mr. Lamont’s next visit to tell us more about Southeast Florida’s architectural history,” he said.

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