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ANDREWS, George E.
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
Pesented by Nancy Rayburn
II, page 246, 1923.
ANDREWS, GEORGE E. One of the men who has been connected with some of the most constructive
work at Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, and whose efforts have resulted in a most remarkable
development of the county is Capt. GEORGE E. ANDREWS, of West Palm Beach. In much of his
work after coming to Florida he was associated with the late HENRY M. FLAGLER, and he is still
carrying on many of the plans formulated by them during Mr. FLAGLER's lifetime. Captain ANDREWS
was born in Lake County, near Cleveland, Ohio, in 1859.
JOHN H. ANDREWS, father of GEORGE E. ANDREWS, was a famous shipmaster on the Great Lakes,
where he was a navigator for nearly half a century. Captain ANDREWS was himself intended
for the career of a navigator, and in his father's line learned sufficiently of navigation
to qualify as a mariner. It was decided, however, that he should finish his college education,
which, quite by chance, led him into other fields. His education was received in the old
Western Reserve College, now Adelbert College of Cleveland, from which he was graduated with
the class of 1882. During his college years he made a fine record as a player on the college
base ball team, which led to his being engaged to play during the summer of 1882 with the
Toledo Base Ball Club, a fine semi-professional organization of that day. He had in the meanwhile,
after his graduation from college, held the position of expert stenographer and private secretary
to HARVEY H. BROWN, president of the Jackson Iron Works of Cleveland, continuing to hold this
position during the winter of 1882-82. Long before the 1883 base ball season had begun Captain
ANDREWS had received a very flattering offer to fill the position of second base with the
Philadelphia National League Club, the offer coming to him from the club's manager, HARRY
WRIGHT, who had observed the Captain's work on the Toledo Club.
The offer, carrying with it a salary of $3,800, was a large one for those times, and he accepted
it and played second base for two years, or during 1883 and 1884, when he was changed to center
field, remaining in this position with the Philadelphia Club until 1890. During his career
as a professional base ball player he made quite a remarkable record as fielder, base runner
and batter, his name standing high among the great ball players of those years. As a sprinter
he won the prize in a 100-yard dash which he made in ten seconds flat. His fleetness of foot
was proverbial in base ball circles. His record as a batter ranged consistently from .200
to .310 during his professional career. After he left the diamond he was for four years business
agent of the Boston Braves, and in various ways, both from the standpoint of the player and
business agent, his connection with the great American sport was a complete success.
In the meantime, while a player with the Philadelphias (sic), he had been coming to Florida
in the winter seasons for sport and recreation, and in 1884 he purchased land and began the
development of a plantation on the Indian River in Brevard County. Here he began the cultivation
of pineapples as a principal crop, and under his own personal supervision he built up a fine
piece of property. The great freeze of 1895 practically destroyed this business, and during
the summer seasons of two or three years following he was an umpire with the Nation al League,
an occupation that enabled him to recuperate financially. About this time he met HENRY M.
FLAGLER, builder of the Florida East Coast Railway, who had heard of Captain ANDREWS' unflagging
energy, his business acumen and resourcefulness. Going to New York at Mr. FLAGLER's telegraphic
request, Captain ANDREWS was, after a brief interview, given the position of executive in
charge of the entertainment features of the Florida East Coast Hotel System, with headquarters
at the Royal Poinciana at Palm Beach. This was a position mainly of diplomacy, in which he
met the guests and contrived to see that a congeniality of social life was maintained among
them, and that their entertainment, comfort and pleasure were always provided for in proper
measure. The act that the Royal Poinciana entertained so many guests of great wealth and
great fame made this period of Captain ANDREWS' life very rich in pleasant and memorable
associations. He filled this position at Palm Beach for twelve years. Among his other duties
he had general supervision of the care of the large number of yachts that annually came to
these waters, owned by private parties, and this, in addition to the fact that he is familiar
with navigation, has led to his being universally known as "Captain" ANDREWS.
After severing his connections with the Flagler interests Captain ANDREWS went to the Pacific
Northwest, and for two years was manager in charge of a 35,000 acre apple orchard near Spokane,
Washington. Returning to Florida, he located at West Palm Beach, and immediately began buying
up properties in various sections of the city, which was just then getting a start on its
subsequent career of continued growth and expansion. Captain ANDREWS has been one of the
principal builders of this modern and flourishing city, these developments of his having added
greatly to the city's expansion. More recently Captain ANDREWS has retired from active business
life, but still takes care of his extensive property interests. He is devoting considerable
of his time to literary work, with the ultimate object of having published his memoirs, which
because of his varied and eventful life, promise to be of fascinating interest.
In 1888 Captain ANDREWS married at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, MARY FRANCES KIRBY, of that
city. They have two daughters, Mrs. ELIZABETH CHAFFIN and Mrs. GRACE GRUBER.
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