In 1916, the State of Florida began to open a stretch of roadway along the Atlantic Ocean coastline, as a more scenic alternate to Route 1, now called the Federal Highway. The road eventually became known as State Road A1A. To address high winds along the route, Australian Pines were planted along both sides of A1A, from Jacksonville to Miami. The Town of Gulf Stream is the only remaining stretch where the Australian Pine Canopy still remains. It has since been designated as an historic and scenic highway, allowing the Town to protect and cultivate new plants to maintain and expand a stand of more than 300 pines. During the early 1920s, the land now called Gulf Stream was largely in its raw natural state, with a few cultivated acres leased for farming or grazing. At the time, the intracoastal canal was freshwater, providing irrigation for agriculture. Starting in 1922, Bessemer Properties, a real estate venture controlled by the family of Henry Phipps, Jr. (co-founder with Andrew Carnegie of the company that became U.S. Steel) began to accumulate parcels of land on both sides of the intracoastal canal for future development. Friends and business associates of the Phipps family in Palm Beach saw the roughly 500 virgin acres of property as an ideal location for a golf course and polo fields, surrounded by seasonal residences.
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