With the construction of the Board of Health Laboratory in 1921, Palm Beach County secured its first state building. Still considered an area of the country that was just being settled, establishing an outpost for public health was an essential component of "community upbuilding" for West Palm Beach.
Designed by Pensacola architect, Walker D. Willis, as a prototype and constructed several times around the state, this remarkable Neo-classical building was considered a symbol of civilization. It was purposefully oriented west to face the now demolished FEC train station where medical supplies and samples were sent and received. This orientation made a monumental presentation to the wealthy northern visitors who arrived by train. Before backing over the railroad bridge to Palm Beach, their trains would pause in front of the beautiful west facade. For many, its elegant form symbolized for many a reemergence into civilization.
Constructed by E.H. Barto in 100 days at a total cost of $34,700, this landmark structure retains much of its original Bedford Limestone fenestration, St. Louis brick facade, and decorative classical interior. The well-preserved interior includes extensive "promenade" mosaic tile, Dade Pine floors, and a wrought iron and marble central staircase.