TYCOONS: Life Begins at 88

Of all the pleasure domes built along Florida's Gold Coast in the late 1920s, none was more ornate than the Boca Raton Hotel & Club, 42 miles north of Miami. Put up by Utilitycoon Clarence H. Geist as the world's flossiest private resort, it cost $10 million, had 450 rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, two 18-hole golf courses, dozens of fountain-filled gardens and a beach-front cabana that is bigger than most hotels. During the Depression, Geist ran Boca Raton as his private hobby, happily paid its staggering deficits. But when he died in 1938, the...