On January 12, 1888, the Hotel Ponce de Leon opened its doors and became one of the grandest hotel resorts of its day. A landmark in American architecture in the Nation’s Oldest City, the Ponce’s Spanish Renaissance architecture and lavish decoration attracted the wealthy and the elite from presidents to movie stars.
It was built by millionaire developer and Standard Oil cofounder Henry Flagler; designed by New York architects John Carrere and Thomas Hastings, and constructed entirely of poured concrete, using the local coquina as an aggregate. The hotel was wired for electricity, the power supplied by D.C. generators provided by Flagler’s friend Thomas Edison. Today, the building and grounds of the hotel are part of Flagler College.
On “Opening Day Tour”, Saturday, January 12, 2013, walk the same halls as Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison and Henry Flagler. The gates will close on Friday, January 11 in anticipation of the grand opening. Trumpeters will announce the arrival of guests to Henry Flagler’s Hotel Ponce de Leon as the gates open and the orchestra plays The Star Spangled Banner on the Loggias. Mingle with the guests and hotel staff and perhaps say hello to Mr. and Mrs. Flagler as they dine in the Hotel’s grand dining room, the Ponce de Leon Hall. The event will take place on Saturday, January 12, 2013, from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, admission is free. For details, call visit www.ponce125.com.
NOTE: I stumbled on a website while I was researching this event that just knocked my socks. If you’re into St. Augustine history, visit www.DrBronsontours.com!