Friday, August 17, 2012

Henry Flagler Left His Mark in St. Augustine Too

When we were visiting St. Augustine we got to see Henry Flagler's famous Ponce de Leon Hotel.  It was the place to be, and be seen, in the late 19th century.  Today, this grand old building houses Flagler College.

Flagler spared no expense in building the premier hotel of it's time with all the modern conveniences anyone could imagine.

The attention to detail is amazing.  Note the frogs around the fountain and the dragon drain pipes.

When Flagler built his hotel St. Augustine was still a small town.  However, the guest rooms at the Ponce de Leon were often booked solid.  To handle the overflow, Flagler built a second hotel called the Alcazar.  To give his guests, at both hotels, something to do he included a casino and separate indoor heated swimming pools for men and women at the Alcazar.

Despite his tremendous wealth Flagler had his share of tragedies in his life.  He was devastated when his only daughter, Jennie Louise Flagler Benedict, passed away as a result of childbirth in 1889.  He built this church, Memorial Presbyterian Church, as a memorial to his daughter.

The baptism font is intricately carved from a solid piece of marble.

The lighting fixtures and pews are all original.

The church is still in use today and volunteers are available to answer questions.

Flagler added a mausoleum off to the side in the church where he entombed his daughter and her child side by side.

A mirror on top of their tomb reflects the beautiful stained glass in the dome of the mausoleum.  Henry Flagler is buried to their right.  His wife, for whom he built Whitehall Mansion in Palm Beach, was supposed to be laid to rest to the left of his daughter - on condition she not remarry after his death.  However, she did remarry (dying under mysterious circumstances 8 months later) and was buried by her own family in another state.

I still have more to post about St. Augustine but today Hubby and I head off to the Tampa area to visit with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins.


  1. ack! The ceilings in that church! I love that blue contrasted with the white -- seems so... Floridian...
    I was just telling Keith this morning I wanted gutters & rain barrel. Do you think he'd go for the dragon drain?

  2. Hi and happy Friday! I love seeing this hotel and the architecture-so beautiful. I haven't been to this area but have a friend who lives nearby and when I come to visit her, I'll definitely have to visit this area-breath taking.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs, Noreen

  3. Great tour! We enjoyed our visit and this was a great look back:)

  4. Looks like you two are still having fun exploring FL. It's a fun, interesting city, isn't? The oldest city in America, I think.
    Hope your Dad is doing better.