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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Ponce de Leon Hotel: 1897

Ponce de Leon Hotel: 1897

St. Augustine, Florida, circa 1897. "Ponce de Leon Hotel -- Front view and entrance." Railroad magnate Henry Flagler's coquina confection is known today as Flagler College. 5x8 glass negative by William Henry Jackson. View full size.

 

St Augustine

I loved going to St Augustine every weekend while I was working in Jacksonville FL and the hotel is truely a gorgeous place to see, along with all the other wonderful sights in St Augustine.

125th Anniversary

Here is a picture showing the crowd of almost 4,000 people on January 12, 2013 attending the 125th anniversary event. The original opening ceremonies were re-enacted, complete with a trumpet fanfare from the towers, and a band on the loggia. Local dignitaries gave speeches, and a Henry Flagler re-enactor also spoke. The gates were then opened for a day long open house of the restored Hotel Ponce de Leon building. I was there for the 100th anniversary in 1988 and was lucky to also be there for this year's 125th.

Flagler College/Ponce de Leon Hotel

I had the privilege of living in this beautiful building for four years, from 1976-1980, some of the best years of my life. I can see the windows of my freshman year and junior year rooms - the most unique college dorm you could ever find.

I collect lots of memorabilia from the hotel days, and was just back in St. Augustine this past January (2013) to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Ponce de Leon Hotel. During this anniversary year the college has some great displays showing it's history over the years.

St. Augustine is a great place to visit, and this building and the campus should be a highlight of any visit.

Beautiful St. Augustine

My late midwestern-reared mother raved about this fair city the rest of her life, after having lived there from 1925-27 while my architect grandfather worked in the area creating hotels and civic building during Florida's pre-Depression land boom. His construction crew arrived one morning to find that all their tools had totally vanished at the bottom of a work site sinkhole, not there the previous afternoon, and inquisitive alligators were a recurring problem.

Murals at the Ponce

"The murals at the Ponce were well known at the time. Writing of a visit to St Augustine, Ring Lardner has one of his characters say:

"In the evenin' we strolled acrost the street to the Ponce—that's supposed to be even sweller yet than where we were stoppin' at. We walked all over the place without recognizin' nobody from our set. I finally warned the Missus that if we didn't duck back to our room I'd probably have a heart attack from excitement; but she'd read in her Florida guide that the decorations and pitchers was worth goin' miles to see, so we had to stand in front o' them for a couple hours and try to keep awake. Four or five o' them was thrillers, at that. Their names was Adventure, Discovery, Contest, and so on, but what they all should of [sic] been called was Lady Who Had Mislaid Her Clo'es.

The hotel's named after the fella that built it. He come from Spain and they say he was huntin' for some water that if he'd drunk it he'd feel young. I don't see myself how you could expect to feel young on water. But, anyway, he'd heard that this here kind o' water could be found in St. Augustine, and when he couldn't find it he went into the hotel business and got even with the United States by chargin' five dollars a day and up for a room"."
(Gullible's Travels - 1917)

Still lovely

What a beauty this hotel is and how nice to see that it is still there; it's enough to make me want to head over to St. Augustine ASAP!

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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