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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Ponce Parlors: 1890

Ponce Parlors: 1890

St. Augustine, Florida, circa 1890. "Parlors of the Ponce de Leon Hotel." Glass negative by William Henry Jackson. Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

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The Not So Exotic Beauties

The portraits of the women are actually the famed Shakespeare heroines. They were a part of Henry Flagler's private collection. The hotel is now a college and the paints still hang there. Though I don't believe they are in their original locations.

Also there are no ashtrays in the room because this was the parlor for the women.

As Shakespeare wrote,

"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily... is wasteful and ridiculous excess."

Shakespeare, The Life and Death of King John (Act IV, Scene ii).

The Gilded Age

A perfect illustration of the term "gild the lily."

Spanish Beauty

The portraits of "exotic beauties" are great, especially the "Spanish" one over the piano. I wonder what became of them? Are they hanging in a private collection, destroyed in a storm or fire? It would be great to see them today.


Not sure I would want to be here at night.
Looks like a good place for ghosts.


Ahhh, the Gay Nineties...

Furniture an Afterthought

What an odd mix of furniture styles, and none of the pieces look very happy about being in the room. A strange atmosphere, somehow.

Curiosity Satisfied

I used to live near St. Augustine and have been riding past these hotels for years. I always wondered what they looked like in their heyday. Thanks, Dave, for giving us look inside these grand hotels.

Great room

You can almost smell the cigar smoke and sea breezes.

Where are the rope swings?

Add about four feet of water to this room and you'd be all set!


There is no other word for the elegance of this area.

From the piano stool to the chandelier and then the awesome ceiling treatments.

This was not a hotel for the day-to-day tourist.


We'll leave a light on for ya

Holy cow.

Motel 6 it ain't.

No smoking?

I don't see a single ash receiver or cuspidor in this room. Highly unusual for an 1890 parlor.

The anti-Bauhaus

... or everything the International Style rebelled against. European elegance made possible by American industry- with tassels!

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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