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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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Grand Hotel: 1890s

Grand Hotel: 1890s

St. Augustine, Florida, circa 1890s. "The Ponce de Leon Hotel, rear view." With this post, Shorpy is entering vacation mode for a week, having packed his bindle and hopped a freight for the wide open spaces. While he's gone we'll try to make do with just a post or two every day. View full size.

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I have lived in St. Augustine off and on for the past 20 years, and graduated from Flagler College (the Ponce De Leon hotel, pictured, is the main campus hub). This image seems to have been taken from atop the Flagler Memorial Church - which was constructed in this time period to memorialize Henry Flagler's daughter. At the time, it's dome would have made it the tallest building in town. This pic is a great find, I've never seen one from this angle.The "field" in the lower right of the image is now the site of the college library.

House in the lower left

The house in the lower left (36 Sevilla) is off the market -- it houses the Flagler Business Office.


What a fantastic picture - and are they huge flocks of birds in the sky? superb.

Not bad p-shopping

Kinda makes me wonder what other bends in the fabric of time have gone unrecognized... ;)

Flagler College

Seems like a wonderful campus. The website has a bunch of pics and a bit of the history of the place.

Hotel Smokestack

Hotel needed lots of hot water, usually supplied by a coal-fired boiler. The largest hot water application was probably the laundry, which typically operated around the clock. The kitchen also used a fair amount. Domestic hot water (distributed to taps in guest rooms) was also significant.

It is grand.

I would say that hotel was named appropriately. Does anyone know it it is still there?

[The former Ponce de Leon Hotel is now Flagler College. - Dave]


Why would a hotel need a giant smokestack (if indeed it belongs to the hotel?).

[Powerhouse, incinerator, boiler plant -- take your pick. - Dave]


With the current Florida real estate market, who knows! You might be able to get a sweet deal!

[Busted by Google Street View! The 1890 glass negative had a piece of tape covering the second-floor windows, so I cut and pasted a single window to cover the hole. - Dave]

View Larger Map

Any chance of floor plans

Any chance of floor plans for those fabulous buildings? It has so many interesting shapes, and the few rooms we've seen are so beautiful, there must be hidden treasures throughout the place.

Please hurry back.....

withdrawal has already set in!

An amazing view!

What strikes the most in this spectacular view is the total emptiness of Anastasia Island, the barrier island (now filled with subdivisions) off in the distance beyond the Matanzas River. You see clear out to the St. Augustine Lighthouse!

It's not the heat, it's the humidity

Is Shorpy perhaps vacationing in Florida?

[Colorado! Tonight, coming to you from Room 103 at the Courtyard by Marriott. - Dave]

Have Fun

Bon Voyage!

Spooky Guy in the road at the bottom

Happens with a long exposure. Thanks for this one. It's stunning.

Quiet Morning

The photo must have been taken early in the morning, possibly on a Sunday. Except for the horse and buggy and one man, near the corner of the property, lower right. It was 1890, so no automobiles yet, however the street shows "emissions" from a major source of motive power at the time.


I want that house in the lower left corner. Great picture - so much to look at!!

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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