Flagler's Skyline

This view of St. Augustine’s skyline can be found from the parapets of the Castillo de San Marcos. The red roofs and towers are all the main buildings of Flagler College – originally the Ponce de Leon Hotel.

Villa Zorayda

Villa Zorayda

Villa Zorayda c. 1880s. Photograph by William Henry Jackson for Detroit Publishing Company via Library of Congress.

Built as a winter residence for a Boston millionaire, Villa Zorayda is a prototype for Florida construction techniques. In a region with no native stone or clay for making bricks, the cost to import such items was quite prohibitive. Franklin W. Smith, a wealthy Bostonian, had purchased property in St. Augustine to build a winter residence. During a tour in Europe looking for design inspiration for his home, he found the look he wanted at the Alhambra palace in Granada and the construction technique in Switzerland. This technique used concrete – a relatively new idea here in the United States.

After Villa Zorayda’s completion in 1883, Franklin Smith also built the Casa Monica hotel at the corner of King and Cordova streets using this concrete technique. His friend, Henry Flagler, not only bought the Casa Monica hotel from Smith, he also used Smith’s concrete technique to build his Ponce de Leon and Alcazar hotels.

Today the Villa Zorayda is a museum open to the public.

Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine

Just found this on Amazon and couldn’t resist. Mr. Flagler continues to influence and inspire this city in many ways.

Arguably no man did more to make over a city—or a state—than Henry Morrison Flagler. Almost single-handedly, he transformed the east coast of Florida from a remote frontier into the winter playground of America’s elite.

Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine tells the story of how one of the wealthiest men in America spared no expense in transforming the country’s “Oldest City” into the “Newport of the South.” He built railroads into remote areas where men feared to tread and erected palatial hotels on swampland. He funded hospitals and churches and improved streets and parks. The rich and famous flocked to his invented paradise.

old boathouse

Old boathouse on the marsh

Sometime back, part of Araquay Park was annexed to expand the airport. This is one of the remnants of the old neighborhood.