Wednesday, January 30, 2013
|Henry Flagler then|
|John Stavely as Henry Flagler now|
Guests from the Gilded Age had already arrived for the winter season and directed citizens to the beautifully decorated domed rotunda, Tiffany glassed dining room, and elegant Flagler sitting rooms.
Today the Hotel Ponce de Leon is the landmark center piece of the Flagler College campus. Womens' dorms occupy the former guest rooms but the elaborately decorated public areas are still maintained by the college in their gilded age splendor. Some of these areas, now occupied by the President's office and Flagler college administrative offices, were opened to the public on Saturday. This was a rare treat for our local citizens and tourists as these areas are usually open only to college personel.
Original china place settings and silver serving pieces from the hotel's high seasons were displayed in the Tiffany dining room.
And of course, the beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows glowed beautifully in the sunshine of this lovely January Saturday.
Music, as it was played on the original opening day, was heard again in the rooms and verandas of the hotel.
The Crisp-Ellert Art Museum opened a gallery exhibit of some of the original blueprints and architectural drawings prepared by the firm of Carrera and Hastings. The hotel was designed in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style by this pair of young New York City architects selected by Henry Flagler early in their careers. And what a magnificent hotel was produced for our City by these young but talented architects! The Hotel Ponce de Leon has lasted 125 years with many more years to come as the adaptively reused women's dorm on the the Flagler College campus.
This public opening event and gallery opening is only the beginning of Flagler College's year of festivities celebrating the legacy of this beautiful old hotel. Check out the web site for future events at www.PONCE125.com.
Text and photos by Toni Wallace, FPAN - NE