Thursday, February 18, 2016

On any given day, FPAN staff can be seen in libraries, schools, archaeological sites, or driving.  But, there is an actual physical office in the Northeast Region where they sometimes reside; It is located in an old billiard building on the campus of Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL.

Currently known as The Markland Cottage, the building was originally the "man cave" for Dr. Andrew Anderson and his male guests.  Between 1899-1901, Dr. Anderson and his wife Elizabeth transformed his family's antebellum citrus plantation into something more fitting for the Gilded Age.
Being that Dr. Anderson's home was located next to Flagler's grand Ponce De Leon Hotel (now Flagler College), perhaps he felt some pressure to take it up a notch.  
Markland House (Image: hcap.artstor.org)
While transforming their primary residence (The Markland House), several outbuildings were also created. One of them was the "gentleman's billiard building" located down a palm-lined path directly behind the main house. It made for a quick post-dinner get away, allowing the men to  play billiards, drink brandy and smoke cigars away from the prying eyes of their women.  (Ironically, this  testosterone haven is now an office comprised of all women).
Markland Cottage aka: Gentleman's Billiard Building

Cigar smoking was clearly a favored activity since the building was designed to release the smokey air.  The convex ceiling had an opening in the center with a louvered shutter.  Ropes could open the shutter to allow the smoke to escape through the roof.  The shutters were then covered with a beautiful basket-weave wood panel (this is a "gentleman's" man cave don't you know!)   The hole and the shutters no longer exist , but the panel still remains.
original basket-weave panel

And if you require additional evidence of their love of cigars.... 
cigar burns on floor
Many passers by stop-in to admire Markland Cottage's unique features such as its front porch palm log columns...


and its majolica fireplace with beautifully reproduced hand-made tiles...


We also get people stopping in who remember teaching or taking a class here in the earlier days of the college.  Others remember when it was relegated to a storage shed and eventually over-taken by vermin and termites. 
Stripped - "Before shot" (Image: BTS Builders, btsbuilders.net)

In 2005, Flagler College, with assistance from a State Small Matching Grant-in Aid, rehabilitated the building.  It was painstakingly restored to much if it's original charm.  We would love to give you a tour of our digs if you stop by (It's only one room so it's a short tour!)
"After shot"

The gentleman's billiard building has proven to be a snug, but ideal office for the FPAN Northeast Staff. 
The location of the ladies' billiard building is yet to be found...


Text and images: Robbie Boggs, FPAN staff except where noted

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