Juan Ponce de Leon, first governor of Puerto Rico set sail on an exploratory trip in search of the Bimini, a land with mystical waters. During the sixteenth century the indigenous people of the Caribbean believed the water had restorative powers in this mythical land. On his search for the fountain of youth, Juan Ponce De Leon found Florida. Saint Augustin, Florida’s oldest city became the home to Flagler College.
In 1888 architects John Carrere and Thomas Hastings built a luxury hotel for Henry Morrison Flagler, the industrialist, oil magnet and railroad pioneer. This was first in a series of luxury resorts along Florida’s east coast, and the first major poured-in-place concrete building in the United States.
The Edison Electric Company powered the building with steam heat and 4,000 electric lights, making the Ponce one of the nations’s first building with electricity. Louis Comfort Tiffany attributed to the building’s interior design including the stained glass and mosaics. Murals were completed by George Willoughby Maynard and Virgilio Tojetti. The hotel was gifted to Flagler College when the institution was founded in 1968. Flagler College has evoked the architectural spirit of old Europe. The stunning Spanish Revival structure has been preserved and is compatible with the modern urban hotel.
Lawrence Lewis, Jr., was the driving force behind the development of Flagler College. It was his vision to create a small, private liberal arts college on the grounds of the old hotel. The aim of Flagler College is to provide a supportive and challenging environment in which students acquire knowledge, exercise good citizenship, and adhere to high ethical standards. Flagler College provides a friendly campus environment. Because Flagler College's first priority is its students, tour times vary throughout the year.
The hotel was restored in all its finery to host dignitaries, royalty, presidents and provide them with entertainment and relaxation. It was incorporated with modern amenities like electricity and running water, and one of the attractions you can see on a guided tour is the Thomas Edison onyx clock, one of the first ever to be used in a public space.
The Ponce de Leon is also home to the largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows and crystal chandeliers, with over 79 windows decorating the Dining Hall. Guests will see the beautiful murals painted by George W. Maynard. In the Woman’s grand parlour the original hotel furniture and art, as well as personal photos and mementos from Henry Flagler and his family are all preserved for viewing.
The tours offer visitors a chance to step back in time to the Gilded Age and experience a true turn-of-the-century grand hotel.
- Children under 12 received a complimentary Flagler College Colouring and Activity book.
- St. John's County residents that show their ID can take the tour for free.
- A special Solarium tour is offered on Saturdays and Sundays in June and July, at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
- The newly restored fourth-floor parlour located over the Rotunda brags of a breath-taking panoramic view of the city. Floor-to-ceiling windows on all four sides allow sunlight to pour into the vaulted space, which is flanked by roof terraces and twin towers that rise above the St. Augustine skyline.
- Tickets for the Solarium tour are $6 per person, and reservations are required. Tickets can be purchased at the Flagler Legacy Tours website.
- The entire premise has ramps and lifts that are ADA approved.
- They have two daily slots for private tours, school tours and group tours.
- If your child is a prospective student then you can take the standard historical trip and an AVID/College Readiness tour and contact the admissions department.
- The dining hall is reserved for the students, faculty and staff.
- The former hotel rooms are residences for female student, so it is not open to the public.
- The tour tickets do not have an expiration date or time, so you can visit at your leisure. But be sure to arrive 20 minutes before the tour.
- Reservation is not required unless you are in a group of 15 or more and looking for a private tour, then 3 weeks’ notice is required.
- All the proceeds from merchandise and tours are collected for the college’s general fund.
- The City of St. Augustine has the Sunshine Bus which runs daily from the southern-most point of St. Augustine up into Jacksonville.
- It is extremely difficult getting around downtown in St. Augustine unless you are walking.
- Traffic is heavy and so are the trolleys, busses, and the general public's vehicles but the Flagler security offers rides to the parking garage if you have the money for a car and a pass.
- Walking or cycling is the way to go.
- Tickets may be purchased at Flagler's Legacy Gifts at 59 St. George Street, or at the lobby gift shop inside Flagler College.
- Adults: $10; Children $1
- Pricing for non-St. Johns County residents is $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, $ 8 for Active Military (with ID); $1 for kids ages 4 – 12 and children under 4 are free.
- By Bus.
- By Taxis.
- Barefoot Bill’s Island Grill: Hamburgers, Vegetarian, Sandwiches, hot dogs
- Luvin Oven’s Hot Shot Bakery: Bakery
- Casa Monica: Armenian
- 95 Cordova: Seafood, Contemporary
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95% of people who visit St Augustine include Flagler College in their plan
09 AM - 10 AM
88.76% of people start their Flagler College visit around 09 AM - 10 AM
People usually take around 1 Hr to see Flagler College
57.89% of people prefer to travel by car while visiting Flagler College
I graduated in 2018 and was a Psychology & Religion/Philosophy double major. The college prepared me very well for graduate school & the professors are top notch. In my four years I wrote between 300-400 pages worth of papers, it was definitely worth it!
What an awesome piece of historic architecture this place is! Loved the tour and the old world feel of this place. Further, it’s full of firsts for its time. I’ll not spoil it for you but if you’re a history buff as I am you can’t afford to miss a stop at this place!!
I currently attend the Public Administration Program (PAD) at Flagler College and have found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The professors seek to enrich your life through education and are focused on student success. The campus is set in beautiful downtown St Augustine and the community is very close knit, many students walk or bike to wherever they want to go. I'm looking forward to the day I am able to call myself Flagler Alumni.
Visited for the afternoon historic tour. This facility is simply stunning. It’s very existence is pivotal to what we now know as modern day Florida. The tour was interesting and hosted by one of the attending college students. While she did get a bit “tour-guidey”, she had some great insight into the main building’s history. The tour itself is just over an hour and takes you into some rooms you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. A small portion of the tour is outdoors, so weather could be a factor. Our tour guide did a fantastic job picking a nice, comfortable, shady spot for our outside stop. If you’re in the area, and looking for brief afternoon activity, then you can’t go wrong with a historic tour of this campus.
The tour is always great, always done by one of their students. Great bits of history and a nice stop inSt. Augustine.