Hotel Ponce de Leon National Historic Landmark, 74 King Street, St. Augustine
When the Hotel Ponce de Leon, known locally as the Ponce, opened in 1888, the five-building complex was considered the most luxurious resort in the world. After continuing to receive accolades over the decades for its remarkable architecture, the building became the founding headquarters for the Coast Guard Reserve during World War II. In 1957, when the post-war country was interested in streamlined construction and motels, the Ponce defied the new era and was recognized as one of the country’s 100 most important buildings. That status helped inspire the hotel to become the centerpiece of the newly-founded Flagler College. The small institution with its remarkable architecture became noticed throughout the United States for a demonstrated commitment to historic preservation. This year, on the eve of the Ponce’s 135th anniversary in 2023, Flagler College is recognized for preservation of the building and its elaborate interiors. Conservation of the fine and decorative arts collection has garnered national attention, too. The Flagler’s Legacy Tour program showcases the building and these achievements.
Hastings High School, 6195 South Main Street, Hastings
A drive southwest of St. Augustine on State Road 207 can transport you from the ancient Spanish city into the heart of St. Johns County. The link between the Gilded Age past and the surrounding rural communities, including Hastings, Spuds, Elkton, and Armstrong. These communities were integral in feeding guests at the St. Augustine hotels and residents in the surrounding St. Johns County. Hastings High School became a regional focal point from its construction in 1924. Designed in the Mediterranean Revival style by prominent St. Augustine architect Fred Henderich, the building represented the community’s commitment to education. Today, the building is poised to take on a new educational role as part of the expanded workforce development programs at First Coast Technical College.