The entry to the Flagler College campus is marked by the bronze statue of Henry Flagler. Known as the “father of modern Florida” Flagler was responsible for bringing St. Augustine and the sunshine state into the 20th century. He built a resort empire along the east coast of Florida linked by his Florida East Coast Railway (FEC), creating the “American Riviera.” Steamship lines brought guests from Miami to his resorts in Nassau, Bahamas and from Key West to those in Havana, Cuba.
Flagler’s first project was construction of the Hotel Ponce de Leon, the first commission for young architects John Carrere and Thomas Hastings. The building was constructed between 1885 and 1887, with a formal opening to the public on January 12, 1888.
The main building for the hotel has been known since 1968 and the founding of Flagler College as Ponce de Leon Hall. This centerpiece of the campus is recognized by its 165’ tall towers and central dome that are a dominant element of the St. Augustine skyline.
The building is accessed through an elaborate iron gate and courtyard. The central entry opens into a spectacular Rotunda or lobby. The student led tour includes the Rotunda and the elaborately-decorated Grand Parlor.