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On our way back to the marina from the fort, we stopped to check out Flagler College’s courtyard. We always pass by and never take time to smell the flowers. What a beautiful campus. We would love to one day take a tour of the whole campus but for that day, it was enough, as the storm was heading our way we made it back right in time before the rain drops started up.
The school is located on 19 acres, the centerpiece of which is the Ponce de Leon Hall, built in 1888 as a luxury hotel. The architects were John Carrere and Thomas Hastings, working for Henry Morrison Flagler, the industrialist, oil magnate and railroad pioneer. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Since its founding in 1968, the college has spent more than $43 million restoring the historic campus and adding new buildings. The newest buildings are the three-part former headquarters of the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) buildings on Malaga St. which have been converted into one female, one male dorm building, and one coed dorm building where each gender is separated by floors; Cedar Hall male dorm rooms on the corner of Cedar Street and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue; and the Ringhaver Student Center. The campus is located in the heart of St. Augustine, just four miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Flagler’s 19-acre athletic field is two miles from campus. While the college has recycled some historic buildings into new uses, it has also stirred up much controversy by seeking to demolish historic buildings surrounding the campus.
Henry Flagler’s grandson, 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. Lewis served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Flagler College for more than 20 years, guiding the College through a re-organization in 1971. He directed millions of dollars through foundations, family and personal funds into new construction, restoration projects, endowment and various other programs to ensure the continued success of Flagler College.