Lightner Museum 

An Iconic St. Augustine Museum Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary

By David Bagnall, Executive Director of The Lightner Museum

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Lightner Museum and the 135th anniversary of the museum’s historic St. Augustine building. Located in the heart of downtown St. Augustine, the Lightner has been an important part of the community since it was first built as the Hotel Alcazar in 1888. 

 Founded by Chicago publisher Otto C. Lightner (1886-1950), the Lightner Museum offers an immersive experience of art, architecture, history, and design. The museum occupies the former Hotel Alcazar, a Gilded Age resort hotel commissioned by Standard Oil executive Henry Flagler (1830-1913). During its heyday, the hotel was renowned for its recreational facilities, including baths for health and wellness, a gymnasium, a substantial indoor swimming pool, a bowling alley, and a grand ballroom. Outside, a croquet lawn and tennis courts completed the hotel’s entertainments. At the height of its popularity during the 1890s, thousands of guests passed through the doors of the Alcazar. Each winter season the hotel came alive with elaborate parties, charity balls, and local celebrations. As the 20th century wore on, changing tastes and increased options for vacationing due to Flagler’s expansion of the railroad south, led to an ongoing decline in visitation to the Alcazar. Following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and the ensuing Depression, the hotel closed its doors in 1931.

Read More

Author: Arbus

Share This Post On

Subscribe for the Weekly Buzz from Arbus Magazine

Join our email list! It's your spot for cultural to-do's around Northeast Florida.

You have Successfully Subscribed!