Hotel Ponce DeLeon
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Johns County
This site is located in the Northeast region of the state.
The Hotel Ponce de Leon at Flagler College covers the entire block bounded by King Street, Valencia Street, Sevilla Street and Cordova Street. Access to this site is gained by travelling east on King Street from US 1.
This site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The present-day site of Flagler College, the Spanish Renaissance style Hotel Ponce de Leon came to life in May 1887 as one of Henry Flagler’s magnificent hotels. With the depression, however, guest occupancy declined to approximately ten percent by 1932. Fund raisers for British relief efforts were conducted here prior to the United States entry into the war.
With the virtual collapse of Florida tourism after Pearl Harbor, the owners of the Ponce de Leon were willing to lease the facility to the U.S. Coast Guard for training purposes. From 1942 to 1945, 2,500 recruits trained and resided in several of the St. Augustine resort hotels at any one time. In addition to the Ponce de Leon, the Hotel Monson and the Hotel Bennett served the Coast Guard as well.
Upon the Allied victory in August 1945, the Ponce de Leon returned to service as a luxury hotel. With a severe lack of tourist volume, however, the magnificent Ponce de Leon became Flagler College in the late 1970s.
Tours of the former hotel conducted by Flagler College include an exhibit, which recognizes and honors United States Coast Guard training here during WWII.