Hotel Ponce de Leon

Flagler’s St. Augustine Hotels
Flagler’s St. Augustine Hotels
Hotel Ponce de Leon Later Years
Picture of Flagler College

Dublin Core


Hotel Ponce de Leon

Alternative Title

Flagler College's Ponce Hall

Date Created


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The original purpose of this building was as a grand hotel.
This building was a Coast Guard training center during World War II.
This building was repurposed as a college.


The Hotel Ponce de Leon was opened in 1888 by Henry Flagler as a luxury hotel in St. Augustine, FL. Henry Flagler is accredited with modernizing St. Augustine and turning it into the "Newport of the South." This was his first hotel, but he went on to build many more hotels along the east coast of Florida as well as the Florida East Coast Railroad.

During World War II, the Hotel was borrowed by the Federal Government and converted into the Barracks and training ground for the Coast Guard. Locals remember the trainees and the gun or cannon fire from training periods throughout the day when gun exercises took place.

In 1968, to save the Hotel from demolition, Flagler's heirs turned the building into an all-women's college. In 1971 with the ascendency of Dr. William L. Proctor to the office of president, the College became co-ed and was accredited.  Since then, Flagler College regularly wins awards and accolades for both academics and athletics. Air conditioning was first installed in Ponce Hall in c.2001. Extensive renovations of Ponce Hall were started in 2022 and are currently ongoing. Flagler College is a small, liberal arts college with one Master's degree in Deaf Education.

Has Part

The Hotel Ponce de Leon was part of Henry Flagler's Enterprises, specifically, the Florida East Coast Railroad System.
The Hotel was part of the auxiliary training locations created immediately before and during WWII to train Coast Guardsmen.
Ponce Hall is the main building on Flagler College's campus.


Parts of Ponce Hall are open to the public. For tour information, please refer to Historic Tours of Flagler College.

Rights Holder

Flagler College
74 King Street 
St. Augustine, FL 32084


The following books, articles, websites, and photographers were used to find the above photographs or illustrations:

Photograph 1 (c.1886): Graham, Thomas. Flagler’s St. Augustine Hotels: The Ponce de Leon, The Alcazar, and the Casa Monica. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, Inc.

Photograph 2 (c.1887): Graham, Thomas. Flagler’s St. Augustine Hotels: The Ponce de Leon, The Alcazar, and the Casa Monica. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, Inc.

Photograph 3 (c. 1950s): Courtesy of the Flagler College Archives.

Photograph 4 (2023): Augusty, Jean-Marc. "Picture of Flagler College." March 24, 2023.


Flagler College Special Collections is neither the original nor current copyright owner for the photographs.  Please contact the publisher or source cited for each photograph to obtain a copy and/or permission to reproduce these items.

Date Submitted

This record was last updated on March 27, 2023.


Carrere & Hastings, “Hotel Ponce de Leon,” St. Augustine Fiction, accessed June 13, 2024,