American Riviera – 1891

From King’s Handbook of the United States (1891):

The AlcazarChief Cities. –Jacksonville, 15 miles from the ocean on a bend of the St John’s River, is the metropolis of Florida with large fruit packing interests and grain, trade and some manufactures; and entertains nearly 80,000 guests every winter season. It has a large ocean commerce, with wharves lining the river front for miles. The broad avenues and suburban shell roads are lined with live oaks and fragrant flowers and afford pleasant drives. St Augustine, with its quaint Spanish lanes and balconied buildings, crumbling gates and castle, and noble magnolias, palms, and oleanders is the oldest city in the United States and has the most costly and magnificent hotels in the world. Ponce de Leon HotelTwo of these, the Ponce de Leon and the Alcazar, cost $5.000 000 and are massively built of shell concrete in semi Saracenic Spanish Renaissance architecture with towers, casinos and courtyards. The Hotel Cordova is a third magnificent Moresque structure. St Augustine also possesses the most elaborate modern Pompeian villa in the world designed by a British architect with atrium and solarium. The new Presbyterian and Methodist churches are among the finest pieces of architecture in the South. On the Plaza de la Constitucion stands the old slave market; and the Huguenot Cemetery, the graves of Maj Dade’s command, the old convents and churches, the many attractive and interesting drives, and the yachting in the adjacent waters, furnish a great variety of interest for visitors to the American Riviera.

Source:  Sweetser, M. F., and Moses King. King’s Handbook of the United States. Buffalo, N.Y.: Moses King Corp, 1891.

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