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Nickerson L: The Architecture of Leisure: The Florida Coast Resorts of Henry Flagler and Henry Plant

Thursday, May 16
6 p.m.
Museum Members $5; Public $15. Buy tickets

In this lecture based on her 2002 book, Dr. Susan R. Braden examines the architecture, function, and extravagant leisure offerings of the grand Florida hotels built by Gilded Age rail barons Henry Flagler and Henry Plant. As enterprising industrialists began transforming Florida, Flagler and Plant created a string of resort hotels to attract wealthy northerners with an appetite for balmy climates and luxurious accommodations. These pleasure palaces, including the Spanish Renaissance-style St. Augustine’s Ponce de Leon, Georgian Revival Royal Poinciana in Palm Beach, Islamic Revival Tampa Bay Hotel, and Alpine-style Belleview, blended recognizable historical styles with stylistic and functional independence, and then capped them with luxury on a scale previously unknown in the Florida wilderness. Dr. Braden uses architectural plans as well as memoirs by Gilded Age visitors and employees to re-create the experience of Florida’s winter resorts, which formed a legacy of exotic fantasy and escape that endures there today.

This lecture is part of the Driehaus Museum’s 2013 Samuel M. Nickerson Lecture Series, a program which serves to situate the Nickerson Mansion within the context of social artistic developments of the period and against the wider background of America’s Gilded Age.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for any attendees who would like to explore the Museum and its collections. The lecture begins at 6 p.m. As space is limited, advance reservations are highly recommended.

About the Speaker

Dr. Susan Braden

Susan R. Braden, PhD, taught in the art history department at Auburn University for 20 years. Her major interest is in American art and architecture. Her book, The Architecture of Leisure: The Florida Resort Hotels of Henry Flagler and Henry Plant, was published by University Press of Florida in 2002. She was the Alabama representative to Southeastern Society of Architectural Historians in 2011.

 

Photo: A postcard for Henry Flagler’s Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, ca. 1909.

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