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Tiny Amelia Island, in the northeast corner of Florida, was once among the most important ports in the western hemisphere. Before Florida was granted statehood, the island served as an international gateway between Spanish Florida and the English colonies that would later become the United States. Where Spanish monks and pirates once roamed, the island eventually developed into a significant seaport that exported the rich resources of Florida's interior in the late 1800s. This era was known as the Golden Age of Amelia Island and the town located on its north end, Fernandina. The railroad that connected Amelia Island to the Gulf Coast was largely responsible for the Golden Age, as it brought a burgeoning economy and many of the South's most prominent and wealthy figures. Today the island is best known as a resort community but retains the influence and charm of its remarkable past.
Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine
In the late 1800s, Henry Morrison Flagler walked away from Standard Oil, leaving the enormously successful company in the hands of John D. Rockefeller while he headed to Florida to pursue other interests. Flagler’s new venture would lead him to completely restructure the sleepy town of St. Augustine and transform Florida’s entire east coast. This monumental biography tells the story of how one of the wealthiest men in America spared no expense to turn the country’s “Oldest City” into a highly desirable vacation destination for the rich. Upon arrival, Flagler found accommodations in St. Augustine to be inferior, so he set out to build the opulent Ponce de Leon Hotel, and thus began his endeavor to attract wealthy travelers to the small southern city. He funded hospitals and churches and improved streets and parks. He constructed railroads in remote areas where men feared to tread and erected palatial hotels on swampland. The rich and famous flocked to Flagler’s invented paradise. And he had the vision to stretch his new railroad southward, establishing hotels and accommodations along the way. In tracing Flagler’s second career, Thomas Graham reveals much about the inner life of the former oil magnate and the demons that drove him to expand a coastal empire that eventually encompassed Palm Beach, Miami, Key West, and finally Nassau. Graham also gives voice to the individuals that history has forgotten: the women who wrote tourist books, the artists who decorated the hotels, the black servants who waited tables, and the journalists who penned society columns for the newspapers. Arguably no man did more to make over a city—or a state—than Flagler. Almost single-handedly, he transformed Florida from a remote frontier into the winter playground of America’s elite. Filled with fascinating details that bring the Gilded Age to life, Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine provides an authoritative look at an intriguing man and a captivating time in American history.
St. Augustine: A Brief History of America's Oldest City
Take an enjoyable journey through one of America’s most beloved historical cities, rich with architecture and decades of multicultural influence. The history of St. Augustine is a long and memorable chronicle of a city that has existed for more than 450 years. Founded by Spain in 1565 and named San Agustín, the city continues to flourish in the 21st century. Despite destructive fires, floods, and colonial wars, St. Augustine still stands, proudly exhibiting its massive 17th century fortress, the colonial look of its old houses and streets, and the grand Guilded Age hotels.
Legendary Locals of Amelia Island
Amelia Island has been host to remarkable people throughout its 500-year history. These people are responsible for giving Amelia the distinction as the only place in the United States to have seen eight different flags. A new railroad followed the Civil War and brought those who sought to take advantage of the burgeoning shipping center. As opportunities waned, the island became a sleepy, blue collar community supported by the local paper mills. Prior to civil rights legislation desegregating the South, Fernandina's American Beach flourished as an African American coastal community. Meanwhile, local visionaries oversaw tight-knit communities and set the stage for the large resorts that came to the island's south end in the 1970s. Today, Amelia Island is a national tourist destination and home to a diverse of community of longtime residents and newcomers, both with remarkable talents and interesting stories to tell.
An American Beach for African Americans
"I am excited by this book. It is a great addition to the woefully scant scholarly materials that deal with the African American contribution to Florida history and culture. . . . Original and significant."--Patricia Waterman, University of South Florida
"The most detailed study that has been done on the history of American Beach. . . . A work of quality . . . very much welcomed."--Isiah J. Williams III, publisher and editor, Jacksonville Advocate
Floridanos, Menorcans, Cattle Whip Crackers: Poetry of St. Augustine
Poetry from this collection has been published in anthologies and journals, read at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Annual Conference and Florida Literary Arts Coalition Conferences, recognized at the Florida Folk Festival, and recorded for the Florida State Historical Archives. Dr. Ann Browning Masters is a retired faculty member of St. Johns River State College. She continues to read from her work in the Eckerd College Road Scholar Program. In 2015 she was knighted by the Board of Directors of the Easter Festival Committee of St. Augustine for her dedication in promoting St. Augustine s Spanish heritage. A St. Augustine native, Dr. Masters is a 12th generation Floridian.