tv Book Discussion on Mr. Flaglers St. Augustine CSPAN September 4, 2015 6:12pm-6:23pm EDT
od -- period of time. so for many years, there was a thriving multiethnic culture that was filtered through spanish piety, spanish teletext, spanish economics, and it still shows. -- spanish politics it shows in the layout of the city. it is a wonderful place where you you can see the other story of the united states which is not told is incredibly important , not just because of what it says about florida and the united states, but because of the international dimension. long before internationalization became a buzzword, this place people'sd by different , ethnic groups, cultures, languages, trades, and religions. >> we continue our tour of the literary life of saint augustine flagler author of "mr.
st. augustine." mr. graham: we are in the grand parlor of the hotel ponce daily on -- de leon. this was the area of the most hotel init -- resort the country when it opened in the 1880's and this room was ,sed for receptions on occasion president grover cleveland had a reception here, admiral dewey had a reception here. president-elect warren g. harding in 1921 had a reception here. it is a room that is full of history. by henry was built
morrison flagler. flagler is a man who is very little known outside of the state of florida, but he was one of the wealthiest men in america . he essentially had been a cofounder of standard oil company with john d rockefeller. in their early years of standard oil, rockefeller and flagler were best friends. they had homes on euclid avenue in cleveland near each other. when standard moved its headquarters to new york city, rockefeller and flagler had homes across the street from each other on fifth avenue. in their office in cleveland, they pushed their desks together back-to-back so they could hand documents back and forth to each other. was standard oil's
railroad man. he was the person who worked out the deals with the railroads in new york and pennsylvania and ohio to haul standard oil's products. flagler was noted for driving hard bargains. he would get rebates from the railroads which would be reduced standard's products. standard a big advantage over its competitors in that it could ship more cheaply over the railroads than they could. didother thing that flagler was that he originated the idea of the standard oil trust, a way of combining various three variousompanies --
refining companies into one big organization. later on, john d rockefeller was asked who had come up with the idea of the trust and rockefeller said he wished he had had the brains to think of it, but it was henry flagler's idea. so he was a key person in standard oil. although he is not given much credit in the general histories. washe 1880's, standard oil complete. it was a finished work. it was perhaps the largest corporation in the world. it dominated the oil industry and i think henry flagler was looking for a new challenge. he was a man who always wanted to undertake some great enterprise, and as it turned out, florida was it. inhad invested in florida
the early 1880's because another of his neighbors on fifth avenue plant, ark was henry b railroad builder in the south who was building a railroad line down to tampa on the west coast of florida. ingler invested some money plant's enterprises. later on, when both flagler and plant were very active in florida, they essentially divided the state rather than compete with each other. plant took the west coast and flagler took the east coast and they both built railroads, they both built hotels. they were friendly competitors. when flagler decided to build to begin ponce de leon his florida enterprises, he realized that the industrial commercial evolution had created
a large class of wealthy people, and also of upper-middle-class people, people who could take the time and who have the money to come to florida in the wintertime. thus, he said what would they want? they would want a modern hotel. thathat had electricity, had modern bathrooms, one that had excellent, up-to-date kitchen and dining room, that had steam heat, that had elevators, all of the amenities that a first-class hotel would have. and flagler gave this to them. that he gave it to them in the setting of a spanish renaissance palace. andired thomas hastings
another young architect who would later go on to be the architect's most notably of the new york public library. they turned what had been a hotelinto a luxury resort that looked like something that had been picked up from spain, from seville, and brought over here and dropped down on the east coast in what was an old spanish town. saint augustine was noted at the time and still is, of course, as the oldest city in america. flagler was sensitive in coming up with a modern building, but one that would fit in with the ambience of an old spanish town. henry flagler was a hardheaded businessman. at standard oil, we saw him as a
hardheaded businessman. but, he was also somebody who had big ideas. at standard, he was able to corporation.ant in florida, i believe he came with a limited idea at first. just build a hotel in saint augustine. but i also believe that very quickly, that dream expanded. for example, he realized that he needed to on the railroad railroad- own the between jacksonville and saint augustine to make sure that guests could get to his hotel conveniently. he built the first railroad bridge across the st. john's river in jacksonville so that people could make it from new york to saint augustine without changing trains. but in buying that railroad, he bought the rights to extend the
railroad all the way to daytona beach. this is even before he had completed his hotels in saint augustine. clearly, the dream was beginning to grow on flagler. later on, somebody asked him that question, did you envision an empire that would expand all the way to miami and key west? and flagler said yes. he was a man who had big dreams. he was a visionary. the big question is, what impacted -- what impact did flagler have on florida's history and the future of florida and would florida have developed a the same way it did without flagler? we don't know, but i suppose you could guess that yes, florida would have developed pretty much the same way, but flagler certainly accelerated the process.
so much of the east coast of florida was essentially wasteland until he built his railroad. you simply couldn't develop an area like palm beach or miami until you had secure rail transportation to the outside world. realized he was pioneering, that he was opening up these areas to development. .t surprised even him in his old age, he said, "i always believed in the future of florida, but i didn't appreciate how quickly it would happen." >> up next, we talk with tracey eaton, author of the book "bubba bandit." prof. eaton: