The Lightner Museum, St. Augustine Florida
The Lightner Museum is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel built in 1888 - one of the hotels that Henry Flagler built in St. Augustine to encourage tourism. The hotel offered a casino, a grand ballroom a gymnasium, a bowling alley, archery ranges, tennis courts, and the world's largest indoor swimming pool at that time.
During the Depression, the hotel closed and was later purchased by a gentleman from Chicago, Otto Lightner. Lightner was a collector and encouraged everyone to collect something. During the 1930's he purchased items from Chicago mansions. On a trip to Florida for health reasons, he purchased the then vacant Alcazar Hotel for $150,000. In 1948 the Alcazar Hotel became the Lightner Museum and he filled the hotel with his treasures.
Today, the indoor pool is the site of a popular restaurant, Cafe Alcazar, and the complex houses the City of St. Augustine Municipal offices and the Museum. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Museum is open 9 am - 5 pm 7 days a week, 364 days a year. Docents are available to answer questions.
Even if you don't plan on visiting the museum, be sure to walk through the entrance way to view the central garden and koi pond inside the courtyard. This area is a popular venue for weddings and a great place to take photographs as well as to seek shelter from the heat during the summer.