Casa Monica Hotel
Cordova Hotel
HABS FL-169
The demand for apartments in the Hotel "Sunnyside" has for years trebly exceeded its capacity. Its patrons
will be gratified to know that it is being substituted by a spacious and elegant structure on the same site, to
be named
                                            
                                
CASA MONICA

Sunnyside with its annexes, "Villula" and "Villa del Sol," will be opened Dec 15; the new section of "Casa
Monica" on the 15th of January, 1887, with a capacity of 120 rooms. (This is the old Sunnyside which
had been moved).

The situation, directly opposite the "
Ponce de Leon," now in progress, fronts the U. S. grounds and is
adjacent to the Plaza, the churches, ancient Cathedral, Post Office, Theatre, Club House, Harbor, etc.;
and certainly is unsurpassed for entertaining surroundings, by any location in Florida.

The balconies and porches, several hundred feet in length, offer full facilities for the outdoor existence
which attracts increasing migration from snows and furnace heated shelters of the North. All the premises
have been newly and handsomely furnished; many of the rooms are of extra size, with closets, and in
communication as suites; gas, electric bells, hot and cold sulphur baths from an artesian well on the
premises, are added appliances for health and comfort. It is intended that the Casa Monica shall be a first
class establishment, with most refined and convenient appointments.

An ample dining room and kitchen, also with fire-proof walls, have been built apart from the residential
building, avoiding the objectionable contact of sleeping and cooking under the same roof.

The manager of Casa Monica, Mr. J. L. Scott, has a wide reputation in the North, as proprietor for
seventeen years of the hotel at Highgate Springs, Vt., famed for the excellence of its cuisine and the
scrupulous neatness of its premises.

A French chef will lead the table supplies, which will be of best materials from the North, with the early
vegetables of New Year's. The design is prepared for the completion of Casa Monica, with a frontage of
about 450 feet, to be opened at the same date as the
Ponce de Leon and the Alcazar, Jan 1, 1888.


Franklin Smith received the land and the Sunnyside Hotel building (with it moved to the site) in exchange
for Smith's interest in the Ball Estate property.

The Casa Monica (named after the mother of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo). Franklin Smith built the
Casa Monica with a Moorish Revival style design in 1887. It opened on January 1, 1888 with only 3
guests registered.

1895 Tatler
The Hotel Cordova opened for the reception of guest on the first of November, 1894, and since that day
has done a business surpassing that of any previous year. On the second Sunday of this month the house
was well filled with guests, and although the Ponce de Leon draws a number of their patrons from them, it
continues to book several pages daily.
Mr. Knott, the manager, is now domiciled across the way, but still
spends much of his time in the smaller hostelry, and by systematic arrangement of his time is able to look
after the details of both houses. The members of the staff of the Cordova are admirably fitted for their
respective positions. Mr. A. S. Loomis, who has charge of the register, is a courteous gentlemen,
thoroughly familiar with the duties of his position, and regarding the comforts of the guests as his especial
care. Mr. Arthur Marsh, the obliging cashier, who also assists in the general office work, is a bright young
man in the right place, and both gentlemen are high appreciated by the house guests.

Mr. Frank Remlinger, Mr. Knott's private secretary and stenographer, looks after many of the out-door
details, besides assisting in the office, where he ably seconds the efforts of the two gentlemen always there
in a multiplicity of duties that apparently are well accomplished.

Mr. Edward R. Grabow faithfully cares for the comforts of the guests during the watches of the night,
finding time to disport himself in the Casino for the delectation of visitors to the pool during the day.

* * *
Wednesday was the Cordova dance night and at least five hundred persons enjoyed it. The hotel guests
were most numerous, although there were many home people there and dancing. It is quite the proper
thing to make up a dancing party, go there and enjoy the music and dancing for an hour or two and have a
Welsh rarebit party afterwards. Among the hotel people present were Mrs. Lucas and a party from the
Cordova, including Baron de Barrel, another including Miss Dwight and her friends. A number of Ponce
de Leon guests including Mr. and Mrs. Clark Howells, Mrs. Charles Jones and Mrs. Lowry. They were
joined by Mrs.
Ingraham and her guest Miss Markham, Miss Livingston and Miss Swamn of Jacksonville,
Mrs. Spades, her daughter, Mr. Dearing and Doctor Foster.

Timeline:
1887     May Henry Flagler sales the land to Smith for  King and Cordova sites   (construction begins)       
1888 January 17 Opens
1888 April 20 Bought by
Henry Flagler
1888    July  Flagler adds addition on the east to dining room.
1892   Carriage entry closed, cafe located near the dining room.
1893 November 5th opening  (till May) - Rate $3-$4 a day (by the week each person $21.00 and
upwards.)
1895 parlors, writing-room, the sun parlor, and corridor were converted into bazaars.
1896 Only sleeping apartments opened. Dining room used as an audience-hall or ballroom. There was a
reconfiguration of the entrance hall and stairs. Shops were created in the former offices along Cordova,
and the elevator removed.
1900 Apartments built - two apartments on each floor opening onto each staircase and two on the landing
where the elevator would e available. Each apartment was to be from two to ten rooms, working off of a
private hall, and containing a private bath. Apartments were furnished or unfurnished including
housekeeping.
1903   Walkway built from Alcazar to Cordova
1910   Substituted steam for gas heat
1919 August 15 first home of 1st National Bank
1924 Dining room removed and the shops along King street extended back into the courtyard.
1930 Lobby reopened and elevator added.
1932   In the spring the hotel closed
1961   Florida East Hotel Company sells to County for $250,000
County renovates for 1.68 million (includes purchase price)
1999 December 10 Casa Monica reopens

Rooms:
Writing Room
Parlor
Sun Parlor 108 foot long
Library or Reading Room
Dinning Room (at courtyard on King)
Ladies Writing room (round Tower)
Drawing Room (round Tower)

200 guest rooms arranged in suites with private parlors, where meals were served if desired.  All of the
suites were equipped with closets, electric lights, gas heat and electric bells to call for service. Baths were
located on each floor.

1894 -270 guests accommodations plus chambers contained baths.

Building:
Entrance on King St Modeled after the Puerta del Sol at Toledo Spain
Kneeling balconies on lower range of windows
Carriage entrance on King Street
Facade above 400 feet
Tower 100 feet in height
3 towers (two with battlements)
one round (six stories)
two square
(Corner tower 7 stories)
Roof type flat parapet
Dinning room 2 rows of handsome fluted pillars
Gas heat originally converted into steam heat
Originally lit by gas
1900 - Apartments built 2 to 10 rooms each furnished or unfurnished, privilege of
housekeeping
Cordova side classical columns built in the 1960s
Cordova Park east of Cordova

Fire escapes were rings attached to wall under windows. Onto the ring is tied a length of rope adequate to
reach the street.

Sewer system ran to harbor

Elevator, boiler, and heating apparatus of hotel supplied by the Whittier Machine Company.

Managers:
1888 - 1893 Mr. E. N. Wilson
1893-94  
O. D. Seavey
1894   Clarence B Knott

Other Employees:
1892 Chef- Theo C Manna
Stewart -
Robert Murray
Head waiter - C C Randolph
Pastry - John Messier
Muffins - Edward Longwood
Register - A E Martin
Master of Ceremonies - B S Hoag
Cashier - Arthur L R Despeaux
Keys and Mail - E E Wilson / Geo A Oruis
Housekeeper Mrs. A. Logan
Engine and Machinery - John Bevins
Cafe - Charles Berry

1894 Chef John Buelletta
1894 George W. Boinkin head bellman

Room Rate:
1894 3 and 4 dollars per day

Shops:
El Unico Gift Shop (under arch by the round tower – photographs/books
Asaboonian and Simonian
Curiosity Shop
HW Davis Clothing
Smith and Woodman Druggist
WJ Henry Bicycles

Library:
Burkes Peerage
Almanach de Gotha
Websters Royal Red Book
Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes
Masterpieces of Industrial Art & Sculpture at the International Exhibit by J. B Waring (1862)
House of Commons and the Judicial Bench
Castles and Abbeys of England

Within 4 months after opening Franklin Smith sold the building to Henry Flagler who renamed it the
Cordova. On April 20, 1888 Henry Flagler purchased the Casa Monica and all items for $325,000.  

Later (in 1903) Henry Flagler decided to build a walk way to the Cordova from the Alcazar.   You  can
still see the remains of that walkway on the second floor of the Alcazar. When this was completed in 1902
the Cordova became the Alcazar Annex.

It certainly recovered from this.  Today, it is a AAA 4 Diamond hotel  and it has its original name back the
Casa Monica.  They are always happy to have you take a look inside.

It operated as the St. John's County Courthouse from May 29,1968-1997. The property was acquired by
Richard Kessler and completely renovated. It reopened as a hotel December 10 of 1999 taking back its
original Casa Monica name.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs
Division, Historic American Buildings Survey
or Historic American Engineering Record,
Reproduction Number
(Ex:"HABS,ILL,16-CHIG,33-2")
Other Articles
Plumbers Strike
Note Pillars from old County Courthouse use
Cordova Hotel Courtyard
New York Public Library
Cordova Menu
New York Public Library
The Tatler
1895
2 Photos of Francis Benjamin Johnson above
Library of Congress
The Cordova, St. Augustine, Fla.
Photographer:
William Henry Jackson, 1843-1942
Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher
Date Created/Published: c1902.
Casa Monica
Photographer:
William Henry Jackson, 1843-1942,  
Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher
Date Created/Published: c[between 1880 and 1897]
Casa Monica

Cordova St. Augustine, Fla., The
Related Names:    
Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher
Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1899]
Casa Monica

The Cordova, St. Augustine, Fla.]
Related Names:  
Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher
Date Created/Published: c[between 1910 and 1920]
Casa Monica and Lyon Building
http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074227/00002
Material Information
Title:  St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida, 1888
Series Title:  Insurance maps of St. Augustine, Florida
Physical Description:  Map
Creator:  Sanborn Map Company
Flagler Construction 1885 to 1890
Flagler Era 1890 to 1900
Ponce de Leon Hotel
Ponce de Leon Entrance
Ponce de Leon Rotunda
Ponce de Leon Grand Parlor
Ponce de Leon Dining Room
News Article of 1889 opening
Signor Jovine - 1889 Singer
The Fame of the Ponce de Leon Hotel
Chemist at the Ponce de Leon Hotel
Count Prokaski
Harry Flagler Takes Charge of Hotel
Osborn Seavey
Robert Murray
Flagler Sewer System
Flagler Laundry
Flagler Statute
Artists Who Created Hotel
Carrere and Hastings
McDonald and McGuire
Clarence B. Knott
Ponce Studio Artists
Cuban Giants at Ponce de Leon Hotel
Reception for Mrs. U. S. (Julia) Grant at
the Ponce de Leon Hotel
William J Hammer
Electricity in St. Augustine
Seavey House
Henry Morrison Flagler
Casino
Alcazar Hotel
Casa Monica or Cordova
Flagler Hotel Competition
Joseph Greaves
Coast Guard Alters the Ponce de Leon Hotel
Ida Alice
Florida East Coast Railroad
 
   
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