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Florida House
131 St. George St.
St. Augustine Florida
The Florida House was originally built in 1833. It opened in 1835. Mr. J. H. Rehmer of Ansonia, Connecticut
erected the main building in 1875.

Rev. Henry Benjamin Whipple gave it a review in 1843. "And as it was very late I put up at the Florida
House, a miserable hotel by the way, and remained there over the Sabbath."

In 1847 the Planters Hotel was listed for sale. The owner stated that "My property will be sacrificed, which
cost me not short of forty-thousand dollars (40,000). It will bring in ten years ten times as much as now." The
hotel was old wood, well built, about 90 ft by 50 ft calculated to accommodate ninety persons. The brick
House (with store below was one of the best constructed and finished house in the place.

In 1848 the Planters' Hotel was listed as a spacious and convenient public house, well adapted to the
accommodation of the public. This large establishment is to be opened the ensuing fall, under the
supervision of its present proprietor, Mr. Loring. The Florida House, on the side opposite, is a large,
well-kept establishment, belonging to Mr. Cole.

The Florida Herald  advertised the property by George R. Fairbanks, Esq, the Master in Chancery as
"bounded on the north by lot of heirs of Franci Medices and Treasury Lane; the east by Charlotte Street on
the south by a lot of John W. Hanson; and on the west by premises of Dr. Peck."

In 1867 Florida House owned by J. H. Remer. An ice house is being erected in the grounds of the Florida
House. It will be kept filled during the summer. Last year, through the instrumentality of Col. Sprague the city
was supplied with ice at very reasonable rates; but previously we were debarred that luxury, except at
exorbitant prices. Ice is exceedingly desirable here and we hope that the proprietors of the hotel will be
enabled to furnish the citizens with it.

George L. Atkins and Sons were the proprietors of the Florida House Hotel in the 1880s. Their summer
hotel was the Ocean Hotel in Asbury Park, New Jersey, open from June 15th to September 15th.

What became
Grace Methodist Episcopal Church was started in 1881 by George L Atkins and Sons hotel
proprietors from Asbury Park NJ.  At that time, there was no Methodist Church serving white people in town.
The church was organized in the fall of 1881 at the Florida House.  

In 1883, George Atkins petitioned the town council for permission to build a pedestrian bridge over Treasury
Street, connecting the Florida House with the Planters Hotel, and enlarging the hotel.

In the 1884
Chapins Hand Book of St. Augustine by Elias Nason, the Florida House was advertised as a
winter hotel open from December to April. Chapins reported that improvements had been made to the hotel,
and that its 131 rooms were large, elegantly furnished, well ventilated, and lighted throughout with gas. A
steam passenger elevator carries guests to the New improvements were made for the year. The rooms
were advertised as large, elegantly furnished, well ventilated, and lighted throughout with gas.  A steam
passenger elevator carries fourth floor. The introduction of steam into the building insures a warm and
comfortable house. Electric bells in each room connect with the office. Terms are $4.00 a day. A liberal
reduction given to parties desiring to engage rooms for the season. Special rates for January. George L.
Atkins and Sons ran the hotel.

The Hotel was located on 131 St. George street near the Plaza.

The sister hotel to the Florida House was Pierce Villa in Cottage City, Massachusetts. The rates at Pierce
Villa were $3 to $4 per day in 1890.

A Visitor's Impression (A Winter in Florida or Observations on the soil, climate, and products of Florida
by Ledyard Bill, 1870)
Across the St. Sebastian river, on the rope-ferry, and a rapid drive through the dark and narrow streets, and
we were ushered into the Florida House, tired, and hungry, and battered. A plain, comfortable, clean room
would have been a luxury: it was what we had hoped for, a place to lay our bones for a refreshing sleep; but
this was not on the programme. We were told the house was filled, and the town crowded, but we could have
a room. Dispatching a hurried meal, we were shown through the house and across the yard, up a rickety
pair of stairs, to a filthy room over the dirty kitchen, the former "negro quarters," and with a stinking black
lamp, that had been innocent of soap and water since it fell into its proprietor's possession. Left here in this
indecent room, with a flavor of onions and stews from below, and a sickening odor of bugs above, our first
impressions of St. Augustine were likely to have a rather biased and unpleasant coloring.

Their concluding talk about the hotel: The Florida House ---well, it don't deserve either patronage or mention,
except that it is now for sale; the owners, not unlikely, having become themselves disgusted with it.

1890s
n the early 1890s Charles F. Beck was the proprietor followed by J. T. Skiles was the proprietor. The ads
are based on the location between the City Gates and the Plaza, sanitary arrangements, best service,
special care in the selection of experienced and first-class cooks and assistants. Terms were $3.00 to
$4.00 a day with reduction for patrons who would take rooms for the season. It also had special rates for
January.

1892 The Tatler
The Florida House has changed hands for the first time in a number of years. It was a great disappointment
when it was announced that Mr. Beck, who had held the reins in such a masterly manner, would not stand at
the head of that house this year, but when word came that Mr.J. T. Skiles, so long associated with him, was
to manage the Florida, the friends of the house looked up again, and now all things are in order. The guests
sat down to dinner on Monday, the 4th inst. and today the book has a good list of arrivals and things are
going on as of yore. This is one of the pleasantest locations in the city. The majority of the rooms are bright,
sunny and well furnished. The parlors are comfortable and bright. The table and services leave nothing to be
desired. There is gas all through the house, electric bells, and an elevator that carries guests to the fourth
floor, where from the windows there is a beautiful view of the bay and ocean.

1896 Standard Guide Ad (See Below)
J T Skiles manager. 200 guests.

A New Century - The 1900s
In 1904 I. Hayden was the proprietor.

1909
J. O'Connor & Mahon, proprietors. Accommodates 250. Rates, $2.50 to $3.50 per day; special weekly and monthly
rates. Conveniently located and one of the most attractive hotels in the city. All modern conveniences and sanitary
plumbing.

1914
On the night of April 2, 1914 a fire started in the boiler room of the Florida House. Four hotels , the Courthouse, the
Opera House and homes and businesses burned.
Early 1880s
St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida, 1884
Series Title:  Insurance maps of St. Augustine, Florida
Physical Description:  Map
Creator:  Sanborn Map Company

Note the walkway across Treasury from the Florida House to the old Planter Hotel. In
this drawing the Florida House was four stories and the old Planter two stories. By
1888 the old Planter Hotel was gone.
Standard Guide 1896
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