|Beginnings of St. Augustine Electricity
|Thomas Edison displayed the first electric light bulb on December 31, 1879. On September 4, 1882,
Thomas Edison put a six-generator plant into operation in New York City. When the Ponce de Leon
Hotel plant was finished in 1888 it was the largest isolated incandescent lighting plant ever constructed
--- an 8,000 light plant. The building housed four direct current Edison dynamos. Coal-fired boilers
powered the dynamos and the artesian well had a generator powered by the foot-wide, twenty-foot
high gushing well. An article in the Manufactures and Builders Magazine stated that the
10,000,000 gallons of water a day was applied under a turbine water wheel that covered the well and
operated the dynamos that provided electricity for the hotel.
The lights were turned on in the dining room on January 6, four days before the special dinner on
opening night. The lights throughout the hotel were ready for the opening ceremonies.
The electrical system in the Ponce de Leon, Alcazar, and Casino was upgraded in 1894. The upgrade
included rewiring through brass conduits, cabinets, and marble junction tablets designed by Albert T.
Best, electrician of the Flagler system. There were 2,000 lights at the Alcazar and 1,200 at the Casino.
Also in 1894, the St. Augustine Electric Plant applied for incorporation for the plant to produce light,
heat and power; it would take St. Augustine until 1899 to get its own electric plant with the St.
Augustine Gas and Electric Company.
Title: St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida, 1899
Series Title: Insurance maps of St. Augustine, Florida
Physical Description: Map
Creator: Sanborn Map Company