John and I have walked the streets of St. Augustine, toured four museums, and still feel as though we have not made much headway in seeing all of this town.That is not a complaint, for it has all been most interesting. In the aftermath of the Civil War, Florida became a winter retreat for northern visitors. Henry Flagler, a self-made millionaire, who with John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company, was the man who turned St. Augustine into a winter vacation spot. He started building a great Gilded Age empire of hotels and railroads that extended from the city south to Key West. There are three of his hotels still in St. Augustine today, one of them, the Cordova, still functions as a hotel today. Another one, the the Alcazar, is a museum today as well as the city hall for St.Augustine. Otto Lightner bought the hotel in 1947 to house his 40 to 50 thousand antiques and collectibles. The hotel rooms surrounding the courtyard are now the city hall offices, the museum part is located where there once were steam rooms, the bowling alley,casino and ballroom. The hotel once had the largest swimming pool in the world, now it is a cafe for the museum. The picture below was taken from the ballroom looking down at the cafe.