unless the situation cnanzes
Famous Building Stille Picture 6thloved Landmark
Famous Building Still A Beloved Landmark
Artist Conception of Hotel Casa Monica (Cordova Hotel) As It Appeared in 1888
CASA MONICA REMEMBERED
AS ONE OF ST. AUGUSTINE'S
FIRST LUXURY RESORT HOTELS
The Casa Monica Hotel, at the corner of King and Cordova
Streets, has been much in the news of late, but few know of the
beginning and early-day glory of this building which through the
years has captured the eye of admirers of architectural beauty.
Casa Monica? That is the original name of the present Cor-
dova Building (Cordova Hotel). Present research does not reveal
the exact date when the Casa Monica became the Cordova, but it
is believed to have gained its new name when the late Henry M.I
Flagler took over the ....i.;,,. which became one of a list of resort
hotels he planned for Florida.
is charmingly set off by Angelo
balconies, after those of Seville,
Spain. Such balconies were
originally designed by Michael
Angelo and named by him,
'kneeling balconies' because of
the protruding base. This was
said to enable the faithful to
kneel during religious proces-
sions of his day."
Upon entering the archway of
the "Puerto de Sol," carriage
entrance from King Street and
now the location of Drake's
ready-to-wear store, g u ests
found themselves in an open
court. Orange trees, and their
perfumed blossoms, and other
An 18 publication reiers to Florida plantings here helped to
it as The Casa Monica, sched- yea, who visited St. Augustine greet the visitor to Florida and
uled for opening in January of in 1936, stated that her father St. Augustine.
1888. However, a program an- "came to St. Augustine about There were many other fea-
nouncing the hotel's opening has five years before the construc- tures of The Cordova which were
the wording "The Cordova Ho- tion of the Ponce de Leon was favorites in its hey-day and one
tel" stamped over The Casa started; that he subsequently of these was the "Sala de Sol,"
Monica. It remains the property designed and built his hotel at or sun parlor, 108 feet long. This
of the Florida East Coast Hotel the same time the Ponce de Leon gallery, paved with tiles, was
Company, a member of the was under construction . ." The glass-roofed by the designer to
Flagler System. properties were later acquired let in direct sunshine so
A booklet titled "Florida, The by Flagler, and at one time was sought for by those coming to
American Riviera, and St. Au- annexed to the Alcazar Hotel Florida for their health. A hall,
gustine the Winter Newport," with a bridge-like arrangement decorated in Saracenis style, for
printed in 1887, said: "The Casa which passed over Cordova amusements and entertainment
Mof.ca would be at home in any Street, connecting the two hos- among the guests, was another
of the cities of Spain, like those telries. popular gathering spot. Or-
huge castles which dominated Through the years some phy- chestral music and excellent
neighborhoods in feudal times. he popularity
neighborhoods in feudal times. sical changes have been made to cuisine added to the popularity
Its impression of strengthandthe outside, but basically it re- of the resort hotel.
massiveness increases as the eye mains the same strong edifice The Cordova's first name, The
ascends the lofty towers from visioned by its creator. The Casa Monica, is said to have
base to battlements." The de- majority of today's passersby been approximately so called in
scription further states that the are unaware of the luxuries of honor of the canonized mother of
of fire and st defies norm al elthat emeonly past years when wealthy .guests St. Augustine Casa being
dof fire and storm and that os occupied the 200 rooms of the Spanish for house.
dynamite could destroy its mas- imposing structure. Only a tour The building remains a monu-
sive masonry construction, through the building would con- ment to a man almost forgotten.
The Casa Monica, or Cordova vince one of the grandeur and It has been unused as a hotel
Hotel,was the product of Frank- possibilities of today's subject since the spring of 1932, al-
lin Smith who was described as of "The St. Augustine Picture." though it has faithfully served
a dreamer, but also an archi- Many long-time residents and as locations for a number of
tect and a practical man. Cer- present day visitors, however, prominent business firms. We,
tainly he had an eye for the can recall many gay days at- here at the National, feel a
beautiful and left such a pleas- tached to The Cordova, as it has particular fondness for the
ant mark upon our city. Mr. been more popularly known Cordova Building as our bank
Smith said the structure he throughthe years, occupied the downstairs King
wanted must be "imperishable One printed account further and Cordova corner location
by fire or decay; impervious to describes the building thusly: when we first opened for busi-
moisture and independent of ex- "The ornamentation of the front ness on August 15, 1919. Again
eternal repairs .. Mrs. Nina Dur facade consists of tiles, im- rin 1954-55 period we occupied a
ported from Valencia, set in location in the same building, on
panels with brilliant effect, the Cordova Street side, while
". These Spanish tiles also decor- complete remodelling and ex-
/ / ate stone balconies which light- pension of our Cathedral Street
-j en each wing in their upper stor- home was underway.
/ .?' ^ xies. The lower range of windows The Cordova is a building
SerceThe St. Augustine Picture is published for
- your reading interest
M[matioral C Bank
Member Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
which is a handsome landmark what restored and that it will
in the Plaza area, its beauty again become an important and
continues to grow on us, but for useful facility to our community.
years its vacancy has presented Its beauty harmonizes charm-
questions from visitors. Those ingly with the many old and oth-
who remember have hopes that er interesting features in The
its former glory will be some- St. Augustine Picture.
from King St.
-.' -~ -,~ ..
_.- 4~43 ~. .
Sala -Del Sol (Sun Parlor)
Sala Del Sol (Sun Parlor)
A NATIONAL BANKING INSTITUTION
U LIo n ;