Statement of Significance (as of designation - February 17, 2006):
The Hotel Ponce de Leon (Flagler College since 1968) was the first Florida's great winter luxury hotels and the flagship of Henry M. Flagler's railroad-hotel-land development empire in Florida. Henry Flagler made his fortune during the period immediately following the Civil War. He was one of John D. Rockefeller's two original partners and a founder of the Standard Oil Company in 1870. Standard Oil became the world's first and greatest oil monopoly. After 1911, Flagler then moved his attention to the development of the State of Florida. He built the Florida East Coast Railway that eventually extended all down the Atlantic Coast if Florida. He established new towns, improved older ones, and developed hotels, resorts, and other needed facitities for the state to grow. The original hotel building complex was designed by Carrere and Hastings and constructed from 1885-1887. Its Beaux Arts design plan and innovative construction materials made the Spanish Renaissance Revival luxury hotel one of world renown.