St. Augustine has a unique history as the oldest, continuously inhabited city and port in the continental United States. Because of its rich history, the city boasts buildings, like the famous Castillo de san Marcos National Monument, that date back to the 17th Century. Influenced by Spanish, French and British colonial eras, the city has a heritage as rich as America's own, with the many new immigrant groups leaving their mark on the city as their descendants remained.
In the 1880s, Henry Flagler, a wealthy New York oil man, traveled to Florida on vacation and took an interest in building the tourism industry there. It was popular in that time for people from "up North" to take health cures down in the South, escaping from the brutal winters and disease epidemics that went with them. Flagler was charmed by the area and soon was investing millions in railroads and hotels to get his Northern guests down to St. Augustine, and the rest of Florida. The city would never be the same! From the iconic Spanish Renaissance architecture of his Hotel Ponce de Leon (now Flagler College) to the railroads that brought flocks of snow birds every year, providing locals with a steady income stream, Flagler's influence is felt to this day.
Visitors from around the world now come to enjoy St. Augustine's historic attractions, charming streets lined with shops, restaurants and art galleries and of course, the beautiful beaches that line the coast. Visit oldcity.com for more information about the Nation's Oldest City and for resources to help plan your visit!