In this week’s edition of The Florida History Podcast presented by The Florida Squeeze we begin a two part series on Henry Flagler’s contributions to Florida. In this episode we focus on Flagler’s 1880’s and 1890’s revival of St Augustine, the oldest city in the United States.
St Augustine had two eras of massive growth and importance prior to Flagler. First was the early Spanish period from the cities founding in 1565 until the English invasion of Florida in 1704. The second was during the English rule of East Florida from 1763 to 1784 when St Augustine became a haven for Tories escaping the American Revolution in the colonies to the north.
By the time Henry Flagler arrived in St Augustine, the city had under 3,000 residents (based on some estimates that was less people than 100 years earlier) and had been surpassed by nearby locations Fernandina and Jacksonville in importance. Other Florida cities such as Tallahassee, Pensacola and Key West had overtaken St Augustine as well in relevance. By the time Flagler built St Augustine back up it was behind Key West and arguably Jacksonville the most important city in Florida once again.
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