The Lightner Museum is one of the finest collections of 19th century fine and decorative arts in the country, and is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, built in 1888 by Henry Flagler. The Museum opened in 1948 with the collections of "Gilded Age" artwork, antiques and curios of Otto C. Lightner. During the Depression, Lightner purchased lifelong collections of former millionaires as they went for auction or were sold for unpaid taxes. In a grand setting, the eclectic collection of Mr. Lightner is impressive, extensive, and beautifully displayed. From cigar labels to Tiffany glass, shell art to early typewriters, porcelain to fine art paintings, furniture to sculpture, the collection spans four floors of the original grand Alcazar Hotel. The hotel itself is an architectural marvel. In the 1890s, wealthy guests flocked to the Alcazar during the winter season, enjoying the Alcazar's grand ballroom (a gallery of the Museum today), lounging room (now the Museum's Brilliant Cut Glass Room), sulfur baths, gymnasium (now the Museum's Porcelain Room), bowling alley, massage room (now contains the Museum's stained glass exhibit), the world's largest indoor swimming pool (now empty but surrounded by a cafe and shops), and other luxuries. The interior garden courtyard still presents an oasis of lush semi-tropical plantings. The Alcazar Hotel was a victim of the Depression and changing lifestyles and closed in 1932. Otto C. Lightner saved the building from likely demolition when he purchased it for his collections in 1946. Restoration has been on-going, and visitors today can appreciate the elegance of the Gilded Age. The Museum is open every day except Christmas Day, 9am-5pm. Monthly Curator's Tours feature artifacts not presently on exhibit to the public, and special exhibits and events are offered throughout the year.
Located at 75 King Street, St. Augustine FL.