|The Lightner Museum in St. Augustine was once the Alcazar Hotel|
Where can one find a museum that once was a Gilded Age luxury hotel, currently filled with an enormous collection of treasures from the past and soon to host a Downton Abbey exhibit?
If the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine came to mind, you would be amazingly correct!
This Florida landmark is right across from Flager College which was also once a Gilded Age resort, both the creation of Henry Morrison Flager, wealthy industrialist and co-founder of Standard Oil, with John D. Rockefeller.
|Dressing Downton event coming to the Lightner Museum in 2017|
The college was home to the Ponce de Leon Hotel while the Lightner Museum began as the Alcazar, built to house the overflow of its sister resort across the street and was just slightly more "economical". Keep in mind, its appeal was still to the 19th century one-percenters , so not quite the Motel 6 type of economy.
Alcazar was reborn as the Lightner Museum in the 1940's and is a showplace to an almost unfathomable collection of furniture, art, china, glassware and curiosities from around the world - all of which once belonged to Otto Lightner. Lightner was a newspaper editor and publisher who held on to his wealth during the Depression and scooped up estate furnishings that were being sold cheaply after the stock market crash. He felt everyone should have a hobby and his was collecting.
|Steam room - pretty much how it looked when it was the Alcazar|
The museum is actually the back half of the Alcazar: the casino, which we learned did not refer to gambling, but to entertainment. This is where the ballroom, baths and swimming pool were located and you can still see remenants of its former purpose in certain areas.
It is beautifully restored and every room is filled with so many lovely and unusual objects, it's almost overwhelming. Many of the items are from the Gilded Age where more was more was more. And, yet, there's still there's more.
|Every beautiful room is filled with collections.|
There is cut glass, Tiffany lamps, marble sculptures, ornate furniture and Wedgwood and that's just on the second and third floors. The first floor displays a variety of miscellany from antique typewriters to rocks and minerals. All interesting, but my favorites were on the upper levels.
|Rockin' collection - I think my brother-in-law would like this.|
|View of the casino.|
|A malachite urn from the Russian Czar, circa 1830|
|Cut glass and crystal in colors, shapes and sizes|
In the Wedgwood collection, there is a 19th century potpourri jar. These jars would be filled with rose petals to cover orders inside the home. This was before Febreze.
|Wedgwood potpouri jar, before there was Febreze|
|A chair for Carson?|
|Dragonfly Tiffany lamp, Alcazar Motel 6, we'll keep the light on for you|
|Desk with 200 drawers, believed to belong to Napoleon's brother|
|Empire style clock by artist Thormire, circa 1830-ish|
|Renaissance revival grand piano, 1878|
|Chris in lobby, checking out the art.|
|Otter Lightner and his urn.|
And, what a perfect place for a "Dressing Downton" exhibit. This event is scheduled for October, 2017 to January, 2018. Crystal, paintings and clocks for Granthams and that over-the-top chair that's just perfect for Carson.
|Lady Mary & Lady Edith look perfectly at home and Carson looks for his perfect chair|