Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ponce de Leon Hotel and one more odd thing- OLDFlorida 3

On the same trip to St. Augustine Florida we briefly stopped by Flagler College ( once Ponce de Leon Hotel). This place reminds me of the Henry Plant hotel in Tampa Florida but is a different flavor. The architectural detail on this building is incredible
The main courtyard and fountain are decorated with water spitting toads and turtles that surround a knobby central shaft. This water cascade pillar looks incredibly like the head and body of a tape worm.

Tapeworm pillar at the center of courtyard fountain.

Another strange detail at Flagler College are the evil looking chains that surround the place. Spiked chain links with spiked iron balls of different sizes droop between concrete supports. I learned that these chains were used in some way as another defense of the harbor against enemy invaders. Supposedly the chains lay in wait under the water and were hoisted in some way if enemy ships entered the harbor. This would damage the hull and sink the vessel. I will have to look further into this one. I am trying to imagine the mechanism needed to hoist these chains if they were across the mouth of the harbor- it would be quite an undertaking.
We left St. Augustine but traveled to another curiosity close by before heading back to Tampa.
About 20 minutes north of St. Augustine in a landscape overgrown by some strange choking shrubs that remind me of brazilian pepper trees is a castle on the shore. The Castle Otttis (yes that is three t's. Probably a typographical reference to the three crosses at Golgotha) is a monument to Jesus Christ and maybe the biggest landscape ornament ever made. The construction of this castle began in the early 1980's and took about a decade to complete. The builders ( who must also own the structure) are named as Ottis Sadler and Rusty with mention of a woodworker named Lee Carpenter. Sounds like a couple of these guys could be figments of Ottis's imagination. The castle is referred to as "a place of peace on Earth" and "a place for meditation". Right on.

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