Historic City News has learned that the first of a two-stage repair project began recently at the former Alcazar Hotel Building which houses the Lightner Museum and St Augustine City Hall. Work is expected to continue through November.
With the scaffolding in place, pedestrians should take extra care to avoid the construction along Grenada Street. If you must drive in the area, be aware of closed sidewalks and sightseers who could walk into the path of traffic.
Paul Williamson told Historic City News that crews will repair and replace the barrel tile roof over the Lightner Museum portion of the City Hall building; as well as the towers, balcony and terraces on the building’s north side.
The landmark building and grounds were gifts to the City from Chicago publisher Otto Lightner with the caveat that the museum remain and the City bear the cost of future maintenance. The project costs about $1.2 million, total, and about half will be the responsibility of the City of St. Augustine. The remainder of the money will come from grants, including a Special Category Grant of $175,000 from the Division of Historical Resources, and a state budget appropriation.
The Alcazar Hotel was one of two major hotels constructed by Henry Flagler in the late 1880s, and one of a number of magnificent buildings in the city which were constructed at the time and often credited with changing the face of St Augustine and introducing a distinctive building style to the United States.
St Augustine’s City Hall relocated from Hypolita Street forty-one years ago in April. City government was previously located in a building between St George and Spanish Streets where Columbia Restaurant now stands; it was shared with the Fire Department, Police Department, and Justice of the Peace.
Photo credits: © 2014 Historic City News staff photographer