Labor conditions during Hotel Ponce de Leon construction

On November 13th, Historic City News readers can learn more about changes in the supply-and-demand of labor during the 19th century that gave way to such structures as the Hotel Ponce de Leon; when Flagler College associate professor of economics, Allison Roberts, speaks during the Community Lecture Series.

Roberts will speak on structural changes in the market for labor — during Reconstruction, the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, according to an announcement received from Flagler College today.

“As a labor economist, I am intrigued by the resources needed to build the Ponce de Leon Hotel and the Florida East Coast Railway,” said Roberts. “My presentation will explore the labor conditions of the time that made such grand construction possible.”

Roberts says that changes in demand were primarily driven by the railroads, agrarian capitalism and industrialization. Changes on the supply side were brought about by the first major wave of immigrants flocked to the north; and with emancipation, slaves and their descendants journeyed into freedom in the South.

“This was such an interesting time in our nation’s economic past, as many of the relationships between worker and firm were tested and forged during this time,” said Roberts. “And, unfortunately, the racist behavior of this period grew such strong roots that its effects are still felt today.”

Roberts has a Ph.D. in economics from Northern Illinois University and a B.A. in economics and mathematics from Lake Forest College. Her primary academic interests are in econometrics, labor economics and public finance. In addition to her academic service, Dr. Roberts has served as a data analyst, research consultant and research assistant to private consulting firms and healthcare organizations.

Roberts’ lecture is the third in this year’s lecture series entitled “Reconstruction & Gild: Wealth, Innovation and the Pursuit of Status in Late 19th Century America” which focuses on defining moments in American history during the mid to late 1800s. Speakers will discuss the topic through the lens of their particular discipline.

Tickets are $5 per person to attend in person, or, watch a live stream of the lecture by visiting Active military personnel may attend at no charge.

Lectures begin at 10:00 a.m. in the Flagler Room at Flagler College, 74 King Street in St Augustine. Reservations are not required, but space is limited. The lecture will last approximately one hour and will be followed by a coffee and pastry reception.