William Henry Jackson, Luggage Cart in front of the Hotel Ponce de Leon, c.1890s

Behind the Gilded Curtain: The Staff of Flagler’s St. Augustine Hotels

“Mr. Joseph P. Greaves, who successfully managed the Alcazar last season, is again at the head, cordially welcoming guests…”

The Tatler, The Alcazar, (The Tatler, Jan. 16, 1897)

To ensure their successful operation, Flagler’s hotels required a substantial workforce. The staff at resort hotels like the Ponce de Leon, Alcazar, and Cordova comprised a vast and diverse group of working class-employees.

Each hotel was supervised by a general manager, responsible for the daily operation of the site. Working to support the manager were the first and second officers who oversaw the various hotel departments and their extensive personnel. Many of the senior staff, especially those with experience or professional training, came from the Northeast, where they held similar positions at summer resorts.

To house their large and transient labor forces, resort hotels provided staff quarters, including separate dining rooms and dormitories. These facilities occupied auxiliary buildings or were housed in the less desirable areas of the hotel itself. At the Hotel Alcazar, 44 staff rooms occupied a space on the fourth floor of the Casino, high above the hotel’s pool and ballroom.

Hotel Ponce de Leon Waiters, c.1900, St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library

Kitchen staff, Hotel Alcazar Season 1910-11

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