A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 3, September 2019

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Adelaide B. Shaw
Millbrook, New York, USA

Upon Seeing the Once Alcazar Hotel

All the money in the world and all the world in which to spend it. Robber Barons they were called, gilding the years in which they lived and spent and built. Hotels, churches, railroads, factories, ships, steel mills. A home here, a home there. One to escape the heat, one to escape the cold, one to just escape or to party. Ruthless, generous, miserly, philanthropic. Choose one. Choose all. Whatever they were, they left their mark.

giddy days and nights
the movers and shakers
pushed into progress
gliding in sun and shadows
with ever changing shapes

The Gilded Age
a grandness in living
where excess was all
the legends and legacies
make paupers dream on

Author's Notes: Henry Flagler built the Alcazar in 1888 in St. Augustine, FL. At the time, the hotel had the largest indoor swimming pool, complete with a retractable roof, a grand ballroom with a balcony overlooking the pool, sulfur baths, steam room, massage parlor, bowling alley, gymnasium, archery ranges, tennis courts and bicycle academy. The hotel closed in 1932. In 1948, it was obtained by O.C. Lightner to house his collection of Gilded Age artwork and memorabilia. Flagler and other industrialists were labeled Robber Barons. The term first appeared in 1859 in The New York Times. In later years, criticism of their practices was tempered by the acknowledgement that these industrialists brought order and progress to the industries of the era and made the United States the principal economy by the 20th century.