Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Old Postcard Wednesday--St. Michael Church and San Carlos Hotel, Pensacola, Florida


As the Pensacola Journal explained [in 1909]:

The name "San Carlos" is typical of Pensacola and of Florida. It suggests at once the romance and chivalry of the early Spanish days. . .

. . .The San Carlos Hotel, sometimes called the Hotel San Carlos and affectionately dubbed the Gray Lady of Palafox, was a grand and revered hotel in Pensacola for much of the 20th century. . .

. . .The hotel was designed by New York architect William Lee Stoddart and erected by local firm C. H. Turner Construction Co. at a cost of $500,000. A sturdy beam-and-girder structural system, designed to withstand hurricane winds, was covered by ceramic tile and stucco. . .

. . .Ground was broken in April 1909, and construction was completed in 1910. It opened its doors on the first day of Mardi Gras celebrations. The hotel had its own well, with a rooftop cistern and purification system, and the original 157 rooms each had an exterior window and modern furnishings. . .

. . .The hotel fared well through the Depression years; the seventh floor was retrofitted in 1931 to accommodate the WCOA radio studio, which began broadcasting there in 1932. In 1934 artist Joy Apostle painted murals in the main lobby and dining room, and it was the headquarters for the New York Giants spring training at Legion Field. ...However, with the advent of roadside motels in the 1950s — conveniently spaced every few miles along the highway, offering air-conditioned rooms at inexpensive rates — the San Carlos could not compete. It entered a period of decline and neglect from which it would not recover.

. . .The San Carlos Hotel ceased operations in 1982 and lay vacant for more than a decade. After a proposal by Baptist Health Care to convert it to retirement apartments failed to materialize, the hotel was demolished in 1993. A new United States Courthouse was built on the site in 1998. Pensapedia









St. Michael Church, the oldest church in Pensacola, has a rich and beautiful history. There is a one-page fact sheet at the church website, as well as much more information, including photos taken both inside and outside the church. I was impressed with the "References" tab at the website assisting those who wish to delve more deeply into the history of place and faith topics.

Film North Florida has a current interactive Google map showing St. Michael Church and its surroundings (including that new courthouse where the San Carlos Hotel once stood).





In a serendipitous juxtaposition to this old postcard I happened upon the website of Fabian y Felipe, creators of the most remarkable handmade jewelry, while I was looking for art about St. Michael. From the website, here is their story:

One is Argentine and the other Mexican, but Fabian and Felipe are kindred spirits and like brothers who stay up late into the night talking about ideas, dreams, and sketching new designs while the rest of the world sleeps. You will see in their work a shared vision and a complexity to their designs that marries two individual's creative thoughts.

Fabian y Felipe is a line that seeps with soul, spirituality, wisdom, knowledge, and inspiration. Fabian y Felipe is a life-long dream...

There is a Serenity Medallion that I'd buy in a heartbeat if I had the money, and other astonishingly unique pieces too...... But getting back to St. Michael, you simply must look at the pieces in their Archangel Michael line. One look, an appreciative sigh, and this post is complete.



angel wings graphic: webweaver.nu
photo of St. Michael's Small Shield: Fabian y Felipe website

.

15 comments:

Lydia said...

No, I have not decided to change the standard font size in this blog to giant. For some reason, with this particular post, no matter what alterations I made, no matter how many times I fiddled with html, the normal-size font refused to "stick" and I was "stuck" with using either tiny font or a larger one. I went with the larger...

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Hey - at least your sign in instructions aren't continually in German (what the **** is going on there?)

Right: imagine that feeling you get when you've just got up, been to the kitchen, made yourself a cup of tea and put a couple of biscuits on the plate and then sat down in front of your favourite telly programme.

You know the way that first sip tastes and the "aaaaaahhh" moment that comes with it

That's pretty much how OPW made me feel today.

Thank you so much for making my day bearable - you really don't know the half of it...

On the subject of the postcard - what a fascinating building. I love those grandiose buildings with their immaculate white walls and many windows and the church looks so funny next to it

Darlene said...

Your post looks just fine, Lydia. I would opt for the larger print to accommodate the old eyes reading it.

Destroying a grand dame like the San Carlos Hotel is just another example of our wasteful society.

distracted by shiny objects said...

Checked out the Fabian y Felipe website...sigh...

robin said...

this is from my neck of the woods : ) old neck. love it.

bookmanie said...

You are formidable, Lydia, the article that I expect you, San Carlos, the hotel ... Bookmanie sees as you follow it well. Of course if you do not want to post my comment, you decide. BookmanIE.

Looking to the Stars said...

Lydia, I have been trying to get on your site for 3 days and my computer kept kicking me out. I finally downloaded the updates (14) and here I am, :)
Love the post, what a bummer the hotel didn't make it. Love all the info will be checking all the sites. the jewlery looks fab!

Friko said...

It is so sad that such venerable buildings so often don't make it into a new century. This has charm and elegance, opulence and serenity. So many of the new buildings are brash and often built for now rather than the future.

Lydia said...

@Pixies- It seems you were having quite a day of it even as the day was beginning. If OPW in any way soothed the rough edges then I'm more than pleased. May Thursday be an improvement...

@Darlene- It is sad that the Baptist group couldn't make their plans work out. I didn't realize until doing some research for this postcard that there is a San Carlos Hotel in Arizona that is famous for ghosts/voices. Are you aware of the place? There are lots of YouTube videos about the place.

@Distracted- Isn't that a spectacular line of jewelry? Great website for click-and-dream.

@Robin- Now I'm curious, as I didn't realize you lived in Florida! btw, when my mom was a little girl her family lived in Pensacola for a short time.

@bookmanie- With a wee bit of confusion in translations back and forth, I'm not sure why you think I wouldn't want to publish your comments! I had two translators at my site for awhile - but I dropped "BabelFis" and kept "Google Translate" only. Thank you for your comments!

@Looking to the Stars- Yes, nothing like updating to improve your online experience! I think you'll appreciate that jewelry lots.

@Friko- You expressed it so well, this cavalier attitude toward the fine old buildings and the acceptance of shabby replacements.

Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

interesting card and I also like handmade juewellery - not to wear- but as a beautiful pievce of art to look at!

thanks for your sweet words!!!

and have a look here:

http://bedandbreakfastindenmark.blogspot.com/2009/06/bambi-award-and-b.html

that's a really cute award for you!!!

Hattie said...

When I get my scanner up and running I may be posting some cards, too. I do like these old ones.

Kim said...

Another amazing Old Postcard Wednesday! That place looks so interesting and full of character.

Lydia said...

@Sarah Sofia- Aw, thank you for the Bambi award! :)
I read your ten things about you and remember that you don't wear jewelry! I like your idea of appreciating it as art, and these men truly are creating art.

@Hattie- Get that thing running! It'll be great to see some of your postcards. There is a huge postcard community in the blogosphere, most definitely!

@Kim- How are you? I'd better answer my own question and click myself over there.

Kirby3131 said...

Thank you! I clicked on every link that you gave and enjoyed reading all about these buildings.

One of the neat things that happens when an old building is torn down is that salvagers go in and get the old doors, windows, doorknobs and anything else they can get before the place is destroyed. I bet the city of Pensacola and the surrounding area now has pieces of the old hotel in a lot of nifty little places.

Lydia said...

@Kirby- Thanks for visiting here! And thank you, too, for the great reminder of salvaging activity in many areas. I love the mental picture of lots of pieces of the old hotel dotted around Pensacola. You have such a positive outlook! :)

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