Flagler University

The Valencia – Part of the History of the St. Francis Inn

At one time the St. Francis Inn was known as the Valencia Annex.  From 1892 through the early 1900’s The Valencia was part of a famous group of homes for winter guests in St. Augustine, and the Valencia was located in what would become our parking lot almost a hundred years later.  Two of the Valencia’s more famous guests were Sinclair Lewis and William Dean Howells in 1916.  The hotel held 75 and charged $2.50 to $3.00 per day.
The Valencia - Part of the History of the St. Francis Inn 3 Valencia2 St. Francis Inn St. Augustine Bed and Breakfast
“ValenciaThe Valencia was a smaller family hotel with bell service. The house was located on south St. George Street near the St. Francis’ barracks with a view of the ocean. It was run in the 1890 through the early 1900s by Mrs. Mary Fraser who had been managing hotels in St. Augustine since the early 1880s. It had electric bells and gas and a great menu. The water was aerated artesian well water. The hotel was built by McGuire and McDonald. The room rate was $2.50 to 3.00 per day or $15.00 to $20.00 per week. It had private baths, steam heat and modern conveniences. It stated that special attention was paid to table.

In 1892 The Tatler stated: “This beautiful new hotel is situated on South St. George Street and is a first-class family hotel, with a large, prettily furnished parlor and commodious office on either side of a broad carpeted hall, which runs the entire length of the building and leading to a large well-furnished dining hall with windows on either side, making it bright and cheery all day long; in the rear of this is a kitchen that would delight any housekeeper, as it is fitted out with every convenience for preparing food appetizingly, and the well-earned reputation Mrs. Mary Frazier, the proprietress, has for furnishing dainty meals, will be an assurance that the comforts of inner man will be well provided for here.

One of the best features of this house is its height from the ground—about ten feet. This space forms a cellar cemented on all sides and floor, with numerous windows, so that a current of air is constantly passing through it. It contains two large tanks where rain water is kept cool after being filtered; there is also a tank for aerating artesian water, making this a pleasant drink; there are also store rooms and a laundry.

The second and third floors are occupied with bedrooms, daintily and comfortable furnished, and have gas and electric bells. There are bath-rooms, hot and cold water on each floor, and perfect sanitary arrangements; in fact, the builders, Messrs, McGuire & McDonald, with their experience as hotel builders, determined to make this a model family hotel, and have succeeded admirably.

In 1895 the Tatler reported: “The demand for smaller family hotels, with bell service and all the modern appliances to secure the comfort of the guests, was admirably complied with in the building equipping and furnishing of this elegant house, on South St. George street, near St. Francis’ barracks. The Valencia recently opened, for its fourth season, under the excellent management of Mrs. Mary Fraser, who has catered for many of the visitors to this city for years past. The Valencia is artistically yet quietly, furnished; has pleasant, home-like public and private rooms and excellent beds. The sanitary arrangements are superior. There are electric bells and gas through the house, with good service. The Valencia enjoys an enviable reputation for its excellent menu. The house opened this year in October and has had an excellent client age, some days entertaining fully sixty guests.”
1909 – Miss E. Frazer. Accommodates seventy-five. It was open from November 1st to May 30th. The rates were $2.50 to $3.00 per day; $15.00 to $20.00 per week. The hotel was “delightfully situated on St. George street, south of the plaza. Special attention paid to table.”
The hotel was located at 276 St. George Street on what is today the parking lot of the St. Francis Inn (which as one time was known as the Valencia annex.) Two of the more famous guests were Sinc
lair Lewis and William Dean Howells in 1916.”

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