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History of the Peace and Plenty Inn

The house was built in the early 1890's by Conrad Decher. Mr. Decher was a wealthy German who immigrated to Boston. He and his wife, Sophie, came to St. Augustine for the social seasons (January through March). He built the first Bridge of Lions for his train line to service the beach area. The home fell upon hard times at several stages of its life but was painstakingly restored between 1996 and 2001 by the prior owners, the Terrell family - we have the scars to prove it! The work was chronicled on HGTV's "If Walls Could Talk" and the inn is now a shining example of Florida's Victorian architecture and a bygone era of dazzling wealth and privilege.



The inn may be over 110 years old but she is young by St. Augustine standards! In 1513, when Ponce de León first saw Florida near the mouth of the St. Johns River, the flowers were in full Easter bloom so he called it La Florida (the flowering). Although de León did not stay long, the name has never left us.

In 1562, a French Huguenot settlement at the mouth of the St. Johns River was considered to be a serious enough threat by Philip II of Spain for him to send an expedition to rout it. That expedition, led by Pedro Menendez de Aviles, succeeded and then moved down the coast. Menendez left a small force in the natural harbor of "St. Augustín." On that site, on September 8, 1565, Menendez officially claimed Florida in the name of Spain. The native Timucuans looked on in disbelief.



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St. Augustine continued as the center of Spanish control for the Atlantic coast. In 1586, the English sailor Sir Francis Drake attacked and burned St. Augustine but the Spanish rebuilt it. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, St. Augustine suffered repeated attacks from English expeditions and from Native Americans but the Spanish managed to maintain control. However, under the Treaty of Paris, England acquired Florida as one of the prizes of the French and Indian War.

In 1783, England returned Florida to Spain but the United States succeeded in negotiating for full control of the peninsula and it became a territory of the young nation in 1821.

In 1845, Florida became part of the United States but in 1861 seceded from the Union and became part of the Confederacy. In 1862, St. Augustine surrendered to the Union forces and was occupied peacefully for the balance of the Civil War.

The end of the war marked the beginning of St. Augustine as a place to visit. Its Spanish-styled architecture, its outstanding natural surroundings and its perfect climate made St. Augustine a favorite of northern visitors.

Henry M. Flagler saw the city's enormous potential and purchased a railroad to bring passengers from New York to St. Augustine. The ride took less than 24 hours. His two grand hotels, the Ponce de León Hotel and the Alcazar, were grand enough to attract the rich and famous. St. Augustine was definitely on the map!