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When Henry M. Flagler built the Hotel Ponce de Leon (1885-1888), he also acquired a large tract of land adjacent to the hotel grounds. Flagler began to develop this area as a neighborhood of large, elegant winter "cottages" for visitors who chose not to stay in the resort hotels.
This house at 6 Valencia Street stands immediately next to the hotel and was erected in 1898 as the residence for the hotel physician. Its architects and builders were probably James McGuire and Joseph McDonald, who built many structures in Florida for Flagler, in addition to large resort hotels.
In 1900 Flagler sold the house to Albert Lewis, a lumber baron from Pennsylvania. His family called the house "Casa Amarylla." Lewis became a civic leader in St. Augustine. His particular interests were landscape beautification and construction of better roads for automobiles. Lewis Speedway Road near St. Augustine still bears his name.
Lewis added a two-and-a-half story addition to the rear of the building prior to 1902. Lewis died in the 1920s, and the house was closed up.
After standing empty for years, the house was purchased by Mrs. Louise Wise Lewis Francis. Mrs. Francis was the principle heir of Henry Flagler and had previously been married to Albert Lewis's son Lawrence. She remodeled the house for use as a child care center. The original front porch was removed and replaced by a porte cochere. A two story porch was added on the east side. This work was done by a local architect Fred A. Hollingsworth.
In 1940 local physician Vernon A. Lockwood purchased the house and converted it into an apartment house. It served this function until its purchase by Mrs. Francis's son Lawrence Lewis, Jr., who donated the building to Flagler College in 1975.
Akin, Edward N. Flagler: Rockefeller Partner and Florida Baron. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1992.
Thomas Graham, The Awakening of St. Augustine. St. Augustine, FL: St. Augustine Historical Society, 1978.
Graham, Thomas. Flagler's Magnificent Hotel Ponce de Leon. St. Augustine, FL: St. Augustine Historical Society, 1975. Reprint from the Florida Historical Quarterly (July 1975).
Harvey, Karen. America's First City: St. Augustine's Historic Neighborhoods. Lake Buena Vista, FL: Tailored Tours Publications, 1992.