This two-story frame and brick building in the Colonial Revival style islocated at 172-180 Cordova Street. The building was constructed by the firm of McGuire and McDonald between 1885-1893 to serve as the servants’ quarters for the Ponce de Leon Hotel, which they also built. The northern half is brick and is one of the oldest brick buildings in St. Augustine. The building has foundation of poured concrete – the famous material used in the building of the great hotels. It was erected on filled land. Maria Sanchez Creek, which ran through this site, was filled in by Henry Flagler in the 1880’s to create land for the building of the Ponce de Leon and Alcazar Hotels, and this building was called the Ponce de Leon Barracks. The building now stands at the head of Maria Sanchez Lake. Early map and sketches show an unadorned, rectangular shaped, hi roofed building. It has been remodeled over the years in the Colonial Revival style, with large square wood columns on a portico, and a decorative metal balconet over the main door. Five two-story wooden porches have also been added to the building. It is now being used as upscale residential condominiums.
This area is built on land filled by Henry Flagler for the construction of the great 19th century hotels. It is bounded on the south by Maria Sanchez Lake and on the north by the Alcazar Hotel. It is bounded on the east by the National Landmark Historic District boundary of the old colonial city, upon which have been built mainly early 20th century residences. Two of St. Augustine’s early brick buildings, the St. Augustine Record and the Lakeview Condominium (formerly the Ponce de Leon Barracks) are located along this stretch of Cordova St.
Until the late 19th century, this block formed the western bank of Maria Sanchez Lake. In the 18th and 19th centuries, a series of walkways or bridges crossed the marshes in the vicinity of Bridge Street, and this thoroughfare led to one of the three late colonial ferry crossings across the San Sebastian River. After the Civil War, the community of Africa, later called Lincolnville, soon developed on the marshlands as newly freed Blacks began renting the property from the City. Lincolnville expanded west of Washington Street by the mid-1890’s, at which time Henry Flagler filled in the Creek to St. Francis Street. The Cordova Street side of the block, running parallel to the 18th century Rosario defense line, was used for quarters for the employees at the Flagler hotels, offices of the St. Augustine Record and some private residences. The Washington Street side became an extension of Lincolnville and developed in a prosperous early 20th century Black commercial district. The southern tip of the block was developed in the mid-1890’s by Heth Canfield’s St. Augustine Park Association as part of the planned Water Park around the newly dredged Maria Sanchez Lake. One of the major changes to the land configuration of St. Augustine took place in the 1880’s when Henry Flagler had the northern part of Maria Sanchez Creek filled in. This building at 172-180 Cordova Street was constructed on the southern part of that filled land and called the Ponce de Leon Barracks. The Tatler reported in 1894: “One hundred and fifty rooms are in the building called the Barracks, for the accommodations of male help.” It filled this purpose for most of the years that the Ponce de Leon was operated as a hotel. It was built on the borderline of traditionally White and traditionally Black neighborhoods in St. Augustine and is the most significant site specifically linking Blacks with the era of the great hotels in this City. In the 1940’s, it became the Lakeside Apartments, with a dozen rental units. In 2004, a developer from California purchased the apartment building and converted it into high-end luxury condominiums, retaining many of the features of the original building.