In the late 1960's the former Grand Ponce De Leon Hotel stood empty and abandoned. Lawrence Lewis saw the abandoned building as an opportunity to start a small liberal-arts women's college, and with some help, established Flagler College in 1968, named for the man who had built the grand hotel.
The first years of Flagler College were rough. Low enrollment was a problem. Prospective students were wary of a school that had not been around long enough to establish a reputation. The Ponce De Leon hotel was not in great shape, and most of the dorm room furniture was old hotel furniture. A majority of Kenan Hall was in such disrepair that it was unusable and the school had acquired roughly a million dollars in debt.
Dr. William Proctor became the president of Flagler College in the early 1970's and has helped the college expand through making the school coeducational, repairing buildings and adding new majors to attract more students. Dr. Proctor stepped down and became the chancellor for the college. The Proctor library is named after him and was built in the 1990's.
When Dr.Proctor retired, William Abare became the president of Flagler College. Abare retires at the end of the spring 2017 semester.
The Florida Citrus Industry has been a vital part of not only Florida’s agricultural history, but also its heritage during the last four centuries. To the knowledge of modern scholars, the Orange crop is not native to the state of Florida. Seedlings and young plants were brought to the Spanish Colony of St. Augustine sometime between 1565 and 1579 from Spain. At the time of 1579, it is noted that Menendez reported an abundant growth of the citrus crop in the St. Augustine settlement.
From this point on, the planting of the citrus crop expanded across the state. In the 1770s, Jesse Fish started to commercialize the crop. The crop became essential to Florida’s identity. During the citrus industry’s rise, the crop has experienced several low points, such as the 1894-95 “big freeze.” The crop's history in Florida makes it clear that the rise and the fall of the Florida Citrus industry correlate directly with severe freezes or lack thereof.
The Florida citrus industry was at an all-time high in the 1970s, but the long-term effects of a series of freezes in the 1980s, climaxing with the 1989 Christmas freeze, have aided in the gradual decline of the citrus industry in Florida. By looking through the eyes of citrus growers during the 1989 Christmas Freeze it becomes clear how demoralizing the Christmas freeze was for the overall industry.
Today the citrus crop faces freezes, disease, and global competition which could result in the ultimate demises of the Industry in Florida in the next few decades. It is important to preserve the heritage of the crop.