On Thursday, Aug. 2, Potter’s Wax Museum in downtown St. Augustine hosted esteemed guests for a formal ribbon-cutting and unveiling of a bronze sculpture of Henry Flagler outside the museum.
Public officials, educators, and speakers discussed Flagler’s history and the significance of the installment at the event. The bronze figure in period clothing and accoutrements is seated on a wood and steel decorative bench at 31 Orange Street. The historic site is located next to The Authentic Old Drug store built by Antonio Gomaas in 1739 as a place of revelry, dating back to the early days when St. Augustine was a Spanish hamlet.
The sculpture was created by Cody Wicker, who was born and raised in St. Augustine and graduated from St. Augustine High School and Florida School for the Arts in Palatka. He serves as a national artist and sculpturer for Historic Tours of America and its seven locations throughout the United States.
Wicker created the Flagler piece from initial drawings, while closely studying the “look and feel” of the man, to hot wax forms, clay and foam castings, many additional production steps, and finally to the bronze cast produced at a Northeast Florida foundry. The sculpture depicts Flagler during his 50s and at the height of his work in St. Augustine, with a pensive look in his eyes to the future.
Flagler is known as the father of modern-day St. Augustine, and early Miami and Palm Beach. Flagler’s credits include aggressive urban development of the City of St. Augustine, fine hotels, tourist attractions and entertainment, the local jail, churches and hospitals and abundant philanthropy, to name a few. He was an American industrialist and a founder of Standard Oil and a key figure in the development of the Atlantic coast of Florida and founder of what became Florida East Coast Railway.
Potter’s Wax Museum is owned and operated by Historic Tours of America, Inc., parent company of Old Town Trolley Tours of St. Augustine. The museum houses more than 160 wax sculptures covering a wide range of real and fictitious figures, including famous politicians, entertainers, horror characters, historical personalities, sports stars and other celebrities. George L. Potter established the collection in 1948, and the attraction is the first wax museum in the United States. Historic Tours of America purchased the Museum in 2014.
According to David Chatterton, general manager, the opportunity to share the excitement of the Flagler bronze is to further display St. Augustine’s rich heritage and colorful personalities, which he said is an important role for the company as a 16-year community entertainment partner.
Old Town Trolley Tours brings trolley and shuttle transportation and entertainment to St. Augustine by taking visitors and residents throughout the historic city, offering 23 stops with more than 100 points of interest. The trolleys are eco-friendly and noise sensitive to the surroundings and neighborhoods around the City. For more information, visit http://www.trolleytours.com/st-augustine or call (904) 829-3800.