Friday, March 7, 2014

Lightner Museum - 3/04/14

This museum is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel (built in 1888 by Henry Falgler). In the 1890s it housed the world's largest indoor swimming pool, a grand ballroom, casino,Turkish and Russion baths (sulphur baths, steam room, massage parlor), tennis courts, and gym. It was quite a place!

The Alcazar closed in the 1930s, a victim of the Depression, and was abandoned until purchased by Otto Lightner in 1946. A native of Chicago, he was looking for a site to house his collection of "Gilded Age" artworks, antiques, curios, wood paneling, mantles, doors, and stained glass windows.  Lightner died 4 years later, but 80% of the museum is still comprised of his original collection.

If you ever visit the museum, don't miss:

  • The Music Room - filled with instruments built between 1870 and 1920. There was a demonstration of the mechanical instruments that included a Nickelodeon, this crazy thing that played both a violin and a piano (German Orchestrion), the Regina Orchestral Corona (with spring motors ... wind-up) and some other interesting pieces.
  • The Shrunken Head from Jivaro Indians (Equador).
  • The works of Tiffany's New York studios.  They have several lamps and panels created by Tiffany in the late 19th century. Very beautiful.
Link to their website:  Lightner Museum

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