Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Lightner Museum of Hobbies, St. Augustine, Florida

The Lightner Museum of Hobbies, St. Augustine, Florida

The Lightner Museum of Hobbies, the only one of its kind in the world.  Gift of O.C. Lightner, publisher of Hobbies Magazine, Chicago, Illinois, to the City of St. Augustine.


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Born July 2, 1887 in Norwich, Kansas, Lightner was known as a "newspaper doctor," reviving many failing papers across the country. He founded the Lightner Publishing Company in Chicago and created Hobbies magazine, a national magazine for collectors. He promoted the idea that everyone could have a hobby and be a collector of "something" even if they had little money.

Lightner bought most of his own "collection of collections" from large Chicago estates forced to sell during the economic depression of the 1930s and 1940s. Lightner housed his collection in two Michigan Avenue mansions, opening a museum devoted to America's "Gilded Age," the 1890s. As the neighborhood around the mansions declined, Lightner began to seek a new location for his museum.

During a recuperative stay in Florida at the Ponce de Leon, he saw the Hotel Alcazar. Lightner purchased the building for $150,000 and put the building in trust to the City of St. Augustine. Although much of his collection was damaged or stolen in its move from Chicago, the Lightner Museum of Hobbies opened its doors in St. Augustine in 1948.

Tours today:
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., daily
Last Admission: 4:00 p.m.
(closed Christmas Day)

Adults: $10.00
Active military with I.D.:$6.00
College student with I.D.:$5.00
Young people: 12-18: $5.00
Children under 12 (with adult): free

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