Author Conversations

Wicked St. Augustine

February 3, 2020

When Pedro Menéndez de Avilés founded St. Augustine in 1565, his New World survival kit included gambling, liquor and ladies for hire. For the next four hundred years, these three industries were vital in keeping the city financially afloat. With the cooperation of law enforcement and politicians, St. Augustine’s madams, bootleggers and high-rollers created a veritable Riviera where tourists, especially the wealthy, could indulge in almost every vice and still bring the family along for a wholesome vacation picking oranges and gawking at alligators. Join historian Ann Colby’s tour of spots not on the standard tourist map to discover hidden-in-plain-sight bordellos, speakeasies, casinos and the occasional opium den.