Spanish introduced tabby construction material to coastal Georgia and Florida. It is composed of sand, lime, oyster shell and water mixed into a cement-like mortar and poured into forms. The lime in tabby concrete was produced from burned oyster shells. The
In St. Augustine quarries coquina stone quickly overtook tabby as the primary construction material. Other areas, such as coastal Georgia, had no coquina, so tabby was used for construction into the 1890s.
In St. Augustine a small section of tabby wall exists along St. George St.
The wall left of this plaque extending 15' west is the only known example of a colonial tabby wall in St. Augustine. It has been covered to preserve and protect it. The end of the wall was left exposed to show its construction.
Tabby houses comprised 39% of the structures in the city in 1763 at the end of the first Spanish period. By 1788 only 5% remained.
Tabby, made of whole oyster shells, is the equivalent of modern poured concrete.
Preserved for prosperity by Mr. & Mrs. Donald L. Bessey 2002
St. Augustine's Lincolnville Historic District is a historically black neighborhood just south of downtown, and it has close ties to the city's African American history. This area was founded in 1866 by former slaves, who eventually established a busy commercial district along Washington Street. Lincolnville has a number of historic sites such as Yahalla Plantation (c. 1800), and it boasts the largest concentration of Victorian houses in St. Augustine.
In 1963, as the Civil Rights Movement sprung up across America, St. Augustine saw its share of protests and meetings arise from Lincolnville's community. In 1963 many local blacks staged a sit in at a local diner leading to several arrests, then later that year a KKK rally turned violent. In 1964 the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived in town to rally the black community. Neighborhood churches such as St. Mary's Missionary Baptist Church (Washington Street) and St. Paul's AME Church (M.L. King Avenue) were meeting places for Civil Rights groups. Eventually nightly marches, protests, and conflict, broadcast on American news, helped force the passage the the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
St. Augustine's city hall, a boring old government building, right? Not really. It is also a historic building constructed on a historic site and a popular museum.
Like Flagler College's main building across the street, the city hall structure was one of Flagler's grand hotels in central St. Augustine. The hotel was constructed from 1887 to 1889 in the Spanish Renaissance style, and was one of the first buildings in the world made of poured concrete. Designed to attract only the wealthiest of clients, the hotels had not only sulfur baths and a steam room, but also the world's largest indoor swimming pool of the time.
Not only is the hotel itself a historic landmark, but it was constructed on another historic site, Fort Mose. This fort, part of St. Augustine's early defensive system, was constructed in 1738.
A big part of the old hotel is now the Lightner Museum. When the hotel closed in 1930, it remained vacant until 1949 when it was purchased by Chicago publisher Otto C. Lightner. Today the museum continues to house and display Lightner's vast collection of Victorian artifacts. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults.
The infantryman Jose Tovar lived on this corner in 1763. The original site and size of his house remained unchanged during the British period, when John Johnson, a Scottish merchant, lived here. After the Spanish returned in 1784, Jose Coruna, a Canary Islander with his family, and Tomas Caraballo, and assistant surgeon, occupied the house. Geronimo Alvarez, who lived next door in the Gonzaliz-Alvarez House, purchased the property in 1791. It remained in his family until 1871. A later occupant was Civil War General Martin D. Hardin, USA. The Tovar House has been owned by the St. Augustine Historical Society since 1918.
Sponsored by The Board of Commissioners of St. Johns County In Cooperation With The Florida Department of State
Henry Flagler had a key role in the construction of Grace United Methodist Church in 1886. This parish's original church stood on the grounds that Flagler needed to fulfill his vision of the Ponce de Leon Hotel (now Flagler College). Flagler offered to construct a new church for the congregation at Carrera and Cordova streets in exchange for the church's original site. The church accepted, the building we see today was created. The same architectural firm that built the Ponce de Leon Hotel, Carrere and Hastings, along with the same builders, McGuire and McDonald, crafted Grace United Methodist. The church is made of coquina concrete in the Spanish Revival style.
The historical marker in front of the church reads:
GRACE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Grace United Methodist Church is a reminder of the tremendous physical impact Henry M. Flagler had on St. Augustine. This complex of structures resulted from a compromise between Flagler and the congregation of Olivet Church. That group of northern Methodists agreed to exchange the land on which their church and parsonage stood for a new complex designed by John M. Carrere and Thomas Hastings. Flagler, in turn, employed the same architects in designing his Alcazar Hotel, which rose on the former Olivet Site. Construction began in 1886 and was completed in late 1887. Grace Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated in January 1888. The church and parsonage are excellent examples of the Spanish Renaissance Revival Style of architecture, and the decision to execute the design in poured concrete resulted in unusual and aesthetically pleasing structures which have stood the tests of time and the elements. Grace United Methodist Church was entered in the National Register of Historic Places on November 29, 1979.
Sponsored by Grace United Methodist Church In Cooperation With Department of State
Tolamato Cemetery dates back to St. Augustine's Spanish era. Outside of the city's main walls, the cemetery grounds once comprised a small town called Tolamato, which consisted of a Christian mission with Indian converts. The first cemetery on the site housed deceased converts from the mission. When the British took over St. Augustine the mission and its inhabitants departed and the the cemetery was abandoned. When the Catholic Minorcans migrated to St. Augustine, the British gave them the land that once belonged to the Catholic mission, and the cemetery was again in use until 1892.
We stopped here one warm, rainy night n the way back to our B&B after a night on the town. The cemetery is fenced in with chain link and appeared to be locked. We took a few photos, then a ghost tour strolled up and began telling stories of the haunted cemetery. We laughed and wandered back to our B&B for the evening.
The sign at Tolamato Cemetery reads:
During the First Spanish Period, prior to 1763, this site was occupied by the Christian Indian village of Tolomato, with its chapel and burying ground served by Franciscan missionaries. The village was abandoned when Great Britain acquired Florida. In 1777, Father Pedro Camps, pastor of the Minorcan colonists, who had come to St. Augustine after the failure of Andrew Turnbull’s settlement at New Smyrna, obtained permission from Governor Patrick Tonyn to establish this cemetery for his parishioners. Father Camps was buried here in 1790; ten years later his remains were re-interred in the "new church", the present Cathedral. The first bishop of St. Augustine, Augustin Verot (d. 1876), is buried in the mortuary chapel at the rear of the cemetery. The last burial took place in 1892.
vilano beach is a small beach town located on USA1A about 4 miles north of st. augustine. vilano beach has a hampton inn hotel and a couple of motels within walking distance to the beach. vilano beach is one of a few florida beaches that you can drive on. see my vilano beach pages for more information.
founded in 1893 the st. augustine alligator farm is one of florida's oldest zoological attractions. in the late 1800's george reddington and felix fire started collectiing alligators they found on anastasia island and put them on display to entertain tourists. today the farm has displays of alligators, crocodiles, snakes, and other wildlife. the st. augustine alligator farm is listed on the national register of historic places. the st. augustine alligator farm is located on U.S. AIA on anastasia island about three miles from central st. augustine.
In the early part of the 20th century, The Old Spanish Trail Association attempted to find all the original routes that the Spanish settlers/conquistadors took going from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They wanted to establish preservation societies to help save these connected remnants of Spanish heritage and culture (buildings, pathways, forts, artifacts).
The starting point for that "Old Spanish Trail" is right in St. Augustine, FL (the end point is in San Diego, CA and the headquarters is in San Antonio, TX, "the center"). There is not much to see other than a small park area with this globular monument and a plaque. They have a few paving stones that indicate the start of the trail.
The OST Association is still in the process of saving sites all along the trail as museums and parks. If you are interested, see the website below.
For the first time in 2003, I saw and took a picture of this 280 foot stainless steel cross. It marks the spot of the founding of the city of St. Augustine and was erected to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the city. Photo number 2 has one of the danger shoaling signs on the left in the foreground. I took additional photos as we were leaving St. Augustine in the spring of 2004.
It is at the Nombre de Dios Mission (ranslated as "Name of God" Mission), which is an original Spanish mission which was founded in 1565. The site includes the "Our Lady of La Leche Shrine" and numerous other shrines and statues. It is at San Marco and Ocean Avenues.
There is no charge for admission.
One of the great things about St Augustine is the amount of protected land in the City. Washington Oaks park is located right off A1A and features plenty of undisturbed land and also falls right on the inner coast inlet. When we were there we watched a group of dolphins playing around on the inlet. It seems like a nice relaxing place to get your head together.
Entrance fee was $3.
While we were anchored in front of the fort, this sightseeing boat cruised by. I have not taken this cruise, because my husband would think I was out of my mind.
If you don't have your own boat however, this might be an enjoyable break, especially on a hot day.
From their website:
Relax and enjoy a one hour and fifteen minute cruise aboard the Victory III.
Departs daily from the Municipal Marina, in downtown St. Augustine.
Enjoy a unique view of St. Augustine available only from the water. Partially narrated tours from 3rd and 4th generation captains provide an incomparable way to enjoy St. Augustine's historic land marks and natural sites of interest
Junior (13-18) $8.00
Child (5-12) $6.00
Seniors (60+) $9.00
St. George street is a great place to spend time walking down the pedestrian-only street with plenty of shops, but plenty of people don't even realize there are loads of other small quaint streets that are great for strolls.
Other streets include -
As a result of his interest, he built the magnificent Ponce de Leon and Alcazar Hotels. Flagler also purchased the newly constructed Casa Monica Hotel, renaming it the Hotel Cordova. With these openings, the wealthy and fashionable flocked to St. Augustine, soon to become known as the "Southern Newport."
Flagler purchased the surrounding railroads at the same time as he started his hotels, marking the beginning of the Florida East Coast Railroad. Eventually, he extended it down the east coast of Florida, first reaching Palm Beach, and then Miami in 1896.
In 1883 the Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Halifax River railway was completed, giving the city a link with it's neighbor to the north, Jacksonville. During the winter of 1883-84, Henry M. Flagler, one of the co-founders of the Standard Oil Company, visited the city and was impressed with the charm and possibilities of the area.
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