Thursday, February 26, 2015

February 27, 2015

Castillo de San Marcos

Believe it or not, this beautiful blue-sky day preceded a tornado watch by a mere matter of hours . . . The Castillo’s gun deck, the place to hang out in any sort of weather except stormy (it’s closed then) showcases a variety of old bronze and iron artillery pieces. These cannon are the real deal, mostly forged in the 1700s. While a bronze piece can be seen in the foreground, there are a few iron cannon visible in the right background. The tower you see to the left of the shot is the Colonial Quarter watchtower (worth a climb; there’s a terrific view of the fort!)

The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse

If you’ve ever visited St. Augustine, you may have noticed that everything seems to be the “Oldest” this-or-that. In this case, it’s the truth. This schoolhouse, also the home of Juan Genoply and his family (hard to believe they lived only in the upper story of this tiny place), was constructed in the 1700s. Students were learning reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic here as late as 1864, and in the early 20th century the large rusting anchor you see in the foreground was placed around the schoolhouse as a precaution against hurricane winds. How effective it would be remains to be seen.

(c) 2015 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 20, 2015

Fountain of Youth

You’ll see many beautiful things on a stroll at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, and this is one of them: stunning, metallic, bright-feathered peacocks perching on benches, decorative fountains, railings, and whatever else they can find. (Notice the bird at far right is shy; he won’t even show his head). And to think I’d just paused for a routine stop at the restroom! Not only are the birds a wonderful sight, but the palms in the background add to the tropical scene. If you’re lucky you might see the males open and spread their feathers to attract the attention of any nearby females. And their cry! You’d have to hear it to really appreciate it.

Mission Nombre de Dios

Here’s an interesting fact about the Mission Nombre de Dios grounds that most people probably don’t know: it’s also a cemetery of sorts, with tombstones of various dates scattered here and there. This cluster is for the Mickler family. In the foreground is Civil War veteran Cpt. John H. Mickler of Co. F, 11TH South Carolina Infantry, born 1831 and died 24 Jul 1885. (The stone directly behind it is an older marker to Cpt. Mickler).

In the back center is a stone for “Little Lillian Mickler.” Find-A-Grave says she was “aged 1 yr 7 mos” and was the “daughter of Robert & Lillian.” The stone at far right is for Margaret Mickler, born 1839 and died 31 May 1886. research reveals that Margaret was probably the daughter of Jacob Mickler III and Manuela Hilary de Mier. She married John Henry Mickler and had two children, John Henry born 1865, and Camilla born 1868. There is also a Margaret “Maggie” Mickler who was the daughter of William and Mahala Mickler, which may make more sense since she would be Cpt. John Mickler’s sister.

(c) 2015 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, February 12, 2015

February 13, 2015

Colonial Quarter

One of the many visual treats at Colonial Quarter is the De Mesa-Sanchez House, a home that has existed in some form or another since the mid-1700s. In the 1800s a separate kitchen was built; restoration in the last few decades has created this charming reconstruction of an old Spanish-style workspace. Just standing in this spot gives one a feeling of age and history. If you visit Colonial Quarter, make sure to check out the house; it’s my favorite part of the attraction. It’s not often you get to tour a house that was built when part of America was still under Spanish jurisdiction.

Castillo de San Marcos

St. Augustine’s beloved “Old Fort” has much more to offer than simply its own history, though this is of course more than enough . . . a visit to the gun deck provides terrific views of St. Augustine’s natural beauty. On this photo you can see the Francis and Mary Usina Bridge; interestingly, I learned today that here the Matanzas River and Tolomato River meet. The water in the foreground is known most commonly as Matanzas Bay, and the name has a tragic history; after the nearby murder of French Protestants in 1565, the bay was given the name “Matanzas”, meaning “slaughters.”

(c) 2015 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, February 5, 2015

February 06, 2015

Anastasia State Park

I happen to love history and travel to St. Augustine for that reason, but if beachside merriment is your cup of tea, St. Augustine’s still got you covered. Between Ponte Vedra, Vilano Beach, St. Augustine Beach, and Anastasia State Park, sun-worshipers are never far from the sand and surf. This photo was taken at Anastasia State Park. Since the ocean was a bit wild (and it was chilly outside; yes, this happens quite frequently in Florida!), there weren’t many people around, which made for some prime photography.

Mission Nombre de Dios

The well-manicured grounds of Nombre de Dios beautifully showcase the tropical splendor of natural Florida. Nestled among palms, benches, a gazebo, old grave markers, religious monuments, and decorative fountains, the Spanish-style mission is a center of serenity. The current mission is only about a century old; it replaced older missions which unfortunately didn’t stand the test of time. If you go inside, don’t forget to check out the sacred d├ęcor and the stained glass windows. Chances are you’ll have the place to yourself, leaving you free to reflect, or, if that’s not your thing, just to relax and enjoy the ambiance. 

(c) 2015 St. Augustine Fridays