Thursday, May 26, 2016

May 27, 2016

Mission Nombre de Dios

Sun dappling through the trees is a common sight on the Mission grounds. At right stands the bell tower, which, despite not being fond of loud and sudden noises, I always find to be a pleasant surprise. At left is one of many religious monuments depicting a portion of Christ’s life. Also at left, you can see the La Leche chapel peeking through the greenery. There may not be much to do here, but there’s a lot to see.

St. George Street

As I’ve probably said before, the De Mesa-Sanchez House, which can be visited as part of the Colonial Quarter tour, is one of my favorite places along St. George Street. Chockfull of history from top to bottom, it’s a beautifully-appointed historic home whose age can be smelled and felt, and this time there was a new attraction --- loads of historical clothing displays. I have no idea why the mannequins were headless, but it’s kind of creepy. And given the fact that this house is supposed to be haunted, it kind of suited the mood.

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, May 19, 2016

May 20, 2016

Castillo de San Marcos

 On my most recent visit I had the pleasure of exploring the moat and coming "up close and personal" with walls that have been in place since the 18TH century. I even ran my hands over the coquina and everything (yes, I am a self-proclaimed history nerd). From my vantage point down in the moat I was able to see things from a different angle, looking up at the first drawbridge and the edge of the ravelin with a new perspective. Work on the ravelin, which was meant to be enlarged and fitted with a powder magazine, was abandoned in December 1762 just 7 months before the British arrived. There are, to my knowledge, no artistic renditions showing how it was supposed to have looked, though there may be blueprints or Spanish accounts that I haven’t yet discovered.

Fountain of Youth

This is a typical scene in the Fountain of Youth Park: sprawling aloe plants and cacti at left, a palm tree at center stage, decorative pots and cheery mulch strewn about, and a few sunning peacocks. These paths are so peaceful and beautiful even in a rainstorm (and I should know). Some of the peacocks are pretty tame and will venture closer for food, but for the most part they try to avoid humans. That doesn’t prevent them from showing off their tail-feathers, though. They may be aloof, but they love to showcase their bright plumage. 

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 13, 2016

Orange Street

For some reason I love this shot. At far left is the corner of the “Santo Domingo Redoubt”, a reconstruction of a portion of St. Augustine’s 19TH century defenses. The fort sign is relatively new and adds a sort of charm to the scene. In the background is the old Huguenot Cemetery also known as the Protestant Burying Ground which dates from 1821. (I have to wonder how old these trees are . . . not that old, but who knows what they’ve witnessed? Burials took place here until 1884). Just out of view at far right is the Castillo de San Marcos. During the “olden days”, this place was outside the City Gates, and you certainly didn’t want to be caught outside the gates after curfew. Even if unfriendly Natives didn’t get you, the alligators, mosquitoes, and wild animals might.

Avenida Menéndez

The folks in St. Augustine have really beautified the bay-front at the head of the Bridge of Lions (see the flowers and decorative pots at far left). One of the famous lions can be seen here. (Either “Faithful” or “Firm” . . . I don’t know them apart :-)) The Bridge of Lions opened in 1927 and save for some periods of construction has taken the cake as the city’s prettiest bridge. Heading over this thoroughfare will get you to Anastasia Island, the St. Augustine Lighthouse, the Alligator Farm, and many other sites of interest.

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 06, 2016

Fountain of Youth

What it reminds me of: an old-fashioned climb-and-crawl playground for adventurous kids. What it actually is: reconstructions of 16TH century structures that once stood on this site in the Fountain of Youth Park. I believe these are meant to be Spanish structures and not Timucuan, as the Native village is located behind the camera view. In the distance is the watchtower lording over the Matanzas River. I’m sure I can’t be the only one thinking that if you’re striving for historical authenticity, the picnic table may be a little out of place. :-)

Mission Nombre de Dios

In the past I’ve described myself as a taphophile (simply put, a person who enjoys exploring historic cemeteries and gathering information on the folks buried there) and the Mission Nombre de Dios is a great place to not only enjoy a peaceful atmosphere but also do some sleuthing work. This little boy’s name was Willie F. Lawler, son of “F. M. and M. J.” Lawler. I couldn’t find this family in any census but I did find a “M. J. Lawler” (Mary Josephine) buried in San Lorenzo Cemetery in St. Augustine. She was born December 18, 1852 and died February 08, 1941 and was the wife of Frederick N. Lawler. (Could the “F. M.” referenced on Willie’s tombstone actually have been “F. N.”?) I believe Mary Josephine is probably Willie’s mother. I wish I knew the family’s story, if there were other children, when Willie was born and died, but unfortunately I haven’t yet discovered any further information.

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays