Somewhere between modern-day Matanzas Inlet and Marineland, two infamous massacres took place in September and October 1565. The 250 or so men (numbers vary) who were slaughtered here were French Protestants whose religion and country of origin made them “undesirables” in the eyes of Spanish settlers. Though the exact place is not known, the Fort Matanzas nature trail offers an outlook over the Matanzas River where some believe the massacre may have taken place. Whether or not that's true, this is a scene right out of “old Florida”, with no modern encroachments whatsoever. If you were a French or Spanish soldier straight out of 1565, you would find nothing out of place.
If you’ve ever visited Ripley’s Believe It or Not in St. Augustine, you’ve probably heard that the building which houses all those fantastical exhibits began its life as “Castle Warden.” It was constructed in 1887 --- the same time period in which Henry Flagler’s three magnificent hotels, now Flagler College, Casa Monica Hotel, and Lightner Museum, came into being --- and was inhabited by William G. Warden and his family. It’s not all that unusual to find a castle in St. Augustine; you’ll also find a 19TH century “palace” modeled after the Alhambra in Granada, Spain; a 17TH century Spanish fortress; and other amazing architectural beauties.
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