Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 26, 2017

St. Augustine Beach

A beautiful spring day is a great time for people-watching. Here we observe a few intrepid beachcombers braving the chill wind beneath the beach pier while the waves rush in. I could honestly stand and watch the ocean for an hour, and I think most people reading this would probably agree. There’s just something about the sight and sound and smell of the infinite horizon and the crashing waves that brings such peace. My only advice is if you’re wearing sandals like I was, make sure the sand doesn’t rub the bottoms of your feet. Ouch.

Matanzas Bay

This view of Matanzas Bay from an observation deck at Castillo de San Marcos also shows part of the Mission Nombre de Dios grounds. The tall gold cross can be seen at top left, while the bridge at top right is the Usina Bridge and leads to Vilano Beach. Note the gentle ripples, the clusters of clams along the shore . . . there’s also a private dock, a stand of palm trees, and a whole lot of beautiful.

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 19, 2017

Colonial Quarter

St. George Street’s Colonial Quarter is divided into time periods: 16TH century, 17TH century, 18TH century Spanish, and 18TH century British. In the 16TH century section you can find a boat being constructed by the same methods St. Augustine’s first colonists would have used. Just behind the boat, a small model encased in glass shows how the “finished product” should look.

Huguenot Cemetery

If you read my blog, you’ve probably noticed many posts dealing with the 1565 massacre of French Protestants which took place about 14 miles from St. Augustine. This has been a great passion of mine for over a decade and I enjoy informing curious history-lovers about this important event in the city’s and in our country’s history. (On a side note, if you have or if you know someone who has any clout in St. Augustine’s archaeological, historical, or governmental sectors, please consider mentioning the importance of searching for the actual massacre site. How wonderful it would be to put this 450-year-old mystery to rest!)

This plaque in the Huguenot Cemetery (“Protestant Burying Ground”) reads: “The name Huguenot has been associated with the cemetery since the 1830’s and probably reinforced during the tourist boom at the turn of the cemetery. How the name originated is not known, except that “Huguenot” was synonymous with “non-Catholic” to the people of St. Augustine for many years. The name does not imply that members of the 16th century French Protestant persuasion are buried on these grounds. The association of Huguenots to St. Augustine is based on an incident in 1565 when Huguenots were slaughtered by the Spanish in a quest by both countries to claim Florida. In the 1950’s, cedar trees were planted on the grounds in memory of the French Huguenots who died here in 1565.” (Emphasis mine: what a beautiful gesture which can still be seen today).

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, May 11, 2017

May 12, 2017

Castillo de San Marcos

This view of the north wall was taken from the gun deck. The impressive doorway in the center of the photo was designed in 1785 by engineer Mariano de la Rocque and leads to the Chapel of the St. Mark. There are a few details of note in this image: stacks of cannonballs, hints of red paint (the Castillo was once painted white with red towers and trim), a small coat of arms above the doorway, and two artillery pieces on the gun deck above. The cannon at left is a 15-inch mortar and was forged in Barcelona in 1724.

Fountain of Youth Park

The folks at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park are always adding new points of interest to the historic grounds, and on our most recent visit we found this owl totem in the reconstructed Timucua Indian village. According to the Jacksonville Historical Society, the Timucuas often viewed owls at bad omens but could also see good fortune in them depending on the circumstances.

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May 05, 2017

St. Augustine Lighthouse

The St. Augustine Lighthouse has a few museums, one of which is by admission only. This small one near the main entrance is free, and includes a few ship models (which is right up my alley when it comes to the sort of attractions I get abnormally excited about). This particular model represents the “Captain Tom.” I don’t know the history behind it but it’s a nice representation.

Old Mill Top Tavern

What a difference a year can make. When I last visited St. George Street, the tavern building was gutted and ready to be torn down. This year, it’s been completely reconstructed and painted a, um, completely different color than before. (And no, I’m not fond of the new color scheme, but hopefully it’s at least historical). The original structure dated from the late 1800s and was deemed structurally unsound.

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays