19th century St. Augustine, Florida architecture


St. Augustine, Florida appears to be a place with rather interesting pre-20th century architecture, as can be seen in the below threads:
I suggest we put a little effort, and add some 19th century photographs of At. Augustine architecture back then. Who knows, we might come up with something interesting.
1885 City Gateway
City Gates & Fort distant St Augustine FL Stereoview c1890 1.jpg

1880s. Historic District

1885 The Cathedral

1875 Fort Marion

Same Fort Marion later


Well-known member
All pictures from here Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project

A map with, to me very interestingly named island, Anastasia.


Trinity Episcopal Church and Garden in about 1890. From the corner of George & King Streets.


San Marco Hotel, 1885-1897

Looking north along Bay Street and the seawall. The pier beyond the bathing house would have stood at the head of Baya Lane, before fire razed this area in 1895. Dated 1902.

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Found this not a photo but interesting nevertheless.
St. Anthony Friary - History of the Franciscan Friars
The first successful Franciscan mission in our country was also the cradle of the Franciscan Order in the United States of America. Both began in 1573 in the Spanish province of La Florida, a territory that included all of eastern North America along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The first Franciscan friars in La Florida landed at the Spanish settlement of Santa Elena on Parris Island, South Carolina. In La Florida, 70 friars were authorized by the Spanish Crown to serve 26,000 Christianized Indians in 40 missions.

Today monuments stand at the edge of the golf course on the United States Marine Base at Parris Island marking the excavated ruins of two Spanish forts that protected Santa Elena.
It is important to note that the first enduring Christian community in teh United States was the Franciscan parish of St. Augustine. The beautiful, Spanish-style Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine rightly cherishes its honor as our country's oldest parish and the cradle of the Catholic Church in the United States of America. (1)

(1) "The Cradle of the Church and Franciscan Order in the USA," by Thomas Murphy, O.F.M.

The largest number of captures on the waybackmachine for dr bronson tours linked to on that lady's site above. Dr. Bronson and Friends St. Augustine Tours and Walking Tours

The Cathedral, St. Augustine
Photographer: William Henry Jackson, 1843-1942,
Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher
Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]



Cathedral Rectory
University of Florida Institutional Repository


State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
http://floridamemory.com/show/40864. Photographer: Stanley J.Morrow


Cathedral before fire - Picture from Library of Congress - This is a
Civil War picture. How can you tell? The two lower windows by the door
are missing. The windows were added somewhere in the Civil War era.


The Beginnings
While the Cathedral was built in the Second Spanish Period its roots were established in the First Spanish Period.
The stones in the building were part of the earlier churches and buildings. The stones from Virgin of Solitude (La Soledad), La Leche and Guadalupe were used.

Father Hassett educated in Salamanca, Spain wrote a letter to the captain-general of Cuba, Bernardo de Galvez in 1784 which started the process to a new parish church but it took two full years before the King replied.The first parish church was built in 1572 Nuestra Senora de los Remedios.It was wooden and close to the harbor. Sir Francis Drake burned this church in 1586.
The church was rebuilt but burned in a fire in 1599.The 3rd church was
erected on this site in 1602. It burned in 1702 with Moore's attack and burning of the city. A foundation was begun for a new parish church near the Governor's House but was never completed before the end of the 1st Spanish
period. La Soledad had been rebuilt by the British as St. Peter's (Church of England).
After the British left the Spanish tore down the church,the British tower and spire. When the Spanish returned they used the second floor old Bishop's house as a church. The British had converted the old Bishop's house into a statehouse.

Construction Begins
The construction on the Cathedral began on December 8, 1786 when the King ordered a new house of worship to be built in St. Augustine. The plans were crafted by Engineer Mariano de la Rocque whose plans underwent several revisions for cost reasons. By the end of 1793 la Rocque had received crown approval and secured the donations of tools, lime, and lumber. The first roof was slate but it was replaced by wooden shingles.

The construction contract was given to Miguel Isnardy a merchant entrepreneur and a former frigate captain.
Frigate captain meant that Isnardy had been educated in mathematics and was experienced in measuring vertical angles and was experienced in using triangulation and the quadrant. The cornerstone was laid in 1793. The
governor responsible for the construction of the Cathedral was Juan Nepolmucena de Quesada who was governor from 1790-96.
Sometime after the church was started de la Rocque was replaced by a new royal engineer - Pedro Diaz Berrio. If you look at the original plans of la Rocque and the finished product, it's not the same. It is unknown who made the changes in construction.

When construction began the cost was estimated at 16,602 pesos (about $24,903) at a time when carpenters and masons worked for less than $2.00 a day. The Bishop of Havana Felipe José de Tres-Palacios y Verdeja
returned 3,537 pesos, the value of the church goods sent there from St. Augustine when the English took over in 1763. Don Francisco Felipe Fatio and Don Miguel Isnardy contributed 1,000 feet of boards each. Francisco
Pellicer donated 500 feet of boards. Carpenters and masons donated labor. Many parishioners gave chickens. The Royal Treasury gave 16,905 pesos (about $25,359)

Isnardy was paid his contract of 5,000 pesos in five parts: 1. When the contract was signed. 2. The walls were 1/3 completed. 3. When the walls were finished. 4. When the roof was begun and 5. When the work was completed

The St. Augustine Cathedral/Basilica was completed in 1797. It was dedicated on the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1797. Father Michael O'Reilly for the dedication carried the Blessed Sacrament from
the old bishop's house (now the location of Trinity Episcopal) to the new church. The parishioners followed him in the procession. Fr. Miguel O’Reilly would be the first pastor of what is now the Cathedral Basilica and vicario of
East Florida. He served from 1797 to 1812.

One of the original bells bears the inscription, "Sancte Joseph Ora Pro Nobis D 1682 making it one of the oldest bells in the United States.

The Cathedral was originally Spanish Mission style. It represents the oldest Catholic congregation in the United States going back to 1565. The original church was 41 feet wide and 124 feet long with walls 24 feet high and 3
feet thick to accommodate 550 people.
It is built out of coquina like the Castillo. The first building consisted of theoblong quadrangle 120 x 42 feet, which forms the nave of the present building. Windows 16 feet from the ground,provided ventilation. The upper Gallery was for the choir and the lower one for slaves (still a question of where free persons of colour were allowed to sit.) The front facade rose above the roof and formed a belfry in espadana style with 5 arches. The four bells were placed within the top four arches and a window for the choir was placed between the lower two arches. There was also a presbytery and sacristy.

The front entrance on the plaza was a large wood door with wood panels and half-round wood head set in a arch flanked by paired fluted Doric columns.(See Doric Entablature) The columns support a full entablature with triglyphs
alternating with metopes.

The exterior walls were plastered with white plaster made from oyster shells.

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Picture from the State of Florida Archives - The San Marco Hotel was opened in 1885 by Isaac W. Crufts. The hotel was built by McGuire and McDonnald and staffed by Osborn Seavey. This hotel changed the concept of hotels in St. Augustine to resort hotels. It had famious bands and extensive grounds and probably the best view in St. Augustine.

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Ponce de Leon, Alcazar, Sunnyside Hotel
The crown jewels of the Victorian Era in St. Augustine are the Ponce de Leon Hotel with it's sisters: the Alcazar (picture) and the Casa Monica (architect and built by Franklin W. Smith, builder S. B. Mance). 1888 was the year of the great Spanish revival in large St. Augustine buildings. Henry Flagler started his hotel chain in St. Augustine and railway from Jacksonville to this city (in 2000 he was listed as a great Floridian.). When the Ponce de Leon was built a small hotel already existed in a corner of the lot. This hotel was moved to the Casa Monica site and was sold to Franklin Smith. Today one piece of that hotel is the oldest hotel left in St. Augustine - The Sunnyside Hotel.
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The Casa Monica
Flagler had some unexpected competition from his associate, Franklin Smith. (and was in competition with others --- see Flagler Competition.) In arranging the land acquisition, Flagler gave Smith land and the Sunnyside Hotel, which was moved across the street to the site of the Casa Monica Hotel. Flagler encouraged Smith to fix up the Sunnyside, but Smith had much bigger plans – he moved the Sunnyside Hotel and built a 250-room hotel on its site.

The beautiful new building was concrete, with less coquina than the Ponce de Leon or the Alcazar. Deep river sand was used, which made the color of the building more dense and uniform than the Ponce de Leon or Alcazar. Advertising for the new hotel focused on its Spanish-Moorish structure, Artesian sulfur baths, French cuisine, and Table d’hote. All of the suites in the Casa Monica were equipped with closets, gaslights, gas heat, and electric bells to call for service. Baths were located on each floor. With its cottages, the hotel could accommodate four hundred guests.

Smith had trouble completing the hotel; a plumbers’ strike in January of 1888 sent all the plumbers back to New York (The Florida Times Union, January 7, 1888), and a fire at the Nelson, Matter & Co. factory in Michigan delayed a shipment of furniture. The building opened on January 17, 1888, a week after the Ponce de Leon. The opening was not a success. Smith was plagued by low occupancy and was unable to compete with the Ponce de Leon.

The hotel officially opened on January 30, and by March 28 Smith was cutting back expenses by closing off two floors and laying off two or three dozen people. The hotel was sold in April to Henry Flagler for $250,000 On July 16 the name of the hotel was changed to the Hotel Cordova. In the coming years Flagler will keep the manager of the Hotel – E.N. Wilson. However, in the summer of 1889 with the assistance of O. D. Seavey the interior of the hotel is renovated especially the kitchen area.
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A rather different take on Franklin Smiths role.

In 1885 Smith was hired a supervisor by Flagler over the concrete construction process in the Ponce de Leon Hotel but by January 1886 the relationship with Flagler came to an end. Smith was an early abolitionist, a founder of the YMCA in the US and the Republican Party in Mass.

Franklin: “In the winter of 1882, while in Spain, I decided to build a winter home in St. Augustine after the model which the experience of centuries had proved desirable in semi-tropical countries. An oriental house of wood would be an anachronism; yet there was no stone in Florida. To freight it from the north would be an extravagance. At Vevay, on Lake Geneva, subsequently, the dilemma of material was relieved. In the neighborhood a chateau was in construction...

In the following December (December 1, 1883) with a Boston mason, experiments were made and the first concrete blocks of coquina sand and Portland cement were cast in St. Augustine for the Villa Zorayda. They are preserved as valuable relics. Then the first course around the lines of the dwelling here in depicted was laid in planks 10 inches high, and filled with the mixture. In two days a range of handsome smooth stone was revealed. It was followed by another immediately, and those layers hardened sufficiently to allow the raising of the walls a course every other day. The partition walls were cast in with the main walls in even courses also the arches of the court so that the building is practically a monolith. Arches like the first cast, as seen in the illustration were re-enforced and anchored to the walls by round iron rods. The outer walls were cored with an air chamber, bu a board buried in the boxing and then raised, like a boat’s center-board, beofre the concrete hardened. In thirty days the walls were as hard as any building stone, and in ayear as defiant of a drill as granite.

The Casa Monica of while illustrations are annexed, stands as a superb illustration of concrete. A facade of above 400 feet, a tower of 100 feet in height,, balconies, arches, cornices, battlements, etc are a homogeneous mass of solid and eloquent stone. It was a new departure in this building to use the sea sand simply dredged from the flats of the harbor, having not more than 1/10 conquina. It was found that the finer the material the more dense and uniform in color the result.

The facade of the Villa Zorayda is nearly in three detached sections. If really separate, the least jar of earthquake or the slightest settlement would be made apparent. For security against either, the sections are bound by imbedded railroad bars through the entire width of the building.

From a Design and Prospectus for a National Gallery of History of Art at Washington by Franklin W Smith.
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Marine Street - St. Augustine, Florida Marine Street - St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine and the bay, from Fort Marion St. Augustine and the bay, from Fort Marion


This one is very interesting. Whose are those coat of arms top right?
And is that an i516 on that sign on the left or a 1516?

Hospital Street, St. Augustine, Florida.https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/25647


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Old Market and plaza, St. Augustine. Old Market and plaza, St. Augustine.


WHY a set of the great pyramids & obelisks for these men?

Pyramid monuments for Major Dade and his men - Saint Augustine, Florida
Pyramid monuments for Major Dade and his men - Saint Augustine, Florida


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Massive negative pity it wasn't clearer.

Construction of the park at the Hotel Ponce de Leon
Physical Description 1 photonegative - b&w - 4 x 5 in.
Construction of the park at the Hotel Ponce de Leon - St.Augustine, Florida


Cordova Hotel on King Street Cordova Hotel on King Street - St. Augustine, Florida
Photonegative of a stereoview by Keystone, #323.
Sleeve notes: "In connection with the hotel is a sun parlor 108' long--paved with tiles and roofed with glass. The building is constructed of coquina in the Spanish and Moorish styles of architecture."


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Plumbing & sewers 1880's style. bronsonpublicwater

Flaglers hotels inc infastructure. 1894 Description of Flagler's St. Augustine Hotels by the Tatler Magazine
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More glimpses into the history of sewers us style Sewer History Posters Store | The History of Sanitary Sewers
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I don't know what to make of these posts. They floored me. Dr. Wendell A. Howe
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Well-known member
Really interesting how major Dade seems to have recreated the giza pyramids there. Base wider than the top, etc.