St. Augustine, Florida

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

Although St. Augustine, the oldest continuously inhabited European-founded city in the United States, was founded in 1565, the oldest surviving structures date from around 1700. In 1586 it was attacked and burned by Sir Francis Drake, plundered by pirates in 1668, and unsuccessfully attacked by British forces in 1702 and 1740. Then there were hurricanes, fires, and Indian attacks. So maybe we should be glad there's as much left as there is.

In addition to its Spanish colonial district, St. Augustine is noted for its lavish and fanciful late 19th and early 20th century hotels, mostly modeled after Spanish or Moorish influences.

Castillo de San Marcos

The fort was begun in 1672 and completed in 1695. Stone is not plentiful hereabouts, but coquina limestone was available on a nearby island.

Colonial Spanish Quarter

Left: this large stone sphere stands just north of the city gate.
The old city gate, looking down St. George Street.
Left: Huguenot cemetery near the city gate.

Below: claimed to be the oldest surviving wooden schoolhouse in the U.S., dating from 1716.

Left and below: looking south on St. George Street, axis of the Colonial Quarter.

Cathedral of St. Augustine

Built 1793-1797

Plaza de la Constitucion

Government House

South of Plaza de la Constitucion

Some nice Victorian homes and several colonial buildings, including the oldest house in St. Augustine, from around 1700.

The Resort Era

The name Henry Flagler dominates the history of late 19th century St. Augustine. Convinced of the city's potential as a resort, he built a railroad to the town and then used his fortune to build some wildly exotic hotels to lure tourists.

Flagler College

The former Ponce de Leon Hotel is now part of Flagler College.

Casa Monica

Built in1888

Other Buildings

The top two photos are of the Lightner Museum and City Hall, built as the Alcazar Hotel in 1888 by - you'll never guess - drum roll, please - Henry Flagler. This building has a place in technological history as the first major building in the United States to be built of poured concrete.

Memorial Presbyterian Church

Another of Henry Flagler's building projects, built as a memorial to his daughter in 1890.

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Created 22 June 2007, Last Update 04 June 2020