Field Trip! Today we’re in St. Augustine, the oldest permanently European-occupied city in America. We started out at an estate sale south of the Old City and experienced great success — African masks, an African textile, a Chinese ceramic horse and Italian glass sculptures.
After the morning’s excitement we dawdled the afternoon away in the historic section of St. Augustine. Its Spanish colonial roots continue to draw locals and tourists alike.
Explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, his troops and settlers, first sighted land on the feast day of St. Agustín. They came ashore on September 8, 1565 and immediately celebrated with a Catholic Mass. Here’s the heroic Señor Menéndez:
Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fortification in the country, faced bombardment twice in the 18th century — once by the British and once by Georgia’s Governor Oglethorpe. Its porous coquina walls, made from soft limestone and shells, simply absorbed the cannonballs.
After the Civil War, many Native Americans from the West’s Indian Wars were imprisoned and died at the fort. The Castillo stayed in commission until 1900, serving under 5 flags: Spanish, British, United States, the Confederate States, and back to the United States.
Here’s a view of Mantanzas River from the grounds of the Castillo. The Bridge of Lions stretches across the river in the background. The Spanish word mantanzas means killings or slaughters, a reference the deaths of French Huguenots in a massacre led by Pedro Menéndez.
St. Augustine charms visitors with its variety of architecture. This wooden house, now a coffee cafe, would be typical for the early settlers.
This cafe flies three flags of St. Augustine.
Typical bricked side street in the historic district:
In the late 19th century, oil magnate Henry Flagler financed the building of the exclusive Ponce de León Hotel in Spanish Colonial style with Moorish influences. The building is now a part of Flagler College and known as Ponce de Leon Hall:
Even though we visited at the end of April, the temperature hovered around 87 degrees. Yes, it was a hot day. The lush vegetation, however, proved delightful.
That’s a statue of Queen Isabella on a burro to demonstrate her humility:
As refreshing as the foundation looks, I cooled off with a champagne mango popsicle.
Thanks for stopping by. Your comments always delight us.
Ann Marie and David