Take a look at St Augustine, Florida !

So looking back into my blog I sadly realised have not written much on the city of St Augustine, Florida! It is a shock to me as used to lived for many years just 55 minutes from it and went there even for lunch/dinner, played soccer/football, and just plain sightseeing first with my parents and later with wife and kids. Well ,found me some old pictures in my vault and decided to do justice with another post on wonderful St Augustine, Florida !

St. Augustine is on the Atlantic coast of Florida. This is the county seat of Saint Johns. about 60 km (37 mi) from Jacksonville and 90 km ( 56mi) from Daytona Beach. Today, Saint Augustine is one of Florida’s most popular destinations. It is ,also, the oldest city in the United States ,founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles for Spain!

The Bridge of Lions completed in 1927 was constructed during the extravagant land boom times in Florida. It was designed as a work of art as much as a transport for cars, connecting downtown St. Augustine with Anastasia Island (great beach!),across Matanzas Bay. A double-leaf bascule bridge, or drawbridge, it opens for boat traffic several times throughout the day. The bridge gets its name from two white marble lion statues guarding the bridge on the west side name Fiel and Firme,or Faithful and Firm, In 2015, two new granite lions were added to the east side of the bridge ,name Pax and Peli, or Peace and Happiness.  A walk across the bridge and back to see all four lions is about a mile (about 1,6 km), and worth every step. From its earliest days, it was hailed as “The Most Beautiful Bridge in Dixie.” (south US), It has long been a symbol of the US oldest city.  Renovation work was completed on March 17, 2010 when it reopened for use. The restored Lion statues were returned after a 6-year absence, early in the morning of March 15, 2011. The current bridge’s west entrance features manicured gazebos, landscaped palm trees and a new publicly accessible dock extending partially into the bay.

Saint Augustine bridge of lions into town from beach side

The city of Saint Augustine tourist office on the Bridge of Lions:https://www.visitstaugustine.com/thing-to-do/bridge-lions

One of my best memories of the town is the Flagler College (univ) a wonderful place where I came to play soccer/football against them and usually won! I came later to show it off to parents, wife and boys for many more years.  Flagler College 74 King St.: is a unique combination of the past and present, and an architectural icon of the city of St. AugustineThe college, founded in 1968, is centered on a former luxury hotel, the Ponce de Leon hotel, built in 1888 at the request of the industrialist Henry Morrison Flagler. Originally for women only, the college became coeducational in 1971.

Saint Augustine

In 1887, Thomas Edison and the Edison Electric Company installed the world’s largest incandescent lighting plant at Hotel Ponce de Leon, also making it the first building in the country to be designed with electric wiring throughout. Upon opening in January 1888, the structure was considered an engineering and architectural marvel due to it being the largest structure made of poured concrete at the time, plus modern amenities like electricity, running water, game rooms, private parlors , and of course all of the Gilded Age splendor inside and out. The hotel notable guests include Presidents Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and John F Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B Johnson, writers Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Ernest Hemingway, Edna Ferber, star athlete Babe Ruth, and so many more. The Ponce de Leon saw major success which prompted Mr Flagler to build Hotel Alcazar across the street, now the Lightner Museum and City Hall. The hotel was taken over by the federal government during WWII. It was primarily used as a Coast Guard Training Centre; the hotel was permanently closed in 1967. In 1968, it was reopened as the Flagler college.

The city of St Augustine tourist office on Flagler college :https://www.visitstaugustine.com/thing-to-do/flagler-college

The Lightner Museum 75 King Street . Enjoy the atmosphere and artwork of another age at this elegant Museum, formerly the Alcazar Hotel. The Lightner Museum is a museum of antiques, mostly American Gilded Age pieces .The Hotel Alcazar was commissioned by Henry Flagler, to appeal to wealthy tourists who traveled south for the winter on his railroad, the Florida East Coast Railway.  The hotel had a steam room, massage parlor, sulfur baths, gymnasium, a three-story ballroom, and the world’s largest indoor swimming pool; however, after years as an elegant winter resort for wealthy patrons, the hotel closed in 1932. On August 20, 1947 Chicago publisher Otto C. Lightner purchased the building to convert the old hotel into a hobbies museum. He used the space to house several collections, including his own extensive collection of Victorian era art . He then turned it over to the city of St. Augustine and the museum opened to the public in 1948.  The museum occupies three floors of the former Hotel Alcazar and is housed in the former health facilities of the hotel, including the spa and the Turkish bath, in addition to its three-story ballroom.

Saint Augustine

The official Lightner Museumhttps://lightnermuseum.org/

The Castillo de San Marcos  1 South Castillo Drive: The oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S., the castle fortress is the focal point of historical St. Augustine. The Castillo de San Marcos built by the Spanish, is the oldest fort built between 1672-1695. It changed its name several times: it was called Fort St. Mark during the British period (1763-1784) then Fort Marion between 1821 and 1942.

Saint Augustine castle San Marcos

In 1670, the establishment of Charles Town (current Charleston in South Carolina) located only two days of navigation by the English made the construction of the fort all the more necessary. Work on the Castillo de San Marcos began in October 1672 , done with Anastasia Island coquina  used for the walls; this is a limestone sedimentary rock formed mainly from incompletely consolidated shells found on the coasts of Florida . The manpower that is lacking on site comes partly from Havana (Cuba), as does the military engineer in charge of the work, Ignacio Daza. Native Americans are also involved.  The Castillo de San Marcos site covers 8.3 hectares. The fort is surrounded by water ditches whose height is regulated by a gate according to the tides. Several bastions and turrets are there to avoid blind spots. The fort has a square plan, each vertex of which is extended by a diamond-shaped bastion. Each bastion has at least one cannon. In the center of the building is the plaza de armas around which the different rooms are distributed.

The National Parks Service on the Castillo San Marcoshttps://www.nps.gov/casa/index.htm

The city of St Augustine tourist office on the Castillo San Marcoshttps://www.visitstaugustine.com/thing-to-do/castillo-de-san-marcos

The Basilica Cathedral of St. Augustine 38 Cathedral Place.  America’s first parish and the oldest Catholic Church in the city. Explore this exquisite building and view the Spanish-inspired architecture. The Basilica Cathedral of Saint Augustine, was built over five years between 1793–1797. It’s congregation, founded in 1565, is the oldest in the United States. This pic is a repeat and newer but I like it ::)

St Augustine cathedral panel PF 1990s

The first church of Saint Augustine was only a frame construction, decorated with disparate materials. The original parish had only an ephemeral existence, since it was sacked and burned in 1586 by the English privateer Francis Drake.  The church raised an extraordinary tithe in Spain, which made it possible to build a permanent church in 1605, with the participation of masons and carpenters already familiar with the materials available in the New World. This new building lasted 95 years this time despite visible dilapidation, before being burnt down in 1702 during a failed raid on the city, led by James Moore. When Spain recovered these lands in 1784, a civic and patriotic revival pushed the fortunes of the country to undertake the construction of a cathedral, between 1793 and 1797. Florida had been a U.S. state since 1845; on April 12, 1887, the cathedral was again engulfed in fire but this time the coquina masonry was repairable.  Thanks to donations from Henry Flagler and a nationwide campaign to expand the building to give it a Latin cross basilica plan, and a European-style transept.

Saint Augustine Cathedral main altar

The facade of the Basilica Cathedral of St Augustine, marries the neoclassical style with the architecture of the Spanish missions characterized by their scrolled gable , austere interior lighting, a roof in tiles in terracotta, a semi-circular tympanum, abundant niche statuary and bare walls.  At Saint Augustine, neoclassical elements frame the portal: the entablature decorated with triglyphs is enhanced by a pediment and rests on two Doric columns. Nice

The Diocese of St Augutine virtual tour of the Cathedralhttps://thefirstparish.org/virtual-tour/

The city of St Augustine tourist office on the Cathedralhttps://www.visitstaugustine.com/thing-to-do/cathedral-basilica-st-augustine

For more on Saint Augustine, the area tourist office of Saint Augustine and Ponte Vedrahttps://www.floridashistoriccoast.com/things-to-do/

There you go folks, ths is a must when visiting FLorida . Enjoy St Augustine, as I always had, and looking forward one day eventually to revisit. Hope you enjoy this retrospective with older photos as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

2 Comments to “Take a look at St Augustine, Florida !”

  1. Aha! When I was there in 2017 it was just like that.

    Like

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