Saturday, April 9, 2011

Architectural appetizers in St. Augustine

St. Augustine has the best collection of historical architecture in Florida, hands down. From towering masterpieces of the Victorian age like Henry Flagler's Ponce de Leon Hotel, to modest wooden churches, there is a charm in the old town that captivates me every time I visit. And I keep finding reasons to visit.

I've been by this little schoolhouse a zillion times, but never actually seen it when it wasn't surrounded by tourists before.

Got a spare 1.3 million to spend? You can own this replica of St. Augustine's oldest house directly across from one of my favorite places to eat, the Mayan Cafe.

Grace Methodist Church was built by Henry Flagler so he could build the Alcazar Hotel on the site occupied by the former Methodist Church.

Another rare opportunity to shoot this site of Ripley's Believe It or Not without hundreds of tourists... this was once a hotel owned by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' husband.

The Ponce de Leon Shopping Center designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus.

Details of the Alcazar Hotel, now home to the Lightner Museum and City Hall.

The fabulous Casa Monica, formerly owned by Henry Flagler.

I keep photographing this vacant mid-century Firestone dealership because I'm afraid it won't be there the next time I visit...

"Bernard Street is one of three historically black residential streets in the North City area, dating back to the Flagler Era... In the early twentieth century, Dawson Chapel C.M.E., Hurst Chapel A.M.E., and North City Baptist Church were built on Bernard Street."

"Perhaps the most unique location in the city, Palm Row is reminiscent of residential mews found tucked away in historic sections of urban locales (think Greenwich Village and you'll get the idea). What appears to be a bricked walkway is the actual street as it was laid out in the very early 1900s at the end of the Victorian era. Houses line up on the south side with parking on the north."

Another mid-century beauty, the Prince of Peace Church is part of the Nombre de Dios shrine where Menendez performed the first mass in North America.


  1. I have yet to visit St. Augustine but am dying to do so!
    Isn't it strange that there are so many old building there and yet you are worried about a firestone! Will we ever preserve a building like that as a society to represent and reflect what the world was like then? I wonder, a whole chunk of history may be missing, people will still be able to see buildings from centuries before in 100 years but nothing from years like 1970.
    But at least it is preserved as an image now!

  2. Very nice photos. Seven years in Florida and I still haven't made it over to St. Augustine. It's good to get the historical context you provide along with photos, great stuff!

  3. Thanks all. I keep finding more reasons to love St. Augustine, partly because I'm allowing myself to do the "touristy" things we always avoided growing up. I also think I have a keener attention to detail than when I was younger, and no city in Florida has more know detail that I know of than St. Augustine. Plus it's very walkable. I highly recommend a visit when It's not blazing hot and it's not full of tourists...

  4. Even when it's full of tourists, I still love it! And am happy that people are coming here from all over to discover its charm.