Now & Then
St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles of Spain and is the oldest continuously-inhabited European-establish settlement in the United States. The city served as the capital of Spanish Florida for over 200 years, and traded hands from Spanish to English control more than once. The cities’ longevity can be seen in the buildings around town, in both their architecture and inhabitants. Created by Flagler interns, Lillian Rae Shropshire and Dorina Henninger, this project aims to document the changes in these historic structures and to tell their individual stories.
The Green Book
The Negro Motorist Green Book was a travel guide published during the segregation era in the United States from 1937-67. The book was written by a Black, Harlem-based, postal carrier named Victor Hugo Green.
It identified businesses which didn’t discriminate against African-Americans, including restaurants, boarding homes, and salons.
The purpose of the guide was to make travel safe and comfortable for black people in America, who often had to be mindful of discrimination and prosecution.
While the first Green Book focused on businesses in New York, the following travel guides extended to all states and participating cities, including St. Augustine, Florida.
Image from Wikipedia article, "The Negro Motorist Green Book", accessed 3/29/2021.
In St. Augustine, two properties were listed as safe tourist homes, 83 Bridge Street and 132 Central Avenue, now called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Both properties have a rich history in Lincolnville, St. Augustine’s historically Black neighborhood created by the free men and women after the Civil War in 1866.
As it follows, both White and Black people have continuously occupied both properties.
Kelley’s Tourist Home ~ 83 Bridge Street
The house on 83 Bridge Street was built around 1885 and was home to multiple people over its long history.
For example, Carrie Macon (nee Chandler), who lived in the house from 1911 to 1925, was a widowed Black woman who owned a hair salon on the fashionable St. George Street. Advertisements of her salon can be found in the 1930 St. Augustine City Directory as the “Carrie Macon Shoppe,” boasting waving, permanents, and manicuring services.
The significance of her shop cannot be understated; St. George Street operated as a popular living and leisure area for rich white people visiting St. Augustine. As a single Black woman, owning her own business in such a place was impressive, especially in the Jim Crow South.
83 Bridge was sold to Franklin H. Kelley and his wife Emma, a Black family who planned to open their home as Kelley’s Tourist Home, offering boarding and chauffeur services.
They operated from about 1955 to 1968 and advertised their address in the Green Book as a safe place for non-white travelers.
83 Bridge was advertised in the guides until its discontinuation in 1967 after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
July 18, 1975
H. G. Tye Apartments ~ 132 Central Avenue
The second property, 132 Central, also has a similar history to 84 Bridge.
Constructed in the mid to late 1920s, it operated as a tourist home under Handy G. Tye. In the Green Book, the property is listed as the “H. G. Tye Apartments.”
While little is known about Tye himself, he owned the house from 1930-40, before moving to Boston and selling the house.
These are just two of the historic homes in Lincolnville, but they underline the importance and prominence of the Black community in St. Augustine, a town historically diverse from its founding in 1565.
Here, African-Americans have lived, worked, and thrived within the town's borders for centuries, as shown by the properties found in the Green Book and the legacies they have left behind.
Other properties of interest
The Sisters of St. Joseph and their students. Photo Credit: Richard A. Twine , c. 1922-3
In 1916, the Sisters of St. Joseph faced legal difficulties because they taught black students. Sisters Mary Thomasine, Mary Scholastica and Mary Beningus were arrested on Easter Sunday for violating Jim Crow laws, which made it illegal for White teachers to teach Black students.
The judge, however, ruled that the law did not apply to the sisters, as they taught in a private institution. In 1964, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, St. Benedict's church was also used as a meeting place for Martin Luther King Jr. to plan marches to support the Civil Rights Movement.
The school was closed shortly after the desegregation of St. Augustine under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but the Sisters of St. Joseph continue to live in the Mother House of the Sisters of St. Joseph on St. George Street. Black catholic children were able to attend the Cathedral Parish School and St. Joseph’s Academy.
St. Benedict’s the Moor Roman Catholic Church and School
The creation of St. Benedict's the Moor Roman Catholic Church and School is due to the Sisters of St. Joseph, a Roman Catholic religious group founded in Le Puy, France, in 1650.
The Sisters came to St. Augustine in 1866 to bring education to the newly liberated slaves and their children. The sisters also taught deaf, blind and otherwise disabled people.
The school, originally called St. Cecilia's, received financial support from Mother Katherine Drexel, a now-canonized Catholic saint and American philanthropist, to build a larger school and church for the sisters and their students.
By 1909, the first brick was laid of St. Benedict the Moor’s Catholic Church in the historic Lincolnville district south of the St. Augustine Plaza.
Trinity Episcopal Church
Trinity Episcopal Church is known as the oldest Protestant church in Florida.
The new congregation was founded when Florida became a US territory under President James Monroe in 1845. There were no more "state religions," and the Anglican Church, burdened by its connection with Britain, was de-anglicized to the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States in 1784.
The organization was requested by the citizens of St. Augustine for missionary service, and soon Reverend Andrew Fowler came to the small town in the midst of a yellow fever outbreak.
While the congregation first met in the courthouse, Fowler is called the “founder” of Trinity Parish.
Construction of a physical Trinity Church began in 1830 after a successful fundraising effort, with Vestry member Peter Mitchell designing the building, Reuben Loring plastering the interior, and Willis Peck making and installing the windows in 1834.
The Trinity Church was officially consecrated June 5, 1834 by Bishop Nathaniel Bowen of South Carolina.
A crisis occurred in 1848 when the Roman Catholic church petitioned Congress to obtain the old lot which once held the bishop’s house, claiming it was not public property, so it could not be conveyed to the United States by the Spanish Government.
The Vestry entered the dispute, and thankfully, the assigned arbitrator made the decision that the Spanish government indeed owned the property, securing its transfer to the Episcopal.
A largely new building replaced the old Trinity building in the twentieth century as the old parish required crucial repairs and updates.
By early 1902, plans were drawn by Snelling and Potter of New York. The original building was preserved, while stone, concrete, and brick were used for the building’s westerly extension. The new building itself is in a Gothic revival style with heavy dark wood vaulting, cruciform structure, and pointed arches.
Constructed in 1883, the Villa Zorayda was built as a winter residence for Franklin W. Smith and his wife Laura.
The building is constructed of poured concrete and crushed coquina shell and features details replicated from the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.
It is the earliest Moorish Revival style building in Florida.
After 20 years as a residence, the building was converted into the Zorayda Club, which hosted many prominent guests who enjoyed dancing, dining, and socializing.
When Smith died in 1913, the building and his collection were sold to Albraham Mussallem, a Lebanese immigrant who was an authority on exotic rugs and Egyptian artifacts.
The club was operated as a casino and speakeasy until being converted back into a residence for Mussallem and his family.
In 1933, after realizing the building’s historical importance to St. Augustine, the Mussallems officially opened the building as the Villa Zorayda Museum and have operated it ever since.
Manson's Bakery & Confectionary
Manson's Bakery was located near the St. Augustine City Gate, which marked the front of the original colonial settlement.
The bakery was owned by Ira S. Mason, a baker and skilled confectioner, around 1888. The building can be seen from St. Augustine skyline photos from the same era.
W.S. Sawtelle bought the bakery in 1897, before it was presumably resold in 1899.
The building itself survived until the late 1950s and was classified as a dry cleaning, photo studio and radio station until it was demolished in 1958.
In its place now is a store front featuring a Kilwin’s Ice Cream shop, a Pepper Palace, and multiple businesses.
A photo from the Castillo de San Marcos. From here, you can see the San Marco Hotel in the center, Castle Warden on the far right, fort grounds, and the three story Manson's bakery on the far left.
Casa Horruytiner ~ 214 St. George Street
Casa Horruytiner is one of the oldest remaining houses in St. Augustine and was built around the First Spanish Evacuation in 1763.
The earliest documented owner is Don Diego Horruitiner y Pueyo, who is related to two Florida Governors, Luis de Horruytiner and Pedro Benedit Horruytiner.
The house passed hands after the First Spanish period to Charles Delap, the second documented owner, who was a Justice of the Peace during the British Period in St. Augustine.
The man the house is named for, Horace Lindsley, was sold the property by a Woman’s Exchange in 1896 for seven thousand and five hundred dollars.
Lindsley was a physician who had trained at Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia and moved to St. Augustine in 1889, where he set up a successful practice and became a prominent member of the community.
Prince Murat Horse ~ 250 St. George Street
Built in 1815 near the end of the Colonial Period, the house’s architecture is heavily influenced by royal ordinances concerning the laying out of new towns issues by the King of Spain in 1573.
Thus, the streets of St. Augustine are narrow, with houses built close to the road and walls to protect courtyards from the street.
The house reflects this. It is built to the street on both sides and is enclosed by a high coquina wall on it’s west side.
It is well known for its connection to Prince Achille Murat, nephew of Napoleon, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who stayed at the house in 1827.
Despite the fact that Murat only lived there for a short time, his name is still associated with it. He bought land south of St. Augustine and later moved to a home near Tallahassee. There, he met and married Catherine Daingerfield Wills Gray, George Washington's great-niece.
Villa Flora ~ 240 St. George Street
In 1906, the Weenolsens sold Villa Flora to Alanson Wood, whose widow Bessie O. H. Wood established a hotel in the house in the 1910s and 1920s. By 1934, there was a restaurant called the Villa Flora Grill in the former winter cottage which was run by Ruth Masters, a daughter of a former St. Augustine mayor. In the early 1940s, the current owners, the Sisters of St. Joseph, bought the property and established a kindergarten and residence there in tandem with the St. Joseph’s Academy and Convent across the street. Sister Patrick Theresa ran the kindergarten. The house is now used for meetings.
Villa Flora was built as a winter cottage for Baptist minister Reverend O. A. Weenolsen from Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1898 after he and his wife had bought the property on St. George Street in 1892. Reverend O. A. Weenolson, a Baptist minister, made improvements to the property such as its massive garden wall in 1896. According to the Sanborn Fire insurance map from 1899, the property was subdivided.
The building is Romanesque revival style and one of the surviving winter cottages of the Flagler Era, and is one of the oldest brick buildings in the city. The two-story yellow-brown house with a three-story tower has an above-ground basement and the house had a porch base of coquina. It also has one of the most extensive stained glasswork collection of any surviving residential building in St. Augustine, featuring a piece of stained glass above the doors saying “Villa Flora”. There are lush gardens with a paved walkway between Cordova and St. George street that was named Flora Promenade.
This is colorized postcard photo of the Villa Flora. The description on the back says "Villa, Flora, St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine's modern side, in its hotel and villa life, is the Newport of the South. The Villa Flora is credited with being the most beautiful residence in all St. Augustine.
Colonial Upham Cottage ~ 268 St. George Street
This house, built in 1892-3, is one of St. Augustine's remaining Queen Anne style cottages that functioned as winter cottages for the residence of the Hotel Ponce de Leon.
It was designed by owner John J. Upham of Wisconsin, a Colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War.
The Upham's continuously added to the house even after moving in, adding a roof garden in 1895 and raising a one-story rear section and adding a skylight between 1893 and 1899.
By the mid twentieth century the house was converted into apartments but has now been restored into a single family home.
Markland House ~ 102 King Street
Since 1979 Markland House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Construction on Markland House began in 1839. The property was owned by New Yorker Dr. Andrew Anderson turned orange farmer. He died shortly after breaking ground. Due to his widow, Clarissa, having financial difficulties only half of the original design for “Markland Hall” was built by 1842.
Later the mansion known as “Markland Cottage” was used as a guest house which was described by R. K. Sewall in 1848 as a “neat private residence” with “reasonable prices.” Many different decorative and agricultural plants grew on the property such as roses, cactus, oranges, mulberries, blackberries, watermelons, corn, and potatoes.
As was typical for an estate at that time, there were enslaved persons living at Markland. Matilda was the head of the enslaved servants and a gardener; Lettie was the housemaid and also responsible for the chickens; Annie, the cook, and her daughter Lena. The servants lived in the attic of the main house until 1859 when a house was built between the main house and the barn to accommodate them. After president Lincoln’s preliminary emancipation act in 1862, Matilda left and in the 1870 census the others were not listed anymore either.
Dr. Andrew Anderson Jr. enlarged the house in 1899 to fit his growing family. His father’s original plan was used as a basis, and the western half of the house was built using brick instead of coquina like in the old eastern half. The latest water closets were installed.
1885 map and 2021 Google Maps (last accessed 11/16/21).
The St. Augustine Record: Markland’s grandeur lives again, April 5, 1983.
In 1939 the house was sold to a local contractor and rancher, Herbert E. Wolfe, and his wife Virgie. They modernized it and added some rooms to fit their family’s needs.
On March 27, 1968 Markland Hall was sold to Flagler College, who promised to preserve the historic house. Until 1975 Markland House was used as the College president’s residence. Then there were College classrooms until Dr. Anderson Jr.’s daughter Clarissa Anderson Gibbs took interest in its restoration in 1978.
The carpet and blackboards were taken out of the classrooms, and the ground floor rooms were renovated to resemble the look from 1900. The renovations were completed in 1983. In 1991 the second floor was renovated again.
Kirkside ~ Valencia Street
Google Maps 2021 (last accessed 11/16/21).
Henry Flagler’s St. Augustine residence was completed in 1893. Designed by John Carrére and Thomas Hastings, the new wooden house was built in the Colonial Revival style by architect J. A. MacDonald.
It stood on a 5-acre lot between Carrera, Riberia, and Valencia Streets. The property had tennis courts, gardens, and a greenhouse next to the fifteen-room main house which was painted white with green window shutters.
There also was a portico in the front with Greek Corinthian style columns and a Greek pediment above. There was a central patio to be used in the mild winter weather. Inside, there were open ground-floor rooms made for entertaining and multiple bedrooms upstairs with en-suite bathrooms. The decorations and interior hardwood trim were made by the New Yorker furniture firm Pottier and Stymus, including antique furniture, mahogany and marble adornments, paintings, and tapestries.
Kirkside, the estate of Henry M. Flagler - St. Augustine, Florida. 1920 (circa). State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/147940>, accessed 9 November 2021.
Kirkside in the 1904 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.
St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida, 1904. Accessed November 9, 2021. https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074227/00005/8x?search=st.%2B%3Daugustine%2B%3D1884.
In 1904 the house was worth $30,000 (over $900,000 in 2021). Flagler’s third wife Mary Lily Kenan became the new owner of Kirkside in 1907, but it was not used after. After her death ten years later, she willed it to her niece Louise Clisby, who owned the house for 20 years until her death. The estate was remodeled in 1923. A pergola, fountain, bathing house and flower gardens were built. In 1926, a fire did damage in the kitchen and servants’ wing but was confined in the north wing.
After Louise’s death in 1937, the house and property were sold to the University Foundation in 1942. An Evening College with courses in the humanities, as well as Christian leadership Courses with free tuition for church workers and youths, ran there until 1949.
One year later, the Model Land Company bought the property. The mansion needed an estimated $20,000 ($228,000 in 2021) for repairs. Instead, the building was torn down and the land was divided into 13 residential lots. The Company applied restrictions to the future buildings to make sure they would fit in the neighborhood.
However, a piece of Kirkside still exists. The four Corinthian columns were reused for the Kirkside Apartments on Riberia and Carrera Streets.
Sunnyside ~ King Street
Former Vermonter and Union officer Captain Thomas F. House built the Sunnyside Hotel on the corner of King and Cordova Streets, in 1876, after having bought the land from Mrs. Anderson (see Markland). Sunnyside was a wooden, two-story, thirty-room, family run hotel with a four-story tower in the east and two-story porches around the building. They offered rooms, including meals for $2.50 a day, ($64.09 in 2021). It opened in the winter months, from November until May, and was located right on the northern end of the Maria Sanchez Creek.
In 1885, Mrs. Anderson’s son, Dr. Anderson Jr., bought back the land of the Sunnyside Hotel for $20,000 ($566,000 in 2021). A few days later Anderson then sold it to Henry Flagler for the same price. Flagler also bought the lot diagonally across the street from where the Ponce de Leon Hotel was to be built, from the widow Ellen Ryall, and sold it to Franklin Smith. He then moved the Sunnyside there and sold the Hotel to Smith as well, who ran it as a boarding house. After Smith built the Cordova Hotel, that is now called Casa Monica, on the property in 1887, he split up the Sunnyside and moved it once again to make room for an enlargement of the Cordova.
Photo 1: People at the Sunnyside House - Saint Augustine, Florida. 1870 (circa). State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/53987>, accessed 9 November 2021.
The wooden Sunnyside Hotel was divided into four sections: the fate of two of them is unknown. The other two were moved across the San Sebastian River to then so-called New Augustine. In 1924 and 1925, Mrs. Eugenia Lee was listed as the proprietor of Sansara Hall which was located on the corner of West King and Palmer Streets. The hotel building was demolished in 1934.
Another section is still present on 525 West King Street, which was just outside the western city limit of Whitney Street in the early 20th century. The two-story house had a two-story wooden porch in the front with a one-story add-on with a small porch in the back. In the 1920s the house was owned by an African-American family.
Moses Demps lived with his wife Rosa, sister Sallie as well as his children Aaron, Charley, Eloise, James, Luzzine, Moses Jr., Carrie, and Rachel. Demps worked as a gardener and later became pastor for St. James Baptist Church in New Augustine. A picture from around 1925 shows a part of the family in front of the house.
In 2001, this quarter of the former Victorian style Sunnyside Hotel was sold to the St. Johns Housing Partnership who renovated it. The concrete porch and pillars were replaced by wooden duplicates of the original porch. The house became St. Johns County’s first official historic landmark.
Photo 1: Pope, Margo C.: County’s first landmark? Part of pre-Flagler hotel may receive designation, in: St. Augustine Record, May 25, 2001, p1A, 8A.
In 1874, the New York couple Henry and Frances Ball purchased a 15-acre orange grove from the estate of historian Buckingham Smith. They built a three-story wooden mansion in the French Empire Style in the midst of the grove. After Mr. Ball died in 1878, his widow wanted to sell the property including the house which had hot and cold water, gas, and the land with a greenhouse, stable, ice house, gardener’s cottage, and an irrigation system that was worked by a windmill.
In 1885 Henry Flagler bought the Ball mansion and estate. Flagler started building the Memorial Presbyterian Church on a piece of the former Ball property on Valencia street just west of the Ball Mansion. The house was moved to have enough space and unobstructed views for the new church. The Ball Mansion’s new location would be one block north on the corner of Carrera and Sevilla Streets.
A northern wing was added, and the former Ball Mansion with its four-story tower became the Barcelona Hotel. It was not run as a part of the Flagler Hotels, instead it was leased.
1892 leaflet advertisement.
The staircase of the mansion turned hotel is now built into 1 King Street on the southwest corner of King Street and Avenida Menendez.
In 1892, Miss Hasseltine managed the Barcelona Hotel, a fifty-room, family hotel which was surrounded by open country. It had baths with hot and cold water on each floor and spacious common rooms. It was open during the season from November until May. Some of the rooms had private baths, the house was heated by steam, and there were verandas on three sides. From the 1890s, the then popular card game Euchre was played at the Barcelona Hotel, and there were prizes. There were also other social events, such as dancing, as well as charity events, with music or singing, that would raise money for a good cause such as to raise money for furnishing the soldiers’ reading room. $12 were raised for that event in 1899 (almost $400 in 2021).
In 1920-1921 A. N. Blair owned the Barcelona Hotel and ran it as a restaurant. In the 1950s, Mr. Thomas G. Wiles purchased the Barcelona Hotel and offered family style dinners, and an all you can eat lunch on Sundays. The hotel was eventually bought by the Ancient City Baptist Church who tore it down to make space for a parking lot.
The St. Augustine Record: An Innovation in Dining, January 26, 1953.
Busy Corner ~ northwest corner of the junction of St. George Street and Cathedral Place
Juan Elixio de la Puente’s map of St. Augustine (1763/64)
and the Sanborn Fire Insurance map of 1884.
St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida, 1884. Accessed November 16, 2021. https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074227/00003?search=st.%2B%3Daugustine%2B%3D1884.
In 2021, there is a parking lot, but much more was going on there over the last 250+ years. In Juan Elixio de la Puente’s map of St. Augustine (1763/64), the houses mapped as 180 and 181 in the block “N” are located in what would later be named “Busy Corner”. 180 was a stone house and belonged to Doña Maria Gertrudis Ponce. 181 was a frame house owned by Doña Mathea Ponce. When German cartographer Johann Wilhelm Gerhard von Brahm (John William Gerard de Brahm) came to St. Augustine in the later 18th century, he bought the Doñas Ponce’s properties giving him land from St. George Street west to the border of the town, where today’s Cordova Street runs, and from the governor’s house north including the 181 property.
In 1796, Juan (John) McQueen bought the de Brahm lot. In 1818, a two-story stone building with shingled roofing was on that lot. The Sanborn Fire Insurance map of 1884 shows two two-story stone houses in this area. It is unclear if one of them is the house from 1818. In addition to these houses, there is a three-story, stone building with shingled roofing and wooden porches labeled as “Bishop’s Residence,” west of the buildings on St. George Street.
On the 1888 map, that building is labeled as “Catholic School” which was the St. Mary’s Convent. The building was located just north of Cathedral Place that was extended west, in 1890, to meet today’s Cordova Street. A few years later the Spanish owned P. F. Carcaba cigar factory moved into the building.
Right: Cigar factory in the former St. Mary’s Convent building.
In 1897 the so-called “Bishop’s Block” was built, taking up the space from the cigar factory east to St. George Street. It was a three-wing, two-story brick building with a metal balcony and wooden deck overhanging St. George Street and Cathedral Place. Within there were different stores selling groceries, cigars, photographs, and bicycles. A bowling alley was also located on the first floor of the public hall in the west wing.
1899 Sanborn Fire Insurance map
St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida, 1899. Accessed November 9, 2021. https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074227/00006/3j?search=st.%2B%3Daugustine%2B%3D1884.
In 1904 the cigar factory, then “Garcia, Vega & Carcaba,” had expanded into the Bishop’s Block and replaced the bowling alley. After Carcaba’s death in 1906, his partners Garcia and Vega moved to Tampa but were encouraged to come back to St. Augustine as the town suffered from the loss of the factory. Carcaba’s relatives built a new cigar factory at 88 Riberia Street and the Bishop’s Block got yet another cigar factory as in 1910 there was the “C. Meitin Cigar Factory”. By 1920 cigars were the second largest industry in town after the railway.
Looking at the junction of St. George Street and Cathedral Place from the south after 1884 but before the extension of the road in 1890.
Looking at the junction of St. George Street and Cathedral Place from the south in the 1930s.
The junction became so busy, in January 1918 the town’s first traffic officer was appointed by the Police department. $1000 of fines were collected in St. Augustine that year, compared to only $70.20 the year before.
Forty-two years later, in 1960, the Bishop’s Building was owned by the Catholic Church, but the stores had to move when the building was declared to be unsafe and had to be torn down.
Looking at the junction of St. George Street and Cathedral Place from the south in the 1920s and 2021.
Tearing down of the Bishop’s Block. October 1960 and 2021.
Fernandez-Llambias House ~ 31 St. Francis Street
Location of the Fernandez-Llambias House on St. Francis Street on the St. Augustine map by Juan Elixio de la Puente from 1763/64.
The Llambias House was first registered in 1764 when owned by Pedro Fernandez. It is made out of coquina stone and had one room, a tabby floor, a flat roof with the roof beams exposed, and the walls whitewashed. The unglazed windows presumably had wooden shutters.
When the British took over in St. Augustine, officials granted the house to Richard Henderson. It was sold three more times in the British period. Smaller glass windows were installed in the existing window holes of the Llambias house. The window on the west wall was walled up, and a coquina fireplace with a brick chimney was built. By 1783, a second floor with two rooms and three coquina walls and one wooden wall was constructed. The ground floor was divided into two rooms. A staircase was built in the back of the house rising up from an arcade to a wooden gallery. At the end of the British Period it was owned by Nicholas Turnbull.
During the second Spanish period, the property was auctioned and sergeant Mariano Moreno bought the house. Five owners came and went in the next years through to the beginning of the American period. Dr. William H. Simmons was one of them. The physician and author bought the house for $1,400 (around $38,000 in 2021). He was involved in the process of making Tallahassee the capital of American Florida after the rivalry of the old colonial capitals Pensacola and St. Augustine. His medical skills served the community during various Yellow Fever epidemics. In 1840 the Minorcan Joseph Manucy/Manusi bought the house. He made some changes to it: New wood trim and doors were installed as well as the balcony over the street and the upstairs fireplace in the west room with its mantle. The coquina arches and stone pillars of the arcade were replaced by wooden posts and railings and the gallery was rebuilt. Maybe plastered ceilings were installed to hide the old roof beams in the first-floor rooms, the walls on the second floor were plastered.
In 1854 the house was sold to the Llambias family. When they fled during the Civil war, they returned to a vandalized house with ripped up woodwork and flooring and the ground floor used as a stable. The east chimney was added in 1890 and the roof was renewed. Fire Insurance Maps show that nothing was changed on the exterior of the house from 1893 to 1910: It was a two-story stone house with a balcony in the front and a two-story wooden porch in the back, all of which had shingled roofing.
After 65 years of ownership the Llambia’s heirs sold the property to Harry N. Campbell, director of the Cape Cod School of Art in 1919. He added an extension south of the house on the west side, using coquina. The house was rented out as a tea room, gift shop and living quarters. In 1932 it was sold to three sisters who did not want the public to have access to any part of the property. They sold it to the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1938 who wanted to restore it for the use by a Garden Club.
One year later architectural studies were performed on the house but a planned restoration did not get started before World War II. In 1945 Carnegie transferred the ownership of the Llambias House to the St. Augustine Historical Society and the Garden Club terminated its lease on the property. Eventually in 1952 another architectural study was performed and the Historical Society offered to keep custody of the house and keep it open to the public if the restoration works were to be undertaken by the Restoration Association. Left-over state funds from the first restauration attempt before the war could be used. The south wing added in the 20th century would be removed and the outside of the house restored to the two-story and porch state from the middle of the 19th century. The inside of the first floor was restored to the stage of the first Spanish period with only one big room and no door to the street while the second floor represents a younger stage as there originally was no second floor. The Minorcan period was chosen to be represented in the furniture displayed.
In 1968 the women’s service club Altrusa used the property and made it available to the public. They built a kitchen on the grounds and bathroom facilities to be able to host events. Lea Wells was the architect.
Left: St. Augustine Record, May 6, 1945.
For more information on these and other properties, contact the Saint Augustine Historical Society Research Library at (904) 825-2333 or [email protected]