Friday, September 10, 2010

A Little History Lesson

The little guy got a history lesson this week when we spent some time walking around downtown St. Augustine. I have a few pictures of points of interest that I would like to share with you. I decided instead of our usual beach day I would take advantage of the beautiful weather and take a stroll through history. I hope he learned a little along the way.

St. Augustine is a city, located in the North Eastern section of Florida, near the Georgia border. It was founded August 28, 1565, by spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menedez de Avilis. It is the oldest city and port in the United States. In the years after the founding, the city shifted to British rule for a period then transferred back to Spanish control in 1784. The cities population today is approximately 12,500. St. Augustine is the headquarters for the Florida National Guard.

St. Augustine is home to the United States oldest wooden school building. It is located at 14 St. George Street near the city gate. (see pic) The exact date of construction is unknown, but it first appears on tax records in 1716. The house is encircled by a large chain and anchor, placed there in 1937 in case of a hurricane. The walls are made of cypress and red cedar held together by wooden pegs and hand made nails. The schoolmaster and family lived on the second floor above the classroom and the kitchen was located in a seperate building to reduce heat and threat of fire.

In 1668 St. Augustine was attacked . In the aftermath of this raid, the spanish began the construction of a more secure fortification, the Castillo de San Marcos, which stands today as the nations oldest fort. (see pics from an earlier visit this summer with the boys)
Today, the city is a popular tourist attraction for it Spanish Colonial buildings as well as elite 19th century architecture. There are many original homes along historic St. George Street. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm, incorporated in 1908, is one of the oldest commercial tourist attractions in Florida as well as the Fountain of Youth which dates from the same time period. Another landmark is the St. Augustine lighthouse which was built in 1874. (see pic) Horse drawn carriages clip-clop through the historic area carrying tourist. Occupying a stretch of coastline and white sand beaches along the North Florida Atlantic, St. Augustine attracts thousand of visitors each year who enjoy the history, community, beauty and ambience of America's oldest city.

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