|National Committee for the Preservation and Restoration of
by Dr. Verne E. Chatelain,
Presented to the Committee
at March, 1937 meeting
at the Ponce de Leon Hotel
The proposal for some form of development program for the conservation of important features and values in the
ancient city of St. Augustine, Florida, is one which has had consideration fro many years. It has been noted on
numerous occasions by visitors and local inhabitants alike that the physical conditions in St. Augustine have been
gradually drifting more and more into a chaotic state, wherein the chief historical assets and much of the charm of
the old city is bieng lost.
Those appreciating the rich historical traditions and assests of this region, where the first white settlement having
continous history in America was established, have watched ancient landmarks disappear time after time through
one cause or another. disastrous fires, the throughtless action of private property owners as well as city officials,
and the general destruction that comes through the operation of natural causes in time and change, all have
conspired to bring about a condition in which historic sites have been lost sight of, ancient edifices have passed into
oblivion, and the elements making for objective physical evidence in history have been squandered.
For the moment it does not make so much difference how the idea originated of saving what is left, or who
contributed to the beginnings of the program which has resulted in the preliminary survey now drawing to a close.
Suffice it to say that it remained for Mayor Walter B. Fraser to take the action which led to the organization of a
National Committee for the conservation of this area. Matching Mr. Fraser's deep interest in this program is that of
Dr. John C. Merriam and others of the staff of Carnegie Institution of Washington, who, at the psychological moment
threw the weight of their influence and support to the carrying out of the survey program, which it is hoped in time
may lead to a plan for saving what remains of the physical history of St. Augustine and utilizing a well-articulated city
plan, based upon the development of the natural and historical assets existing here.
After a series of conferences between Mayor Fraser and representatives of Carnegie Institution and the National
Park Service during the summer of 1936, a committee was appointed with a membership containing certain of those
locally interested in the possible contributions which the story of this area might afford to the American history. Also,
it was decided to hold a preliminary meeting of the National Committee in Washington on October 26, 1936, at which
time the organization of an historical survey was discussed and certain tentative conclusions reached. Among other
things, the committee took cognizance of "the importance to future generations of the history and culture of early
Spanish settlement on this continent", and particularly "of the first permanent white settlement in the United States
(at St. Augustine)", where the committee believed "that the historic setting should be faithfully preserved and that it
should explore every avenue and possibly to the end of preserving,....restoring and constructing... such sections of
the old part of the city as were once within its fortifications to the extent which documentary evidence and other
reliable data and research will permit."
As a first step in the study of a proposed plan of development it was determined that a subcommittee should be
formed, to furnish to the full committee information regarding the documentary data, "legendary and factual, bearing
on the settlement of the city by the Spanish and subsequent occupations and development relating to the
architecture, customs, and means by which early settlers utilized local material to replant old world civilization in the
new." This sub-committee furthermore was instructed to begin archaeological excavation work immediately to
unearth and bring to light such evidence as would enable the National Committee to consider fully the culture,
customs, and development of St. Augustine. It was thought that such ifnormation would be useful in determining to
what extent a development program should be carried out, affecting city planning, the possible preservation,
reconstruction and restoration of historic sites and the general treatment of St. Augustine as a part of its immediate
Immediately after the formation of the National Committee and its first meeting in October, Dr. John C. Merriam, who
had agreed to serve as temporary chairman, in consultation with Mayor Fraser and other representatives of the City
of St. Augustine, agreed upon the setting up of a staff having as its purpose the conduct of the historical survey to
provide data for the report of the sub-committee on fact finding.
In passing, it should be noted that a second sub-committee was decided upon to formulate recommendations on
policies of development. The work of the Historical Survey staff was also to provide a basis for the report of this
For the purpose of facilitating the activities of the sub-committee on fact finding, the National Committee placed in
Dr. Merriam's hands the problem of selecting and organizing the personnel to carry out the work of the historical
survey. Verne E. Chatelain, formerly the chief historian and acting assistant director in charge of the Branch of
Historical Sites and Buildings of the National Park Service, Washington, D. C., was selected to direct the historical
survey, following his appointment as Research Associate on the staff of Carnegie Institution of Washington.
Subsequently, the members of Sub-Committee No. 1 on fact finding were names as follows: Dr. Waldo G. Leland,
Permanent Secretary, American Council of Learned Societies, Washington, D. C.; Dr. Herbert E. Bolton, Professor
of History, University of California; Dr. A. V. Kidder, Chairman, Division of Historical Research, Carnegie Institution;
Dr. William E. Lingelbach, Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Matthew W. Stirling, Chief, Bureau of
American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution; together with Dr. John C. Merriam and Mr. Chatelain.
It should be added that to finance the historical survey, the City of St. Augustine and other interested persons
pledged two thousand dollars, which sum was supplemented by funds provided through Dr. John C. Merriam from
various Carnegie sources, as well as by certain assistance given by the Florida WPA.
Mr. Chatelain began his work on November 15, starting first with a survey of materials to be found in the libraries in
Washington. On December 7, he came to St. Augustine, where, with the cooperation of the Mayor and other civic
leaders, offices were provided for the survey in the First National Bank Building and other personnel selected to
assist in carrying out the program. Inclduing those selected were: Rogers Johnson, Engineer, W. J. Winter,
Archeologist; Albert Manucy, Historian; Mrs. Blanche Reyes, Typist; Miss Vera Smith, Typist; and Miss Ruth E.
Harris, Secretary. Also it was provided that Miss Frances Benjamin Johnston, under a grand from the Carnegie
Corporation, should come to St. Augustine in order to make a photographic record under the direction of Mr.
Chatelain for the purposes of this survey. Miss Johnson arrived on December 15 and continued in St. Augustine
until January 24. The nature of her work will be referred to hereafter and some of her pictures are incorporated
in this report.
It should be added that through the cooperation of the City Manager, Eugene Masters, a WPA labor crew was
provided for the archaeological excavation work, which was inaugurated officially by Dr. Merriam upon his visit to St.
Augustine on January 12. This work has continued to date under the direction of Mr. Winter, Archeologist, and Mr.
Johnson, Engineer. On February 1, owing to an interruption in the WPA program, a reorganization of this part of the
work was undertaken, and a new arrangement made with Mr. Masters, whereby the city furnishes directly a crew of
six men to be paid out of the funds of the City of St. Augustine. This arrangement will continue at least through the
first week in March.
In addition, several members of the staff of Carnegie Institution have paid visits to St. Augustine during the course of
the preliminary survey, among them Dr. Merriam himself, Dr. Leland, and Charles W. Eliot, connected with the
National Resources Board. At the time of the October meeting of the National Committee it was decided to hold a
second meeting of the committee in St. Augustine during the month of March, 1937. The date of that meeting,
March 2, marks the end of the period of the preliminary survey and the report which follows represents a statement
covering the general activities of the research program to date and the report of the first subcommittee on fact
Objectives and Values
In approaching the problem of research relating to St. Augustine and its environment, several considerations may
be pointed out which have a definite bearing, it is thought, upon the nature, extent, and justification for such activity.
Unlike other problems of historical research, which have sometimes confronted students of history, it need here only
be mentioned that this program has been set up and conducted for the purpose of shedding definite light insofar as
that is feasible upon the life history of this community and with the idea in mind of translating the results of this effort
into a plan of physical development, and wise city planning for the conservation, stabilization, interpretation and
general educational use of the materials and values thus discovered.
The student will note among toher things that St. Augustine is the oldest community of the white race having
continous hisory in the United States, that its racial stock, while basically Spanish, has been influenced by other
races---Indian, Negro, and other Caucasian stocks. All of these have had their part in creating the physical and
cultural environment in St. Augustine. It should also be emphasized that the history of white settlement in this
community, which dates from the year 1565, has passed through many successive and distinct phases of
development. Each of these has its own peculiar significance in the story as well as a relationship to what existed
before and to what was developed afterwards. It would seem, therefore, unwise to settle upon any one particular
time level as the point of emphasis, either in the matter of historical interpretation or physical development. Rather,
it is thought that the philosophy of research and development should be one having as its purpose the gradual
unfolding o the story, considering origins, causes and effects and the various contributions of all natural and human
influences to progress as measured in terms of time and change.
In this connection, the fact should be stressed that St. Augustine, far from being a dead and abandoned area, is a
living, growing social organism. The object of research should be to single out the individual historical sites,
buildings, other structures and remains, to find every possible shred of historical evidence as to the record of these
places and the general life story of this community, and to stabilize, preserve and accentuate this physical history
and the story which goes with it, insofar as possible consistent with civic progress and social well-being. Research
should give the student the clue to the fundamental historical values existing here, and then a wise program of
development should serve to put these resources in a setting which will unify their physical treatment and
presentation under conditions as harmonious and as conducive to public welfare as is possible.
Insofar as the written source materials are concerned, the ideal program of research certainly should be to
ascertain fully the nature, extent, location and condition of this material, and to effect the concentration of the
original manuscripts, et cetera, or copies thereof, in a central place of deposit, preferably in the historical museum
and library, which it is to be hoped may be developed in connection with the general program hereafter for St.
Augustine. This material not only will throw light upon the many problems of proposed development and restoration,
none of which should be made except in the light of rigid tests of historical accuracy, but also will lead to the time
when monographs dealing with particular aspects of history in St. Augustine and eventually a definitive history,
dealing with the entire story, can be written. Undoubtedly, too, much of this source material itself eventually should
be published, not only the manuscript records, but rare editions of books now several centuries old which at present
are almost entirely inaccessible. Added to those prospects for research and scholarship will be the development of
studies looking toward the complete collection of the traditional stories, to be gathered systematically from different
families in in the region, a collection of pictures and the recorded studies involved in the engineering, photographic
and archeological activities, begun under the preliminary survey, and possibly to be continued in a further program
Respecting archeological research, it should be noted that the preliminary survey already indicates its great value
not only in the field of prehistoric origins, but as well in the historic period. Archeological studies and the written
sources will go hand in hand in the ideal program of research, and in passing it is well to note that such a method
has been used in the preliminary survey with interesting results to be referred to hereafter in this report.
The ideal method of research for this program, it is believed, should be pan-scientific, that is to say, every sciene
and art should be given full consideration in order that all aspects of community life may be fully appreciated.
Significant studies for this region may be made in the fields of physical and human geography, climate, foods,
medical history, anthropology, agriculture, plant ecology, paleontology and geology.
The ordinary methods and disciplines in history encompass a much more limited field of research, involving often a
consideration only of written source materials. However, the subtleties of human life are rarely to be gleaned and
understood as a result of mere written records. Few men ever record a full analysis of themselves, their neighbors
and their environment in writing, and even to the extent to which they make a practice, the subjective coloring of
prejudice and attitude necessitates great caution on the part of the student in the use of written sources.
Consequently, the practice of using consciously, as a contribution to historical evidence, the collective disciplines of
all other sciences and arts, particularly physical records in the realm of natural sceinces and archeological
evidence, will stimulate interest on the part of the student, all of which will add to the sum total of information and
understanding of life in St. Augustine. The physical environment of a people, when carefully studied, will shed much
light upon the reasons for their successes and their failures respecting their individual and collective enterprises.
The geography of St. Augustine is very significant, as is its climate, its fauna, and its flora. The study of the
domestic equipment of a Spanish kitchen, other furnishings of the house, machines used, and methods of
transportation, cannnot only be ascribed to certain causes, but in turn are conditioning factors in the mores and
culture of the people. For these reasons they constitute proper objectives of historical research and shed light upon
the history of a city and a region. It should be noted in passing that very few people, even students of history, can
describe and explain the primitive machinery and the methods of manufacture, from sugar cane, of syrup and sugar,
the appearance in the growing condition, and use of, indigo, the processes of spinning and weaving cloth from
cotton and wool, the preparation and the character of certain Spanish dishes, the methods of dress and
appearance of various social classes which once lived in this community, or the types of schools and teaching which
once had vogue here.
A full utilization of the pan-scientific method of research in this historical field will lead, it is submitted, to a much
more complete comprehension of the life history of St. Augustine. And when these studies have been made and
their full significance has been brought to the attention of scholar and layman alike, there should be developed in
the citizen of this community, as well as in the visitor, a better realization of the charm and historical values of St.
Augustine, represented in its climate, its natural scenery, its physical historical resources, and such modifications
and artificial elements as have been introduced by man into the natural setting. The preservation of the assets of
St. Augustine---its natural charm and its historical resources---presnets a social challenge, which it will be interesting
to discover whether the community will meet.
Viewed in its entirety, a progressive research and development program in St. Augustine should result in making
this place a great laboratory of history, as well as in the fine arts and social democracy, useful not only in
understanding more fully how life progresses, but effective because of its objective realism, far more than the books
and the class-rooms can be, in educating all classes of citizens in what may be termed "historical-mindedness."
Finally, it should be pointed out that research respecting St. Augustine should pay careful attention to the
relationship of this area to other regions in the United States. Comparisons and contrasts between colonizing efforts
here and elsewhere under different auspices, will prove both fascinating and valuable, and will lead to a better
comprehension of the entire scope of American history. As in studying history elsewhere, attention must be given to
the fact that St. Augustine was, through several centuries, a frontier outpost and conditioned as such, that it
represented the northern-most advance of Spain along the Atlantic seaboard, that much of its story is inextricably
interwoven with conflicts involving other nations, first France, then Great Britain, and eventually the Americans
themselves. Throughout its history, until the time of the American Civil War, the military theme is very important, as
is the relationship of St. Augustine to other centers of Spanish and French culture and to cities such as Savannah
Sources of Information and Their Treatment in the Preliminary Survey
The first consideration involves the problem of printed materials, insofar as they exist for the study of the history of
St. Augustine and its environments. The student will not not be disappointed in the number and variety of printed
books, pamphlets, circulars, newspapers, et cetera, for the study of this region. Of course, there is no such thing at
present as a definitive history of St. Augustine, and no published work has appeared which considers all possible
sources of information for such a study. There are monographs concerned with special aspects of the field, which
have been done reasonably well, such as those of Mrs. Connor on the period of Menendez and the earliest Spanish
period, and Miss Brevard's pertaining to the British, the second Spanish, and the American periods, in the Florida
State Historical Society series. In thise connection every volume of the series, edited by Dr. J. A. Robertson, eleven
in all, as well as the quarterly magazines, have been valuable. Mention should be made here of works, also
published under these auspices, such as Siebert's work on the Loyalists of the Revolutionary period and Whitaker's,
having to do with the commercial trade with the Indians in the British and Spanish periods, notably that of the Paton,
Interesting published works, many of them rare books in French and Spanish now out of print and difficult of access,
give to the student the sources of the earliest Spanish and French colonization. For instance, De Bry's Brevis
Narratis preserves the unusual pictures of LeMoyne dealing with the early Indian life of this region. Probably no
single collection of early pictures of Indian life in American has comparable value, unless it is that of White's
collection relating to the Indians of the Virgiinia region. Fortunately, also, there are fairly accurate accounts in
published form containing the sources for the Ponce de Leon story, and that of Menendez.
General narrative histories of St. Augustine, such as those of Fairbanks and Reynolds, provide illuminating if not
altogether complete surveys. Moreover, several important contributions have been made to the church history of St.
Augustine such as those of Shea, Kenny and Ugarte, the last published in the Historical Records and Studies of the
United States Catholic Historical Society. There is also published in a recent pamphlet from the Smithsonian
Institution a Seventeenth Century letter of the Catholic churchman Calderon, describing the Indians and Indian
missions of Florida. Works like that of Winsor, in his Narrative and Critical History, afford discussion of bibliographic
material as well as an historical summary especially of the earlier period, in the same way, Parkman has value, and
likewise Bourne and Priestly. The published guides of the Carnegie Institution of Washington are indices to the
masses of archival materials, many of which are to be found in foreign countries.
Without exhausting this subject it may be indicated that during the preliminary survey a bibliography of printed
materials has been made, which, while not complete by any means, affords an opportunity of suggesting further
researches looking toward the preparation of a completely adequate bibliography. For this purpose the card index
and other aids to be found in the Library of Congress, as well as in the libraries in this vicinity have ben used.
Efforts have been made to discover and estimate the value of special sources of materials such as those in the
Buckingham-Smith and Lowery collections, some of which are in manuscript as well as in published form. Such work
as has been done thus far in this preliminary survey with newspapers points to the fact that there is probably a great
deal of information to be gained from such published material, although unfortunately newspaper files in St.
Augustine are not available locally except for the period from 1899 to the present. It should be said in passing that
newspapers were published here as far back as the Eighteenth Century, and there is a (?) published here as far
back as the with the period of American occupation. Such a private collection of newspapers, as that of Mr. Philip
Yonge of Pensacola, containing St. Augustine newspapers since 1830, can be mentioned as one collection offering
considerable possibilites for investigation. The newspaper files in the Library of Congress offers much as also
newspapers of Jacksonville, Savannah and Charleston, wherein materials relating to St. Augustine are likely to be
Biographical studies of this preliminary survey have dealt in the second place with problems of manuscript material.
In considering this field it should be noted that in the aggregate this form of written sources constitutes by far the
largest single field of endeavor for future research. Such guides as those of Carnegie Institution of Washington,
already mentioned, and Dr. Corse's list of Floridiana to be found in the Library of Congress, point to the almost
appalling masses of manuscript source materials, comparatively little of which has been published. Among the
foreign archival deposits certainly the most significant is that of the Papoles Procedentes de la Isla de Cuba, to be
found in the Archive General de Indias at Seville, Spain. In this collection, approximately 58,000 documents have
been calendared by Carnagie Institutes of Washington covering in general the period from 1761 to 1821 and
dealing with such subjects as Indian problems, colonial finances, military, social and religious matters. While copies
of some documents of the Papeles have been made, a great proportion of them are still inaccessible to students of
this region and the working of them presents a practically virgin field for investigation.
Another great deposit of manuscript material pertains to the East Florida papers to be found in the Library of
Congress. This contain for the years from 1740 to 1821 a variety of items, such as correspondence with the British
authroities, royal regulations and orders, documents relating to the delivery of East Florida to the United States, the
embargo and the revolution of 1765, Indian presents, negro problems, plans of fortifications and public buildings,
edicts, proceedings, secret correspondence of the Governor, and many other subjects. The Papeles and the East
Florida papers constitute only two of many such archival deposits. Others are to be found in libraries in France,
Great Britain, Rome, Mexico City and elsewhere. At Tallahassee in the State Archives are found source collections
in manuscript form for the period from 1821, such as data upon land grants and other official documents. In the city
vaults in St. Augustine are official manuscript records involving various transactions of the city government,
particularly since the beginning of the American period of occupancy in 1821. These last named records are fairly
complete from the year 1840.
Manuscript sources involve the student in researches in almost every directionl The St. Augustine Historical Society
Library contains phostats and copies of many sources of this type. The library of Fort Marion National Monument
also contains valuable phostat material, secured from the War Department through the historical activities of the
National Park Service. The Fountain of Youth Library has a collection of phostats of source material some copied
from the Lowery collection in the Library of Congress, including maps, the Buckingham-Smith collection in New York,
and from the Library of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Of value also are such records as the field notes of
engineers, more particularly those relating to the Clements' survey of 1833-34 and those recorded with de la
Rocque's survay in the year 1788.
Of most unusual significance are the early Catholic church parish records of births, marriages and deaths, of which
there is almost a complete series from the year 1594. The condition of these records is a matter of great concern
and it is hoped that out of the activity of the preliminary survey there may come some plan for their preservation and
more general use. At present they are in such shape as to be practically inaccessible. Dr. J. A. Robertson, already
mentioned, has collected several thousand photostats of manuscript sources documents pertaining to Florida
history, of which many involve especially St. Augustine. There is much material of a similar nature in the collections
of Brooks, Mrs. Connor, Buckingham-Smith, and Lowery.
It can be stated without fear of contradiction that the work of investigating, classifying, and giving careful study to the
manuscript materials relating to St. Augustine and East Florida, as well as the laying of plans for their copying and
eventual concentration in one magnificent deposit is an enterprise worthy of any research institution in this country.
It is believed that no more valuable contribution to the study of American history could be made at this time than the
massing and systematic use of all documentary materials, wherever found, on St. Augustine. While in this report no
attempt can be made to deal wwith all the ramifications of this problem, yet it is a task which will take careful
organization and skillful workers, in libraries, covering many parts of the United States and foreign countries to bring
this material together as a partial basis for a definitive history and publication for St. Augustine.
As another consideration of importance, the subject of cartographic materials will appeal stronghly to the student.
During the preliminary survey photostatic copies have been made of many important maps applying to this region,
involving every period of white occupation. In this connection, guides to certain map collections and bibliographical
references to many published maps have been noted. To attempt to evaluate completely the importance of
cartographic material in this field of course would be impossible in this report.
However, a few observations should be made. The best single index to maps is of course that of Lowery involving
his valuable collection, now deposited in the Library of Congress. Dr. Corse had made a valuable map collection
and has brought together as well, materials on the Minorcan colony at New Smyrna. The guides to manuscript
materials in the Library of Congress and in foreign archives contain many references to maps, many of them in
manuscript form and as yet inaccessible and unused by students of American history. Publications such as
Winsor's, referred to previously, list and publish interesting maps relating to St. Augustine. The Florida Historical
Society publications have also been the means of publishing important maps, sketches, and charts.
Some of these map records, especially those in pictorial form, give much information regarding the extent and
degree of the city from time to time. They are, of course, the best sources regarding the position of various houses,
the location of ancient defense lines, the moats and other military fortifications and outposts. Especially significant in
this connection are the maps of Drake 1586, Arredondo 1737, de la Puente 1764, the British tax map for the period
1763-1783, Stork's map for the British Admiralty 1766, the unsigned British map of 1782, de la Rocque 1788, the
Clements' Survey 1834, and a sketch map made about 1885, which pictures the streets, houses and other
structures of that period.
The preliminary survey has given much attention to pictorial materials, which of course have peculiar value in
research, having as one of its principal objectives the possible re-development of certain physical features including
houses and other structures in St. Augustine. Pictorial materials, to be found in the period prior to the American Civil
War, are of course somewhat scanty. Attention has already been called to the work of the artist LeMoyne, dealing
with early Indian life in this region. Noteworthy also is the pictorial element upon some of the early maps of St.
Augustine, of which a good example is the Drake map of 1586 showing the Fort, some of the houses, vessels lying
in the harbor, and the geographical setting. Mention has likewise been made of the map of St. Augustine, dating
about 1885, which contains pictorial representations of various houses and streets as they appeared at that time. In
the survey thus far there have been accumulated certain sketches, probably antedating the Civil War period, such
as one featuring the Moat and City Gates and the coquina bridge crossing the Moat, and another sketch from the
harbor emphasising the entire shore-line of St. Augustine fronting upon Bay Street, dating possibly before 1861.
With the more general use of photographs in the post-bellum period there has come down to us a fairly complete
record of features of the town and region for this period. Old stereotypes, of which the St. Augustine Historical
Society has a large collection, cover a range of subjects including exterior, and interior house views, street views,
pictures of gardens, and of transportation facilities, such as the ancient ox-cart, and the horse-drawn tram cars.
Of great value from an historoical standpoint is the comparative study of the street scenes and houses of earlier
periods in conjunction with recent pictures taken from the same locations. In the survey there has been an attempt,
more or less successful, to arrange pictures dealing with the same subjects in different periods of time which show
the effects of time and change on the physical enviornment in St. Augustine and vicinity. Very significant was the
discovery during the course of the survey of thirty-three 11x14 plate negatives taken probably in 1882, and found in
cleaning out a storeroom in the City Hall, all made apparently at the same time and covering the principal streets
and features of St. Augustine. Possibly no prints had ever been made from these negatives before being ordered
under the survey program. They constitute most important historical evidence.
As a special feature of the survey the photographic activities of Miss Francis Benjamin Johnson should be
mentioned. Following the preparation of a list of approximately fifty historical buildings and other structures. Miss
Johnson in her very effective way has made a unique record of the major physical historical aspects in St.
Augustine. Her contribution in preserving a faithful record through photographs of historic architecture, splendidly
artistic, and yet faithfully accurate, is one of the features of the survey likely to have lasting significance. Such work
of course calls attention to the chief historical assets still remaining in this city.
Along with the photographic record prepared by Miss Johnston there has also been prepared a "case history" of the
house structures so photographed setting out in as much detail as possible the history of these structures. An effort
has been made to arrange a chronological grouping of the subjects of these photographs. Case histories for other
houses and house-sites also have been prepared.
Another type of pictorial record with which the survey has been concerned is that of archeological grouping of the
subjects of these photographs. Case histories for other houses and house-sites also have been prepared.
Another type of pictorial record with which the survey has been concerned is that of archeolotgical excavation work.
Each step of excavation, as it has been developed, would become the subject of careful pictorial study, which used
in conjunction with the field notes of the archeologist and the drawings and measurements prepared by the
engineer, give a summary of this phase of the program. Photographs also have been used to record the
appearance of important artifacts discovered thus far in the preliminary survey. The pictorial material to date
includes old prints, maps with pictorial features, photographic enlargements, such as those prepared by Miss
Johnston, sterotypes and firlm strips. In this last connection film copy records of manuscripts, maps and other
illustrations have been made as a part of the records of the survey. Many groups and individuals in St. Augustine
have had a part in contributing to the collection of pictures, and this work represents one of the finest cooperative
activities in the program thus far. Fortunate too, is the stuent in history in having for his use rather adequate
collections of pictures at the St. Augustine Historical Society, and at the Public Library, as well as less complete
collections of Fort Marion, the Fountain of Youth, and in the files of several local commercial photographers.
One of the principal sources of information developed by the preliminary survey involves the interesting field of
archeological investigation. this investigation is giving attention to both the prehistoric and historic periods in this
The archeologist, as a part of his activity, has made a preliminary study of prehistoric mounds, both sand and shell,
and while no systematic effort has been made to compile the full data on the location and nature of these mounds, a
tentative bibliography dealing with the work of earlier archeologists in this region has been brought together
throwing light upon prehistoric man as well as prehistoric animals. There of course remains very much to be done in
this field of investigation in any future research program which will be developed in St. Augustine. In passing, it
should be noted that even in excavation work, the primary purpose of which is to determine the nature of historic
sites, pottery and their artifacts relating to the aborgines have been discovered, preserved and photographed.
Archeological effort relating to the historic period has involved excavations for the purpose of obtaining the exact
location, measurements, and other data on the Moat along Orange Street to Fort Marion and a "sampling" of certain
historic house-sites, such as that at 56 Marine Street, to develop evidence regarding ancient house foundations
and artifacts which pertain to the life of the people. This sampling process during the period of preliminary survey,
indicates the considerable potentialities of this method of developing historical evidence. Archeological work relating
to historic sites is, of course, closely coordinated with the research in the written records to determine as fully as
possible "the case history" of such site. Needless to say, no reconstruction work could be done in St. Augustine in a
development program without the accompaniment of a basically sound archeological research. The field notes of
the engineer, and of the photographer accompanying such activities as has been mentioned, constitute important
historical evidence developed during the course of the preliminary survey.
Aside from archeological remains developed through excavation below the surface of the ground, there are left in
St. Augustine many interesting structural materials in the forms of walls, portions of walls of ancient buildings,
arches, gardens, wells, chimneys, et cetera. Some of these have been the subjects of photographs and a partial
recorded list has been prepared. Undoubtedly much historical value is to be attached to this form of material.
In addition, structural remains include, of course, the historic house itself, constituting as it does one of the probable
historic records of St. Augustine. In connection with the comments regarding photographic activities of Miss
Johnston, attention was called to the preparation of a list of approximately fifty historic structures, among them the
Burt House, the so-called old Spanish Treasury building, which is an outstanding period house both from the
standpoint of its exterior and interior furnishings, and having important historical value, contributing to a knowledge
of historical architecture and also of many phases of the domestic and cultural life in St. Augustine.
Such historical evidence has, of course, tremendous psychological appeal in the educational program to be
associated with the proposed plan of development and provides one of the main features of objective reality linking
the present with the past.
The problem of collecting historical evidence concerns, to be sure, many other possible sciences and arts. Local
historians from time to time have made records of oral traditions, recollections and specific unrecorded information,
dealing with the home life of the people, special events, religious observances, goods including recipes for now
almost entirely forgotten Spanish dishes, dress, military events, famous legal battles and, in fact, an almost unlimited
range of information which is of interest to the community in connection with its political, economic and cultural
background. Fortunately, this material has become the subject of papers of the local Historical Society as well as for
special feature articles in the newspapers. Needless to say, there is much yet to be done in this connection and a
systematic attempt should be made in any research program hereafter organized to carry forward this program.
Furthermore, a study of language elements and the electrical recording of voices of representatives of chief
language groups in the community offers a range of possibilities which might eventually lead to the production of a
linguistic atlas, such as has been worked out in New England under the auspices of the American Council of
A point of close connection with the study of language is the consideration of other types of demographical material
as a part of the general historical evidence of this area. For instance, there is an opportunity for anthropological
studies concerning both prehistoric and historic stocks in this area. Already extensive skeletal remains have been
uncovered which will enable the student to study the size, bony structure and other anthropological features of
various racial groups here. As a special feature, a local committee organized by the St. Johns County Medical
Society is engaged in an affiliated investigation of the history of medicines, surgery and health conditions in St.
Augustine. In addition, much attention can be given to the minutiae of mores and customs for which not only the
written records contain material, but information to be secured from representative living persons of different racial
stocks. A study of names also offers fascinating questions from such standpoints as the consideration of the origin
of the name, the transfer from one place to another of names and persons, as well as variations in anmes which
have been developed from time to time. Again the development of folk songs and folk tales in their relationship to
the cultural development of St Augustine, it is submitted, will be of great interest and worthy of serious research.
Finally, there should be considered in connection with the development of historical evidence relating to the life and
growth in St. Augustine, certain ecological materials. This field of research includes the problem of natural causation
in its affect upon human beings. Aside from general questions of climate, soil, rainfall and sunshine, considered in
their affect upon the development of certain social forms and activities, there are involved such specific
considerations as meteorology, zoology, geography, both physical and human, biology and botany. Without taking
up in detail consideration of the special contributions of these fields of scientific activity to the problems in human
history, as affecting this region, it should be said that human causation finds many of the well-springs in
environmental conditions, whether such are realized directly or indirectly. The foliage on the trees, the flowers in the
gardens, the humidity in the air, the general esthetic problems affected by plant life, the river, the bay, the ocean;
the types of food, the absence of mountains, the presence of various forms of aquatic and land life, the length of
seasons, the temperature--all these considerations and many others, developed through careful ecological studies,
will go far in explaining human existence as it affects St. Augustine and its vicinity. It is believed that such studies
should be made a part of the prgram of research, which is being suggested in this survey report.
In connection with the survey, it should be added that research has been conducted in several special fields,
looking toward the development of an orderly plan of growth and well-being for the future of St. Augustine.
Questions have been raised and partially answered as to the economic basis of this community, its industries, its
trades, its businesses, or in other words the means by which community life is now sustained and the question of
how the proposed development plan may modify such conditions hereafter. Questions have been raised and
answers sought to the problem of why the tourist business, which centered in St. Augustine fifty years ago, has
been displaced at least in part and has gone to other parts of Florida or elsewhere. Studies have been made
relating to traffic and traffic control in relationship to a propsoed plan of development. All of these problems need
further research, as do special legal considerations involving the effective use of zoning, eminent domain, the
possible development of easements relating to private property and the question of what is the best form of
business organization to carry forward the incidents of tourist trade in the event of a development program.
Needless to say, modifications of state law and city charter along the right lines will be necessary, and the research
now being carried forward through such local committees of citizens and the bar as they have been formed, are very
necessary, looking toward ideal civic planning.
This report has not referred specifically to a great deal of historical evidence, the details of which are to be found in
the files and special reports of the St. Augustine Historical Survey. An examination of of bibliographical records,
photostatic copies of maps and other data, studies of the pictures of different periods and subjects, special reports,
sketches, and case histories of sites and houses, and studies contributed by certain local historians such as Miss
Emily L. Wilson and Mrs. E. W. Lawson, and the artifacts uncovered thus far in excavation work, as well as other
records developed in the course of the survey, while incomplete in the sense that no exhaustive research has been
made, points to the amazing range of possibilities for future activity in this field.
See Historical Features in St. Augustine and Vicinity
|Dr. Verne E. Chatelain
It would seem, therefore, unwise to
settle upon any one particular time
level as the point of emphasis, either in
the matter of historical interpretation or
physical development. Rather, it is
thought that the philosophy of
research and development should be
one having as its purpose the gradual
unfolding o the story, considering
origins, causes and effects and the
various contributions of all natural and
human influences to progress as
measured in terms of time and change.
As a special feature of the survey the
photographic activities of Miss Francis
Benjamin Johnson should be
mentioned. Following the preparation
of a list of approximately fifty historical
buildings and other structures. Miss
Johnson in her very effective way has
made a unique record of the major
physical historical aspects in St.
Augustine. Her contribution in
preserving a faithful record through
photographs of historic architecture,
splendidly artistic, and yet faithfully
accurate, is one of the features of the
survey likely to have lasting
significance. Such work of course calls
attention to the chief historical assets
still remaining in this city.
The archeological records are fairly scattered. They can be found
at the St. Augustine Historic Society. the Castillo, the Volusia
Hammock State Park Association and probably a host of other
Dr. Hanna announced the formation of the Florida Historical Society's
Committee on Archaeology. The three main aims of the committee
were:(1) To arouse interest in the preservation of our archeological
remains and develop studies of them. (2) To encourage the
establishmentof a department of anthropology in some Florida institution
of learning. (3) To build an archeologicallibrary as a part of the Society's
library, and to encourage other such libraries and museums´ Dr. W. J.
Winter was appointed to head the committee. He was a trained
archaeologist employed by the Carnegie Institution of Washington. For
the previous two years, he had been directing archaeological research in
St. Augustine under the auspices of the Carnegie Institution's St.
Augustine Historical Program. There were seven additional members of
the committee. The first project they undertook was to prepare a detailed
topographic map of a bird sanctuary owned by Rollins College on Fort
George Island at the mouth of the St. Johns River. This property included
at least two mounds, and the survey was done by a professional engineer
who was on the Carnegie Institution staff. Total cost was $125.00.
Members also began compiling a bibliography on Florida archaeology
and presenting papers on Florida archaeology at meetings of the Florida