The restored houses were created in the 1960s as an attempt to rebuild early Spanish houses and businesses along the lines of the restored town of Williamsburg. The buildings would focus on showing life in the colonial period. The buildings were rebuilt using crafts people skilled in recreating the buildings that existed in this early time period and were meant to give the viewer the opportunity of experiencing the architecture and early life of St. Augustine. Buildings that were preserved, restored, or reconstructed included First Spanish Period houses, British Period buildings, Second Spanish and early American dwellings.
While preservation efforts started in the 1930s this particular effort was started in 1958 by Governor LeRoy Collins who called a meeting on March 18, 1958 of the Florida Board of Parks and Memorials chaired by Mr. Frank D Upchurch, Sr. On April 28 the Board appointed a special advisory committee to study the program of revitalization of St. Augustine. Dr. A. Curtis Wigus was elected as chairman with Dr. Verne A. Chatelain (the same from the 30s) as executive secretary. The result of this committee was a plan to achieve St. Augustine's restoration.
On June 19, 1959 House Bill 774 was signed by him establishing the St. Augustine Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission and $150,000 was set aside to begin operations. The purpose of the act was to: "acquire, restore, preserve, maintain, reconstruct, reproduce and operate for the use, benefit, education, recreation, enjoyment, and general welfare of the people of this state and nation certain ancient or historic landmarks, sites, cemeteries, graves, military works, monuments, locations, remains, buildings, and other objects of historical or antiquarian interest of the City of St. Augustine, Florida, and surrounding territory."
The new commission had as members H. E. Wolfe, Leonard Usina (Miami), William F. Rolleston, Mrs. Nelson Poynter (St. Petersburg) and William Lee Sims, II (Orlando). The first meeting was held on September 10, 1959 where H. E. Wolfe was elected chairman, Leonard Usina, Vice-chairman, and secretary-treasurer was William Rolleston. By November 24 Earle Williams Newton was appointed consultant.
1. Gallegos House (21 St. George Street) (house was rebuilt in 1963)- The Gallegos House was a First Spanish Period building that was originally built in 1720 and is shown on the Puente map of 1764 as a tabby residence belonging to Juan Garcia Martinez Gallegos. Gallegos was a Spanish artilleryman. He lived there with his wife Victoria and his second wife Isabel. Also living in the house was an elderly infantryman Juan Garcia. Martin Gallegos was from the town of totana, near Murcia in southeastern Spain. He came to St. Augustine sometime prior to 1743. His first wife, Victoria Escalona, a native of St. Augustine married him in July 1743, but died in 1750. Isabel Serrano. Victoria had 5 children two ddying in infancy and 1 child by Isabel. In 1763-64 he went to Cuba with his family during the evacuation of St. Augustine. Juan Garcia was a native of San Martin de Havana. His wife, Antonia Espinosa (probably a Mestiza) had died in 1747.
This house was destroyed sometime during the British period. In 1784 the lot was owned by a Minorcan, Juan Frias. He was evicted by Lucia Escalona the sister of Gallegos's first wife and by 1788 a timber-frame house had been built on the lot. This house was on the Rocque map of 1788.
The tabby house had only two rooms and a flat roof. The stove was built right into the house. No chimey, the roof had a hole for the smoke to escape. The building probably only had wooden shutters. No windows or doors were made in the north wall to keep out winter winds. The door and loggia are on the south, entry from the street being through a gateway into the patio. There were no glass panes for the doors or windows. The house has a reconstructed barrel well in the yard.
2. Ribera House (22 St. George St.) (House was rebuilt in 1962) - This is a two story reconstruction of a First Spanish period building. Both stories are coquina with tabby floors. It had no glass in the windows only shutters. Behind the house is a two story kitchen rebuilt on 18th century foundations. It stood apart from the main dwelling due to fire hazard, smoke and cooking fumes.
The Ribera House was built by Juan Ribera in the 1730's.
3. Gomez House (27 St. George St.) (House was rebuilt in 1964) The Gomez House is a wood frame house of the First Spanish Period. It was described in 1764 as a "house of boards" or board and batten. The small home contained two rooms with a sleeping loft reached by ladder. This structure disappeared in the British period.
At the time of the 1764 Spanish evacuation of St. Augustine the house was owned by Lorenzo Gomez, a 31 year old native of St. Augustine who served as an infantry soldier. He was the son of Pedro Gomez a native of Spain who came to St. Augustine in 1721 and served as an artilleryman in the garrison. Gertrudis Rodriquez, his mother, was born in St. Augustine. Lorenzo was born in St. Augustine in 1733. Lorenzo married Catarina Perdonmo (a St. Augustinian) on February 11, 1754 and fathered two girls, Maria Catarina (1754) and Maria de la Trinidad (1759) and one boy, Antonio Joseph (1758).
Gomez has transferred his ownership to Jesse Fish in 1764. In 1785 Fish sold the lot Antonio Perdomo (Lorenzo's in law). Another structure wasn't built on the site until the end of the Second Spanish period or the beginning of the Territorial.
4. Triay House (29 St. George St.) (Reconstructed in 1963) - The original house was built in the late 1st Spanish period as a coquina house belonging to Pedro de Florencia. In 1783 Juan San Salvadore, a master armorer, purchased this dwelling form a departing Englishman and sold it as a residence of Francisco Triay and his wife Maria, Minorcan settlers. The house remained in the Triay family through 1834.
The house has two rooms and a sleeping loft and a gabled roof.
5. Bernardo Gonzales House (35 St. George St.) (Reconstructed 1978) This is a coquina building from the First Spanish period. The building was rectangular in shape but in the British period had a wooden building added to the rear used for a stable and kitchen. It had a flat roof with wide boards laid across the ceiling rafters. The walls and floor were of tabby.
Today this is The Taberna de Gallo & The Quarter Gift Shop as a 1740s building.
6. Salcedo House (42 St. George St.) (Reconstructed 1964) In the First Spanish period the home belonged to Alfossa de Avero.
In the British period it was owned by Captain Andreas Rainsford who added a kitchen. It was later owned by Thomas Stone, then Leonard Cecil and finally Robert Johnston a loyalist refuge who went to the Bahama Islands at the end of the British period.
Jose Salcedo, an artillery captain, bought it in the 2nd Spanish period. He lived here with his wife until he died on August 28, 1795.
From 1796 to 1801, Jorge (or, Georges) Biassou and his family (wife Romana Jacobo, mother, sisters, brother, a slave, and 25 others, for whom he assumed responsibility) lived in this house, which, at the time, was known as the Salcedo House on currently-named) St. George Street . Pablo Sabat, a Minorcan, bought the property in November, 1805.
As reconstructed now, the building houses Whetstone's Chocolates.
7. Salcedo Kitchen and Smokehouse (42 St. George St.) (Reconstructed 1964). An archaelogical investigation uncovered the wall-footings and coquina fireplace hearth.
8. Rodriguez House (46 1/2 Cuna St. ) (Reconstructed 1964) This is a tabby house that consisted of two rooms. The house disappeared in the British period. This dwelling had a flat wooden roof supported by pine logs and no chimneys or fireplaces. Heating was done with charcoal braziers. There was no evidence of a detached kitchen
9. Old Warehouse (Coquina House) (46 Cuna St.) (Reconstructed 1964)
10. Sanchez De Ortigoza House (60 St. George St.) (Reconstructed) A 1st Spanish Period coquina house that disappeared by 1788 and a wood house was built in its place. The house in 1764 was owned by Jose Sanchez de Ortigosa. de Ortigosa was originally from Ronda, Spain. He married a native St. Augustine woman, Juana Theodora Perez. Together they had nine children.
The house was a two-room, flat roofed, tabby floored building.
11. Oliveros House (59 St. George St) (Reconstructed) - This coquina house was constructed in the Second Spanish period. The original floors were made of wood (since no tabby has been discovered). The house had a coquina and brick fireplace. The loggia had a coquina-chip floor; 3 bedrooms were located on the second floor.
Sebastian de Oliveros was a native of the island of Corsica who had come to St. Augustine in 1798. He was a sailor who navigated a small sloop. On October 4, 1798 he bought the lot from Gonzalez-MMontes de Oca where he built the two-story coquina house. He was a victim of piracy in 1804. His widow sold the property eleven years after his death to Gaspar Arnau another mariner. the house existed until 1908.
12. Benet House (65 St. George St) (Reconstructed 1965) This is a Second Period Spanish house of coquina. The first house on the site was a tabby house belonging to Pedro zapata. He was a native of Malaga, Spain and was married to a St. Augustine woman, Francesca Garcia in 1742. The tabby house remained in Zapata's possession until the British period. Jesse Fish sold the house to Pedro Cosifacio, a Greek from Corsica coming to Florida with the Minorcan colony in 1768. The house was sold to him in 1779. The house was sold in 1782 to Roque Leonardi and in 1784 to Andres Pacetti (a native of Florence, Italy. The property at this time was described as a wooden house and lot.
In 1788 (Second Spanish period the map showed it as " a timber frame house in fair condition, owned by Antonio Berti". He was a native of Minorca. The house was sold to another Minorcan - Don Estaban Beneto (Benet). in 1804. In 1795 he married Catarina Hernandez and had four children. He died in the sinking of the Santa Catalina.
the coquina house was probably built shortly after 1804. Estaban's son Pedro became the owner of the house. Pedro was the father Of Steven Benet who became Florida's first appointee to West Point and served as Chief of Ordnance of the United States Army. His grandsons Stephen vincent Benet and William rose Benet were both Pulitizer prize winners.
Pedro also served as Collector and Surveyor of the Port and served on the City Council.
The house survived until 1915. The house was a two story house with a loggia. The front rooms of the house may have belonged to the earlier house.
13. Benet Store - The store was a coquina wood building built between 1788 and 1817.The Benet store operated through 1877. The building was demolished on August 13, 1903.
14. Nicolas De Ortega House - The site appears on the 1763 map as a rectangular dwelling with its long axis north and south. A later map in 1764 listed the house as belonging to the heirs of Nicolas de Ortega.
Nicolas de Ortega was the son of Augustin and Juana Alberto. In 1736 he married Francisco Laureana de los Reyes. He was an armourer in the Castillo in 1740 and died in 1762. John Proctor owned the property first in the British period and it was sold to James Scotland. He described his property as "an exceeding good stone dwelling house consisting of four large rooms with a kitchen, outhouses and garden, enclosed with good fences..." In the Second Spanish period the house was bought by Sebastian Ortega, a Minorcan. The house in 1785 was given back to Josefa Ortega Nicolas' granddaughter. She sold the house to Don Francisco Rovira who was involved in a lawsuit with Sebastian Ortega over repairs to the house. The house finally passed to Don Manuel Fernandez Biendicho at public sale. Biendicho and his wife died aboard the Dos Hermanos in 1813 when it sank in a hurricane. Miguel Andreu bought the house in 1815. The Andreu family owned the property through 1834.
15. Santoyo House - This is a 1st Spanish period coquina house. that belonged to Miguel Santoyo. Jesse Fish sold this property to George Kemp a surgeon and a member of the British General Assembly. By 1788 (Second Spanish period) the house had disappeared. The original house was a two room tabby house with a coat of plaster.
16. Pan American Center (El Centro Panamericano) (St. George St) - built by the funds provided by the Organization of American States. This building is the colonial Marin-Hassett House. The Marin house was tabby. The Hassett house was built in the English or Second Spanish Period. Fireplaces upstairs and down were added during the British occupancy. In 1766 the house was purchased by James Box who was once Attorney General. Next was Stephen Haven who sold it in 1785 to Francisco Entralgo who sold it to Father Thomas Hassett in 1787.
The reconstructed Marin-Hassett House served as the Pan American Museum. It exhibited art objects from all Latin american countries.
17. Wells Print Shop (27 Cuna Street) (Reconstructed 1969) British Period. William and John Wells started the East Florida Gazette in this building.The East Florida Gazette was only published a year. In March 1783 they went to Nassau where they published the Bahama Gazette. The building was a typical all-wood board-and-batten gabled structure.
19. Harness Shop (17 Cuna St.) (Built 1965) This building is not a reproduction of a prior building. It was created to show the activities of a leather shop during the British period.
20. Blacksmith Shop (Old) (26 Charlotte St.) (Built 1967) former home of the first Genovar Opera House. This building is not a reproduction of a prior building. It's simply an outbuilding.
21 Sims Silversmith (12 Charlotte) (Built 1966) Another building that is not a reproduction of a prior building. However, William Sims, from Scotland, operated a shop in St. Augustine during the British period.
22. Luciano de Herrera House - This is a First Spanish period tabby house. Juan de Muros married Maria de Loreta in 1755. In the British period the owner of the property was William Wilson. In the Second Spanish period it was sold to Luciano de Herrera. He rented the house to Eduardo Esten a tailor. Luciano served as Indian commissary and died in 1788. The house was sold in 1789 to Miguel Isnardy a sea captain. He was the contractor for building the Cathedral. The house was sold in 1792 to Pedro de Cala, a free black. Five years later he sold the house to Jose Lorente. Lorente sold it to Don Gabriel Guillermo Perpall who owed it through the early American period.
23. Florida Heritage House - (east corner of King and Aviles) This house was the reconstruction of a 2nd Spanish Period house. A later important building that stood on this spot was the City Hotel, owned by Seth M. Wakeman.
24. Spanish Military Hospital (3 Aviles St.) (Reconstructed 1965) In the first Spanish period this was a stable. It was remodeled into a house during the British period by William Watson a Scottish carpenter and builder. In the 2nd Spanish period the old military hospital burned. In 1791 the Spanish government purchased Watson's old convalescent home and modified it for use as a military hospital.
25. Watson House (206 Charlotte St) (Reconstructed 1965) House built during British period by William Watson a Scottish carpenter and builder. William Watson had purchased the property from James Penman an attorney and friend of Dr. Andrew Turnbull (and not in good standing with Governor Tonyn). He sold the property in 1779. Watson built a two story wooden house that was 32 feet long and 20 feet wide The next owner was Martin Mateo Hernandez who had come to Florida with the Minorcan colony. The property stayed with his heirs until 1802.
26. Florencia House (33 St. George) (Reconstructed 1964 on 18th century foundation This house was the residence of Pedro de Florencia in 1764. Floencia, a merchant, was a native of St. Augustine. He married Maria Nieto de Carvajal in 1751. Florencia left with the Spanish at the end of the 1st Spanish period and settled in Campeche, Mexico. His residence was purchased by William Walton in the British period. The building was demolished before 1788.
27. DeHita House (37 St. George) (Reconstructed 1978) This was the reconstructed home of Geronimo de Hita, a Spanish cavalryman. The original construction goes back to a least 1736.
28. Blacksmith Shop (New) (37 St. George Street) (Built 1980)
29. Pellicer de Burgo House (53 St. George St.) (Reconstructed 1976) Pellicer was a Minorcan member of the New Smyrna colony and a master carpenter. Peso de Burgo joined with him to buy the lot. Before the house was finished de Burgo built his own house. Both houses were made of wood. Pellicer's house was sold to Demetrios Fundulakis. de Burgo sold his house later to Don Juan Sanchez. The houses lasted until 1841.
30. Pellicer Kitchen (53 St. George) (Reconstructed 1976)
31. Pellicer Outbuilding (53 St. George St.) (Reconstructed 1976)
32. Sanchez De Ortigosa House (60 St. George St.) (Reconstructed 1964) Built by 1764, this two-room, Spanish coquina house had a tabby floor, tile roof and casement windows and was the home of Jose Sanchez de Ortigoza.
33. Casa del Hidalgo - (House of a Gentleman) (St. George and Hypolita)- paid for by the Spanish government.