Our Last Stop before we left Florida

We visited St. Augustine for only a few days but we enjoyed our stay and I took some pictures, so here it goes, I promise, my very last post on Florida. 😊

Wednesday June 1st we headed out to see Fort Matanzas National Monument. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway south of St. Augustine, it was built by Spanish soldiers as the back door protecting the city by preventing the British sailing through Matanzas Bay from invading St. Augustine. Today, Fort Matanzas has grown to a park of almost 300 acres and features walking trails, picnic areas, small tidal beaches. The best thing about it is that the fort is located on Rattlesnake Island and the only way to get there is by ferry.

Supposedly, the fort was designed to accommodate six guns and fifty men, although no more than five cannon were ever emplaced. Usually, only an officer, four privates of the infantry and two gunners manned the fort. Soldiers were assigned to the fort as a part of their regular rotation among the outposts and missions near St. Augustine. The tour of duty at Fort Matanzas was one month.

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, site of the oldest masonry fort in the United States built by the Spaniards on Matanzas Bay between 1672 and 1695 to protect the city of St. Augustine, in northeastern Florida. Established as Fort Marion National Monument in 1924, it was renamed in 1942. The park has an area of about 25 acres.

An unusual boat we saw in the water by the fort

The museum has some exhibits of some of the world’s most famous maritime adventures and disasters, and valuable artifacts from some of the world’s most famous shipwrecks from off Florida’s coast as well as around the world, including the R.M.S. Titanic, The Nuestra Señora de Atocha, The S.S. Central America, and more.                                                                                                                                                     The stairway  in the museum, where we’re standing, and the clock is a replica of the titanic, it’s set at 2:20a.m the time when the Titanic went down.

Our 2nd day we toured the Historic Downtown of St. Augustine which has history dating back from 1565. The Downtown is the oldest part of the city with many buildings dating back to the 1700s, with streets that have existed from long before that.   It is easy to walk thru the area, but better yet, take The Old Trolley Tour like we did. The Historic Downtown is also on the National Register of Historic Places.   The area  has a bay front panoramic view of the Matanzas Bay and a bay front walk.

The design on building fronts represents the height of Spanish Colonial and Spanish Renaissance Revival architecture. This area of town showcases everything from early European design, Florida bungalow-style houses, and Gilded Age area.  Although St. Augustine was burned and pillaged on several occasions by pirates and various English forces it still has some old buildings left to enjoy.

The Oldest Store Museum re-creates the original St. Augustine general store that was operated by C.F. Hamblen in 1908. It has a huge range of  products  and it’s is like stepping into a Sears and Roebuck catalog from the early 20th century.   A living history tour guides act the parts of clerks and salesmen as they demonstrate the latest inventions for turn-of-the-century “modern” living — everything from tonics to unicycles to a goat-powered washing machine. The collection features vintage farm equipment, collars and corsets, “health underwear”, a corn sheller and a grain thresher and all sorts of elixirs, including the ever-popular worm syrup.

We had a really good clerk, salesman demonstrate ad tell us about all the new products that were available in 1900.

The huge coffee grinder which us common folk couldn’t think of purchasing. And all the drugs in this cabinet would definitely be illegal to sell over the counter today.

He demonstrated how the cream separator works, it took up less time then it did before, hard to believe what a process it was. The second picture is of an milk shake machine.

You can barely see it, but there is a washing machine in front of this red fence contraption. Actually it’s a treadmill attached to a washing machine where you put your goat so you didn’t have to constantly stand there and wash your clothes by hand or with a stick. It was a fun place to visit.

The Jail – Flager, a millionaire who lived in town opened the Ponce de Leon hotel, he wanted to ensure a safe and pleasant environment for his patrons by creating a secure fortress to house criminals. It was important to Flagler that the exterior appearance of this fortress wouldn’t disrupt the majestic atmosphere of the Ancient City. In order to accomplish this, it was designed with a Romanesque Revival style that gave it the distinct appearance of a Victorian house without the interior comfort and charm. It was almost unrecognizable as a jail apart from the barred windows.

Also, the original jail was too close for comfort at the time, so Flagler asked that the new jail be built at a further location. P.J. Pauley Jail Company, the same people responsible for building Alcatraz in San Francisco, were employed to construct the prison. The jail served the city of St. Augustine until 1953. It held some of the most violent criminals and carried out capital punishment on a set of gallows on the property.

In 1954, only a year after the jail closed, it was transformed into a local attraction. The building underwent restoration in 1993 by owner Henry L. “Slim” McDaniel. Today, the Old Jail provides guests to St. Augustine with a glimpse into the history of the penal system and the daily life of its prisoners. The St. Augustine Old Jail was added to the U. S. National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

the Old Jail could contain Over 72 male prisoners and 12 females who fought for survival.  In the northern two-story wing, you would find the cells for men, women, and those who were placed under maximum security, along with a kitchen on the lower level next to the living quarters for the sheriff and their family. The jail was said to be a madhouse of depravity and cruelty. Inmates only lasted about two years before dying from infection, violence, illness, malnutrition or hanging. The only time a doctor ever visited the place was on hanging days. Cholera, tuberculosis and hundreds of other diseases ran rampant throughout the jailhouse. The death rate was staggering and, after some blowback, the numbers were fixed by the county. The last picture is a cage that they put prisoners in and hung it from a tree and left you up there until they felt like letting you down, sometimes for 3 or 4 days. Our guide/prisoner was “Sully” he was a lot of fun even in a place like this.

In 1888, Flagler built the Hotel Ponce de León, his first in a series of luxury resorts along Florida’s east coast. A masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture and the first major poured-in-place concrete building in the United States is now known as Ponce de Leon Hall. A National Historic Landmark, it serves as the centerpiece for Flagler College.

In 1950 The first Ripley’s Believe It or Not  Museum opened in St. Augustine, Florida. The building looks like a Castle built in  1887 by William Warden as a winter home. In later years, it was turned into a hotel, until Ripley’s opened the location. I always thought the one & only Ripley’s Believe it or Not was the one I always saw as a kid in Niagara Falls, Canada. Boy, was I wrong.

The Oldest Wooden School House in the USA  is located in downtown St. Augustine. The School House dates back to the early 18th (1702) and is now a museum.

Aviles Street in St. Augustine holds the official title of the oldest street in the United States. St. Augustine itself claims to be the oldest city in the U.S., so it only makes sense that Aviles Street is just as old.

The brick street is located in the Historic District, with a stone archway marking its entrance. This street dates back to the 16th century, according to Florida’s Historic Coast, and was originally known as Hospital Street for the Spanish Military Hospital located at one end.

The Old City Gates are toward the north end of St. George Street. The Old City Gates were at one time the only entrance into St. Augustine. The two ancient columns made of stone were built in 1808 as a line of defense for the city. They are a symbol of the turbulent times faced by the original American colonists and a truly memorable landmark.

Completed in 1927, the Bridge of Lions is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed as a work of art and as  transportation  for cars, connecting downtown St. Augustine with the Anastasia Island.  It’s a drawbridge that opens for boat traffic several times throughout the day. The first two lions on the bridge were named Faithful and Firm. In 2015, two new granite lions were added to the east side of the bridge, Peace and Happiness.

St. Augustine’s Surfing Hall of Fame                                                                                                  Housed in one of the city’s many ancient buildings is a Surf Museum.  St. Augustine had become a major destination for surfing enthusiasts.  Numerous surfing competitions began here and some, like the Hugh Shaw Memorial Long Board Classic continue to attract surfers from around the world.  The museum’s exhibits start with the earliest days of surfing at St. Augustine’s beaches from  1915 to present.

This would be me & Dave if we were traveling in a earlier time. I don’t think so.

We had a fun time walking around old town, St. Augustine.

We had breakfast at the Diner, which was very good and then headed out to the beach.

We had a great time walking and getting wet on the beautiful beach! You can see from the pictures, Dave truly enjoyed himself as he was diving in the waves, he should have had a surf board.

We stopped to visit our friend Lisa and see her new house. We had a great time catching up. Take Care Lisa, it was great seeing you.

3 thoughts on “Our Last Stop before we left Florida

  1. Sandy

    I’m adding several of these places to my list. We’re you able to visit the fountain of youth while there? I’ve got a few years I’d like to roll back. 😁
    Thanks for a great writeup. Enjoy your travels!!

  2. Nancy and Himmy 🤣

    Love reading about all of the places you got to visit. Looking forward to reading about your next adventure!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s