Saving St. Augustine's Architectural Treasures : Project Blog

Carrere and Hastings Digital Collection ( Internal Link )

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Saving St. Augustine's Architectural Treasures : Project Blog
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Archived copy of a blog
Nemmers, John
George A. Smathers Libraries
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Gainesville, FL
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Archived contents of the project blog for Saving St. Augustine’s Architectural Treasures. The blog is an example of a collaborative documentary project with students and faculty contributors. The blog thus documents the project and project work by student workers alone and in teams of students. The results of the project can be seen in the Carrère & Hastings Digital Collection: Original blog URL:

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University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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Applicable rights reserved.
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Page 2 of 20 About the Project The Saving St. Augustine’s Architectural Treasures project will conserve and digitize an irreplaceable collection of th e earliest architectural drawings of John Carrre (18581911) and Thomas Hastings (1860-1929). In 2010 Flagler College received a prestigious Save America’s Treasures grant (administered by the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Humanities ) to help preserve architectural drawings for the National Historic Landm ark Hotel Ponce de Leon and the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine, Florida. During this two-year project, over 260 drawings will be conserv ed and reproduced digitally by the University of Florida Smathers Libraries Created for Henry Flagler in St. Augustine, many of these drawings had been “lost” for decades. The few people who knew of their exis tence were unaware of their historical significance. Stored in a boiler room under high Florida temperat ures and humidity, and exposed to insects and rodents, this treas ure trove remained unknown and endangered until its rediscovery in 2004. Carrre and Hastings were two of the most si gnificant American architects of the late19th and early-20th centuries. Their firm designed more than 600 buildings, including the New York Public Library (1902-11) and the House and Senate Office Buildings in D.C. (1908-09). According to Char les D. Warren, co-author of Carrre & Hastings Architects they were “innovators in both technology and aesthetics.” Regrettably, as Janet Parks, Curator of Drawings & Archives, Columbia University, states: “Most of the archive of [their] office was destroyed in the 1920s.” Comprised of 267 original, fragile drawings on cloth, silk and paper, as well as blueprints and copies, the collection is the largest known arch ives documenting the firm’s earliest work. In 1885 multi-millionaire industrialist Henry Fl agler initiated a grand scheme to turn the Florida wilderness into the “American Riviera” and St. Augustine into the “Winter Newport.” The Hotel Ponc e de Leon (1885-1887), now Ponc e de Leon Hall at Flagler College, was the first and the flagship of Flagl er’s resort empire. This palatial Spanish Renaissance Revival hotel, with Italian, Fr ench and Moorish influences, was the first major commission for Carrre and Hastings. Nationally significant for both its architecture and engineering, the building is Am erica’s first large cast-in-place concrete building. Following construction of the Ho tel, Flagler also commissioned Carrre and Hastings to design the Memorial Presbyterian Church (1889-1890). In 2005 the drawings for the Hotel and Church were deposited at the University of Florida Architecture Archives to ensure that they were protected and available for research. Many of the drawings cannot be handled because they are literally crumbling on the shelf, and even items in stable condit ion are in jeopardy due to increasing demand by researchers. These drawings hav e been inaccessible to scholars for years, but use of the drawings can only occur once the drawings are properly conserved by the UF Libraries Conservation Unit and digitized by the Digital Library Center


Page 3 of 20


Page 4 of 20 NEH Support The Saving St. Augustine’s Architectural Treasures project is supported by a Save America’s Treasures grant, administered by the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).


Page 5 of 20 Project Partners Flagler College Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church University of Florida G eorge A. Smather s Libraries Architecture Archives Conservation Unit Digital Library Center Supported by: U.S. National Park Service in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities


Page 6 of 20 Project Personnel Flagler College o Leslee F. Keys (Principal Investigato r), Director of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Relations Office of In stitutional Advancement & Adjunct Faculty in History, Department of Liberal Studies University of Florida o John Freund, Head, Conservation Unit, Preservation Department, University of Florida Smathers Libraries o Matthew Mariner, Digital Validat ion, Archive, and Preservation Coordinator, Digital Library Center University of Florida Smathers Libraries o John Nemmers (UF Project Director), Descriptive and Technical Services Archivist, Department of Special and Ar ea Studies Collections, University of Florida Smathers Libraries o Randall Renner, Operations and Digital Projects Manager, Digital Library Center, University of Fl orida Smathers Libraries o Odette Rivera, Conservation Techni cian, Conservation Unit, Preservation Department, University of Florida Smathers Libraries o Kim Tinnell, Conservation Technici an, Conservation Unit, Preservation Department, University of Florida Smathers Libraries


Home ( b Saving Colle c Posted on The last are avai l Collecti o htt p :// w Memor i at htt p :/ / findin g a in the C a Posted in a Neari n Posted on W e’re e x all of th e online a further d Collecti o A few o f dis p la y i Santam a posters a Posted in U b log post s St. Augus t c tion G u May 22, 2012 activit y fo r l able onlin e o n is availa b w eb.uflib.u f i al Presb y t e / web.uflib. a ids p rovi d a rrre & H a rrangement & n g the E April 26, 2012 x cited to b e e drawin g s t htt p ://uf d d eteriorati o o ns w ebsit e f the ori g in a i n the Fla gl a raW heel a nd labels t U ncategorized s ) t ine's Arc h u ides ar e by ufarchivist r the p ro j e c e The Gui d b le at f p ec / e rian Chur c pe d e both coll e H astin g s D description, d i E nd by ufarchivist e nearin g t h have been d c o n. The g ui d e an y da y n o a l drawin gs l er College P er, exhibit s t o p romote | Leave a com h itectural T e now O c t has been d e to Fla g le / manuscri p c h Archite c e c/manusc r e ctionan d D i g ital C o i gitization | Le a h e end of th i c onserved a c aha and t h d es to the c o w. s now flatt e P roctor Li b s coordinat o the p ro j ec t ment T reasures O nline com p leted : r College’s p t/ g uides/ h c ture Colle c r i p t/ g uide s d item-level o llection ( a ve a commen t i s w onderf u a nd di g itiz e h e ori g inal c ollections w e ned and e n b rar y for th e o r for the U t : full descri Hotel Pon c h otel p once c tion is ava i s /memoria l links to th e ( htt p ://ufd c t u l p ro j ect. I e d. The di gi drawin g s a w ill be p ub l n ca p sulate d e next few w U F Smathe r p tions for t c e de Leon A htm The G i lable l .htm Thes e di g ital i m c a I ’m ha ppy t i tal ima g es a re now p r o l ished on t h d are g oin g w eeks. Lou r r s Libraries Page 7 t he drawin g A rchitectu r G uide to th e e archival m a g es avail a a ha ). t o re p ort t h are availa b o tected fro m h e UF S p e c g to be on r des has creat e 7 of 20 g s r e e a ble h at b le m c ial e d


Page 8 of 20 Society of Florida Archivists Annual Meeting 2011 Posted on June 15, 2011 by kimtinnell At the beginning of May 2011, Leslee Keys, John Nemmers, Laurie Taylor, and myself presented on various aspects of this project at the Society of Florida Archivists Annual Meeting which, fittingly, was held at Flagle r College. The response to the project was very positive and I think many others who are embarking on similar projects or have architectural drawings/blueprints in their colle ctions were able to get ideas on how to move forward on preserving those objects. The presentations are available to view th rough the University of Florida’s Digital Library and are linked below. Saving St. Augustine’s Architectural Treasures: About the Project John Nemmers, UF Descriptive Archivist Saving St. Augustine’s Architectural Treasure s: Conservation of Architectural Drawings Kim Tinnell, Conservation Technician/Student Assistant Saving St. Augustine’s Architectural Treasure s: Digitization of Architectural Drawings Laure Taylor, UF Digital Library Center Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment Conservation Treatment-Hotel Ponce de Leon Large Drawing Continued Posted on January 24, 2011 by kimtinnell We are continuing work on the very fragile, large drawings of the Hotel Ponce de Leon. As noted in the previous post on these draw ings, we have already separated them into three separate sections (as they originally had been), removed the dirty cloth backing, cleaned the surface of the paper, reattached loose pieces, and backed them with a heat set tissue to keep the loose pieces intact and provide the paper with some support while they were being digitized. We have decide d to remove the heat set tissue backing and back these drawings with Japanese paper.


To rem o drawin g drawin g are desi g Next, w e the adh e w ater a r Docum e adhesiv e After th i p aste in a pp l y in g all in o n o ve the bac k g down as w g with a s p a g ned to be r e make sta r e sive for at t r e combine d e nt Conser v e s to re p ai r i s cools, w e different d g the p aste n e direction k in g we p l a w e g entl y re m tula and pu r eversible, r ch p aste u s t achin g the d over heat v ation Cent e r p a p er arti f e a pp l y a th i d irections. J in differen t once adhe r a ce the dra w m ove the h u llin g it off it comes o f s in g wheat s Ja p anese p until the y f e r has a ve r f acts. It ca n i n la y er to t J a p anese pa t direction s r ed to the d w in g on a s h eat set tiss u in small se c f f relativel y s tarch and p a p er to th e f orm a thic k ry informa t n be found h t he Ja p ane s ap er is p ro n s hel p s ens u d rawin g uction tabl u e backin g c tions. Sin c easil y distilled w a e drawin g T c kened p ast t ive leaflet o h ere .) s e p a p er m a n e to stretc h u re that it w e. The suct i b y se p arat i c e conserv a a ter, whic h T he wheat t e. (The No r o n their we b a kin g sure w h in g and s h w ill not stre t Page 9 ion holds t h i n g it from a tion mater h will be us e starch and r theast b site on us i w e a pp l y t h h rinkin g so t ch or shri n 9 of 20 h e the ials e d as i n g h e n k


The Ja p table an So far w ima g es, p rocess treatme n Posted in c anese p a pe d is ke p t t h w e have co m John Freu n which I w a n t on the l a c onservation, F e r is then la i h ere until it mp leted this n d, the hea a s later abl e a st third of t F lagler College i d on the b a dries. work on t w d of the co n e to p erfor m t he drawin g UF Libraries C a ck of the d w o thirds o f n servation d m under his g this wee k C onservation U d rawin g w h f one of th e d e p artme n su p ervisio n k U nit | 1 Comm e h ile it is stil l e drawin g s. n t, demonst n I ho p e w e nt Page 1 0 l on the su c In these rated this w e will finis h 0 of 20 c tion h


Flagl e Posted on W e hav e drawin g visited S never b e drawin g w orkin g W hat w a created Fla g ler M the y en v em p t y l o I can he how hi gh o p en s pa ima g in e er Mem o December 28, e com p lete d g s and blue p S t. Au g usti n e en there b e g s for a few g so closel y w a s g oin g th r ori g inal dr a M emorial P v ision the t o o t? a r Carrere a h the dom e a ce or seve r e Carrere a n o rial Pre 2010 by kimti n d all the co n p rints of th e n e and saw e fore, I felt months an w ith ori g i n r ou g h the m a win g s, a m P resb y teria n o werin g do m a nd Hasti n e should be r al small i n n d Hastin gs sbyteri a n nell n servation w e Fla g ler M the church as thou g h I d have bec o n al material m inds of Jo m ended exis t n Church a n m e the y ha ng s debatin g and wher e n timate s p a c s visitin g t h a n Chur c w ork, desc r M emorial P r (and the H I had since o me famili a s, y ou be g i n hn Carrere t in g blue pr n d Hotel P o d desi g ned g what t ype e walls sho u c es. The p r e e site, brin g ch r i p tion, an d r esb y terian H otel Ponc e I’ve been w a r with the n to feel co n e and Tho m r ints, and v i o nce de Le o d for the ch u e s of carvin g u ld be p lac e e vious re pa g in g alon g d di g itizati o Church. L a e de Leon). A w orkin g wi t church’s f e n nected to m as Hastin g i sited the s i o n would b e u rch as the y g s should g e d as to all o a irs are int e some of th e Page 11 o n of the a st week I A lthou g h I t h these e atures. In their histo r s as the y i tes where t e built? Co u y stood on t g o on the d o o w for a lar g e restin g to o e ir drawin g 1 of 20 had ry t he u ld t he o ors, g e, o I g s


Page 12 of 20 and blueprints so they can compare and make changes to what has already been built, and opps! one of them tears. An assistant sc rambles for Scotch Tape, a stapler, or (in one instance) some paste and a brochure for the Hotel Ponce de Leon to serve as a Band-Aide. Through this project, history is being preser ved in both the content of the drawings and in the drawings themselves as hi storically significant objects. Posted in arrangement & description, conservation, Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church, UF Libraries Conservation Unit | Leave a comment Conservation Treatment-Hotel Ponce de Leon Large Drawing Posted on December 9, 2010 by kimtinnell We have begun to work on some of the draw ings in the worst condition. Yesterday, we completed the work on one of the largest fl oor plans for the Hotel Ponce de Leon. There are four drawings similar to this one that have all been kept in the same conditions. These drawings are approximately eight feet wide and have been stored rolled up in tubes. Each drawing was originally three separa te pieces of paper that were attached to one another. Due to the conditions in which th ey have been kept, th ey have started to separate from one another. For conservation and storage purposes, we are separating them into three sections. You can see where the three pieces have started to separate


from on This dr a have co m the thre e e another i n a win g has a m e loose. W e sections h n the p hot o lot of rode W e are setti n h ave been s og ra p h bel o nt dama g e ng aside a n e p arated a n o w. ( p articula r ny loose p ie c n d flattene d r l y on the l e c es, which c d e ft side) an d c an be mat Page 13 d man y p ie c ched u p af t 3 of 20 c es t er


The firs t backin g, Becaus e strips. The p a p w ants t o flatten i t drawin g tem p or a Becaus e p ieces i n t ste p in th e which is e e of the p re v p er is in fra g o continue t t we used a g ’s surface u a ril y with h e e the tissue n the ri g ht p e conservat x tremel y d i v ious ex p o s g ile, brittle t o curl on i t a humidifie u sin g a low e at-set tiss u sticks to th p laces. ion p roces s i rt y and ha s s ure to hu m condition. t s own. In o r to hel p r e intensit y v a u e. This m a e p a p er, it a s of these d r s mold as w m idit y the c Since it ha s o rder to p r e e lax the p a p a cuum cle a a kes handli a lso allows r awin g s is t w ell as the r c loth backi n s been stor e e vent it fro m p er. After r e a ner and so f n g the fra g us to attac h t o remove t r emains of i ng is easil y r e d in a roll, m breakin g e movin g di r f t brush, w e ile drawin g h the smal l Page 1 4 t he cloth i nsects on i r emoved i n the p a p er as we trie d r t from the e backed it g easier. l er, broken 4 of 20 i t. n d to off


After di g Ja p ane s Posted in c Cons e Posted on W e hav e Church. g itization, w s e p a p er. c onservation, F e rvatio n October 27, 2 0 e be g un en c This is the w e will rem F lagler College n Treat m 0 10 by kimtinn e c a p sulatin g final ste p i ove the he a UF Libraries C m ent-En c e ll g the blue pr i n the cons e a t-set tissu e C onservation U c apsula t r ints and d r e rvation p r o e and back t U nit | Leave a c t ion r awin g s fro m o cess. Afte r t he drawin g c omment m the Pres b r the y are a Page 15 g with by terian a ll 5 of 20


enca p s u the di g i t re q uest. W e are e forms a environ m ma j or a g blue p ri n to “live” make bl u result i n Posted in c Digiti z Posted on Once co the lar ge from fil m w e em pl u lated, the y t al ima g es o Enca p sul a e nca p sulat i seal usin g s m ent and o g ents of de t n ts. Enca p s u in and kee u e p rints a n n creatin g a c onservation, F z ing th e October 26, 2 0 nservation e format qu m slides to l o y the use will be sto r o f these do c a tin g them w i n g the doc u s ound wav e o ther envir o t erioration u latin g the m p unwante d n d diazot yp microclim a F lagler Memori a e Docu m 0 10 by jrb74 has finish e u eue in Di gi t hree dime of a lar g e f o r ed in flat f i c uments fo r w ill allow f o u ments in M e s. Fluctua t o nmental f a for delicat e m creates a d intruders es, we onl y a te that wa s a l Presbyteria n m ent e d evaluati n i tal Librar y nsional ob j o rmat scan i les in the l i r research, o r safer ha n My lar usin g t ions in te m a ctors such e materials a stable mi c out. Beca u y seal three s dama g in g n Church, UF L ng and stab i y Center. T h j ects. For t h ner to g et a ibrar y Wh i the ori g in a n dlin g g an ultras o mp erature a as dust an d such as th e c roclimate f u se of the c h sides. Seal i g to the p ri n L ibraries Cons e ilizin g the d h e DLC set h e Carrre a lar g e, det a i le most p e a ls will be a v o nic enca ps a nd humidi t d insects a r e se drawin g f or the dra w h emical p r o i n g the ent i n t. e rvation Unit | L d rawin g s t h u p to di g it i and Hasti n a iled ima ge Page 1 6 o p le will u s v ailable u po s ulator, wh i ty levels in r e some of t g s and w in g /blue p o cesses use d i re p a p er w L eave a comm h e y are sen t i ze an y thin ng s materi a e 6 of 20 s e o n i ch the t he rint d to w ould ent t to g a ls


The lar g the sam e ne g ativ e di g ital c this ca m line at a (htt p :// b camera, this p ro b an y wri n had, an d minimi z reflecto r have ru n absorb l drawin g from th e vellum t resultin g Posted in d Cons e Posted on g e format s c e wa y a lar g e the more d amera. T h m era em p lo y time, 800 0 b etterli g ht the docu m b lem the d o n kles of fol d d have, a li f z ed while c a r s to elimi n n into is sc a i g ht and n o g s the black e scanned i m t hen p lace t g ima g e ha s d igitization, Fl a e rvatio n October 21, 2 0 c anner is u s g e format f i d etailed th e h e differen c y s a p ro g re s 0 lines for e com/su p e r m ent canno t o cument is d s that the d f e of their o w a rin g for th n ate wrinkl e a nnin g dra w o t p ut g lare shows thr o m a g e. Our t he docum e s been mu c gler Memorial n Treat m 0 10 by kimtinn e s ed when fl i lm camer a e p hoto g ra p c e between t s sive scan l e ach ima g e r m t move oth e held down d ocument m w n and ar e e docume n e s much lik e w in g s on tr a onto what o u g h the tr a solution h a e nt on to p c h more sat i Presbyterian C m ent-De a e ll at work is t works; th e p h will be. t his camer a ike y our n o m l). Becau e rwise stre a with a vac u m i g ht have e sub j ect to t. To reme e fashion ph a cin g p a p e r we are sca n a cin g p a p e r a s been to f W e lose so i sfactor y C hurch, UF Lib r a cidific a t oo bi g for t e lar g er the Think of it a and y our o rmal desk t se it is a p r a ks will a pp u um table. e Of cours e folds and c e d y this, we hoto g ra p h e r The vac u n nin g but f r effectivel y f irst la y do w me of the v raries Digital L a tion t he Co p ibo o surface ar e as a su p er avera g e di g t o p scanne r o g ressive s p ear in the i This also h e these doc u c reases tha t use li g hti n e rs do. On e u um table i s f or man y o f y eliminati n w n some po v acuum’s po ibrar y Center | Page 1 7 o ks. It wor k e a of the me g a p ixal e g ital camer a r It scans o can t yp e o f ma g e. To s h el p s elimi n u ments ha v t need to b e ng and e p roblem w s black as t o f these ng the dra w o rous whit e o wer but t h Leave a com m 7 of 20 k s in e d a is o ne f s olve n ate v e e w e o w in g e h e m ent


W e rece Lab, so w w eek w e w eek w e order to and aid Posted in c | Leave a c Cons e Posted on These a r boiler r o p a p er c o p reserv e seen th e p relimi n Presb y t e Once th e enca p s u Fortun a Church a second y p reviou s ived the Pr w e are rea d e deacidifie d e will enca p create mi c in safe han c onservation, F c omment e rvatio n September 30 r chitectura l o om in 200 o nservatio n e them. I b e e condition n ar y conse r e rian Chur c ey have be e u latin g the m a tel y man y a re in dece n y ou tr y to t o s l y backed w esb y terian dy to com p l d the ori g i n p sulate all o c roclimates dlin g F lagler Memori a n Treat m 2010 by kimt i l drawin g s h 4 in the hi s n lab at the U eg an worki n of these pa r vation wor k c h and hav e e n di g itize d m of the dra w n t conditio o uch them w ith cloth, Church dr a ete the con n al drawin g o f the Presb y This will e a l Presbyteria n m ent i nnell h ave come s toric cit y o U niversit y ng on this p ap ers im p r o k on all th e e sent the m d we will c o w in g s and p n. (And b y o r missin g which has h a win g s and servation t r g s usin g Bo o y terian Ch u e nsure con t n Church, UF L a lon g wa y f St. Au g us of Florida, p ro j ect at t h o ve g reatl y e drawin g s a m to the Di gi o m p lete th e p lans of the decent I m lar g e chun k h el p ed kee p blue p rints r eatment o o kkee p er D u rch drawi n t inued p res e L ibraries Cons e y since thei r tine. Curre where we a h e end of A u Since Au gu a nd p lans f i tal Librar y e conservat i Fla g ler M e ean not fal l k s.) Man y o p the p a p e r back from n these do c D eacidificat i ng s and bl u e rvation o f e rvation Unit, U r discover y e ntl y the y r a re now wo ug ust and h u st, we hav e f rom the Fl a y Center to b i on b y dea c e morial Pr e l in g to brit t o f the diaz o r from bein g Page 1 8 the Di g ita l c uments. T h i on S p ra y N u e p rints in f the docu m U ncategorized in a basem e r eside in th e rkin g to h ave alread y e done ag ler Mem o b e di g itize d c idf y in g an d e sb y terian t le bits the o t yp es wer e g too brittl e 8 of 20 l h is N ext m ents e nt e y o rial d d e e to


handle. necessa r a com p l e p a p er a c done o n folds an stress fr back us i tedious w tackin g i return i t inform a tear w it h In a few in s ry to remo v e te ima g e. O c tuall y is. M n thin p a p e r d tears acr o om bein g p i n g archiva l w rinkles a r i ron. The a l t to its ori gi a tion. The p h ta p e. s tances, a l a v e the back i O nce the c l M an y of the r These ha v o ss the ent i p reviousl y e l ta p e and b r e folded o u l cohol solu t i nal flatnes s hoto g ra p h s a r g e fold t h i n g in orde r l oth backin g hand dra w v e been m u re p a p er w h e x p osed to p b acked two u t usin g a s m t ion relaxe s s without b s here sho w h rou g h the m r to flatten t g has been w in g s were n ch harder t h ich has b e p oor condi t of the dra w m all metal s the fibers b reakin g of f w the p roce s m iddle of t h t he p a p er s removed, y n ot backed t o handle s i e come incr e t ions. We r e w in g s usin g s p atula, a n of brittle p f p ieces an d s s of remo v h e p lan re n s o the di g it a y ou realize h with cloth i nce there a e dibl y britt l ep aired th e g heat-set ti n alcohol so l p a p er and a l d riskin g lo s v in g folds a n Page 1 9 n dered it a l lab coul d h ow fra g il e since the y w a re multi p l e l e with a g e e tears on t h ssue. Smal l l ution, an d l lows us to s s of n d re p airi n 9 of 20 d g et e the w ere e and h e l d a ng a


Page 20 of 20 While we await the arrival of the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church plans and drawings back from the digital lab, we ar e beginning the preliminary conservation work of the Hotel Ponce de Leon papers. Unfortunately, these drawings and plans did not fare so well in the hot and humid boiler room an d fell victim to hungry rodents with an appetite for irreplaceable materi als. Some of the largest plan s (measuring over eight feet wide) are rolled up, and when unrolled are reve aled for the true puzzles that they are. It’s a good thing I grew up doing 2000 piece puzzles on my mom’s kitchen table. Sorry to say that this time there will be no box to p to cheat off of! (But I am looking forward to the challenge.) Posted in conservation, UF Libraries Conservation Unit | Leave a comment Preserving the Past Posted on August 19, 2010 by ufarchivist We are starting a two-year project to conserve and digitize the earliest architectural drawings of John Carrre and Thomas Hastin gs, designers of the Hotel Ponce de Leon and the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine, Florida. Future posts will document activities by project team me mbers working at UF in Special Collections, Conservation, and the Digital Library Center. Posted in project overview | Leave a comment