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SAHP 002 Interviewee: Herschel Shepard Interviewer: Paul Ortiz Date: December 13, 2011 O: Well it is December 13 2011. We're here with Mr. Herschel Shepard. Mr. Shepard, I want to start with by thanking you so much for taking time out of your very busy schedule to speak with us today. S: Oh, this is a great honor for me. O: Well, thank y ou sir. I wonder if we could start, if you could tell me a bit about where you grew up, and a little bit about your parents, and your community. S: Well I grew up in n orth Florida, mostly at Atlantic Beach, sometimes in Jacksonville. My parents on both sides of my family are descended from families in Gad sden C ounty in w est Florida. Those people came to Florida during the early territorial period and the families moved to Jacksonville around the turn of the twentieth century. So I attended high school at Fletcher High School. I eventually graduated from Bolles because at the time right after the Second World War there were no math teachers available that had come back from the war. S o to get into college, I had to take some math courses. I graduated from Bolles, but always really thought of Fletcher as my school and in fact, later married the principal's daughter which was a great event for me. O: Now Mr. Shepard, you were mentioning that your parents had roots in Gadsden County and early in the te rritorial period, did any stories about their earlier generations of your family kind of come down to you about early Florida experiences?
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 2 S: Some stories have come down. I have yet to track the record o f the Shepard side of my family a lthough I do know t hat one of my ancestors was a soldier on the Union side in the Civil War, who later came to Gadsden County. One of my ancestors was a contractor, a great uncle [in the Dezell family] and a house that he built in Greensboro, Florida is now on the National R egister. So I know that much about my father's side of the family. On my mother's side, the Fletchers, at one time had a plantation, around Havana, Florida. And as I understand it, Havana is actually built on part of that plantatio n, so the roots over there do go back and there are stories related to the local Salem cemeteries Four of my ancestors on the Fletcher side are supposed to have fought with Marion the Swamp Fox in South Carolina [Francis Marion, also known as the Swamp F ox, was a military officer who fought against the British in the American Revolutionary War and is recognized as one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare]. So there are some deep roots there. O: And you had apparently, a very good high school educati on, it sounds like. S: Well, I was very fortunate in that we had an excellent principal at the high school, Frank Dogget t In fact, he is the one that urged me to leave Fletcher and go to Bolles to get the education I needed to get into a goo d college. So that's what I did; I followed his advice. O: And you certainly ended up attending a good college. S: I was very fortunate in being admitted to Princeton University, where I stayed for both my Bachelor of Arts and my Master of Fine Arts in A rchitecture degr ees. I
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 3 really entered college not as an architect, but as a physicist. I was very interested in physics at the time and that's what I originally intended to major in. O: What changed your mind about S: Well, I got to the university and those days, they would offer you all kinds of electives in the arts and sciences. And I made the decision to take some electives in art, and history, and the history of architecture. That absolutely won me over and convinc ed me first that architecture was a great choice because it had one foot in the sciences and one foot in the arts. And beyond that, as I really thought about what I wanted to do with my life, it offered me the opportunity to return to Florida, where I real ly wanted to live and to practice. O: What were some of the major influences on you, maybe in terms of the faculty, or in terms of the moving you into your interest in architecture? S: Well, my interest in the preservation in architecture really stems fro m an unhappy event that occurred when I was in my junior ye ar. My father's business failed. H e didn't have a controlling interest in it I had to find some work. I had to work while I was in school, and that event it caused me to eventually wind up workin g for an archeologist, Alan J.B. Wace of Cambridge University, who at that time was completing research at the I nstitute for Advanced Study, w hich is a separate institution from Princeton University. I t has its own campus, but of course, there are relation ships between the Institutions So I prepared arch a eological drawings for publication. And he invited me to go to Greece with him in the summer of 1954 which I did. I served as the arch a eological architect there and that really
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 4 persuaded me that history and arch a eology, and the way people did things historically, probably had some relevance to what we're doing today. So I really began to become interested in technology My interest in architecture is really in technical things, the history of technology and the uses of it. I'm really trained as a modernist architect and I consider myself to be a modernist architect with an interest in technology, the history of technology, and the preservation of the really imp ortant works that exhibit changes in technology and in art theory O: Mr. Shepard, what were some of your favorite classes at Princeton? S: Some of my favorite classes probably include the history of architecture. And I have great memories of my sophomore year when I was first introduced to ancient architecture particularly, Egyptian. And as a Florida boy with no pri or knowledge of some of these terms, words like Deir el Bahari Queen Hatshepsut and things like that absolutely stunned me a nd I was terrif ied. B ut over a period of time, I managed to overcome these difficulties and thoroughly enjoyed what I learned in those courses. Also, I took wonderful courses in the history of art, both contemporary and historic periods of art, which I very much enjoy ed And of course, the crowning thing there is to work in the studio, in the architectural studio, where all of the undergraduate and graduate students in those days were thrown together in a huge room. We all managed to do take advantage of the visiting a rchitects and others, who would sometimes come and stay for a period of time to instruct us, but often they would just walk through the drafting room and talk to us as individual s All of those things are happy memories.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 5 O: Were there any architects in pa rticular that you remember having a big influence or that kind of struck you ? S: Well, I remember in particular, Jean Labatut, who was the dean of the school at the time, a great Romantic French architect, who had done a great deal of work with the lights at the 1939 World's Exhibition in New York. And I loved him because I was interested in things that he was not interested in, but he encourage d me to pursue my interest I had become interested in proportional systems in architecture and the use of geometr y, which to him were less important considerations, but he encouraged me nevertheless. So he was a great influence on me. Some of the visiting professors included people like Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, Paul Rudolph, Enrico Peressutti from Ita ly, Gordon Bunshaft from New York, just an extraordinary number of people, all of whom inf luenced me one way or another s ometimes in opposite directions. [Laughter] O: Well, certainly, Frank Lloyd Wright has had a big impact in Florida architecture. S: Absolutely, and his work at Florida Southern College was really instrumental, I think in making people aware of a new approach to architecture. But I do have to say that some other people like Robert Broward, who was a graduate of Georgia Tech, and came ba ck to Jacksonville after the war, really introduced cont emporary architecture to northe ast Florida, in my opinion. But there were others too, Mr. Smith of the firm Reynolds, Smith, and Hill, had done some early
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 6 modernist work in Jacksonville. So all of th ose people have had a tremendous influence on my life, I think. O: Mr. Shepard, you also mentioned in correspondence, Dr. Stillwell, Princeton arch a eologist. S: Oh, yes. I would be very remiss not to mention Dr. Stillwell and his wife, and his son as a ma tter of fact. All of whom greatly influenced me while I was working in Greece. They came to Greece to assist Dr. Wace And also Dr. Still well was instrumental in getting me travel grants and scholarships that were related to arch a eology at the time. I hav e always felt indebted to him and his family for getting me through the graduate years, particularly, financially. He was wonderful. O: And you met a number of really amazing people at the institute, one of whom was Dr. Robert Oppenheimer [Julius Robert Oppenheimer (Apri l 22, 1904 February 18, 1967) was an American physicist who participated in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that led to the development of the first nuclear weapons]. Can you talk about that? S: I'll tell you something about that. I had decided as my graduate thesis to redesign the Institute for Advanced Study, and to do that I needed to prepare a program stating what my approach was going to be, which happened to be two extreme ways of re planning the ins titute, o ne of which threw all of the members of the institute into individual spaces meeting their own needs out in the great beautiful woods of that p lace. And the other one design was a megastructure, in which all
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 7 of these people would be located. Well, I needed to talk to somebody at the I nstitute about this program. One day I was walking by Dr. Oppenheimer's office and the door was open, so I stuck my head inside and said to the secretary, do you think that I cou ld submit some questions to Dr. Oppenheimer related to a program that I'm doing in the School of A rchitecture for redesigning the institute. She said, ah, come in, he's here. Go back there and ask him. I was flabbergasted. I went back and sat down, and we talked for well over an hour about my ideas, and h e expressed great interest in them. Obviously, he was extraordinar il y knowledgeable about the history of architecture and the design theories of architecture. And it ended up that he continued to advise me and actually served as a member of my committee and came to my presentation, which I thought was a great honor. So that was quite an experience. O: That is an amazing experience. S: That was amazing and I think as I also had noted to you earli er that I was also crew manager while an undergraduate. And one day, we almost killed Dr. Einstein, who was out with his daug hter on the L ake Carnegie I was driving the coach's launch and came out of a fog bank, and right in front of us, is this sailboat. And I a lmost threw the coach out of the front of the boat, and I killed the throttle, and we drifted by the little sailboat, and Einstein waved at u s very pleasantly. Scared me to death. [Laughter]
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 8 O: Mr. Shepard, it seems that your time at Princeton and really t he intellectual theme here, that seems to be emerging is your intense interest in interdisciplinary study, art, architecture, archaeology Is that an accurate description? S: Yeah, I think that's a very accurate assessment. Obviously, all of these things are integrated. The changes in the attitudes in architectural design I think are of particular interest to me. I'm also interested in the fact that there is a s chism today between architects, who really are graduates of the modern movement or the post mod ern movemen t. T here seems to be a feeling that the work of those periods is not adequately addressed by preservationists, and that we need to save that work. Modern and Post modern design theory is so different from the eclectic romanticism that preceded t he S econd W orld W ar, that we need to bring these things together because there's great value in all of these things, in my opinion. O: Now after Princeton, you continued to lead a very active life. Can you talk about what you did after graduation? S: Well, after I graduated from college, I volunteered for the draft, served in the Signal Corps for two years, and ironically, attended some of the atomic bomb tests in Nevada that were the result of Dr. Oppenheimer's earlier work [ The United States Army Signal C orps, established in 1860, is responsible for developing and managing communications and information systems for the United States military]. Then I served in the a ctive r eserves after that. Luckily, for me, my service was right in between the end of the K orean W ar and the
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 9 beginning of the Vietnamese W ar, so all of my service was Cold War peace time activity. After that, I came home and tried to get a job in architecture, couldn't find one, things were slow, but I did find a job with an engineer, Thomas Evan s, who remained a very close friend for the rest of our careers. Then I went to work for an architectural firm, Boardman, Ewart, and Meehan in Jacksonville, and later for Herbert Coons, who later became the archite ct for the S tate of Florida Licensing B oard. I ended up working for Robert Broward, for about a year, and then founded my own practice. O: Can you describe the kind of work that you were doing from 1958 until you began your own practice? Was this a kind of an a pprenticeship or were you doing S : This was an apprenticeship, yes. It was a learning period and all architects are required before they are licensed to serve a certai n period of time as apprentices. S o this is the time when you learn about the nuts and bolts of architecture, which can b e a very cold dose of water sometimes. But it's a very interesting per iod, a very productive period. T he type of projects which I worked on ranged from residences to small commercial buildings, to a few large institutional buildings. We also did a numbe r of churches when I was working for Robert Broward also a retirement home [Wesley Manor], and just a wide range of buildings. None of which, by the way, were in the field of historic preservation. They were all contemporary works.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 10 O: That's interesting. In Florida, what are some of the challenges in architecture? I've heard people talk about issu es such as climate, soil type. W hat makes it distinctive of Florida environment in terms of architecture? S: Well, when I first started practice, one of the thin gs that we were doing wa s experimenting in architecture and this created a kind of Florida architecture with buildings that could be shaded, could be open to the breezes, could take advantage of the natural environment. And over time, early in my practice as air conditioning and mechanical systems became more and more available, the kind of environmental adaptation that we were interested in and living in the environment, chang ed. So that you began to consider what were the most economical and profitable ways to use these new mechanical systems in architecture, so architecture becomes as a result of this, less regional because you're dealing with things that can make architect ure kind of universal. You can design a building that will survive anywhere using these mechanical systems, so that's been an interesting event for me as has the advent of new materials and t he loss of a lot of traditional materials after the Second Worl d War Let me explain. Before the Second World War and for a short time afterward, many of our residences were built of longleaf yellow pine, which is a very excellent hardy strong material, highly resistant to insects and rot as long as it's kept dry. B ut then we changed the way we build because we ran out of that material and started building buildings right down on the ground, so that they were much more accessible to insects and dampness. All of these things are things that changed the way in which ar chitecture is expressed, not only in Florida, but throughout
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 11 this nation, and it is produced some profound changes in the way we think about architect ure O: How so? S: Well, one of the things is we all have to have pest control companies work on our buil dings today as an example, and there are a lot of traditional wooden buildings that have survived with no pest controls, and it's because of the way they were designed the manner in which they were used, and the materials used to build them. I think that because we've run out of some of these traditional materials and changed our philosophy of the way we build buildings, we've introduced a lot of problems to ourselves. O: Now, Mr. Shepard, when you were working on your apprenticeship, what would you cons ider to be some of your signature work during that time? S: Well, probably some of the work that was the most in structive to me, was the work not the work as much as the attitude, as the philosophy, that really was impressed upon me by Bob Broward in parti cular, when I worked for him. I think Broward has probably influ enced more young architects in northe ast Florida then anyone with one exception, and that exception is probably the firm of Reynolds, Smith and Hill, which trained a lo t of people in apprenti ceship. I never worked for R, S and H, although I later serv ed as a consultant on some work. W e always called R, S and H, the octopus because they had their fingers in everything. It was amazing. [Regardless of whether or not you worked for R, S, & H, as a young aspiring architect, you could always call R, S, & H if you had a question
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 12 about your practice, and they would always provide good advice.] But Broward had a great effect on me as an apprentice, and so did the engineer I worked for, Tom Evans. I n working for him, I had to apply structural design principles that I had learned in college, and I was really designing buildings structurally. T hat was extraordinarily valuable to me later when I started looking closely at buildings for preservation purposes. O: Now you in our correspondence, you had mentioned a few projects that come to mind as very important in your early development. One of t hem was the West Jacksonville Advent Christian Church S: That was early one of the first little projects that I worked upon. It was an interesting project because it required a baptist e ry, a total immersion baptist e ry to be installed at a second floor le vel behind the altar of the existing church. T his required a good bit of structural and architectural innovation to get that thing up there, but we did it, and as far as I know, it's still there. O: How did you get it up there? S: Well, you had to put a ll kind of hidden steps and chambers behind the wall behind the altar to accomplish this, it was a fun little project to do. O: Almost like going back to the pyramids with the secret S: Secret, secret, you're right. Secret places for people to unclothe th emselves and then re clothe themselves. O: Wow. Now you had also mentioned a thir ty unit apartment building for G HC
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 13 S: Yeah that was an interesting project because I was part owner of it, my mother and one of my uncles were also part owners. We all did this as a speculative venture, which luckily for us, turned out to be successful. And that was my first experience in really designing multi family housing. And I felt complimented later because we did very practical units th at were economical to build I guess being copied is a sign of flattery, for a lot of our designs were later copied by others. O: And you also were doing, I noticed, additions and alterations. There was one case in particular, the West Jacksonville Adve nt Christian Church in 1962. Can you describe it? S: Well, that was the same one involving the baptistery that we discussed earlier. But there were some other projects that were renovation projects that were big ones that I did on the FSU [Florida State Un iversity] campus. These included the re novation of Williams Hall, the Clinic B uilding, and the Longmire Building. And I must say that these were primarily engineering projects introd ucing mechanical systems to air condition classrooms. I don't think that we did those buildings any great favors in terms of preserving historic spaces any great favors, frankly, but I did learn a great deal about university campuses. The quality of design of the architects that had been associated with the universities over time was in my opinion excellent, and so that was a great experience for me in that particular regard. O: Now were you able to apply your interests in historic preservation to any of these projects, or was that something
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 14 S: Well, yeah. M y interest in technology and the science of building, and particularly, the uses of materials that had changed over years became very apparent to me. For instance, some of these buildings that we examined were early concrete buildi ngs with one way joists in them; part of the buildings were considered to be fire proof, built of concrete, and yet the roofs were framed of wood. That was a very different philosophy of protecting buildings at that time. I also got a good dose of measuring buildings accurately I n one of the buildings at FSU, we discovered that exactly one foot had been cut from the floor to floor height We had the original drawing, so that we knew it had been changed, but there was no record that had been approved. So, I've often wondered if a contractor m ay have gotten away with something there, but in any event, those were great learning experiences. O: And when you think about those early experiences, were you able to apply them to your later work? S: Oh yeah. J ust the rigor of getting things recorded ac curately was a very valuable experience for me. O: You had mentioned Bob Broward, who were some of the other individuals, maybe who you looked to as kind of mentors or role models during those years? S: I think Bob was probably the strongest, but there wer e other role models that dated back to my experience in the university, not people that I actually worked for, but people whose work was very interesting to me. O ne of those people was Gordon Bunshaft fro m Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, who had been an adj unct
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 15 instructor in our graduate studios. He was so extraordinarily clear in expressing his intent in his work and he'd carry that over to us, teaching. That was a very great influence, I think and of course, the work of Wright. Wright was extraordinary ; he would come through the drafting room with his entourage. Paul Rudolph was another person, a visiting professor, who would take us all out for a drink after a studio session and discuss architecture something I always enjoyed. So, all of those people both during the time I was apprenticing in my early practice and from my drafti ng room days at the university all had profound influences on me. O: One of the things we haven't talked as much about that you did mention as being important is your intere st in art. Was there a particular type of art or periods of history that you gravitated towards? S: Well, I think that in art the work that I really came to love was the work of such artists as Paul Klee and the work of Mondrian w ork that really has archi tectural implications As I got a little older and more interested in proportional systems, I found that many, even contemporary artists, used certain geometric methods to compose their canvases. And so I became really interested, and some of those artis ts, particularly in the Modern movement, I thought were extraordinarily interesting. And then also, the architects who were linked to this movement, people like Le Corbusier in France; Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius, both who came to this country, of course from Germany M any of the ideas they espoused later had an influence on me, and made me appreciate why the contemporary movement was abandoning the eclectic principles from earlier
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 16 architecture T hat was brought home to me strongly by the art and architecture of those people. O: Now what you meant Mr. Shepard, when you say art with architectural implications, could you kind of expand upon that? S: Well, look particularly at the work of the Bauhaus in the 1930s before it was effectively shut down by the Nazi regime. In the Bauhaus there was a very interesting combination of art and architecture tha t produced work that supposedly was the art of the machine, but was in fact, in many cases, handcrafted but that didn't mean it couldn't be duplicated by the machine. And of course, this work had a tremendous effect on architecture, particularly, I think after the Second World War when these principles were really almost accepted worldwide. So, it's that kind of thing that really I think had a tremendous effect on me. O: You mentioned also your interest in proportional systems. Now could you explain what that means? What is a proportional system? S: Well, a n architectural proportional system is based in geometry, where the relative dimensions of height, width, and length are all related [to a particular shape, regardless of size A proportion is defined as the equality of two ratios, as 1:2 equals 3:6.] For instance, there's a very famous shape in art and architectural history known as the golden section, which is a very special rectangle. A s an example of a proportional system, this rectangle is the only rectangle in geometry from which you subtract a square, or add a square to its long side, and the
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 17 resu lting rectangles are always similar They're always in proportion ," in other words [the lengths of their sides are in equal ratios ] So, a proportional system in architecture supposedly relates all of the parts in a harmonious way in three dimensions. G e ometric proportional system s we know were used in many ages throughout history. P robably used by the [Egyptians], and Greeks. Romans, w e know definitely that these systems were used in Gothic architecture, and were probably inherited from the Greeks and R omans T here's a long tradition. The re's a practical aspect to this for if you don't have a system of measurement that is standardized, then what you can do using proportional systems is set an arbitrary length, or dimension, and proportionately use that throughout a building to design and plan it. And not only that, if you have an arbitrary length, and things are based on proportions, work can be prepared at remote locations for instance stonecutters can cut stones as long as they know what the [arbitrar y length and] correct proportions are and turn those proportions into three dimensions. So that's where proportional systems have a practical aspect. They also [are believed by some,] whether or not [scientifically proven to establish] a standard of beaut y [or reflect God like perfection ] I think the golden section is probably the most famous example of that. O: Do you see examples of this in the early Spanish architecture in St. Augustine? S: Well yeah. In Beaux Arts architecture, people that were trained in the Beaux Arts tradition a t the cole de Beaux Arts in France and elsewhere were aware of these various proportional systems. I have not really tried to analyze, for instance, the Ponce de Len Hotel in St. Augus tine, but [do doubt its] architects
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 18 employed these systems [ The Ponce de Len Hotel was a hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, built in 1888 by millionaire and Standard Oil co founder Henry M Flagler And designed by Carrere and Hastings, architects then trai ned in the Beaux Arts.] There is also evidence in Tallahassee for instance, in the Union Bank, really was a Federalist design, there is no question that its faade and the way the windows are spaced a nd the heights are proportioned, that it was based on a proportional system, probably on the square and its diagonal. And this may be true for a wonderful little Greek revival cottage there, the Princess Murat House, or Bellevue [The Princess Murat House or Bellevue Plantation located in Tallahassee, Florid a, was the home of Catherine Willis Gray Murat, whose late husband was Prince Achille Murat]. It seems to have been proportioned using the square as the basis. So these things are echoed in architecture, but I do have to say this. T his is a dangerous little expedition to try and read these systems backwards into architectural designs. There are many people who are very dubious about the use and really th e usefulness of these systems. There are people who ha ve taken ordinary water faucets and said, lo ok I can analyze this as something designed using the golden section, and sure enough, you know, it fits it perfect ly Well, so what does that mean? This is a highly controversial area and that's what makes it so interesting to me. O: Now, Mr. Shepard, we haven't talked about your family life as you were kind of moved forward in your apprenticeship and into partnership. What was your family life during that time?
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 19 S: Well, when I was apprenticing, I set up my practice in 1962 and I had been married short ly before then. I started my practice in my own home, then bought out Jim M eehan's practice I had worked for Jim when he was a member of [Boardman, Ewart, and Meehan.] H e then went on his own, and [later joined R,S, &H], so I took over his practice and m oved to his office. Then thing s went well and I was able to design my own little home for my growing family. I had two sons. And eventually, I was a ble to design my own office. Al l of those things were happy events that my family actually participated in and made possible, so I now live in my parents' house and my son lives in the house that I designed for my family. O: Wow. In your correspondence, you had mentioned that in 1968, Robert Wo o lverton and you had formed a joint venture. Could you discuss tha t venture? S: Yeah Bob and I, together bought [a house designed by Henry J.] Klutho [a famous] architect in Jacksonville, who brought the Prairie School type of architecture to Jacksonville very early [in the twentieth century ] And we bought one of his residences in an historic district and we had individual practices, but we would occasionally go together as a joint venture to design a building. P robably the one design that was very successful was the Coggin Pontiac dealershi p [at Atlantic and Southside Boulevards] in Jacksonville which is now abandoned, and probably will become a retention pond in the future. S o it happens to all of us, but that was an example of a joint venture that we did together. In 1969, I was invited to join a partnership with George Fisher, Bob Broward, and Herbert C oons, and I did so. Bob [Broward later] continued to go
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 20 on [separately in] succ essful practice of his own. [In 1978] George Fisher and I parted amicably when our inter ests had become divergent. I had begun to get [a majority of] preservation projects at the time, so we split, and I went on to [my own] privat e practice. O: You mentioned a partial restoration of Fort Clinch in Fernandina Beach [Fort Clinch is a 19 th century brick fortress located on a peninsula near the northernmost point of Amelia Island, along the Amelia River, in Nassau County, Florida. Although different military troops have occupied the site since 1736 construction of a fort did not begin until 1847 at the en d of the Second Seminole War] Can you discuss that, it seems to have been an extensive project. S: Well the restoration of Fort Clinch really did not begin as a restoration. It was one of the projects that I inherited from Jim M eehan as a matter of fact It was a Florida Board of Parks and Historical Memorial s project and they were going to simply renovate and put new roofs on some older buildings in the fort. Well, I went up to the fort to see what was going on when I applied for the project and it soon occurred to me, boy, this is a historic site, these are interesting buildings and they employed some very special ways of building that probably ought to be preserved or reconstructed. T hat was really my first preservation project T hat was in 1963. I p ersuaded the Board of Parks and Historical Memorial s to increase my architectural fee I believe, from six percent to eight percent, which really meant only a few hundred dollars. [However] it enabled my wife and me to go to t he National Archives for a wee k and pull out the old Corp of Engineers drawings, documents, and inspection reports relative to the construction of the
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 21 fort, so that we could accurately put the roof s back on these buildings and preserve this thing as a historic site. T hat work began in 1963 and finally ended in 1970 u nder several different projects, [all] very interesting, very research intensive. We had to let the work for competitive bids, and I must say that every contractor we had became very interested in the project and went beyon d the call of duty in getting work accomplished up there. O: When you first went to Fort Clinch, what did you see? S: When I first went to Fort Clinch, I saw a building, or a structure that contains many structures, brick, millions of brick, beautiful bric ks, some of them. Some of them terribly weathered because the fort is right on the ocean. Buildings without roofs, other buildings that had been maintained with roofs and some work had previously been done to preserve some of the buildings much to the cr e dit of the state at the time. But an overwhelming project. I mean even at the time, it was obvious, if you are going to put this thing back into good shape, it would take a million bucks just to try to repoint the maso nry joints in the brick. I t was always a question of what takes first priority. T he thing that took first priority in addition to putting the roofs on the barracks buildings and the kitchens was to preserve the extraordinarily beautiful and well crafted groin vaults built of brick in the bast io ns of the corners of the fort. So we had to waterproof the areas over those groin vaults to protect them. T hat was fun.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 22 O: When you began doing research in the National Archives to assist with the work at Fort Clinch, were there any surprises; were ther e counterintuitive things you encountered about the construction of the port? S: Yeah, there were some surprises. There was a surprise when I visited the soldiers' barracks in the construction of the roof. When I looked up there, there were the ends of l arge timbers that had been part of the original wooden [roof] trusses still embedded in the wall. I wanted to check those out at the National Archives, but also evident in the roof were angle irons and rods that were hanging across the roof, so that obviou sly at some time, some kind of metal roof had been placed up there. Well, I hoped that I could find an a nswer to that at the archives. Well, we didn't. We could find what the original truss designs were, but we never figured out completely during that peri od of time what those metal roof structures might have been. Later I found out in going back through the material very carefully that apparently what happened was that those buildings were fireproofed by taking the original slate roofs off, probably someti me late during the Civil War, and replacing the roofs with an early form of corrugated iron barrel vaulted roof, which was very interesting. You know when you make a choice as to how you're going to restore something, if a building has gone through severa l successive stages of development, you have to choose which one you are going to emphasize. W e decided since we didn't know much about the metal roof, we took the earliest roof as the point of departure, and restored that. But we never found the informat ion in the archives that we needed.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 23 O: That's interesting. As you were working on that project, Mr. Shepard, was there any tension between and you mentioned earlier you're interested in technology and ho w techniques change over time were there any tensio ns between the way that you saw Fort Clinch in its early iterations and what you had to do in terms of b ringing it back or restoring it? S: Well, there's always a tension there because you simply can't recreate history. In my opinion, whenever you touch on e of these historic sites, you change it. You can't help but change it. Whatever you do is going to be an expression of your own time, of your own materials, of your own workmanship, and you can emulate the work that came before, but what you do is of you r own time regardless of [how] you want [things] to look. So that's the tension in any of these preservation projects. And you often find you can't find the original materials, you can't find materials that are the same materials or equal in quality to the originals, often there are budget constraints so you have to make a decision whether you're going to go the cheap way temporarily and hope that somebody can come back and do it the rig ht way later. T hat's often done. For instance at Fort Clinch, we could not afford to put a slate roof up there. What we could afford to do is to provide the correct structure to support a slate roof, which we did, but then we put asphalt shingles up there as a temporary expedient M aybe someday they can get the slate. But even then, you see there's tension because ther e was also a metal roof up there, so take your choice. O: When you were working on that project as I understand in 1963 to 1970, were there people coming through and kind of looking at what you were doing?
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 24 S: Oh yeah. I t was always open to the public and certain parts would be roped off from time to time, but the public was always given access to the fort, once with very amusing results. We restored as one of the last parts of the project I shouldn't say restored, I should say reconstructed Rodman ten inc h cannons that had never actually been placed on the ramparts, but the gun positions, the supports had all been designed to support these. Now this is another tension, you know, wait a minute, are we falsifying history? Well, y eah, we are, frankly. But the S tate felt that the fort needed some armament. All the armament that had been there had been destroyed these gun positions were in pristine condition and so they said, okay we want to put some Rodman guns up there as intended. Well, I wanted to put so me facsimile Rodman guns up there, I mean real facsimile, so that you couldn't mistake them. The state said unh uh you 've got to put something back that looks like it 's real. W e said, all right. What we're going to do is put on the bottom of them in gre at big letters, the word facsimil e, so nobody can mistake them. That salved my conscience a little. W e ended up restoring the Rodman guns in architectural concrete; they look exactly like cast iron or steel when you go up there. But we also had to recons truct the metal carriages that supported these guns and those are pretty sophisticated things. And we could not find any evidence of the design of these particular carriages in the National Archives either. T hat meant we had to go to Charleston and find one in the B attery, and we did with the help of a famous [local] historian in Charleston by the name of Ripley He was a [well known expert in] Civil War [ordinance ] W e field measured [the Charleston] carriage and reconstructed it.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 25 When the work was bei ng restored, the carriages of course were put in place first O ne Friday afternoon all of the metal carriages [were in place but] the guns were lying on the ground, waiting to be lifted. W e [tested and moved the carriages and] they worked perfectly. You could actually use these for firing a real gun, so we were pleased and we left that Friday night. [When we returned] up there Monday morning [we found that] over the weekend, kids had come in and discovered that you could move th ese things around, and it was amazing. [The carriages] were all pointed at each other or in stra nge angles looking out to sea. I t was a riot. Well, first thing we did was lock the ax les so [they] wouldn't move, we had learned a lesson, but we had a good t ime learning it, I think. O: Thinking back on that project, Mr. Shepard, if you had had say an unlimited budget, would there have been things, maybe enhancements or other restorations you would have pursued? S: I think the most important thing to pursue up there is to completely preserve the groin vaults, which are extraordinary. They are just beautifully crafted. O: Could you describe those? I mean, their purpose. S: Well, a bastion is a projection at a corner of the fort, which house s guns, or howitzers that were very short range. They were not used offensively at all, of course a fort's a defensive thing anyhow. T he howitzers were pointed out of these bastions so that they could rake the outside face of the scarp walls, and keep people from using lad ders to climb over the face of the fort from the moat, so the bastion is a defensive work. But because of its odd shape, and also
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 26 because of the great strength they wanted, and the shape of the space they needed for these guns and [the need] to get adequa te ventilation, the groin vault was the best way in brick to achieve this structurally. But these vaults come together at odd angles and in each vault, each course of brick was adjusted by hand as they la id these courses of brick to exactly come together at intersections. So, [in each] one of these bastions, there are maybe four or five groin vaults coming together, and they're all knit together and then all of the mortar joints end up with a little x right in the middle; it is extraordinary workmanshi p. Wel l, [they] need to be preserved. The tops of these [were removed] over time by the Corp of Engineers and the Army because they were going to put bigger guns behind the bastions T he bastions were too tall for this new armament, s o they cut th e tops off and that exposed the vaults to the weather. We waterproofed directly over the vault s but not [over] the huge massive filled walls that surround them, so the water can still trickle down through the sand fill in there. They need to be protected. I wou ld go to any expense to protect those vaults. And then of course, the brick needs to be repointed. Some of the correct metal roofs have been put on some of the buildings; those types of things need to be done. And probably, if you [could] get a museum o f the armament that was there, that would be a good thing to do in terms of laying out some money, but it would be an expensive proposition. O: Mr. Shepard, we're going to move into your work in and around St. Augustine. You had mentioned the importance of understanding the Code of the Indies, in terms of the layout of the city. Can you discuss that?
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 27 S: Yeah. O ne of the most important aspects of St. Augustine is the fact that it is an early plan ned community. The Code of the Indies was a series of procl amations, or edicts, issued by the Spanish crown that governed the layout of new towns in the New World. And really the C ode of the Indies is an example not only of the New Renaissance interest in Spain in creating order, imposing an order on the natural world, particularly in planning but also it reflects a long tradition in Spain [dating] from the Roman military tradition of laying out cities on a grid plan T hat's reflected in the Code of the Indies. And more than that, there is a Moorish influence th at people simply are not aware of in these edicts. In that towns are plann ed so that streets are narrow. O f course, they didn't have to be wide for vehicles, but the reason for making narrow streets and orienting them in certain ways, is to take advantage of the winds, to take advantage of the angle of the sun, and cast shadows so that on hot days there are ways to walk that are cool and pleasant on the exterior of buildings. So, there are many influences in these edicts that are expressed in the reality of the towns as they develop. For instance, the typical requirements of the Code of the Indies for the layout of a new town started with the plaza. The pla za is universal. That is the open space. It's used for public assembly. I t's used for demonstrations, for celebrations, for all types of civic activities. So you start with the plaza. I t is a requirement that the church, obviously the Catholic Church, is to be located near the plaza. The governing buildings or the build ings of the governing principals are also located on or around the plaza. S ome buildings of commerce were also located around the plaza. It was important that [the main] streets extend from the corners of the
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 28 plaza. Normally [land was subdivided] in a grid pat tern, but that could be altered to suit the topography. I n St. Augustine, St. George Street has a very wonderful gradual curve to it that adds interest to it as you walk down it. A nyhow, the streets are supposed to extend from the four corners of the plaz a and also from the middle of the plaza. Well, St. Augustine was small, so there weren't middle streets, but they certainly were extended from the corners. The further extensions of these streets were the places where the people, who were to populate this area, were to be located. And there were two basic sizes of lo ts given out. One was to the so called peons, the lowest status that you had as a citizen in one of these towns. That lot size was very small, fifty by a hundred feet. However, if you were o f a higher class, a caballero, you were given a lot that was twice that size, or a hundred by two hundred feet. Those are in S panish dimensions, however. Actually, the Spanish foot is almost exactly eleven inches, or [at least] the ones that were used in the New World So, those [lots] were quite small. They were always fenced off. [It's] very interesting that the home in the Spanish city was a place of refuge. Particularly, in a place like St. Augustine, which was subject to attacks by the English, the French, pirates, the Indians, you not only had a fort to flee to but you could batten yourself up in your own home. T he buildings themselves were always located right on the front property line, right on the street, and became part of the wall that was continuous down the street. This is one of the characteristics of St. Augustine, [one] we must be careful not to lose. P eople today want to open spaces up, but in the Spanish village, there is a continuous wall, a continuous separation between the public
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 29 space and the private space. And this of course, grows out of th e Catholic religion where the protecti on of the family is paramount. The protection of the wife and the children is paramount. So, in these individual plots of land, you get little islands o f refuge that are [not] entered directly from doors into the buildings unless [the building] has a commercial purpose. In residences you always entered the building through a gate and into a side yard, and there you were checked out by the master of the h ouse. If you were a friend of the family you might be allowed in the house. If you were not, you stayed in the yard and never met the family. So, there's a very careful distinction between public and private life, as exhibited by the plan of the city. It's interesting to me that when we experience St. Augustine today, many of the characteristics are also derived from the Middle East through the Moors. For instance, the reja, which is a projecting latticed window, p rovides a window seat from the inside of the house, so that the woman of the house could sit in the window seat and talk to her friends in the public space, but it's strictly talk and no touch. There's a strict separation even there. But the reja is a common device you 'll find in Middle Eas tern societies, in Iraq, in Saudi Arabia. This really is part also, interestingly enough, of the Islamic tradition, as is the flat roof, and as are many of the characteristics of these buildings. So there are some interesting influences that people aren' t ordinarily aware of when they walk through these streets. It's a very interesting experience. O: Yeah, you're right because people tend to associate St. Augustine with the Spanish influence, but not really understanding what that means or entails.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 30 S: Ye ah, it really is a mark of history that speaks of some very ancient times of some other religions that are similar in their relationship to the family, and that comes out in this plan, and the buildings that are a part of that plan. The other thing that' s important about the ordinances and particularly the plan of the city of St. Augustine is that following these directives, you get a city that has a very interesting residential scale and a pedestrian scale. T he buildings are related very much to you as an individual as you walk down the streets. That's why it's so mu ch fun to walk down St. George Street today. S ince traffic is barred from it, you experience it very much in the traditional way, but it works because you're so close to these buildings and they're not very overly tall. But you really get a sense of the separation of the public and private spaces. It is that characteristic that has made the plan of St. Augustine, a national landmark site on the National Register It is preserved as a Nationa l L andmark site, [and itis] very important not to let this plan get away from us. O: Mr. Shepard, what were some of your earliest projects in and around St. Augustine? S: I think, as best I can tell and remember, in the early 1970s I was contacted by Mrs. Elizabeth Towers, who intended to buy a colonial house. She was a member by the way of the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board at the time. She'd been appointed by the governor. Well, she wanted to buy a house, restore it, and then deed it over to the Preservation Board keeping the rights of occupancy until her death when the full title would be transferred. She talked to me about this, but the work didn't actually occur for several years, but that's
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 31 probably the first contact I had about work in St. Augustine. The first project that we really started was the Ximenez Fatio House, work done for the Colonial Dames of Florida That was an extraordinary experience for me. I spent many, many hours and days looking at things, and trying to learn about hardware, door types, the sequence of construction in the house, what really was the date of the addition of the house, what was the date of the original construction. Well, luckily, in th is case, a lot of the historic documentation was accomplished by the Colonial Dames themselves and it was very good. So, we soon learned that the original house dated from about the 1790s and it had been added to around the 1830s, 1840s, and it had been used as a boarding hous e at that later period. So, that was my first project and it was one in which I learned about many of the characteristics of the architecture in St. Augustine, very valuable experience. O: Now before that you had experience working on museum building, the Bulow plantation and then also, the Kingsley plantation. S: Yeah, I'll have to tell you about that. The Board of Parks, because I had worked on Fort Clinch, contacted me about restoring Bulow Plantation. Now Bulow P lantation is a sugar mill plantation. It was established [by] Jacob Bulow, I believe, as part of a Spanish land grant in the Second Spanish Period before the turn of 1800. It had become a very prosperous sugar pl antation by the American Territorial Perio d [and] was continued as a sugar plantation into the American Territorial P eriod. And then in fact it was so prosperous, it became known as Bulowville. Well, [during] the Second Seminole War, the Indians really began to tear things up a little bit, [but] Bulow and most of the plantation owners actually
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 32 w ere friendly with the Indians. T hey did not like the actions that were being taken by the F ederal government against the Indians at the time because they could see nothing but trouble coming out of this. And sure enough, trouble came to Bulow. The Indians burned the plantation in 1836 and all of the people in Bulowville fled to St. Augustine, and the flames could even be seen in St. Augustine, thirty miles away. The ruins at Bulow are absolutely gorgeous The walls of the original sugar mill are still standing for the most part, some of them two stories high. Chimneys are still there. You can easily see what the plan of the building was as you walk through it, but it was wide open to the public. We had a budget, I think of $18,000 and the S tate wanted to reconstruct this building. And I said, hey guys, this is going to cost you millions of dollars, you can't do that. What we've got to do is protect the ruins. So what we did was simply crea te walks. P eople had been driving motorcycles through these buildings. So we created walks surrounded by low chains on posts the idea was you weren't physically prevented from going in there, but you were told that you shouldn't go in there, and it worked. So the wal ks lead you on a sequential tour of the buildings and we accomplished all of that for I think, I don't know, $6,000 or so. And the beauty of the site is so great, I'm so glad that we didn't touch those buildings. We tried to kee p our hands off because it 'd never been excavated. There's still arch a eological stuff al l over the place. So then the S tate came back and said, hey, we need a museum. A museum, how much money have we got? Well, we [had] $12,000 left. S o we went out in the woods near the plantati on remote f ro m it visually, but accessible a nd built really a kiosk so that the people
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 33 stand outside and the museum stuff is inside, and you can walk around and look at some of the things that have been found at the [site ] So, that's one of my favorite p rojects. It was a lot for a little and it's one of the most beautiful sites. I think it's an extraordinarily impressive site. Kingsley plantation was also one of the plantation houses during the Second Spanish Period. It dates from just before 1800. It was built by a Scotsman. It was eventually bought by Kingsley, who was a slave trader and the fame of this particular plantation site is that it was a site where slaves were trained Kingsley also married an African princess. [During their marriage] she had her own plantation [on the St. Johns River] with her own slaves as a matter of fact [ -part of the] remarkable history of this place. A ll we did was [document and] stabilize the house. Later I helped [my engineers install] air conditioning which was a bitter lesson because we found out over a period of time that the air conditioning was changing the humidity in the house T he cross sectional area of the beams was shrinking, [causing] settlement [that overstressed brick partitions in the basement, something] that we couldn't explain for a while. We finally figured it out and [realized that air conditioning older buildings requires caution ] But that was an interesting lesson from a very interesting and beautiful site. O: And then you went on to begin to do restoration work in St. Augustine. You talked here about restoration in 1973 of the Ximenez Fatio House S: That was the first house we did. We had budgets over a period of time. Andy Anderson and his sons were the contractors that we hired to begin to repair some of the deteriorated areas of the house. We put in some new wooden floors
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 34 [the work in] general [was] more like maintenance or stabilization. We also repaired some of the deteriorated plaster on the house and unfortunately, some of tha t work was done with a no no in restoring historic plasters. The no no is the use of Portland cement in the plasters T he Portland cement [is not compatible with coquina masonry or traditional lime plaster. Our patches and earlier uses of Portland are] bei ng corrected now by others. [The] house has been restored as a boarding house in the American T erritorial period, and is really the first really difficult and involved [work requiring field examination in which I was involved ] O: What kind of research went into that? You stressed earlier the importance of research. Did that hold true in this project? S: Well, in preservation, there are three main disciplines that come into play. Now, as I mentioned earlier, at the Ximenez Fatio House we didn't do the h istorical research. That was done by the D ames themselves. The other type of research is arch a eological research. That had already been done to a certain degree by Dr. Kathleen Deagan. And we had her reports to help us understand things. The third type of discipline is the architectural discipline, and when I say architecture, I'm also including related engineering studies that have to be done, [including] paint analyses of those other things that are conservation oriented. So, the architectural investigati on is really what we did by examining all of the physical evidence that we could see. Sometimes even by removing carefully removing some small parts of finishes to see what's underneath. That's call ed selective demolition, [and] we have to be very careful [to preserve original fabric Historically, archaeology, and architecture] are the three [major] disciplines that
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 35 are usually applied. There was one project, the Princess Murat House [in Tallahassee we discussed previously.] That one was tricky because th ere was no historical evidence outside of a few letters to help us understand the dating of the house or its period of construction. The house had been moved from its original site, so there was no archaeology When it was moved, at first we understood the chimneys had been destroyed and not recorded. Luckily, a local architect [Warren Dixon], had the foresight to go out and [record them,] but that's [a project] where all of our research depended almost completely on what we could see the architectur al par t. That was a tricky one, and a very interesting one too. So those are examples of using these disciplines. O: And you also worked on the r econstruction of the 1580 Fort. I think that was a 1970 era, 1977 S: Yeah. O: Can you discuss what went into that kind of prepara tory work. It sounds like that was a major endeavor. S: That was an extraordinarily interesting project. Mr. Lawrence Lewis who had been a member of the historic St. Augustine Preservation Board originally intended as I understand it to reconstruct the fort and part of the village as it appeared in the year 1580, within colonial St. Augustine itself up at the north end of the parking lots owned by the city off of Spanish Street. This was later changed, and I became involved when it was decided to [use] the property he owned. Known as the old outdoor theater, located just south of the old Ponce de
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 36 Leon motel off of US 1 north of the city. The intent was to reconstruct the city based on very detailed historical and arch a eological information. The people that were involved in that project were extraordinary. There was Paul Hoffman a historian, who really did a great deal of research on the construction of the fort. There was [the late] Albert Manucy the very famous histo rian [serving with the National Park Service at] Castillo de San Marcos who is one of my mentors and idols, and I was very fortunate to be able to work with him. There was arch a eological [research] by Dr. Kathleen Deagan, [another person whom I greatly ad mire and is a good friend. Years Later in the 1990s ] her work and Manucy's work [were invaluable] in the reconstruction of Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. Those are the main characters I think, besides Mr. Lewis who wa s really a guiding light. He also hired a firm in California that did a lot of work for Disneyworld, who were experts in [presenting representative designs ] They did some magnificent colored renderings of what this [project] was going to [be ] Well, I'm n ot sure now looking back in hindsight that the plan of the 1580 project as it was beginning to develop really reflected this early Code of the Indies Plan that we think St. Augustine followed, but no matter. We completed preliminary drawings of the recon struction of the fort which again were very useful to us in later work. But the project ended when there was a shortage of gasoline. Mr. Lewis decided that maybe automobile tourism in St. Augustine was not going to be a thing to hang your hat on. So he ab andoned the project, later built some of the buildings for a movie set and made a movie of St. Augustine 1580, which was shown for many years. But the project was abandoned. [Designing that Fort] was
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 37 an extraordinary experience all based on historical and archeological research just an extraordinary experience for my firm and working with Al Manucy W e would make drawings of the fort and come in and sit down with Al and take our blueprints and he would make notes all over them about all the dumb things that we showed that should be corrected. I preserved those [notes], thank God, and they are now in the P.K. Yonge Library. Those prints with those notes on them are really wonderful to see. O: Who are some of the. You know, when we talked to Mr. Bob Steinbach last week about his works in terms of construction and restoration, he talked at length about kind of the craft of construction, his coworkers, and the craftspeople who worked with him. In the same kind of vein, I guess, who are some of your fellow workers? Could you describe some of the work kind of that was going on there? S: Do you mean fellow workers in terms of architects or. .? Because there weren't too many architects doing pres ervation work at the time. The craftsmen that we employed were people for the most part who had not been trained in historic ways of building things, and what they did was sort of on the job training to learn through textbooks and other things the way in w hich these things were accomplished. One of the proble ms in historic preservation is the lack of craftsmen who are aware of traditional ways of buil ding things, bu t in addition to that, there are other problems. One of the other problems, as I mentioned ea rlier, is [that] you simply can't get historic materials. You have to use substitutions, so the craftsmen have to face that problem too. And then, the last problem, in working with people is to figure out ways and many of the contractors that
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 38 we've worked with are really good at this in figuring out ways we can substitute contemporary materials for materials that were really impermanent materials. Because many of the buildings that we have tried to reconstruct were originally built not to last and here we a re trying to do exactly the opposite. Well how do you accomplish that? That's where the real craftsmanship, the most telling, the most important craftsmanship has come out with the people that we've worked with I think. O: And in terms of their, you men tioned on the job training, and looking at books. Is that training that you would kind of facilitate or. S: No, we wouldn't facilitate it. The guys would have to. We would try to select contractors who were aware of these traditional ways of building a nd interested in it. They just had to figure out how to do it themselves. We would get out in the field and help them or instruct them, and tell them that we think this is the proper thing to do. So, it was often learn as you do, and this is particularly t rue when we were reconstructing Native American structures. The council house and the chief's house in [Tallahassee at Mission San Luis] those are amazingly sophisticated structures. We learned a lot about Native Americans and a tremendous respect for the a bility of those people, but we had to learn how to do it because there are no records of how they did it. So, in a way, we're dealing in experimental architecture i n building the way they did, but maybe not always using the materials that they used. So we're learning several different things in these little exercises.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 39 O: Who are some of the best contractors that kind of stuck out in your mind who were able to do this work? S: Oh, I would have to think. I know Alls tate C onstruction was a firm in Tallahassee who was used as a construction manager [at Mission San Luis ] It was the only we could reconstruct San Luis, because it was a learning process. They were excellent in that. I'm trying to remember the name of the firm that was the contractor in the restoration of the Capitol. [It was Culpepper Construction Co.] They were absolutely superb, went beyond the call of duty in making that building an excellent restoration. Most of the contractors on many of these project s were small firms and I can't remember their names offhand, but they are contractors who even though they may not have been too interested at first became interested in the history and the craftsmanship that they witnessed in these buildings, and almost a ll of them contributed a great deal to the projects. I must say that. O: Mr. Shepard, during this time did you have the opportunity to complete any projects for the St. Augustine Historical Society? S: The projects that I completed for them were three as I remember. The first, I believe, was the Joaneda House [for Mrs. Towers] as I mentioned earlier. We did complete that for Mrs. Towers and Bob Steinbach was essentially the contractor on that. It was sort of an archeological restoration type thing. I also was the architect for the restoration of the Sanchez de Mesa House a wonderful house that dates from the early 1700s up through the American territorial period. That's
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 40 a very interesting project because the attitude of the Preservation Board when I first worked for it, was that everything was to be restored or reconstructed to either the first Spanish period, which began in 1565 and ended in 1763, or during the British period, which was the period from 1763 to 1784. And everything after that was eit her to be demolished or changed so that it spoke of the earlier period. Well, the de Mesa House was an outstanding example of the American territorial period. It had been expanded not only by the Spanish but also by the British when they occupied it and du ring the American territorial period. Most of the trim, the doors, the hardware, the windows, everything, were examples of the American territorial period. If we tore that out, it means that we're getting rid of the real thing to restore the house back to a conjectural something else, and that I felt would be really almost criminal to do that. So the board was persuaded, and it wasn't too difficult to persuade them, that this should be an exception. We saved all of that. Now, the interesting thing about it is though, because it was in the American territorial period, it had been painted a bright pink. That was definitely proven by paint analysis. So it was painted pink, and there were some local people who were extraordinarily bent out of shape by that. So t hey threw some paint on the walls and forced it to be repainted. The board backed off a little. They did repaint it pink, but not quite so bright. I hope that in the future the right color w ill be placed back on it again, but that was an interesting lesson. You know, people really are concerned about their communities in this particular area and so you have to hang in there and do what you think is right, but you may get some opposition from unexpected quarters occasionally.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 41 O: Now, have you served as a member of preservation boards in St. Augustine? S: I was a member of the Preservation Board the last one before the boards were disbande d at the end of the 1990s. The S tate put an end to them. I witnessed the kind of closing down of everything, which I have to tell you though, I agree with I thought that probably, under the circumstances, the S tate was clearly not going to commit its resources to maintaining the properties. At least, that was what we could see. So, why should we continue this charade of pleading for resources and spending other money just to maintain the status quo when we were actually losing ground and wasting money I thought? So the B oard was closed down The difficult part of that was that in doing that we lost archeological and historical researchers who were members of the staff and they had contributed a tremendous amount of information to the restoration of the city. So yes, I was a member of that board. Then later, I w as a member of the advisory committee for the City when the city took over the properties. That was an interesting period also. The City has done its very best to maintain the properties, but they too I think have found that it's a difficult task to do tha t. But they did their best. O: Yeah, most people don't realize how difficult it is to maintain. I mean, you just think, well just maybe slap some paint on every once in awhile do some, but there's really a lot to that. S: There's a lot to it and that's compounded by the fact that in many traditional buildings, there was someone who was always around who was in charge of
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 42 keeping things up. It was a constant maintenance problem. This is true not only of English, American terr itorial, British buildings, but also true of Native American buildings. They are a constant maintenance problem and if you don't have the means and the people to look after these assets, you're going to lose them. And it's expensive. Let' s not kid ourselves. Once you get a building restored, then you've got to stay on it or you're going to lose it again. O: Could you discuss maybe the Preservation Board was eventually terminated, but maybe the role that it played in your career, in terms of what you are doing? S: Well, the role it played was to find ways in which these buildings could be maintained and ways in which income could be generated to a foundation or through gifts even, in addition to earning money in some way through a gif t shop, through leas ing properties. Our major goal wa s simply to make sure that we could maintain properly the things that we had. We had no ambitions of continuing with research in archaeology or history, really because we didn't have the means to do it a nd it was pretty obvious that we weren't going to have them. So, that was really the goal of the Preservation Board when I wa s a member. The history of the Preservation B oards here is fascinating because the visions that were held by the original members a re extraordinary too what they intended to do and they were very much influenced I think by Williamsburg. What they intended to was to eventually purchase all of the properties located within the colonial city limits. That was a big order. But what they wa nted to do, to do that, they needed to find a sugar daddy like Rockefeller. Well, they never found a sugar daddy. They found sort of an aid in the S tate of Florida, and they did
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 43 coerce the S tate a little bit into furnishing some money to buy some pro pertie s, but that turned a little sour. There were some controversies about actions of some of the board members that were unhappy. That turned a lot of, I think, legislators and others off. So, the history of the boards is itself an extraordinary story of the h istory of preservation and attitudes, not only in St. Augustine, but they probably reflect national attitudes as well. O: Now, Williamsburg as an influence Mr. Shepard, can you expand upon that a bit in terms of its. S: Well, at Williamsburg the Rocke feller Foundation was able to acquire a number of properties in Williamsburg. They reconstructed a number of them, but they were also able to restore a number of properties that had been preserved over time. But this was a major venture and it required meg abucks to accomplish. And I think that it inspired visions of glory in a number of people. Williamsburg has been for the most part very successful, although it has fallen on harder times in recent years. But Williamsburg influenced the work that was eventu ally done in St. Augustine because Williamsburg did it by the numbers. T hey went back and researched tho se properties. They would restore them or reconstruct them using historic materials and principles religiously. That was attempted in the first building s here in St. Augustine under the early preservation boards. Buildings were reconstructed or restored using some pretty strict principles and accurate ways of building things. Eventually, they found that this was probably counterproductive because using tr aditional materials without having traditional society to maintain it made you look in other directions eventually. But
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 44 Williamsburg really influenced them that way at the beginning. They also contributed to the design of some of the [buildings] Williamsbu rg personnel contributed to the design of some of the buildings that were reconstructed here in St. Augustine. O: They actually came down here? S: That's my understanding. Paul Buchanan who wa s an architect and others from Williamsburg I understand came down and assisted or gave advice on some of these buildings. Bob Steinbach probably knows something about that and could provide some interesting insight into that. O: Mr. Shepard, have you com pleted any projects for the National Park Service? S: The only projects that we have completed for the National Park Service was really an investigation a structural investigation of some of the problems that were encountered at the Castillo and down at th e fort at Matanzas by the Na tional Park Service [Fort Matanzas administere d by the National Park Service, is a fort constructed by the Spanish from 1737 to 1742 The fort takes its name from th e Spanish word for slaughter because Spanish forces killed 250 French Huguenots at the site in 1565] I have acted as an informal advisor on some committees for the local Castillo, but that's really about the limit of my participation with the National Park Service O: Okay. And so just the Castillo San Marcos. You talked earlier about Fort Clinch. What are some of the differences between the two structures?
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 45 S: Of Fort Clinch and the Castillo? Well, Fort Clinch is built of fired brick, laid in a mortar that was imported. A hydraulic mortar that was imported from the north. Its design is based very much like the design of the Castillo on principles of defense that were initiated during the Renaissance by a number of very famous architects and military designers. The difference in construction is related to the material that's used more than the design. I wouldn't want to carry that too far, but the designs are similar in principle if not in detail. At the Castillo, the Spanish finally decided that they needed to build a fort out of masonry because they had preceded it w ith a number of forts built of wood, which would last about five years and didn't give adequate protection anyhow. So, the Castillo was finally constructed in coquina stone, which is a shell stone. A rather unique shell stone that's common to this part of Florida and down the east coast and inland a little. The characteristics of the coquina and the way [the Fort] was built [are interesting. Coquina] was mined on Anastasia Island here locally, barged over to the fort site, laid in a lime mortar, which is a rather soft mortar. And it was plastered. Now, when we see the Fort today, we see it really as a romantic ruin. We don't see it as it was conceived originally, but you must think of the Fort as the Spanish saw it and as they maintained it. It was plastered with lime plaster white lime plaster. Inside and out, and it was trimmed out in red. So, when you saw this magnificent geometric object sitting in the middle of the pine flats here on the coast of Florida, it was a very powerful symbol of Spanish authorit y and it was designed as that symbol. Now, Fort Clinch was probably designed less as a symbol than as an attempt at a true defensive measure. But Fort Clinch,
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 46 unfortunately, was obsolete the day it was planned because or shortly after the day it was planne d because with the introduction of rifled shells, brick became a tremendous liability to the inhabitants of the fort because of the shrapnel. At [St. Augustine] on the other hand, the coquina proved to be wonderful because the English when Governor Moore besieged the Fort in 1702, complained that the walls were sort of absorbing cannonballs because the coquina is so soft. So, coquina worked very well at St. Augustine. O: Now, over the years in your work have you completed any projects for the City of St. Augustine proper? S: The project that I have had a lot of fun with was replacing the spires on the chimneys of what is now City Hall and what was originally the Alcazar Hotel [The Alcazar Hotel is a Spanish Renaissance style hotel in St. Augustine that wa s commissioned by Henry M. Flagler and constructed in 1887 ]. These terra cotta spires were very porous when they were put in place by Flagler's engineers. They were reinforced with an iron bar that ran down the middle. The porosity of the terracotta allowed the salt air to rust that spine and these things were falling apart and falling on the citizens, which was not a good thing. So they were taken down, but the city had the foresight to save a perfect example of each type of spire. I think there were three or four different types and sizes. Well, when we were hired to replace these, we knew that terracotta as a fired clay material shrinks when it's fired about 15 percent. So, in order to restore these things, to make them out of terra cotta, we would have to build new forms that the clay could be placed in. That was extraordinarily expensive because those spires
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 47 were very complex. So instead, a craftsman from Jacksonville [Tommy White] talking about craftsmen I've worked with managed to figure out a way to use some architectural cements and other clays using the spires that had been saved as molds or casting molds from them. These were cast really of concrete in the terracotta color and then put in place with stainless steel spines Since lig htning had also been a problem it had struck several of these things they also acted as a lightning rod and were grounded to prevent destruction from that. That was an interesting project from that standpoint. O: Now when you were working with or on the Preservation Board what was the relationship between the state and the local community in terms of S: I think there's always been a working relationship to the best of my knowledge between the peop le in the City and the Preservation Board There were many concerns that were mutual obviously, and normally things were worked out harmoni ously between the City and the B oard. I think the biggest problem from the people in the City's standpoint wa s the f act that over time, the S tate was not properly maintaining its properties. That was becoming, I think, a bone of contention. So, I suspect that the City in some ways was not sorry to see the board go, assuming that some device was going to be put in place to maintain those properties. And of course, the City ended up with them before the University of Florida took them over. But I think there was always a working relationship there that was a good one.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 48 O: You mentioned that research has been a really impor tant part of your career, are there any types of research that you were doing during this period of time that didn't really lead in particular to design or restoration but that you pursued and that you thought were historically very important or significan t? S: Well, yes. Over time, because of the necessity of identifying things I was kind of forced to acquire a preservation library of books this was long before the time of the Internet. I would go and search every old bookstore I could find to get often te chnical works and sometimes some very beautiful works from particularly the nineteenth century that explained how these systems work. What was the theory of building or designing something a certain way? So that was general research outside of the building s or actually restoring the buildings. In recent years, because of the reconstruction of San Luis, and particularly beginning probably about 1999 when I was given some reprints of the work of Clarence Moore a very famous arch a eologist [who] worked up and down the St. Johns River in the 1890s. Well, the reprints were given to me by [their editor,] Jeff Mitch e m an arch aeologist [and husband of Bonnie McEwan, archaeologist at San Luis,] and that started research on Native American architecture, which continues today outside of any project. O: All right Mr. Shepard, we have covered a lot of ground, and I want to thank you for your time. We have some additional questions and some individu als we want to make sure that we cover. One of those, in conjunction also with Joaneda House which I understand is a fascinating place. In fact, Jan was nice enough to look at it during the break.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 49 S: Oh, good. O: Also, a very important person by the name of Mrs. Towers. Could you talk about Mrs. Towers. S: I'll talk about Mrs. Towers. She was the wife of a very important and politically very powerful attorney in Jacksonville, Florida. His name was Daughtry Towers. I had known of Daughtry Towers through m y family who had business with him for many years. He was well known around Jacksonville. Mrs. Towers was also a member of the State Board of P arks advisory committee. I'm not sure that's the correct name of that committee. She was a powerful member of the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, and the Board was made up of people like Mrs. Towers who had really very powerful political positions in the state I would say. She was a wonderful woman. She insisted on being called Old Lady Towers. I could nev er muster the strength to do that, but that's what she would like to be called. And as I said before, she intended to buy this house and restore it and give it to the Preservation Board. The house i tself is a very small cottage, S econd Spanish period very late S econd Spanish period constructed of coquina. Bob Steinbach really was in charge of restoring it. I helped sometimes physically in the field. We would work together. We literally took the house apart to see what it was made of. Beautiful hand planed p lanks on the attic floor, the bottoms of which had been painted a wonderful rich yellow historically. That paint has since been over painted, but I'm sure eventually, the University will want to restore those colors. They were significant. The problems in the house for Mrs. Towers were that we couldn't figure out any early way that people had gotten to the attic,
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 50 which was certainly habitable. But they must have gotten up there through a hatch with a ladder, which was not particularly attractive to Mrs. Tow ers. We also had the problem if the second floor was going to be used, getting furniture in there. So we figured out a way to cut a hatch in the floor through which furniture could be lifted to the attic and then access was given by a small spiral stair th at was back out of the main part of the house. This obvious, contemporary addition to its dcor was something we wanted to clearly express as not part of the original construction of course. There was a kitchen that had been added we think to what was at o ne time an open porch that extended across the south face of the house. Part of that had been enclosed to provide a kitchen. There may have been a separate kitchen on that site. It's never been investigated arch a eologically to the best of my knowledge. So that's something that has yet to be found, but the house was restored to her satisfaction. Eventually, it was turned over to the Preservation Board. O: Wow. You know, when we looked at that during the break, we looked into the backyard. There's a little kind of peephole and saw the old well. It seems for such a small property, that there's a lot to that house that property. S: Well, there probably is. The original property may have been added to in terms of its original extent, but it is indicative of the type of open space many of the buildings in St. Augustine experienced due to the St. Augustine plan, because the idea was to put the living quarters on the street side, have an open backyard with a well in it, p erhaps with a separate kitchen with outbuildings, but also there was a place to grow crops and have citrus trees, to have maybe some domestic
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 51 animals back there. Chickens and other things. So you needed a little bit of open space to support yourself. That space is indicative of the type of space that was originally located behind many of these structures in St. Augustine. O: One of the themes in our discussion has been the importance of research. You were mentioning to me in correspondence that Al Manucy a nd Kathy Deagan did a really tremendous amount of research preparatory to Mission San Luis and that work. Could you talk about that? S: There's another person I have failed to mention, and that's historian Eugene Lyon, whose work has been instrumental in many, many things regarding St. Augustine, the early history of St. Augustine, the translation of Spanish documents, the acquisition of S panish documents from Cuba. He has been a major force in accomplishing that kind of work. He has also provided a great deal of information regarding the original site of St. Augustine, which we are now certain was located on the present Fountain of Youth p roperty [and also at the adjoining Nombre de Dios Property,] a lot of his research has been key to understanding that property as well as Mission San Luis. So let me explain how Mission San Luis and St. Augustine are tied together research wise. We've alre ady talked about St. Augustine 1580 instigated by Mr. Lawrence Lewis and part of the r esearch for that was particularly regarding Native Americans. That work although St. Augustine 1580 was never constructed that early research work for both the Timucuan structures and the construction of the 1580 fort, those proved to be absolutely invaluable to us in the reconstruction of M ission San Luis, because the Ap alachee structures are believed to have been very
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 52 similar if not identical to the Timucuan structures. So Kathy Deagan's research and Al Manucy's research were very, very important. And in fact, Al Manucy's research for 1580 I should say eventually ended up in his last book that was publishe d by the University of Florida P ress. The information in that book really is the research information that he completed with regard to St. Augustine 1580, or the majority of it is. In any event, that work was all applied to the reconstructions of buildings at San Luis. I don't think it would have been possible for us to achieve nearly the accuracy that we did achieve over there without that information. So, there's a direct link between St. Augustine 1580 and the reconstruction of San Luis. O: You worked with and helped mentor many students over the years. I wonder if you could tell me about the relationship of your students to the VIC [Visitor Information Center]? S: All right. I'll mention their relationship to the VIC but before I say that, I do want to acknowledge the fact that my relationship to the students and the University all began through the good offices of Professor F. Blair Reeves of the University, and one thing led to another. His presence, maybe not physically, but mentally and spiritually, is always present when the students do their work because he was so much a part of instituting that program at the University. In any event, with regard to the VIC, the Visitor Information Center is a wonderful WPA building constructed during the 1930s. It was always intended as a community service type building, but the way it's originally oriented, it really faces the major street Avenida Menendez. When the City opened up the land behind the VIC, first as a
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 53 parking lot and later as a multi st oried parking garage, the orientation of the building was simply inappropriate to the approach of people to the Castillo from the parking area. They had to either go around the VIC or enter it from the front or in an inconvenient way from the rear. So, par t of the student work was to analyze the traffic flow through the VIC and to make some suggestions as to how it could be improved and indeed, over the years, the City I think heard some of those criticisms and the VIC was reconstituted to answer the proble m of entry from the new parking garage in particular. I think in a very satisfying way. Other comments about the VIC have to do with the idea of the 1930s, the WPA architects and the use of coquina. Many of the buildings in St. Augustine have used coquina that is exposed to the weather. One of the things that we need to learn from St. Augustine is that neither the Spanish, nor the British, nor the early Americans that were here would ever have used these materials and exposed them to the weather. They would always have plastered the tabby concrete and the coquina materials without fail. They used plaster in a way that's similar to the way we use paints today, as a sacrificial surface to protect the structural materials beneath them. So, the VIC stands as a m onument to a certain w ay of approaching architecture and historic materials that was not a traditional way of using them as a matter of fact. When you go from the VIC, you walk toward the city gates of St. Augustine and there you'll see another example of the use not of traditional materials but the simulation of them in a very imaginative way [by the N.P.S. and] the historian, Albert Manucy, who wa s also a jack of all trades. He was an architect, an archeologist, anything you can name just about. He
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 54 experimented using latex molds to cast palm logs in the new defensive line, the C ubo L ine that was reconstructed from the Castillo to a point west of the Castillo. These reproduction logs are absolutely so perfectly made that you cannot tell the difference from a real pal m log until you go up and tap [them ] In fact, there are palm trees standing nearby and you can't tell the difference between the two. So, there's an example of an early approach to St. Augustine where a very quickly deteriorating type of m aterial like palm the palm logs, which do deteriorate very quickly have been substituted with another material that simulates the original and visually [is] taken for the original until you really examine it closely. But it works. The maintenance is very l ow and it enables us to create something that shows people history without absolutely duplicating it exactly. So, I think that's a great lesson to be learned. We have also learned at Mission San Luis, where we have tried to restore the buildings using trad itional materials. We have learned the lesson that if you reconstruct a historic structure that was originally intended not to be a permanent structure that was made of impermanent materials then you had better be prepared to pay the price for maintaining [that] structure constantly. So, I think as we have discussed as a matter of fact, a little while ago at lunch that we need to introduce a new term into historic preservation with regard to reconstructed buildings. Unless you can reconstruct a building and have access to the original plans and specifications, you may want to call what you have created really a rep resentation of the original because there's going to be a lot of conjecture and it's probably going to have some inaccuracies. O: Sounds like that might be a controversial idea and some would say postmodern.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 55 S: Well, it is. And there are a lot of people, including myself, that have some problems with substituting look a like materials, but I think that if it's for academic or historic purposes and is in the interest of research and learning something, I think it's probably a worthwhile effort. I think it can be excused there. But there will be people who want to use the original materials and all I can say is, if you're going to do that, you better house this new structure you're going to build that's so impermanent within another one, another structure a nd treat it like an artifact or you're going to be in trouble. [Laughter] O: In terms of your career Mr. Shepard and the work in terms of both architecture, construction, reconstruction, representation if you will, what role has the St. Augustine Histori cal Society played in all of this these endeavors? S: Well, the society is a remarkable institution. It's one of the oldest historical societies in this country, if not the oldest. It has preserved the heritage of St. Augustine for well over a century now. For awhile, the United States government assigned the caretaker s tatus, essentially, to the Historical S ociety when the Army left the Castillo near the turn of the last century. So, the Historical S ociety has played and continues to play not only a role o f saving structures but also the role of accumulating one of the most valuable research libraries related not only to St. Augustine but further to Spanish culture and a broader view of the Southeast a library that is extraordinarily valuable and open to t he public and accessible. And I think that it's becoming more accessible with the advent of the computer and other devices like that. So, the Historical Society has played an important part in the buildings that I have restored here as being a source of
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 56 re search information. People like Charles Tingley who is one of the research librarians there, has just been invaluable to me and many others working here in St. Augustine. My hat s off to them. O: Mr. Shepard, we were talking a bit earlier about the work of your students the graduate students under your direction while you were a professor at the University of Florida. You had mentioned some different projects or initiatives that they were involved with. One of them was the Tovar House. Can you talk about that? S: Yeah, the Tovar House is a colonial building on the same site as the Gonzalez Alvarez or the Alvarez Gonzalez House. The students under Blair Reeves, and I assisted at the time, did field drawings field measured drawings both of the so called olde st house and the Tovar House. Then, later, I assisted the Historical Society in adapting the Tovar House into museum use for the Florida National Guard. That was an interesting project in that we did not want to air condition the Tovar House. We wanted to leave it in its original state. So, what we were able to do was air condition exhibits and provide the type of humidity control that was required within the exhibit spaces themselves but not throughout the entire structure. So that what you do is look into an ex hibit that's air conditioned That worked, I think, pretty well at the time. There are other [projects] I'll just mention briefly. Most of the work I did with students here was either to field measure buildings according to the standards of the Historic American Building Survey. Many of those drawings were not actually forwarded to HABS because they were fi eld exercises. They were learning exercises, and we simply didn't have the time
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 57 to complete all the research that's required for submittal to HABS. But those drawings still exist, either in my files or at the University. Some of the buildings that we did m easured drawings of include the Casino area of the Lightner Museum. We did measured drawings as well as photographic documentation of that. We documented the stained glass windows of the Flagler Presbyterian Church here. We also field measured the Methodis t Church Grace Methodist to measure the tower of Grace Methodist. One of my students was able to arrange to borrow one of the bucket trucks I think from the fire department or somebody. He got up and actually photographed very accurately using computer or CAD type photography, and documented the spire on the Methodist Church. There are some extraordinary drawings that came out of some of those photographs too. So those are examples. The other things that we've done with students is to do research on various buildings, the history of buildings in the context of the restored area around the Spanish quarter, make recommendations like the one we did for the VIC, but also possible revisions of the Spanish Quarter Museum, easier ways to see it, to get into it, oth er ways in which it could be used as a museum. All of those things were examined by students from time to time. And all of that documentation is still available to whomever wants to use it. So that's the extent of our student work here. O: That's very ext ensive. S: Yeah, there's a lot of it really.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 58 O: Mr. Shepard, I wonder, this is a question that I asked Bob Steinbach last week. In fact, he may have actually brought it up. But the impact of changing technology on your work over time, you know, from the late 50s well into the 90s. How did changes in technology affect your work as an architect? S : The greatest change in an architectural office in terms of producing documents, of course, has been the introduction of the computer. Now, I know that's not a material, but it certainly affects the way that the office works. It affects the way in which you prepare specifications. It's wonderful to have CAD systems to help you not only with verbiage but also with graphics of course. One of my regrets is tha t most of the drawings in an architecture office now are done on a CAD system. There were some architects that were extraordinarily gifted in the use of the pencil and rendering media. That really is not seen very often now. So, I think the drawings that w ere done in many offices prior to the advent of the computer over time will become very valuable as works of art by individuals. That's not to say that the CAD drawings aren't valuable, but these [others] are direct expressions of a person's ability. Some of them are spectacular. Now, in a more direct answer to your question with regard to materials, there are a lot of new materials on the market that have to do with paints for instance, with certain types of bonding agents and other things that can be used in restoring buildings, that we have to be very careful in using. So, my answer about using new materials in restoration is there are new materials that can be of a great help to you, but we don't know what their lifespan is. So we have to be very careful in using them, and we may be introducing something new that's unpredictable in the behavior of a historic
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 59 material as for instance, in using coquina. Coquina often dries out and becomes very friable. You want to consolidate it. One of the materials that has been on the market now for many years is a material called Acryl 60. It's a permeable material, an acrylic based material that penetrates the coquina and will actually consolidate it. Well, we've used that on some projects. Its use is still experimental though, and we have to keep our eye on it to see how it's going to beh ave over a long period of time. A lot of the new manufactured materials, plastics, things like that, simply will not last over a long period of time. One of the pieces of information that scared me a little bit was the fact that the plastic that's used in CDs, for instance, is not an archival plastic. That meant that a lot of the information that we are keeping electronically is going to have to be recopied in some other medium because we don't have archival storage on that stuff. Well, the National Archive s and HABS are very particular about the types of pictures that you submit. They have always insisted that the photographs of historic buildings be recorded on traditional film photographic film because that will last, and the silver deposits in the negati ves are long lasting. We know that they have archival qualities. They are now accepting CAD type recordings, but the media on which those are placed is questionable. So, there's a lot of work that needs to be done on figuring out how to store this informat ion. Very important. O: You know, mentioning technological changes, kind of dovetailing with that Mr. Shepard. In a society such as ours, you lo ok at a town like St. Augustine and the struggle for historical preservation here. What's the future of histori cal
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 60 preservation in such a fast moving society, which at some points doesn't really seem to care much about history? S: St. Augustine is a living city. People live their lives here today. All of us within our life spans, that's the way we experience what i s around us. We have a certain length of time to experience things. That experience changes from one generation to another. We have to be careful, I think, what we're going to save. There are increasing pressures in our society. I'm not talking about press ures that are based on the profit that's so often heralded, that is supposed to be attributed to developers and others. Well, certainly that exists, but there are practical pressures of space and time in which you begin to feel to a certain degree that som e aspects of the past are beginning to supplant the needs of the present and the future. The problem is going to be to make hard choices. We're going to have to identify those things that are the most important symbols of our society, historically, the mos t important historical resources, and we're going to have to concentrate on them. Preservationists, I think, have got to learn to concentrate their efforts, and not immediately become concerned about preserving every Mediterranean Revival house in a neighb orhood or historic districts, creating historic districts for which there are examples of those types of buildings maybe in a thousand cities across the country. Those are going to be hard choices. Those are the types of things that I think in the future w e're going to have to look to. I [also] think that we're beginning to learn in the case also of governing historic districts. There are problems. Sometimes neighbor goes against neighbor in ways that [are] unnecessary for friction to develop simply
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 61 because somebody wants to change the color on a front door that may not be historic. We have got to resolve the way in which we govern ourselves in those particular areas too. I think that there has been progress in that, in creating conservation areas, or creati ng historic districts where people are simply educated to the importance and, in fact, the economic value of preserving their homes rather than having some type of jurisdictional right to tell them what they have to do to preserve those homes. I think that there are a lot of changes that are going to be made in the future for those things that will benefit historic preservation ultimately in my opinion. O: Are there other lessons that St. Augustine has to teach the larger world of historic preservation? S: Oh, I think St. Augustine is a great lesson for things to do and not to do. One of the great lessons in historic preservation for people to learn and I'm certain that the University is going to record this over time is the lesson that St. Augustine teache s us of the way people's views [change] of preserving things from one generation to another. What is legitimate for one generation is not legitimate to a following generation. St. Augustine can certainly tell us that in the changing views of what is import ant to the Preservation Board, what the ideals of the various societies that have tried to preserve things have been. [In] a ll of those things St. Augustine is a case in point in preservation. It has an excellent track record. It has successes. It has fail ures. All of which we can learn from. I think it's a very worthy laboratory myself.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 62 O: All right. Well, Mr. Shepard are there other points you'd like to talk about we haven't discussed? We've had a really wide ranging discussion, but are there other S: T here's one other thing that I might want to mention that we haven't talked about before. There are not a great number of architects outside some of the older cities in our country that specialize in historic preservation. I would like to point out to peopl e that there are many reasons for this. For one thing, historic preservation unless you're really devoted to it intellectually or really interested in it is a demanding discipline. It takes an inordinate amount of time to really research something thoroughly. There's a long learning curve in trying to understand what you're looking at, trying to document it, trying to find out why it's done the way it is. That's one reason there are not more architects that spend more time in preservation, but there's another reason. That is that we live in an increasingly litigious society where people seem to bring lawsuits for the most trivial reasons. Preservation is an activity in which there are a lot of things that are dangerous. Let me give you an example. Many engineers don't like to work in older structures, particularly when they [are asked to] accept the liability for the integrity of that structure and they don' t know anything about it. Actually, it's probably unethical for them to do so to begin with, but a lot of them don't want to do it at all. In the case of the restoration of the Capitol, my [structural engineer, Gomer Kraus] whom I had great respect for, t old the state of Florida that he would not accept the responsibility for any parts of the Capitol over which he did not have direct supervision of the construction or reconstruction of parts. Well,
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 63 the S tate didn't like that, but they finally bought it on the basis that the existing structure had been there for a long, long time and could be considered safe because it was grandfathered in. Obviously, we had to look for deterioration and things like that, but he was relieved of that liability. It's the liabi lities that exist in historic preservation that deter a number of people and the increasing litigious nature of our society that make historic preservation to some not a very attractive profession. So people need to realize that it's expensive to do this work to the architects. The engineers will usually double their fees to work on a preservation project and it's no wonder that they do. So, with that I will say it is an extraordinarily interesting profession. I wouldn't trade my life for anyone's. I've th oroughly enjoyed it. Architecture gives you the opportunity to go in an infinite number of directions really. But there are some where you need to know what the pluses and the minuses are and understand them before you really commit to them. So, I think I' ll stop there. O: Government House 1935 and Greeley's career. S: Government House. Let me talk about Government House. Government House is a remarkable building because it is the site at least, or certainly I should say, of the original Spanish governors in St. Augustine. There may be coquina, the material coquina, almost certainly [in] some of the very earliest construction maybe encapsulated in Government House as it stands today. That requires additional investigation. But there was a most remarkable m an who was selected by the U.S. Post Office system to construct a new post office building for St. Augustine during the Great Depression of the 1930s. His name was Mel le n Clark
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 64 Greeley and he came to be known as the dean of architects in Jacksonville. Mr. Greeley was a self taught man very interested in history obviously and a very talented designer. Now, he also had another architect whose name I can't recall that worked with him on the building Some have said that the other gentleman did most of the de sign. I think that could be questioned. I knew Mr. Greeley, had the great honor of knowing him at the end of his life. He lived to be over a hundred years old. I think that his talent is shown in this building very strongly. In any event, Mr. Greeley kept some of the walls of the old building that was still on the property that we know date from at least the 1830s, and those walls are representative of work that we now know very clearly was created by Robert Mills, a very famous American architect who also designed, for instance, the Washington Monument. Greeley saved the east wall and parts of the north wall of Government House because he felt those should be kept as physical evidence of the history and importance of this building. I'm sure that he didn't k now whether or not parts of them dated back to the Spanish or not, but he wanted to keep them anyhow. They are there today and exposed in the walls of the new building that he built really within those walls and added to those walls. So, the design of Gov ernment House is remarkable in that it is very sensitively done in respect to the scale and materials of the city as they exist today. He reconstructed the balcony that faces the plaza on the face of this new building according a drawing that was made, I t hink, during the British period of the earlier Spanish building that faced east. This balcony has been used, indeed, by many people, particularly the Spanish king when he visited St. Augustine to address
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 65 the people in the plaza. Really, a very traditional event. So, the design of the rest of the building, of course, had to meet post office standards, but it is done with great care, with excellent materials [and partly] with brick that's been all plastered. You can't see it, but with some coquina, probably r eused from the old building, with Florida Coral Stone that forms the entrances on the north a nd south side of the building, beautifully carved. I think there's kind of a dark portico created on the south side that maybe reflects earlier designs of the buil ding too. So, there's a quality of the construction materials and of the spaces throughout this building that are really exceptional and very beautiful in their own right. Not only that, the size of this building is a very interesting intermediate step in experiencing the scale of St. Augustine. That's something, I think, that's ver y important about St. Augustine that is to relate it back again to its plan, but also to the way it was evolved. As you walk down St. George Street, you go from a very narrow str eet that reminds us of the Spanish periods to a broader street at the more southern end that has really restored the buildings that were placed there in the 20s and the 30s, a nd the scale of the city begins to grow to modern t imes. Then you come up on here a kind of an anchor point at the end of St. George a moderate size building obviously related to Spanish history, but it's also related in scale to the later Flagler buildings that were built to the west. Here, i t acts as kind of a pivot, where the scale of the city begins to change and as you turn to your right and walk toward the Flagler buildings, I think you begin to appreciate that the scale is changing and growing in a very delightful way as you walk through the back end of the plaza behind this building. Government
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 66 House serves a very important urban function in St. Augustine. It truly is a center of the city in many respects of the word. It's a very important structure I think. We can attribute it to the ge nius of Greeley. He truly should be remembered as an important person here. So, that's my story about Government House. O: All right. The Montiano room? S: Oh, the Montiano. Well, I did that. I can talk about that. There's not a great deal to be said abo ut that except that at some time the first floor of the east wing of Government House had been gutted. After it was taken over by the Preservation Board, long after it had been used as a post office building. There were two major offices down on the east w ing and for some reason, everything had been wiped out down there. The floor had been removed, the finishes had been taken out, the partitions were gone. So the Board, as a temporary measure kind of to precede further restoration asked my firm to put in a new floor down there and to put in some new finishes and make it appear as at least a partially finished and usable space, which we did. Also, I might say that Bob Steinbach also conducted an archeological dig in that area before we put the new floor in and left it exposed. I think, if I'm not mistaken, he did find the foundations for some of the earlier construction, which are visible today in that room. But our work preceded further work that was done later by others where a tile floor was installed, a new ceiling was installed with new lighting. All of those things followed the work that we did. We didn't do anything significant in there. We just stabilized it a little bit. But that was a privilege just to work in there that little bit. I guess that's i t.
SAHP 002; Shepard; Page 67 O: Yeah. Well, thank you Mr. Shepard. This has been incredibly educational for me. This has really been a great experience for us. I really appreciate it. S: It was a great experience for me. Thank you for inviting me. O: All right. Thank you. S: Thank you. O: Thank you. [End of Interview] Transcribed by: Jessica Charlton May 2, 2012 Audit Edited by: Nicole Cox June 18, 2012 Final Edit by: Erin Conlin February 22, 2013 [Substantial edits made by interviewee]