I INTERPRET I VE RU [ DI:.. 1Tl) THfI BIIUMEZ. H.JUUME E
This site serves 3 major interpret vF f..-rctions within the IHI useui i of S an
1. It is a good example of board on board con!:t.rucLtin commonly tused
during the mid 18th century in St. August.ine.
2. It is a good example of a typical Ihome of: a foot i:;oI.:ldier Iand Ih is
family of that era here. (It also serves as a good medi .umI for a
comparative statement between the 1 it+estyles of the foot ldier,
Gomez, and his artilleryman neighbor, Gallegos.)
3. The Gomez house is also used to interpret a tienida storeor) as
would have existed here then. The store mediai um" can be used by our
interpreters to convey information to our visitors about local
economics, currency, trade, imports/exports, material culture,
salaries, pirates and privateering, international trade, Indian
relations and various other aspects of 18th century economics.
1. Wooden Construction
Wood frame construction comprised only about 20% of all structures in
St. Augustine during the mid 18th century. Almost 2 centuries of
intensive wood consumption for fuel and building material had
deforested the once lush woodland around the city making the local
residents of the 1700s more conservative in their wood use. Tabby and
coquina also did not burn as did wood, and in a city that had already
been burned twice to the ground by i nvading f rcs, wooden
construction was less appealing to 18th century residents than it had
been to their predecessors, thus contributing :o the increased use of
tabby and coquina and the declining use of wood in local construction.
(Take note also that a large oak tree as you see standing in the i, :.)mez
backyard would not have been seen within a couple miles of the city by
the mid 1700s. All such trees would have been consumed. Only tfrui t
trees would have been visible within the city by thatpperiod.)
The Gomez house was reconstructed,.... in 1969 by the Histori c St.
Augustine Preservation Board.
2. The typical lifestyle of a foot soldier's family
Though considered rather small by today's standards as a home for a
family of five, this house was typical for a family of Iuomez's means
back then. The interior of the house is sparsely furnished with only
the bare essentials of daily subsistence. There is no interior
fireplace so, all cooking had to be be done outside. The ladder on the
east wall leads to attic living space. A coquina walled well in the
yard was the family's water source. Most of the yard would have been
utilized as garden plots. No oak tree would have shaded tihe yard here
back then maybe a few fruit trees would have edged the yard. Note
also no opening on north wall. East, west and south windoCws. Door on
south. All consistent with "St. ALIugustinc Plan" but done in wood.
This house is named f or Iorenzo Unmez, i,,wner- ot : thi pro-)perty Ln 1/I-i.:!
when Spain ceded Florida to I:nol and. Limi.te.d Sj::)pMr. sh (dccum.nrt:. :i fc.
their first period supp.l:ies us t .ilay with oan..y Ithe ni ice of .-i
property's owner in 1763 anld no ft:i.r Ithe" i info rmat I io i abcu': Wen he
purchased it or who previou:'.s owners may have b:er.. We do nt ::naw
when the original house was built.
Lorenzo was born in St. Augustir.e in 17.':. Pecdro, Lorenr'z(u'.:; ta..th.er, a
native of Spain, moved here in 172J and served. as an ar'tl I. tryman at
the garrison until his retirement: in the 175i()s. Ber trudo R odrigu z,
Lorenzo's mother, came from a long line of St. Augustinianrs. Lor':enizo
had 6 brothers and sisters.
Lprenzo married Catarina Perdomo, another St. Augustine native., iri
1754 and they had their first child, Maria Catrina, that same year.
In 1758 a son, Antonio Joseph, was born and the following year,
another daughter, Maria de la Trinidad. Lorenzo was an infantry
soldier at the Castillo earning 132 pesos per year.
Lorenzo and his family moved to Havana in 1763 leaving proprietorship
of this property to Jesse Fish with hopes that he would sel.. the
property for them. The property did not sell during the British
period and the house was demolished during their 21 year occupation,
probably for firewood.
In 1785, during the first years of Spanish reoccupation, Fish sold the
property to Lorenzo's brother-in-law, Antonio Perdomo. The property
remained vacant until the early 19th century when another small frame
structure was built on the property (sometime between 1804 and 1833).
For basic interpretation to our visi ting publ ., few deta ii l
concerning the many dates and names of the Gomez family should be
brought forth (unless you are specifically questioned an such detail
and have chosen to clutter your mind with such baialiti es. S.ch
details tend to be boring to the average visitor and we present them
to you only as background information.
To be expressed to the public concerning the family: This is the
house of Lorenzo Gomez, his wife Gertrudo, and their three children;
two girls and a bay. Lorenzo was afoot soldier at the Fort earning
only 132 pesos a year (as compared to Gallegos' 168 pesos a year).
(Talk a bit about, the house, wood consumption, the yard, the well, the
gardens, the oak tree, whatever you ..hoose).
Gomez and his'family operated a small store out of their home for, a
wealthy merchant in town ito supplement Lorenzo's meager salary. (This
is how the store interpretation, 3, fits in.)
Side Note: Please understand that we know of no store- ever being
operated on this property. We take "interpretive license" here to fit
an important concept into our limited facility. We really are not
cheating though, because the few stores that were here would have been
operated out of individuals' houses just as this one is portrayed.
With the store interpretation, we step away from a totally "site
specific" interpretation towards a more "site; representative" one.
You will also find that this makes tihe iGomez house a more ehtertaining
"site for both the visitor and you the interpreter.
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3. A Neighborhood Store
See pages 6, 7, 8 and 9 of "Post Tour Pack:age" for :stor.-/trade
Read attached "A Store for the Barria" by Amy BIus;hnell 7/82.
Other suggested readings that will offer you insight into local
economics and other concepts that can be interpreted through tlhe. storfe,.
Bushnel Amy T. The K.inq's Cof fer;: __Lr-o. t.ars o: t. .he. i ..::. ni.;h
Florida Treasury, 1565-1702. Gainesvill e, 1.','
Harman, Joyce E. Trade_ and l:Pr i vatneeriing n anih F lr'ida
1 732-173. Saint Augustine Historical Society, 1969
TePaske, John J. The Governorship of
Durham, N.C., 1964
Proctor, Samuel, ed.