UNITEDSTlnhbk )aiSW*"*- WTERIOR
N~tMoNAL PAAK SERVICE
TER OF HISTORIC PLACES
ItTRUCTIONS IN HOW TO COMPLETE NATIONAL REGISTER FORMS
. TYPE ALL ENTRIES -- COMPLETE APPLICABLE SECTIONS
The Gonzalaz-Alvarez house
The Oldest House. The GonzaSj -Alvarez House
271 Charlotte Street -NOT FOR PUBUCATION.
CITY.TOWN CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 4
St. Augustine VICINITY F.....
STATE CODE COUNTY CODE
Florida 12 Sst- ITP'P 1AQ
CATEGORY OWNERSHIP STATUS PRESENT USE
-DISTRICT -PUBLC OCCUPIED -AGRICULTURE XMUSEUMl
ZBUILDING(S) PRIVATE -UNOCCUPIED -COMMERCIAL -PARK
-STRUCTURE -BOTH -WORK IN PROGRESS -EDUCATIONAL -PRIVATE RESIDENCE
-SITE PUBLIC ACQUISITION ACCESSIBLE -ENTERTAINMENT -RELIGIOUS
-OBJECT -IN PROCESS XYES: RESTRICTED -GOVERNMENT -SCIENTIFIC
-BEING CONSIDERED -YES: UNRESTRICTED" -INDUSTRIAt" -TRANSPORTATION
A. -NO -MILITARY -OTHER:
OWNER OF PROPERTY .
NAME The Saint Augustine Historical Society
STREET & NUMBER
271 Charlotte Street
CITY. TOWN STATE
Saint Augsefle v' I _-VICINITY OF Florida 32084
LOCATION. OF LEGAL DESCRIPTION
REGISTRY OF DEEDS, ETC. Clerk of the Circuit Court
P.O.' ,mver 299.
CITY. TOWN STATE
St. Augustine Florida 32084
I REPRESENTATION IN EXISTING SURVEYS
Historic American Buildings Survey
1961, 1962 X-FEERAL -STATE -COUNTY -LO~AL
SURVEY RECORDS Division of Prints and Photnraphs, T.hrary nf Cngra
CITY. TOWN STA-
CONDITION CHECK ONE CHECK ONE
-NEXCELLENT _DETERIORATED _UNALTERED .ORIGINALSITE
_GOOD _RUINS -IALTERED _MOVED DATE
DESCRIBE THE PRESENT AND ORIGINAL (IF KNOWN) PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
The Gonzalez-Alvarez House was erected sometime between 1703 and 1727, possibly in 1723,
on the occasion of Tomas Gonzalez Hernandez's marriage. Documentary evidence indicates
that the house was the home of Gonzalez a Iusilier and artillerymaa of Ihe St. Augus-
tine garrison, in 1727. When Spain ceded Florida to England in 1763,Gonsalez and his
family left for Cuba. The house then stood vacant until 1775, when it was purchased by
Major Joseph Peavett, a wealthy Englishman, who enlarged and improved the structure
between 1775 and his death in 1786. Geronimo Alvarez, a native of Spain who had come
to St. Augustine in 1784, acquired the house in 1790, enlarged it; and the property
remained in the possession of his family until 1882. The Gonzalez-Alvarez House then
passed through the hands of four owners.
In 1918 the St. Augustine Historical Society purchased the Gonzalez-Alvarez House and
in 1959-60, after extensive archeological, architectural, and historical research, care-
fully restored the structure to its late 18th-century appearance.
As originally constructed, this was a one-story rectangular-shaped stone dwelling with
thick coquina walls that were lime plastered inside and out and whitewashed. Covered
by a wood shingle gabled roof, the house contained two large rooms arranged end to end.
There were no fireplaces and the floors were composed of tabby (a mixture of oyster
shell or coquina chippings and lime). The large windows, without glass, were covered
by close gratings of wood called rejas and were protected on the inside by double-leaf
In the period 1775-1786, Major Peavett doubled the size of the-structure by adding the
second story of frame construction with clapboard siding. The roof was hipped at the
west end and a chimney and fireplace was introduced at the northeast (rear) corner.
The interior shutters and rejas were removed and replaced by double hung, glazed windows
with exterior solid shutters.
The next owner, Alvarez, brought the house to its final 18th-century form by adding a
two-story tier of six rooms to north or rear side of the dwelling. This addition was
constructed entirely of coquina; the wood shingle gable roof was extended over the new
section and also hipped at the west end. At the east end was added a covered two story
frame porch which rested on a one-story, one-room, coquina-walled addition. The new
rooms on the rear included: on the first floor, a chapel at the west end, a loggia in
the center, and a pantry at the east end. Over these, on the second floor, were three
new bedrooms. Nor further alterations were made to the structure until 1886, when a
tower was added to the northeast rear corner and a fireplace and chimney installed at
the west end; the final changes were made in 1900, when a two-story addition was attached
to the west end.
In the 1959-1960 restoration, the 1886 tower was demolished and the missing northeast
corner reconstructed on the original foundations that were found to be still in place.
The work at this corner also required reconstruction of the roof framing, the tabby
floor at ground level, and the joists and flooring for the second floor. At the west
Form No. 10-300a
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
INVENTORY -- NOMINATION FORM
FOR NPS USE ONLY
CONTINUATION SHEET Alvarez House ITEM NUMBER 7 PAGE 2
end, the demolition of the 1900 apartment addition revealed the original west hip
of the roof. The rafters were still in place, with a few hand-split shingles attached.
The entire roof was reshingled with fire-resistant, hand-split cedar shingles, in
replacement of existing modern surfacing. Taking down the west apartment and the
1886 chimney also exposed original painted weather boards. Examination of the
successive coats of paint indicated that a low-key green was the original color, and
this hue was used in the restoration. An upstairs doorway, which gave access to the
apartment, was returned to its original function as a window.
All openings in the house required attention. Windows and doors were repaired or
reconstructed as necessary. Most woodwork was in poor condition. Removal of old
work often brought forth significant evidence, and in some instances the evidence
made it possible to restore openings that had been modified in recent times. On
the east end, the posts and rails of the second floor porch were rebuilt.
Inside the house, one concession was made to visitor safety and convenience. Accord-
ing to evidence in the southeast corner of the main room, there had been an extremely
cramped and narrow stairway. For public use in a house museum, a more utilitarian
structure was substituted for the missing original stairway.
The restored house is maintained in excellent condition and is open to visitors; the
structure is furnished with late 18th eedtury period pieces.
Description of the three other buildings in the complex.
Webb Memorial Building was constructed in 1937. It is a two story build in
the St. Augustine style with a hip roof and made of concrete stone covered with
plaster. It is used as a museum to illustrate the history of St. Augustine.
Tovar House was constructed in the pre 1763 period. It is a two story building
of coquina stone in the St. Augustine style. It is also used as a museum.
David Ross Dunhan Memorial Library was constructed in 1964 in the St. Augustine
style. It is a two story building of concrete block covered with plaster.
These buildings help preserve the historic atmosphere of the Gonzalez-Alvarez
AREAS OF SIGNIFICANCE -- CHECK AND JUSTIFY BELOW
IC _COMMUNITY PLANNING _LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
SPECIFIC DATES c 1703-1727 BUILDER/ARCHITECT anonymous
II I IIZ anonymous
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
Probably constructed about 1723 and reaching its present form by 1790, the Gonzalez-
Alvarez House is an excellent restored example of an organic growth house that reflects
both Spanish and English architectural influences. In its final form the Gonzalez-
Alvarez House is illustrative of a colonial town house built on the"St.Augustine" plan.1
The "St. Augustine" type of dwelling was developed by the Spanish between 1703 and 1763
to meet the special local climatic needs of Florida. Accepted by the English, the plan
was further refined in the period 1763-1783.
The basic "St. Augustine" residence was a simple rectangular structure of two to four
tooms, with a loggia or a porch, and often a street balcony. The plan was used in two
forms. The more popular one had a loggia (an open-sided room) as an integral part of
the plan, centered on the side. The other version of the plan, of which the Llambias
House is an excellent example, substituted a sheltered porch for the loggia. In both
cases, the main entrance was through either the loggia or porch, which opened onto the
garden in the rear. Houses constructed on the "St. Augustine" plan were usually
oriented with the open areas facing south or east, so that in summer the prevailing
southeast winds ventiiatethe large rooms and made the loggia or porches cool and
pleasant. Thig4 manrl, lls of the houses insulated against summer heat and held
out the cold in the r.
In the Gonzalez-Alvarez House, however, the central loggia is facing north.
MAJOR BIBLI ;RAPHICAL REFERENCES
Hugh Morrison, Early American Architecture (New York, 1952).
Florida-A Guide to the Southermost State (American Guide Series) (New York, 1939).
Arnold Nicholson, American Houses in History (New York, 1965).
J.T. Van Campen and Others, "Evolution of the Oldest House," in Notes in Anthropology,
Vol. 7 (1962) of Florida State University, Tallahassee, 1962.
Albert Manucy, The Houses of St. Augustine (Notes on the Architecture from 1565 to 1821)
ACREAGE OF NOMINATED PROPERTY __
AZLLLZJ 1417EA01oN 6 | 3, QNdt G
ZONE EATING NOTHING
cl J I I I I I I I I I
\ot. Augustine, r.la., l96b).
BI J i I I II
ZONE EATING NOTHING
D I I I I 1 1 I i l l l II
VERBAL BOUNDARY DESCRIPTION
The Gonzwalez-Alvarez House is in the center of the south side of the block of St. Francis
Street between Marine and Charlotte Streets. It is part of a complex of buildings now
owned by The Saint Augustine Historical Society, whose address is. 271 Charlotte Street.
While the sympathetic stylistic integration of a number of old Spanish, and new Spanish-
colonial buildings serves to preserve the historic atmosphere of the early eight-
eenth century Gonzalez-Alvarez House, it is of course only the architectural merit (cont'dI
LIST ALL STATES AND COUNTIES FOR PROPERTIES OVERLAPPING STATE OR COUNTY BOUNDARIES
STATE CODE COUNTY CODE
STATE CODE COUNTY CODE
FORM PREPARED BY
NAME/TITLE Boundary information by James Dillon, NPS,
ORGANIZ Other data from a special report hy Charles Snl. E NPS, 1969
ESTATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICER CERTI
THE EVALUATED SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS PROPERTY WITHIN THI
As the designated State Historic Preservation Officer for the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (Public Law 89-665). I
hereby nominate this property for inclusion in the National Register and certify that it has been evaluated according to the
criteria and procedures set forth by the National Park Service.
FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVE SIGNATURE L-. LDM.ARKS
FOR NPS USE ONLY
I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THIS PROPERTiISILUDED IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER
DIRECTOR. OFFICE OF ARCHEOLOGY A Il( STO'WC PR ERVAIION .
ATTEST B gnZATIOTAL HISTOBRIftTE
KEEPER OF THE NATIONAL REGISTER -.._ T DTMIILgS)
Form No 10-300a
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR R FOR NPS USE ONLY
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES ENTERED
INVENTORY -- NOMINATION FORMATE
CONTINUATION SHEET Alvarez House ITEM NUMBER 10 PAGE 2
of that building which contributes to the national significance of the landmark.
Happily, we are able to point to very early maps of Saint Augustine to understand
the historical boundary of the property.
From the city plan of St. Augustine, by Mariano de la Rocque, 25th April, 1788, with
the land parcels shown and numbered, we can see that parcel 251 consisted of the
house, three other buildings, and land as far east as Marine Street.
Approximating the eighteenth century lines then, the boundary of this landmark extends
from the Northwest corner of Marine and Saint Francis Streets, west along the North
curb of St. Francis St., to a point just West of the Gonzalez-Alvarez House, thence
north, along a line parallel to Marine Street, to a point just North of the more
northerly of two 1788 buildings on the lot. From there, the line turns East directly
to a point on the West curb of Marine Street, just south of the building shown there
on lot 252. From that point, the line returns to the starting point, along the
West curbline of Marine Street.
The site is approximately 2 acres, and is indicated in red pencil on the accompanying
U.S.G.S. 7.5 minute series map, St. Augustine Quad, as well as on a photocopy of the
pertinent section of the Mariano de la Rocque map.
9 E. R. 30 E MOULTP!E 3 8 MI (ST AUGUSTINE BF
\ BUNNELL 29 Mi. 4743 iv SE
1000 0 1000 2000 3000
RF~-- c--4 ---- --
DATUN IS MEAN SEA
DEPTH CURVES AND SOUNDINGS IN FEET-
SHORELINE SHOWN REPRESENTS ThE APPROXIMA
THE MEzN RANGE F TIDE IS AFPRO
THIS MAP ( iMPLIES WITH NATIONAL MA
FOR SALE BY U S GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.
A FOLDER DESCRIBING TOPOGRAPHIC MAPS AND S'
1000 5000 6000 7000 FEET
ATUM IS MEAN LOW WATER
E NE OF IEAN H'GH WATER
IMATELY 4 5 FEET
: ACLLJRACY STANDARDS
IVASHINGTON D.C 20242
LBOLS IS AVAILABLE ON REQUEST