Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Sanchez House, Block 7 Lot 6
Title: Draft meeting re the Sanchez-de Mesa project
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Draft meeting re the Sanchez-de Mesa project
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Sanchez House, Block 7 Lot 6
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Publication Date: 1978
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
43 Saint George Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
de Mesa-Sanchez House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 43 Saint George Street
Coordinates: 29.896429 x -81.313225
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091263
Volume ID: VID00008
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: B7-L6

Full Text

Dr. Adams, Herschel Sheppard, Bob Steinbach, Janis Guerrero

and Rita O'Brien re the Sanchez-de Mesa project August 28, 1978

11 a.m.

in Palatka if that's where they are on the phone, they ask them tw

do those 'iwari a-d donlt we-ae- standards have to remain on. Is there
it requires that federal, state or local? And then, secondly,

gnal box be moved out of sight so that there is less mass on that


r the one on the signal. It can be moved to ground level but it

at its present size. It cannot be put under ground.

ere on ground level it would be more or less noticeable?

itka or DeLand. Is it DeLand. It is DeLand.

talk about the deMesa building. Herschel, we can just put

i your hands for the beginning of this. We have a concern to

e must we commit ourselves to that ashlar scored surface on
Red paint finish
building. Is it red or copper paint finish? As far as we know
a, we akx/it at the lab for analysis right now. And to what

t we accept a different exterior finish a stucco for example -

maintaining the configuration of the building as shown in your

4e have two interests: one to maintain the configuration, and

a a surface that not only in fabric but also in color is aisx

Dr the second Spanish period if possible. As a matter of fact,

reasingly, the Board is interested in restoring the building

Spanish period; however, late in the 2nd Spanish period.

going forward to the American territorial period. The unique-

restoration area here, as you know, is built on the Spanish

he city as against the territorial period becursp if wp wAa

territorial period in the/HSnstruction restoration, we would have

pecially different from what can be found in Savannah and Charlest

significant restoration areas. So, if I understand the sentiment

rd from my conversations with its members, our desire is to have

ng restored to the second Spanish configuration. So you can build

said there and tell me what is possible and what is not possible

ly. It would be very helpful to us.

me begin by saying that while we have two very different buildings
ik about the same Spanish period/and will we talk about the
1 building? The building that we have there now essentially, the

t we have there now dates from the territorial period. If we

correct about going to the same Spanish period, without doubt,

we would probably be placed in the position to demolish a great

e eastern portion of the building. Ithink that we have proof

field, within the last few weeks since we begun the strip finished

that we could not get before this was done. It is just part of

ce of the operation. We have more proof of what we had suspected

that is that the building, for instance, in 1803, let's say the

nish period date that we can agree upon and the reason for that

at at that time we had detailed appraisal of

family but also the building in terms of square units which I can think we

an accurately into the physical configuration of the building at

hat time. In the 1803 building what we would have to do I can shoe you

a this is on the first floor the early kitchen was this area in

ere and we have clear proof or as clear as we'll ever have frin the 1803

inventory that this kitchen was a one story structure and it was

rom the main building at that time so this is now a two story structure

hat has been $ftto$t$$ into the rest of the house The second floor has

extended ober it. We think in the 1830-1840. So the kitchen was made

tow story structure. Sme of the wall was located in here and probably

ipped out at that time. This porch was added at that time. Then a open

orch that had existed in this area on the second floor as part of the

anchez modification we believe and we think we have very good evidence

hat there was a open porch here that possible came around corner. That

he early stair was not this stair that we know. Probability that ir

as located out in this building. We can not get any archeological doc-

mentary or architectural proof I regret to say. But we believe that is

*as and we know that the roof configuration was over the east wing as it

tands today when the kitchen was added to on the second floor this whole

oof area up here was reframed and gave us the peculiar appearance

s you stand here and look at the east end of the building. It is not

ymmetrical but it assymetrical. So, to take you back to 1803 it means

e would have to completely have to remove the roof frame over the part

hat goes fromthe ridge that is roofly centered on that chimney over this

.rea. We would have to remove the present framing out over this area and

place the earlier frame which was at a steeper slope and came down over

this open porch. You would have to remove all of the enclosed structure

in here. You would have to remove this two story room which we knew even

Lf we restored it to Territorial Period was not proper. But it is so

aandy for us for mechanical equipment, for staff to work and things like

that it is not out of character with Territorial Peiod, we have agreed to

Leave his on. This is part of our recommendation. Anyhow, this would

have to go. Because we would have to construct a stair here to serve the

)pen porch existing in here. We would have to rip down these walls reframe

the wall hre, take all the roof and floor structure off the kitchen and

nake this into a one story kitchen structure. In other words, really what

we are now the work at thr front of the building will remain essentially

as we have here. Changes did not occur extensively in this area of te


)r. G. So the front appearance of the building will be the same regardless,

if it was 1803 or 1830.

4r. Shepard Essentially, with the exception that we wouldprobably

go back to a weathered gray rather than a red on our trim. Yes, essentially,

the windows would be the same, the balcony, the roof construction, the shingles,

all of these things, the types of shutters, may or may not be the same but

i think essentially the appearance of the building would be equal.

general What you're saying really is to go back to the 1803 structure

we'll just about have to demolish the building and rebuild it.

Mr. Shepard That's right.

)r. G.- Thats a very important consideration in itself but there is also

to go back to the 1803, would the federal, state preservation architects
find that acceptable to demolish the building.

Mr. Shepard I think that they would find it acceptable but I think the burd

of the proof necessary to do that would be placed upon us even more strongly

than it is now. But I think it is possible to do that, Bill. It is not

however the direciton that the national PArk Service or the Department

of the Interior welcomes. I think that they would go along with it, to be ho

with you, I think they to the wishes of this Board. And I think

that you are the ones that really should make the decision. But the problem

is to me as a restoration architect is that we have the majority of

the fabric of the building that remains dates from the 1830's and it means th

all of those doors, all of the hardware, all of that stuff that we could

reuse now we have to rebuild. And the great problem is frankly I don't think

we can afford to do it, to be very practical about it. But let me tell

you, these consequences should sway the board's decision. But there are

other consequences that will happen if we decide to go with 1803. First,

the program, the direction that has been approved by the Department of

General SErvices at the state level has been based upon the cost estimate

that we submitted assuming that a recommendation going to the 1830 period

would be the direciton in which we proceeded. Now if that is not the case,

I have already been told by the Committee, that they will withdraw their

approval of the project and we must recycle it again to establish a new

cost estimate showing what the scope of the work will be going back to

1803. The problem is that we will suffer a delay probably of 3-4 months

That may or may not have a bearing on what you want to do. Secondly,

the other problem is that we have part of our matching fund as you know

part of our funding is under a grant that is separate from the other monies

that we have. I think Bob can respond to this problem more directly than I.

Nevertheless, to get that money released, we must have something

under contract here, Bob must be working in other words,in the

acceptable to the Department of General SErvices, and acceptable to the

Division of Archives, before the 30th of September. Now that neans

that we are under a great deal of pressure for instance, to get the

roofing specifications. That is what we have chosen to get under contract

as soon as possible to meet this requirement with the Department of the

Interior so that particular portion of he matching funds can be released

in order for our work to proceed. However, if you chose to go to 1802

we can work it out with DGS to kinda put a stumbling block in manuevering

it it may be possible for us to get some work started for the 1803

version, too. I would not say that it is not. But, so, there are complications

in changing our direction. It is not unsolvable. The decision is up to the

Board of course, and it should be. Its just that my only service the

you as a restoration architect would be that it is my opinion as an

outsider as far to go to the Terrirorial Period its true, this is a

break with much that has been done in the district, no doubt about it.

It is my understanding nevertheless that up til the 1845 that could

include any time zone including the Territorial Period would be acceptable

in terms of the Master Plan, the overall direction of the district, it

would not be inappropriate to go that way. If you go that way, though,

the interpretive way in which the building is preserved must begin with

the Territorial PEriod, which is obviously in front of you. That is one og

our big problems. Because if we restore the building to the 1830 period

this is not a second Spanish building. But interpretively, it will

incorporate many of the characteristics of the Second Spanish Period

which in my opinion could be handled interpretively as part of the life of

sequence of happenings that occurred starting in the 1830s and working back.

But that's a personal view. And that is what really part of my recommendation

was based upon. I will be willing to do anything you want me to do. The

reason I made the recommendation was that we have so mush fabric in this

building that we can with very grat certainty date to the 1830s that I

just hate to see us take out the fabric. To get back to reconstructing

days there a chance that we are going to make a mistake. The chances

are going to be much greater than if we work with the real thing we've

got there now. Thats the thing that bothers me as a preservation architect.

We've got the real thing for the 1830s.

General What's the difference in the cost? Is there a substantial

difference in cost?

Mr. Shepard Yes sir, I regret to tell you. But I think there would

be a substantial difference in cost because alot of the fine things like

door frames, the doors, the windows, all these things are going to have

to be hand-fabricated if we are going to be accurate about it. We're going

to prabaly have to replace alot of the frames in teh building with things

that may have to be hand-hewn. So the cost is just bound to go up. I regret

to tell you that I have not figured a cost estimate for 1803 period because

I misunderstood and thought that we were going ahead with the Territorial

know if you are aware to it. This happened before I came here but the

Arrivas House is Territorial. Its something we don;t go around making

a big deal about interpretively. But nevertheless, the second floor

of Arrivas House is Territorial. The house adjacent to it, the Toy

Museum, I can't swear that its Territorial, but I am almost certain that

it is, So really you have in that vicinity two extant structures which

exhibit alot of Territorial elements.

Dr. G But they're both reconstructions.

Mr. Steinbach No sir. They are not. The Toy Museum has never been

touched severely. It's been messed with but it's basically an untouched

building, And of course the Arrivas House was the Board's restoration

project and it was a restoration. It was not a reconstruction. The
other point that I think is tt***Im is that the street facade of this

building whether it is restored to its 1803 or 1830 its basically going

to be the same.

Dr. G Yes, that's an important factor.

Mr. Steinbach So either way you go, you're goinghave on the street

basically the same building..

General Are there other buildings in the future that might fall in the

same category?

Mr. Steinbach No. As a matter of fact, what we have now is with this

project and with the de Hita Gonzales, the Foundation's project, when

those are completed we will have completed all development within Block

7 that we anticipated doing. This will finidh it out.

General Then we won't have repition of the same thing.

Mr. Steinbach No. And since really the would not be able to

distinguish between the facade be it one period or the other. I think

The remainder of the building has been restored to its Territorial

configuration and perhaps the interpretation of that could be adapted

in such ways to explain that there are elements of the Spanish Period

and the Territorial Period combined in this same structure.

Mr. Steinbach This presents a unique opportunity on the Board's

interpretation program. We can talk about the initial building which

we still have it inccorporated in this thing and we can tell them,

you're now standing in what used to be the whoe thing, which is one

room and show them how a building grows, how as people's income rises,

and how their needs change, how the whole community changed, socially,

I think that its a unique opportunity to show the visitors how a

house grows.

Dr. G That's a good idea. Janis, do you think people would find

that interesting?

Janis That is how we always interpreted the house long before

it was closed and it is a very strong point in that every other

house uses tat same idea when we first start off. The first house that

the visitor sees is the Gallegos House nd we point out that the reason

it was constructed as it was is that is easily modified. A shoe box.

Then it turns into an L and then two-story, Then a porch and then another

porch. And end up that kind of architectural guideline. It would be

a good idea I think.

Dr. G Alright, lets talk about the exterior structure and finish. We

are back to the ashlar or stucco finish. When your partner, Katherine

first made a presentation to us, she had two different colored drawings

to display. One giving the red ashlar scored finish and the other you did

'ellow stucco. And we were asked to make a choice at that time. As

Further conversation about that developed, it seemed apparent to

ie that increasingly we were being presented with this ine alternative,

mainly the ashlar scored finish. I remember the tiem you came with

;he drawings at the last opportunity to see the house, you just had

)ne version to show us. Now there is a little uneasiness on the part

)f the board members. Now what happened because some of them might

like the stucco finish.

1r. Shepard I don't blame you for being uneasy because I am sure that

its the re ashlar finish that will create much more uneasiness to the

publicc and to the people here in St. Augustine than any other single

;hing that we are talking about. Here's what I would suggest. If

ve were to determine that we would go ahead with the preservation

)f the building based on the Territorial to be perfectly honest

vith you you do not know now nor would you know until you get the

lab test and we may not know then for sure when that ashlar scored

stucco was put on this building. Its one of those area that is tricky

to deal with. Let me gove you a little bit of background on it.

4e think that its Territorial and not Victorian. I don't think

that that finish post-dates the War between the States. I think it

pre-dates it. And I think it was put on when this building was added

to due to field evidence that we now have. And that field evidence

being that that stucco is right hard against the coquina. Secondly,

I have seen a number of other projects in the state of Florida where
50the scored ashlar mason predates 18
the scored ashlar mason predates 188QO and they are Kingsley Plantation

in foundation Walls there, House outside of Monticello where

the foundation walls are just as at Kingsley were stucco and scored

just as the exterior surface of this building was done and lastly

and perhaps more significantly we know now that the exterior of the

Florida State Capitol at some time before 1845 the exterior of the

Flroida State Capitol was a red scored ashlar masonry. The influence

from this caused directly, I believe from the English Georgian

architecture. At first, the masonry was scored and not colored although

some times it was colored to a granite surface. They would actually

do something to fake a stone finish and there are many examples of this

of some of the greatermansions along the Mississippi and I can document

that pretty well. And even greater proof and much closer to St. Augustine

can be found at Charleston where many of the great town houses there had

scored ashlar masonry finish not colored in this red but it was probably

colored a lighter hue. Some of those buildings date back to the Revolution

without doubt so we have plenty of precedence of this type of date being

brought in first even during the English Period. There is a possibility;

we don't have any proof of it because its all that was brought in,

but we could have a pretty strong argument that that was in existence

in Charleston, so why shouldn't it have been brought in to St. Augustine.

During the British Period. But I think that this dates a little

later to the Georgia Greek Revival Period in our early history and brought

here during the Territorial Periods by the poeple that came here during

that period so I think that the evidence now is that this scored ashlar

which is something new is part of preservation that is fascinating

because we learn something every day. Apparently I think the chances
S-- 4-L 4- 4 4- .-- r...- --,.J T .l r tJ-I 4.L-- .- ..21 1 L- -L- A. I--..- -l--I

that we get into a situation where we don't know one way or the other

whether it was Territorial or whether the building was stucco as most

of the other buildings were then we would say to the board, We're right

back where we started from, we can't prove one way or the other. Whic

finish do you feel is the most appropriate because obviously the

evidence reports that it could have been either. If however he comes

back and tells us that in his opinion that finish was a Territorial

finish that was part of this expansion of the building then I would

recommend to you that in following best practices of what we find
that is the real thing there; then/we can document that that's

the period its from with a high degree of probabiltiy then of

course my recommendation would be that that is the way you should


General When should you have these reports?

Mr. Shepard Bob, once again, I think you can answer that too,

Mr. Steinbach They were sent out of here last week but the gentlemen

that was doing it is going up north for a week to do a jo so the earlies

that he could have begun work on it was this week and I haven't talked

to him this morning.

Dr. G What kind of test is it,is it carbon dating?

Mr. Shepard No, its just the stricly chemical test, rather simple process

and he can tell by the pigments in the stucco and the paint the surface

material, the windows, the period which this was probably a part of.

The Fatio house here owned by the Colonial Dames is restored to this same

period, to the 1830's and we have just had a paint analysis completed on

that structure and our assumptions about the dating of that structure

didn't think that could be that accurate. But they can and they

within a 10-15 year period and that was very pleasing to us becuase

the architectural evidence pointed to this periodin the 1830's. The

paint analysis there was able to what we had thought was true

to a large degree. This is just building up circimstantial evidence.

We think and we hope

Preservation Board held August, 28, 1978.

I had one letter from one individual, Dr. Slaughter, asking me to expla:

which I did.

Did you hear back from him after you explained?

Never heard from him after I explained.

He requested restoration to a Victorian style and I explained to him thal

we were not restoring the building to a Victorian style and I explained 1

him some other elements of and he was also under the misapprehei

that the proper way to resotre that building was to retain the coquina

structure exposed and I him of that idea and pointed out ot him I

not even the Spanish would have been so naive as to have done that.

Who was that, Frank Slaughter?

Well, I'm comfortable with the 1830's restoration because it is more

potentially, much more authentic that the 1803 restoration would be in tl

the 1803 restoration would rest on a great amount of speculation.

So the higher measure of authenticity is acheived by the 1830 restoration

And that is really the basic of my restoration.

And we destroy no elements of Second Spanish Period architecture restorii

that way.

I was under the assumption in speaking to people in Rod Little's office t

we would have a great deal of difficulty in persuading the Federal Presel

architects to accept the 1830.

Did they tell you that at Archives.

No officially,

Well, if they told you that, that's not happy news.

That is an informal opinion.

in preservation is this; to preserve as much ot the extant raoric as yc

possibly can if you don't do a great injustice to what you are trying

to achieve and of course the problem here is that this house is part oJ

a greater content and I sympathize with your problem. It a toughie.

Now, there are two other territorial structures nearby. The second st(

of the Arrivas House as it was restored and the Museum of Toys.

There are reports of he ground floor, we have an evolutionary sequence

there but the toy building has not been studied extensively. I rememb(

10-15 years ago, Idug a small hole in the front room of that house and

to the best of my knowledge that's the only research of that nature th

been done. It hasn'e been studied. We did so some work on it. It pr(

well matches Arrivas.

Dr. G Now ypu have two new projects, reconstruction from the First SI

Period that will go up in that same area.

Mr. Stein. One door down. And part of our interpretation now is Fist

Period oriented. The Ribera Hose, Gallegos, the ground floor of the A]

House is characteristic of the First Spanish Period. The Carpenter ex]

is entirely a 2nd Spanih Period, a minorcan who was a 2nd SPanish PEric

Coc who is the blacksmith is a typical and I don;t know :

could really nail down a time but ha can function biefly as a second s]

period, and of course our spinning and textile arts is a second spanisi

building. I think we have a vast majority of he buildings restored anc

reconstructed are in the First Spanish Period.

General We should tryo to go baxk as far as we can go within reason.

Mr. Shepard- That's it, within reason.

you can't really be as so called panish.

Dr. A U.S. influence is leaking down in on us.

Bailey There's no more time extension where this can be done at the

Board meeting, and that meeting on the and so forth?

Mr. Steinbach All we can do is ask, John.

First, I would like to see you ask, Look this is tooimportant a decision

for a committee and others be told by telephone because something always

falls between the cracks when it do it be telephone. I would suggest

and say Ok. we have a Board meeting on the 20th.. I don;t know how many mo

day HErshel might need beyond that date to get his stuff together to the

10th or 15th of the next minth. I just really beleive that it should be

discussed, approved, in full Board meeting so then at that time also you

let the public know why you are making his decision and they understand it

a little bit better.

Mr. Shepard Well, I share that.

Bailey I don;t know if we can get the time or mot. I t just doesn't

seem ight. It's a very significant decision. They are always giving

us a delay. By God,

Mr. Steinbach Well, the problem is; the people in Archives, the money

people, the federal representatives, have been after us. Our problem is

that we are faced with another group over there called the Department of

General SErvices. The problem is that they have in the past the d

factor. These federal people have been puching us and we in turn have bee

pushing DGS.

Bailey That's wat I would like to see us do and if we can get the permit

we can

Mr. Shepard Could I suggest that we call Bill Thurston right now.

Bailey Yeah, we need to know if we can get it or not.

Dr. G We did tell the full Board the Isat time that we would delay

this decision unitl the September meeting at which time we would have

an analysis to present, a full staff study. The Board has a right to expel

that unless it were made necessary that we deal by telephone but I would h(

we could delay for the reasons that John gave which I think are sound. It

a critical decision and a full board meeting would provide us the opportun:

for explaining our decision with the people of the city to the media who

would be present.

Bailey Do we have any reserved buildings that date back as far as the

Mr. Stein- The ground floor of the ARrivas house.

Baiey Wasn't that rebuilt?

Mr. Steinbach No. Well, once you get beyond 1762, there was nothing

in the entire town in 1700. They knoked it all down. The town was level.

8e=yea When you get into the archeology of these things, is when some time

you can pin them down a little closer. The Arrivas and this are the only

two house that are in this area, both have parts in them that predate

to 1760. They have a map that tells us and parts of both.

See the thing is that it is not going to change. Every bit of it will be I

same, the doors, the windows. The spindles, all of it will be the same..

Okay what we do know is that we started with a little one room house. Som(

body added to it. In the meantime they came back here. Then this thing

comes up to two story.

o the first thing we would have to do would be to change the program

o sit down and say we want to do the 1803 and justify it. Then

ershal would have to put together a new cost estimate since the scope

he work changed DGS would probably have to renegotiate his contract

because the scope would have expanded. So he's going to have to have r

money to provide the service. WE're going tohave to come in here and I

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