STATE OF FLORIDA
HISTORIC ST. AUGUSTINE PRESERVATION BOARD
P.O. BOX 1987
ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 32084
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bruce A. Smathers William A. Adams
Secretary of State Director
August 22, 1978
TO: Board of Trus s
FROM: Bill Adams
SUBJECT: de Mesa Restoration
As you are aware, the Department of General Services has selected
Herschel Shepard as architect for the de Mesa project. It has offered
him a contract that must be signed within a week if he is to avoid a
penalty clause. Federal and state grant officials are pressing for
immediate commencement of work. However, Mr. Shepard will not sign a
contract until he receives assurances of the direction in which the
Board wishes to proceed, namely to which period it wishes the structure
A preliminary report on the architectural research was presented to
the Board in February. It indicated the following stages of construc-
1763 Construction of a one-story rectangular stone house.
1784-88 Three room stone house with southern outbuilding.
1791 Addition of second floor over entire structure, except
outbuilding. Roofed with shingles. This is confirmed
by an 1803 appraisal.
1874-93 By this period, the building had assumed its present
configuration and obtained a red stucco, ashlar
In May, the Board approved restoration on the basis of the 1874-93
configuration and appearance, since there is abundant information regard-
ing the building's configuration and appearance at that time and strong
evidence that its configuration at that date had remained unchanged
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Michael V. Gannon Maj. Gen. Henry McMllan (Ret.) Mary I. Pierce
Chairman Vice-chairman Secretary-Treasurer
John D. Bailey Robert R. Feagin Lawrence L. Lewis, Jr. Elizabeth M. Towers
Memo to Trustees
August 22, 1978
since approximately the Second Spanish period.
That decision was reviewed in July. The staff noted that some of
the findings of the historical and archeological research had not been
incorporated in the preliminary report and could alter our knowledge of
the sequence of construction. That research has now been reviewed and
the structure closely reexamined following selective removal of interior
finishes. There remains to be completed only a laboratory analysis of
the paint, which may provide verification of the construction sequence.
In the architect's and staff's opinion, however, we can now document the
major stages of development with accuracy. Two of the post-1763 stages
of development are of particular concern: the house as it appeared in
8 1803 and as it appeared c. 1830-40.
The portion of the present building fronting on St. George Street
retains its 1803 dimensions. The height, length and roof structure
remain unchanged, although the floor of the balcony, some windows,
doors, and exterior finishes have been extensively altered. The east
wing (the rear of the building) of the present structure, however, bears
little resemblence to the 1803 configuration. Substantial additions and
modifications to especially that portion of the building were made after
Investigation of structural members revealed by recent demolition
and other documentary evidence suggest that major alterations were made
c. 1830-40. Laboratory analysis of the paint may establish that date
with greater certainty. At that time, we believe, the east wing was
significantly modified and the red stucco and ashlar scoring applied.
Accordingly, the architect and staff members wish to repeat their
recommendation that the building be restored to the c. 1830-40 (originally
stated as 1874-93) configuration and appearance.
In accepting that recommendation the Board must be aware of the
Memo to Trustees
August 22, 1978
1. The restored building will incorporate Territorial as well as
Second Spanish Period elements.
2. Interpretation of the building will probably have to emphasize
the evolutionary development of the building and take into account the
territorial elements. This does not violate the Master Plan, which
calls for interpretation through the Territorial Period.
3. If the Board should wish to restore the building to its 1803
appearance and configuration, thus emphasizing its Second Spanish period
elements, wholesale demolition and removal of major parts of the present
structure would be required. The Board must be aware that such a dec-
ision would probably be rejected by the preservation architects at the
state and federal level who must approve the plans.
4. Acceptance of the 1830-40 configuration includes the red stucco
ashlar scored exterior appearance. In our opinion, preservation author-
ities would regard as unacceptable the selection of one element of the
building from one period and another element from another period.
In summary, the Board seems to have little choice but to confirm
its May decision and accept restoration based on the 1830-40 config-
uration. That the correct decision was made now seems clear from the
additional analysis to which the structure has been subjected. Time is
of the essence, and we request authority to proceed with the project on
that basis. It must be noted that plans and specifications will be sub-
mitted to the Board for its approval prior to commencement of construction.