Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Sanchez House, Block 7 Lot 6
Title: The editor
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00091263/00071
 Material Information
Title: The editor
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Sanchez House, Block 7 Lot 6
Physical Description: Correspondence
Language: English
Creator: Daniell, Bill
Publication Date: 1981
 Subjects
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: VID00071
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
-I.
ear Mrs. Bradford,
t feels must respond to the letter
wblished in your last isse; fm Robe
SStewart Museum Curto
historical Preservation Board Iwof the
,.h several specific points o wll deal
t first I would like to observe hat ter

Stewart was hired by the board within
the last year. He (and he is apparently
not alone in this) is not completely
familiar with St. Augustine history,
which is an entirely different thing from
Florida history.
Mr. Stewart objected to my "absurd
dates" in the style of St. Augustine
restorations. I did not transport the Ar-
rivas House to the Midwest, as Mr.
Stewart would know if he were more
familiar with American architectural
styles. I wonder if he knows that
building's original arches and corner
fireplace were removed in the process of
"preservation"?
The -building which I date at 1979 is
now more than 90 percent new. Con-
structed of modern materials, it doesn't
have any historical significance. The site
may be historical, but the building is
not.
Mr. Stewart questions my use of 1740
as the date of the Spanish Inn's construc-


/edra Recorder
1


The Editor
tion. That date was, in fact, arrived at
through information provided from the
St. Augustine Historical Society in
1956-8.
I did not suggest returning the Spanish
Inn to its original two-room structure. I
am interested in portraying the progres-
sion of building through the various
.years of development not taking a
building that spans several eras and
masking the entire structure in the style
of the latest possible historical period.
Beyond the arbitrary choice of
historical era, I also question the board's
choice of reconstruction materials.
There is no way that these buildings
have been restored "using as much of
their original fabric as possible." (All
properties on the National Registry are
supposed to be restored true to the
original fabric. If the restorations in St.
Augustine were studied through the
reconstruction phases, they would pro-
bably be removed from the National
Registry for use of cement block,
plywood, modern doors and plexiglas
windows.)
The questionable decisions of .the
board extend to the furnishing of these
buildings. Earlier buildings, such-as the
Dr. Peck House, show progressions of
furnishings through its years of use, as all
St. Augustine buildings should. There is
no obvious justification for furnishing
the Spanish Inn with pieces dated from
1840 to the turn of this century.
Contrary to Mr. Stewart's understan-
ding of my comments, I believe that, of
course, the Victorian homes of the
Flagler era in areas surrounding the old
walled city should be preserved. For that
reason, the Model Land Company and
Abbott Tract should be included in the
preservation area. The majority of the
Victorian houses in the walled city area,
however, are poorly constructed
"winter cottages" without much ar-
chitectural interest.
Mr. Stewart seems intolerant of Mrs.
Welch's and my criticism of the Na-
tional Trust. But there are no sacred
cows. The National Trust can also be im-


Friday, August 21, 1981

proved. It will be noted that in most
historical magazines, emphasis has been
on elaborate Victorians, because that is
all there is in most cities. But St.
Augustine has the only truly American
architecture, created by the amalgama-
tion of cultures and produced by unskill-
ed workmen working with unfamiliar
materials.
i've been "doing my homework" on
St. Augustine since 1954. Mr. Stewart
himself, I'm sure, will know more when
he's been in St. Augustine longer than
several months. I would be pleased to
clear up one of his misapprehensions
right now. If he would go back to his
books on the Siege of St. Augustine in
1702, he would discover that the British
did not "completely burn and level" the
town. It was the Spanish who flattened
everything within cannon-shot of the
Castillo in order to expose the British
troops. The British then burned the rest
of the town but the coquina walls surviv-
ed the blaze, becoming the tangible
"cornerstones" for .future preservation
activities. '.
Sincerely,
Bill Daniell





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