Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Sanchez House, Block 7 Lot 6
Title: Spanish Inn interpretive plan
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 Material Information
Title: Spanish Inn interpretive plan
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Sanchez House, Block 7 Lot 6
Physical Description: Interpretive outline
Language: English
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: VID00086
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
S* 'Spanish Inn Interpretive Plan

J Although we persist in calling the building the Spanish Inn we are

not going to interpret it as such. Staff research leads us to doubt that

the appearance of thi s exhibit has much similarity to an inn in 18th century

northern Spain.

The historical report on the Spanish Inn is not meant as a script for

the interpreter but as background information to give a better understanding

of the evolution of the building. The annoted inventory is likewise not in-

tended as a script. The interpreter should refrain from using the item by

item approach in presenting the Bath Collection to the visitor, but should

be thoroughly familiar with all of the furnishings and accessories in the


The Spanish Inn is large enough so that most of the year two inter-

preters are needed to comfortably handle visitation in the building. One

interpret er should be stationed in the front sala (room 1) and the other in

the cocina (room 8). They may trade positions during the day if they wish,

but someone must at all times be in the front sala when visitors enter.

Visitors to the Spanish Inn will enter by the iron gate into the patio.

A planter will keep them from the main patio area and they will enter the

building through the south door into the front sala (room 1).

Front Sala Interpretive points (Room 1)

1. Welcome visitors to the Spanish Inn.

2. Give capsule history of St. Augustine using the portraits

of Ferdinand and Isabella on their wedding day, the tile

painting of Ferdinand and Isabella receiving Columbus,

the tile painting of Menendez, and the portraits of

Philip II, his wife Elizabeth and daughter Catherine.

3. Give a capsule history of the building pointing out that it

is a good example of the evolution of an 18th century

building. Don't be specific about dates for changes to

building but emphasize the growth and development of

the building from a two room house to what they now

see. In 1750 there were approximately 300 buildings

in St. Augustine. Only about thirty of these still stand; thi s

one because it adapted to the changing needs. We feel that

the front rooms on the north are the oldest part of the

building. If this is so then the hall may have been the

loggia. Point out how this would compare to the Gallegos

House today. The house grew to the south, the east, a

second floor was added and a detached kitchen was joined

to the rear of the house. Caution: There has never been

a proper architectural survey of the building. Therefore

we cannot be certain in what order or at what date any

of the changes to the building were made.

If vi sit ati on is light the interpreter can at this point invite the

visitors to cross the hall and enter the front bedroom while she remains

in the doorway in order to control entrance to the building. If visitati on

is heavy she can continue the interpretation from the front sala and then

send the visitors to the front bedroom alone.

Front Bedroom Interpretive Points (Room 3)

1. Explain why we call this the Spanish Inn even though there

never was an inn in 18th century St. Augustine. It was

furnished this way by Mr. Gerald Bath who presented it

to the visiting public as an inn in 18th century northern

Spain. He traveled to Spain and bought the furnishings

all of which are reproductions of fine antique Spani sh

pieces. The Bath collection gives our visitors a chance to

experience some of the finer types of Spanish furniture

which he would not have a chance to see in the typical 18th

century St. Augustine home.

2. Comparative point: The front bedroom and the sleeping

accommodations in the Gallegos House present a striking


The interpreter then invites the visitor to proceed down the hallway

to the other rooms of the building and indicated that another interpreter will

meet them in the cocina.

The second interpreter can greet the visitors in the middle sala

roomm) if visitation is light or she can remain in the cocina (room 8) if

visitation is heavy.

Kit chen and Patio Interpretive Points

1. The kitchen is always a center of activity. There is

always a fire going and almost always a meal in preparation.

There would always be someone working at something in

the kitchen.


2. The pleasant patio is another example of the evolution of

house space. The original house probably had a yard or

compound similar to that of the Gallegos House, but as

the size and fortunes of this house increased the patio

gradually changed from a work area to a place of relaxation

which we see now.

If weather permits visitors can be directed to leave through the

patio, into the front sala by the east door and out the south door and through

the iron gate again into St. George St.

Ann Cameron MacRae
March 1976

pa.-?.' 'h Inn

The building now known as the Spanish Inn enjoys the distinction of being

one of thirty-one surviving colonial structures in St. Augustine. Owing to the

lack of crucial records, we are unable to say when it was built, but we know

it existed in 1763 because it appeared on Juan Elixio de la Puente's survey of

the city at the close of the First Spanish Period. At that time the building

was a simple, rectangular, oswc y masonry structure belonging to

Antonio de Mesa, a minor financial official. The two north rooms and

entranceway downstairs most likely constitute the original house. It was

built of coquina stone, a locally-available shellstone used in the construction

of the Castillo de San Marcos and many residences.

Antonio de Mesa and his family, like virtually all the Spanish inhabitants

of St. Augustine, left Florida when it was transferred to Great Britain in 1764.

The next documentary record of this house indicates that the British government

granted it to one Joseph Stout in 1771. Stout held title for thirteen years. When

Spain reassumed control of Florida in 1784, he sold the house to Juan Sanchez,

the Chief Master Caulker of the Royal Works.

Sometime before 1788 a second story was added to a portion of the orig-

inal building, which was also extended to the east. An outbuilding, probably

a kitchen, had also been added in the rear. We cannot be certain whether

Stout or Sanchez made these alterations. At that time the house was described

as "in good condition. "


When Juan Sanchez died in 1802 the house passed to his widow Maria

del Carmen Castaneda and his daughters Maria de los Dolores and Maria del

Rosario. It remained in their possession until 1832, when they sold it to

Lewis G. and John Milizel. By this time the house had attained its present

form, The property changed hands four times between 1832 and 1857, when

a Mary Stryscka bought it and converted it into a boarding house called the

St. Johns House. She owned the building until 1885. The chain of title lists

a number of owners between 1885 and 1959, during which period the building

served at one time or another as a residence, restaurant, barber shop, antique

shop, tearoom, and artists studio, among other uses. In 1958 Mr. Gerald H.

Bath, a former Director of Public Relations for Colonial Williamsburg, and

his wife leased and ultimately purchased the building, which they renovated

to resemble an inn in northern Spain. The Baths operated the Spanish Inn as

an exhibition building for seven years. In 1966 they sold the building and its

furnishings to St. Augustine Restoration, Inc., which in turn leased them to

the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board. The Board has continued to

display the Bath collection essentially as he conceived it.

You should understand, therefore, that while the De Mesa-Sanchez house,

now known as the Spanish Inn, is an original colonial structure, its age being

over 200 years, its present contents and use do not represent anything that

existed in St. Augustine during the Spanish occupations. It now serves as a

backdrop to exhibit a collection of furniture and related accessories repre-

sentative of Spanish styles from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries.

Overton G. Ganong
October 1974


General Remarks Concerning the Gerald Bath Collection of Hispanic Furnishings

The furnishings and decorative art, which now compose the contents of the

"Spanish Inn", is for the most part a collection of modern and nineteenth century

reproductions of earlier Spanish styles. The majority of this collection was made

especially for the Spanish Inn in Spain utilizing examples which Mr. Bath had seen

in museums and private collections. For the most part the styles reflected in the

collection are those of the rigid and often austere 16th and 17th century manner.

The pieces are all hand-made of Spanish black walnut and are usually fitted with

wrought iron accessories. It must be stressed, however, that this collection

contains no antiques. Even though a few 19th century pieces appear to be ancient

in both style and condition, they are still considered copies, since they are

reproductions of earlier styles.

The following listing includes a survey of the more unusual and most often

asked about pieces in this collection.



1. Tile Panel made in Sevilla, is a copy of an oil painting depicting the return

of Columbf1r to the court of Ferdinand and Isabella.

2. Brass Lamp type of lighting device, fueled by oil, that has been used for cen-

turies in Spain. The two shields with symbols of Castile and Leon are to con-

trol air currents.

3. Side Table an unusually heavily scaled piece in proportion to its size, is a

type often seen in the Spanish province of Catalonia.


1. Tile Painting portrait of Pedro Menendez de Aviles, founder of St. Augustine.

2. Wedding Portrait of Ferdinand and Isabella copied after originals which were

rendered at the time of their marriage when she was 19, he 18.

3. Three Large Portraits represent Phillip II, his 3rd wife Elizabeth, and their

daughter Catherine, the ruling monarchs at the time of St. Augustine's founding.

4. Large Chest principally for storage, this piece could also double for extra

seating. The elevated runners exemplify a common practice to protect the

contents from damp floors.

5. Cock Fight Stools small somewhat crude stool used for observing this popular

Spanish sport. They are usually straddled with the back utilized as an arm rest.

6. Large Rug dated 1800 and woven in three sections. Typical early 19th century

Spanish carpet, decorated with designs representing animals, christian symbols,

and geometric motifs.


7. All wrought iron items in this room and throughout the house are for the most

part late 19th century copies.


1. Relief Carved Table 19th century piece done in the style of the Italian


2. Upright Chest small Moorish style piece which could store small items. Note

side handles for ease in transportation.

3. Small Lithograph of Pedro Menendez de Aviles 19th century.


1. Elaborate Bed a type often seen in aristocratic homes in Catalonia, Spain.

They are usually, as in this example, richly hung with damask or other fine


2. Wardrobe (Guardarropa or Armario) this massive piece served the function

of our present day closet.

3. Brasero this type of brazier is a principal; source of heat in many Spanish

houses. It was fueled with live coals brought in from outside or even more

commonly used burning olive pits.

4. Small Candle Lamp traditional styled candle stick fitted with a section of parch-

ment antiphonal t'o diffuse the light.

5. Mirror framed with the double eagle, the symbol of the Hapsburg family which

ruled Spain from 1516-1702.



1. Brasero this is the most elaborate example in the collection. It is unique with

its filigree cover which probably was added for extra protection and heat


2. Large Cabinet very Moorish in its design this piece could serve as storage for

any number of items, such as linens or food stuff.

3. Vargueno a classic piece of Spanish furniture. A type of desk which is easily !

locked and transported. Simple and chest-like on the exterior, it can be opened

to reveal a battery of small drawers and often secret compartments.

4. Spinning Wheel ~~all upright style used only for flax.

5. Oil Painting copy of a still life by Zurbaron. Note the similiarity of the

ceramics to those in this house.


I. Bed very typical style Spanish bed popularly called a "cathedral" bed due to

its resemblance to the retable and altar screens of Spanish churches.

2. Wardrobe a less elaborate version of this common piece of furniture.


1. Leather Trunk common styled trunk decorated with brass tacks. Note the two

sets of initials, and again the use of elevated runners.

2. Crucifix 19th century Spanish piece.

3. Brasero very simple version on iron stand.

4. Peg Rack another typical, but necessary solution to clothes storage.



1. Alacena the grilled doors-or this common piece of kitchen furniture permitted

air to circulate around certain food stuffs, but protected them from rodents

or hungry servants.

2. "ine Pig this actual pitch coated pig skin is a typical storage container for

table wine. While the white oak casks stored more costly vintage.

3. Ceramics in this room are of two types, the popular majolica or tin glaze

ware and the Moorish style lusterware.

4. Brass and copper utensils

1. Mortar and pestle used for grinding spices.

2. Chocolatera heating and whipping, hot chocolate a staple Spanish

breakfast drink.

3. Plate warmer filled with hot coals and stacked with plates.

4. Hot Water Kettle.

5. Pear shaped Copper Pot used for cooking fabada, a national dish from the

Province of Asturias.


I. Dinner Bell

2. Clay Storage Jars called Jarrones, the water temperature will drop in these

vessels as much as 400 through the process of evaporation and seepage.

3. Wellhead fitted with an iron cover to prevent contamination. It also bears

tio o-cotl ofAviles. Sparin on one side.

4. Carved Santo polychromed wooden statue of San Augustin, the patron saint of

our city.

5. Olive Jar wide mouth clay vessel for storing olive oil probably Italian.

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