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