De Mesa House
45 St. George Street
Completely restored in 1959 to/present its various aspects.
With a few exceptions, furnished with reproductions of
period antiques made in Spain specifically for this
Originally a small 18th century one story coquina house
its original walls are still visible on part of the front
and north side. The living room with fireplace was added
in the lbth century and second story applied early in
The kitchen-dinigg room was once separate but it is now
incorporated into the overall structure.
Operated by Historic St. Augustine preservation Board.
Open Mon. through Sat* 9 5 and Sun. 10 5.
Small admission dkhrge.
,This is t"* tonio de Mesa house, % originally a small rectangular
Shouse.pre-dating/176l4first Spanish period)
When-lo6rida became a British colony the Governor granted this property, -
to a Joseph Stout, by then it had acquired an addition on the east side,
and a small separate structure, most likely a kitchen*
e eby Juan Sanchez in 1784, he added the second floor ca. 1791
with an outside stairway. Thatsame year Juan manehhe mortgaged this
house as security for funds of the brotherhood of Our Lady of the Rosaryy.:
It remained in the possession of Sanchez, his widow and heirs until 1832' ,
when it is recorded as having been sold to Lewis G. Milizel and John ,
The separate structure was incorporated into the main body in 18P7 by
Mary Stryscka, the new owner. From this time to 1959 ownership changed' ,,
various times. In July of 1959the restored building was opened and
called "The Spanish Inn", The furnishings, with some exceptions, are.
.reproductions made'especially for this building.
In the vesti)Le is an antique oil lamp and a tile reproduction
of a famous Spanish painting showing the Spanish monarchs receiving
Columbus returning from his first voyage.
The guest room on the left is typical of those reserved for
important persons. The canopied bed with carved spiral posts of-walnut-
is very impressive as is the tall handsome wardrobe. Rooms were heated
by means of a "brasero" brazier) in which coals were burned The early
19th century rug has a heaaldic crest in the center. A soilered tin
Pitcher *nd bowl painted red and gold rest on the washstand,' Hanging
on t:he wa ll i a mlirr framed with ths d- qpl1 symb-l. of the
H 1pnburgt, ruling 'ranish dynasty fr't 1516 to 1700. P, =u.- ~ e-r~ -m
^tfs51xaifp P'xyfi iPers ,,Ir rt -into of* -*trna coatmrpq rrl .^ -*.*:
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regions in Spain are part of the room's decor as well.as the antique ,:
k uTI fUAv
copper bed warmer, candelabra, inlaid arcade chair and "prayer lamp"
with parchment shade.
To the right of the vestibule is a spacious room with fireplace :j,.
Sand a conversation alcove beyond it. A betrothal rug dated 1800, the i .
candelabrui and fireplace tools are antique items, the remainder are
reproductions. This double area served as the reception room or lounge
for male guests. Over the mantle is a portrait of St. Augustine's
founder, Don Pedro Menendez de Avilesa, copied on tile from the famous '.: :
Sorigipal by the Italian master Titian. The small stools are for cock ..'.:-,'::,,
' ' ll alr i '- '*'' ''*"' .", -"'(
fight bettors, who straddled them backwards and rested elbows on the
; horizontal piece. The chest on detached feet serves as\ both storage
center and bench, thexzxakXtxxalxdtazkikxfxtntxaxxraxxaxltkxx The
portraits an in the alcove are those of Phillip II (Spanish monarch'
at the time St. Augustine was founded in 1565), his third wife Elizabeth
and daughter Catherine, all coppd by Prof. Jacinto del Case from originals
-in the Prado Museum in,Madridj so also were the wedding portraits of
Ferdinand and Isabella. The tiny chest on the table is a miniature
nuptial "hope chest" of the time The long benches were always used in
inns to accommodate more people at leL ascot and space than chairs
Featured in thehhallway is a rare antique Italian relief carved -
oqrp lesl ta bl (nrebably'18th century), an engraving of Menendzde with
name misspelled, another of the Cathedral tower in Seville, and a tall
thin serving chest for silver and linens, '
In the cictsm nf the times the women's sitting room or lounge
is separate andlin the quieter interior of the inni :Antique items here
,, .- i ,- : '..- t K. A';.. '., '... -',:,< .'- / ^ .-'. . "' .. . : "' : ...'
are the flax spinninrwheel, a "bandurria"' (musical instrument similar to':'
the guitar). At the left of the entrance is a typical "varguewo"9r drop :
front portable desk, set atop a storage chest. Opposite stands a,carved:, ,'
cabinet for dishes. Heat for the room is provided by the Moorish style '
"brasero"* A mirror serves the ladies' vanity.
Most noticeable in the center bedroom is the beautifully re-
produced "cathedral" bed, so called for the headboard's resemblance to
. the retable behind Spanish cathedral altars.
The back bedroom is furnished in the 18th century style, garment "
were hung in this bedroom on racks with lathe turned pegs or left in the:
traveler's leather truck. At the,'foot of the bed is a wedding leather ,;;,
chest witk bearing the initials of the bride and groom in nailheads.
SAssessories include costume prints, towel rack and 19th century eauM
crucifix figure on a dern cross.
The large kitchen dining room is at the rear of the first
floor. As was customary, .men's and women's tables are apart, the latter
beside the window for a view of the patio and plants, the former with its
'accompanying bench across the room. A fireplace with crane and kettle kept;''
both food and diners warm, surrounded by the equipment to do it copper '.:
cooking vessels, stirring spoons and skimmer, plus chocolate pots and tin :
spice boxes on the mantle. Beside it are the wine vessels an inverted ,
,pigskin OIR of ordinary'wine and carved wooden casks for better grades.
Onwthe opposite wall are two glass enclosed candle scones. Dominating the
south wall is an 18th century "confessional' style dish cupboard, so call-
ed due to its resemblance to a sgrilld o~V.nseioal Bi n a atheiie .ehurcsh,
filled with colored majolica and Moorish type copper luster glazed pottery
of moderwmak6 but traditional in appearance. Spanish .kitchens contained
'y . ro .t. ar -... '. ., .., p l I -i ts .
large copper vessels and ka havy bras tar nd ,etl n its wooden
rack for grinding spices.
In the small loggia between the kitchen and the patio is a
six wheel calling bell and porous water jars, to keep the contents cool by
evaporation of seepage, standing conveniently in the rack. Water itself
came via the century old wellhead bearing the Aviles coat-of-arms with its
locked cover to prevent contamination, At the end of the courtyard stands
an antique olive oil storage jar. Near by on a bracket is an old carved
wood statue of the city's namesake, Saint Augustine. At the rear of the
patio a stairway rises to a second floor, which in a real Spanish rural
inn would be the innkeeper's quarters at the front and sleeping space for
servants of noble travelers or fodr guests of meager means and low social'