The Explorer, Page 3
Cerveau House- 19th Century Home
The Cerveau House on Cuna Street is an original mid-19th century house
which is owned by the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board. Although
archaeological investigation has not been completed on this property,
documentary research indicates that no building was erected on this site
until the period of British occupation of St. Augustine. By 1783 there is
identifiable on a contemporary map, a timber-frame and shingle house in
bad condition, with a palm thatch roof. The owner is listed as Sebastian Coll,
a member of the Minorcan colony which migrated from new Smyrna in 1777.
A later document describes the property as a wooden house covered with
palm, belonging to Jose Buchany, on the King's lot. Apparently Buchany
'S- borrowed money from Miguel Segui and gave him mortgage on the property
in 1791. The Spanish governor in 1803 ruled in favor of the heirs of Miguel
S Segui and awarded them the title due to non-payment of the mortgage.
Segui's widow Antonia and the other heirs promptly sold the property to a
e 'IDon Carlos Goberto de Geta, who resold it within a year to Margarita Ysard.
S l The current name is that of the last proprietor, Miss Blanch Cerveau.
S' The present dwelling is preserved and currently occupied by the Straw
Market, a shop which sells a variety of items made of straw as well as rattan
The Cerveau House is typical of the breeze-oriented design that became
popular during the 19th century on the coast of Florida and in the Bahamas.
The long windows which reach to the floor, and the wide two-story porches
on the east and south sides were fashioned to receive maximum benefit from
the breezes from the nearby bay. A typical St. Augustine Spanish feature is
the lack ?f openings on the north and Wt'sides, thus keeping out the north
wind in Winter and the hot, west sun in summer.
Originally the house was roofed with cypress shingles, replaced in this
century with by metal sheeting. Hand split shingles from local forests have
now been reinstalled to retain the initial appearance. Paint samplings in-
- dicate the present color scheme to be the one used throughout the life of the
-- ".. .... Old records list an herb garden, chicken house, and fig, persimmon and
pecan trees behind the dwelling. As was customary, the yard was of plain
dirt, swept daily by the housewife, in the Spanish manner. Grassy lawns
The Cerveau House Today Is The Home Of The Straw Market were rare in St. Augustine until late in the century.