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Real Estate News
News, Picture Features
THE ST. AUGUSTINE RECORD, SUNDAY MORNING, MARCH 12, 1961
Old Spanish Treasury Rescued From ..
Oblivion By The Woman's Exchange A s t c
By MARGARET IITTS stantial changes be allowed, and
This is Lhe story-and all true the sum of $1,000 annually, of
-of an old, old house and the Blrt money, used toward upkeep.
ladies who rescued it from ob-! It was decided that some city
liron. official confer with a representa-
The building is the structure live of the trust department of
on the corner of St. George and the Florida National Bank, in or-
Treasury Street known as "The der to ascertain just what the
Old Spanish Treasury," and the rights of the city would be, to
women are the hard working what uses the city would be per-
members of the Woman's Ex- mitted to put the building, pro-
change. vided the gift is accepted.
That the house ,is an old land- City auditor and clerk C. E.
mark, was a well known fact, but Kettle was instructed to get up a
not too much of its history was financial statement, showing the
known. In 1832 the property be- amount of taxes of which the city
came the possession of Dr. Seth would be deprived on the prop-
Peck, an American physician who erty, should the home become mu-
came to St. Augustine with his nicipally owned. Also the expense
children and fine furniture, from of maintaining, including insur-
Old Lyme, Connecticut. The house ance, upkeep, salary of caretaker,
was inherited by his grand- and other items.
daughter, Miss Anna G. Burt, who The letter read to the city corn-
occupied the house during her mission did not mention furnish-
lifetime. wings, but another part of the will
Following her death Miss referring to the valuable furni-
Burt's will was filed and gave, ture, including many rare an-
among other gifts, the St. George tiques, stipulates that in case the
Street residence, outbuildings, city accepts the gift, the furnish-
and appurtenances thereto, to the ings are to remain in the house,
City of St. Augustine as an ex- intact.
ample of an old ante-bellum home. July 1, 1931, City Manager C.
Also benefitting from Miss S. Coe submitted a report, and
Burt's will were Flagler Hospi- made various recommendations to
tal, Memorial Presbyterian church the commission, suggesting the
society, the St. Augustine Public appointment of a board of trus-
Library, Rollins scholarships for tees, to report to the city man-
girls, and a number of relatives ager. He suggested Mrs. Regi-
and friends. nald White, Charles Leyvras, and
Miss Burt's will was filed June Theodore V. Pomar. Mrs. George
3, 1931, and a news account of Alba was suggested for care-
June 4th reported "Considerable taker.
time at the city commission meet- In the December 18, 1931 news
ing yesterday was devoted to a sections of The Record, was the
discussion of a letter from Flor- text of a resolution submitted by
ida National Bank of Jacksonville St. Johns Post American Legion,
Trust Department, outlining the to the city commission, urging the
gift to the city of the interesting city to accept the Burt Home for
old home of Miss Anna G. Burt. cultural benefit of visitors and
The gift, while the spirit of it is citizens of the City of St. Augus-
greatly appreciated by the city tine.
commissioners, is occasioning January 19, 1932, a letter was
some anxiety, because it is not printed from a visitor at the Ho-
known to exactly what uses the tel Cordova, who was distressed
building could be put, under the that "the city commissioners are
terms of the will." v still dallying with the idea of ac-
The will had stipulated no sub- cepting the gift," and urged fa-
i i A
vorable action. "The Burt home gustine Historical Society, asked
and contents are so common, so permission to attend the city corn-
familiar to the people of St. Au- mission meeting in recognition of
gustine that they cannot arouse the attitude of the Society. He
any enthusiasm and are not fully wanted "the public to know that
appreciated!" the Historical-Society was offer-
A few days later, City Attor- ing to take over the property .
ney E. Noble Calhoun asked the that this valuable property might
city commissioners for one more not be lost to the community."
week, in which to gather more
Then, came the decision. It was
"no." The January 28, 1932 issue
of The Record carried the story.
"City commissioners by unani-
mous vote, yesterday rejected the
gift of the late Miss Anna G.
Burt, which included her inter-
esting old home at the corner of
St. George and Treasury streets.
"Commissioner J. A. Rowand
introduced the resolution of re-
jection, did so because under the
terms of the will the city would
be tenants at sufferance, and
would have the building with its
valuable furnishings to use as a
show place only so long as the
trust officers of the Florida Na-
tional Bank of Jacksonville might
deem suitable." "It could be taken
away from us any time and sold,"
Mayor-commissioner T. Rogero
Mickler said he wanted citizens of
St. Augustine to know that in his
opinion, the city would not be
able to make ends meet finan-
cially, in regard to operation of
The matter, however, did not
end there. The controversy raged.
It must be remembered that when
the Burt will was filed, it was a
year of deep depression. Also the
fact that Miss Burt was aware of
the historical background of her
property, but she had not publi-
cized it, so that many persons
were unaware of its value.
But Miss Burt had friends, and
they busied themselves in an ef-
fort to somehow, some way, carry
out her desires, in the matter of
the house. Judge David R. Dun-
ham, as president of the St. Au-
The members of the Woman's
Exchange had been working on
the problem also, and they finally
rescued the Burt house for pres-
ervation. The board of managers
made a proposal to the city to
lease the property for a year,
with the privilege of renewing
the lease, if desired. The board
of managers and members were
personal friends of Miss Burt,
and their offer eventually was
Their opening tea was held on
Thursday, May 5, 1932, and the
custodians were well pleased with
the attendance, said to have been
more than 300 persons.
The gate in the garden wall
opens directly into the lovely set-
ting of flowers and old trees, in
the shade of the Cathedral, as it
did in yester year.
A calm serenity and mellow-
ness breathes in the house-price-
less furnishings and paintings re-
flect the gracious living-a charm
of another age-far removed from
today's hectic rush.
Through the years the teas
have continued, luncheons served,
and the house taken care of-and
the garden, in addition, has been
the depot for work of the women
in the community.
As an additional money-raising
venture last year the board of
managers sponsored a "Gay Nine-
ties" costume ball and dinner, at
the Ponce de Leon Hotel. The
event marked the first time a cos-
tume ball had been held since
1938, at the Ponce. The ball with
its lavish costumes, plumed hats,
handlebar mustaches and Key-
stone cops, was so successful an-
other is being planned for this
Mrs. \ Illiam Spauld
fat are shop chairnne
is not shown in piclt
Here through lI
have brought their h
wares from .-od
-..-..-. ......-......--.... ,- .-~.-~.~ .
PANTRY SHELF AND SHOP ARE OUTLETS FOR FOOD, HANDIWORK
inz. seated, with Mrs. Lane-ston Nlof- keeping with the Spanish city's 400th anniversa.v, but they
n. al.-no with Mirs. Frank Haiarold, who will continue with the \.oman's Exchange right on.
Uie. The merchandise is tagged by number so that the
he .ear, the women of the c,:'mman;ty purchaser does not know the identity of the local person
handiwoik, including a wide range of who sewed a fine seam or knit the baby sweater. In this
to ceramics where the merchandise way, the Exchange helps the craftsmen earn some money
by providing the shop outlet.
This fall it is planned to feature Spanish impoi t. in
EXTERIOR OF HOME THAT IS SHOWN ON PUENTE MAP OF 1763
Soon after St. Augp'itine and Florida v.ere ceded to the
English. luan Elix,.; de la PIuentc. drev. a map of the to,,n.
show.in- buildings and o' nets. The corner is indicated as
"a house of stone, bel.-ngng t,- Don Estevan de Pean. the
After 1821 when Florida became part of the United
States, American owners made \aiious repairs an- changes,
and by 1832 the pr,.perty was ov.ned by Dr. Seth Peck,
who came, from Old Lyme. Conn.. with his family and fine
.- .. .. .
The house is still filled with rare and beautiful furni-
ture. pictures and bric-a-brac. Examples of colonial furni-
ture were brought to the city, being part of Mrs. Peck's
The exterior now needs scraping and repainting, as in
rainy weather water seeps in, and is another phase of work
the members of the women's Exchange hope to be able to
P . ..
RESTORATION IS COMPLETED IN DINING ROOM
Mrs. Harold Haney, house chairman, at right, shows Mrs.
Reginald White, chairman of the board, center, and Mrs.
Claire Maxwell, assistant treasurer, the lovely appearance
of the dining room, which has been restored.
The draperies are authentic, hand blocked linen, a
copy of draperies in the Federal period, typical of Dr.
Peck's time. The rug is an oriental, the gift of an anony-
T7. -. ".
K -. ...
., .*. .. .^ ;: :
Snow, Mrs. Jai
from left to rig
which to earn
the property w
and then turn<
All colors used, restoration of the floors and de-
tails were carefully worked out with the co-operation of
the University of Florida, the Restoration Committee, and
the Historical Society, Mrs. Haney said.
~--I-~ I ~ --a
KITCHEN GROUP WORKING IN PREPARATION FOR THURSDAY LUNCHEON
the kitchen table, preparing food for a Woman's Exchange. The ladies get $1,000 annually from
heon are Mrs. Robert Curtan, Mrs. Pearl the Burt estate, which this year they borrowed in advance
mes Banta and Mrs. J. Tyler Van Campen, so that restoration and necessary repair work could get
;ht. under way. They also pay $25.00 monthly for insurance on
ly luncheons are a money-making affair, with the valuable antiques in the house and property.
money to maintain the old Burt property. The luncheons are held in the garden, weather per-
as willed to the city, who once rejected it, mitting and greatly enjoyed by visitors to the city, as
ed over to the board of managers of the well as local people.
WORK PROGRESSES AS OLD LANDMARK IS REPAIRED AND PRESERVED
Mrs. M. R Foxworth left, and Mrs. Vard Newell. \ice- and other necessary replacements have been completed and ,
reiden plan here to place valuable items of Dr. the workmen are at the painting stage.
Peck's pharmacy, used by him, in fixing and mixing the The handsome light fixture was one brought by Dr.
medications for patients. Peck when he came to St. Augustine and has a P" etched-.F
In thi r 'omn the tlc..:.i had rotted and is n -. floored in the design.
wood used for flooring in the V oith House. Door sills
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