ST. AUGUSTINE HISTORICAL RESTORATION AND PRESERVATION COMMISSION
P. O. Box 484 46 St. George St.
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA
December 10, 1962
Mr. J. Carver Harris, Business Manager
St. Augustine Historical Society
22 St. Francis Street
St. Augustine, Florida
Doris Wiles has loaned me a copy of Eugenia Arana's analysis of the house at
52 St. George Street, a very fine and careful piece of work. It adds two or three
pieces of information that we did not have, and are grateful for. Fortunately they
just fill in the gaps of the story as we have pieced it out through our documents
and archaeology. I think the picture is reasonably clear now.
We are glad to have the record of the Fish sale to Dyason in 1768, although
this is an isolated record, unconnected to Kip who has it on the Moncrief map which
is not mentioned in Mrs. Arana's list. And as she points out, we still lack a con-
nection between Dyason and subsequent owners.
We are particularly glad to have the additional information from the testamen-
tary on Sanchez' little house. We have had this under translation for some time, but
not completed it. The calculations of varas of masonry for the various walls will be
most interesting to cross-check against our architectural and archaeological examina-
tion of the existing structure. This also for the first time suggests that Sanchezt
house may have been two stories in height, and confirms that it was definitely a
masonry structure. This latter is most important, since both Bob Gold and Mrs. Barnes
have assumed a wooden structure at this period, which would break the continuity from
1762, Mrs. Wiles tells me that this comes from a mis-translation of one of the es-
crituras, which on subsequent check shows that the description is of a house of
"tmamposteria", and not of wood. We were convinced of this because of our architectural
and archaeological examinations, and the mis-translated document was a confusing
element which I thought must be in error either on the part of the original writer
or the translator. I am glad this has been cleared up and Iy suspicions confirmed.
I hate turned over to Mrs. Wiles our archaeological study; our architectural
material done by Stewart and his crew, and by me, is in the form of a variety of
notes. At her request I will combine a brief resume of Steinbach's archaeological
data and the architectural examinations for a supplement to Mrs. Arana's narrative
It seems clear now that Rodriguez' new masonry one room addition to his old
wooden house is what passed to Antonio Avero, and what appears on the Puente, Mon-
crief and DeSolis maps. The latter two show a small square one room structure on
the north of the property, touching the now non-existent wing of the enlarged
Arrivas House. Our archaeology has uncovered this .one-room structure, with a garden
Mr. J. Carver Harris
wall stretching southbound for the balance of the present lot, and indeed seeming
to continue alohg the front of the present Parades' house lot. What happened was
that Sanchez built his "new" house of four rooms right around the Rodriguez-Avero
house by raising the height of the garden wall for the east wall of his southeast
room and placing a new ceiling throughout with beaded joists. When Parades reinforced
against Mrs. Sanchez' house in 1803, it seems likely that he too used the garden
wall as the basis of the front of his structure, adding a half a story additional.
(It is possible that Sanchez' second story was comparable in height with Parades',
since a calculation from the testamentary with respect to the number of square varas
in the east wall indicates that its height was less than 15 feet, hardly enough for
two full stories. It would not be surprising if Parades built his to match, and
there are periods of its history when the two houses are said to have been used as
one. The house seems to have received a new and rather complete remodeling in the
mid-nineteenth century by either Fucha or Arnau, when the present wooden second story
was added, the rear of the masonry building sliced off and rebuilt in a different
position in wood. Fireplaces were added for the second story rooms, and one of
these stacks carried down with new fireplaces for the north room, where Rodriguez-
Avero evidently had none (Sanchez had the fireplace which is now in the common wall
between his house and the Parades house). For this reason, the nineteenth century
remodeler did not carry his chimney stack down into the first floor, but supported
it on a curious post-like structure.
I think we now know fairly conclusively the dates when these various changes
were made, with the exception of the Victorian remodeling upstairs, which as yet we
cannot precisely date. By architectural styles, Fucha seemed the most likely person,
since these wooden second stories of typical antebellum eaves configuration were so
often added after the Americans arrived.
Before Mrs. Barnes and Bob Gold interjected the supposed wooden Sanchez
house, I had characterized this structure as beginning with Rodriguez. I temporarily
retreated from that when it seemed that Rodriguezt house in the will was wooden.
But Mrs. Wiles points out that Albert and Louis both agree that because of the
character of the roof, Rodriguez' new room to the north, of which he was so proud,
had to be of masonry.
Therefore, utilizing the standard techniques of naming historic houses, we
should properly begin the title with the name Rodriguez. Coupled with the first
builder would normally be the man who made the most extensive additions to the ori-
ginal structure. Itts a toss-up whether this was Sanchez or Fucha. Since Fucha
presumably gave it the predominant characteristics which it has today, we had
coupled his name in. But the testamentary indicates that Sanchez made avery major
contribution to the character of the building, and perhaps his role might be con-
sidered predominant. My only objection to calling it the Rodriguez-Sanchez house
is that the present appearance is not that of Sanchezt day. We would be happy to
accept either Rodriguez-Sanchez or Rodriguez-Fucha; I think we ought to mutually
December 10, 1962
Mr. J. Carver Harris page three December 10, 1962
In our literature we would probably also insert mid-way the Avero name,
because we are particularly interested in bringing out the Avero inter-relationships
of the group of houses in this area which were tied into that family. We might
therefore call it the Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez house or Rodriguez-Avero-Fucha house.
The Crawbucks have asked for a one paragraph statement with a proper name,
on which we ought to mutually agree.
It is pariiculary fine to fine our research coming out at the same point,
even though it seemed to diverge at midpoint.
My compliments to Mrs. Arana and Mrs. Wiles. What a list of people have
contributed to this research: Arana, Wiles, Steinbach, Stewart, Barnes, Gold,
Beeson, Newton and for all I know your own self.
Earle We Newton
cc: Mrs. Wiles