An Edition of The Florida Timnes Union
T. AUGUSTINE AND ST. JOHNS COUNTY FOUNDED IN 1565 THE NAT
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA, SUNDAY MORNING, AUGUST 20, 1967 ,uflw -.-
BENET STORE TO BE COMPLETED SOON
The Benet Store, located at the corner of Cuna and St. George streets, is to be com-
pleted soon by the St. Augustine Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission,
and will take its place among the restoration's arts and crafts complex -on north .St.
.' George Street.
Benet Store Is Reconstructed
By Anne Carling
A general store of the 19th
century will soon take its place
in the ever growing restora-
tion commission arts and crafts
complex at the northern end of
St. George Street.
Reconstruction of the Benct
Groceries, a general' s to r e
which once stood at the corner
of Cuna and St. George streets,
is just about completed, ac-
cording to Robert Steinbach, re-
storation archaeologist and con-
struction superintendent, who
says his crews will be finished
beth.bi'ing of th week. M
fe nkW ap Wl Vk\f hTObsrh
ing of the interior, which will mission, involves the re- crea-
continue through the fall, ac- tion of a general store, operat-.
cording to Earle W. Newton, di- ed by the late Joseph Ravina
rector general of the restoration Benet, last member of his farn-
group. ily to own the establishment.
A store interior discovered in Two of his daughters still live
San Miguel, Mexico, St. Augus- in St. Augustine, Miss Carmen
tine's sister city, will be used Benet and Mrs. Rena Haas, who
in the Benct Groceries, New- reside at 28 Cuna St., just around
ton says. This find is complete the corner. Before actual recon-,
with counters .and cabinets. struction work began, the two
Most likely,, the store will in- ladies were busy recalling their
elude a museum area and "pro- very early childhood to help the
bably" will sell a selection of restoration group with its pro-
items, too, he says. ject.
The reconstruction of the Ben- Building's Interior
et Groceries, a project of the T h e reconstructed building
St. Augustine Historical Restor- consists of two rooms down-
atibb a:id Prei evtiont Cfdid (6& 6Jhued 6n1 fae Eight
I I. )
Oil St. G-e"lI~ e..'i CoAe
(Continued from Page One) tega, and during the second
stairs, with an efficiency apart- Spanish period, records show
ment on the second foor. One that it was a House of the King,
entire wall and part of another and Don Diego Mirando lived in
have been built with old coquina it.
rock uncovered when the land The heirs of Batholeme Villa-
was cleared for the reconstruc- long llived in the middle build-
tion work. ing, which dated to the second
In years past, "they took co- Spanish period, but at least one
quina from the walls put it on wall was the same age as that
the ground and covered it with of its northern neighbor, Stein-
dirt to raise the grade," Stein- bach's crews have found. This
bach explains. The entire north building, at least two stories,
wall of the store is built had about four rooms on the
with the rock from the original first floor.
wall of the Benet groceries, and The southern most house,
part of the east wall contains probably a three story struc-
some of the original coquina. ture with four rooms on the
The second floor efficiency first floor, was the home of the
apartment includes two rooms, heirs of Marganett Acosta.
a small kitchen and bath, and This, too, dated to the second
the building is centrally heated Spanish period.
and air conditioned. Foundations of all three have
The exterior color is blue, be- been exposed, giving the .sum-
cause that was one of the col- mer tourists who visit St.
ors discovered on some coquina George Street an opportunity to
rocks found when the site was see just how the restoration
cleared. group goes about its work.
One such rock was used as a At present, the *orkmen are
.cornerstone. On it; outside plas- "mining coquina" Steinbach
ter reveals a succession of ex- says. Like the Benet store sit-
terior colors. Yellow was appar- nation, the workmen discovered
ently the last color, red the pieces of old coquina when they
middle and a very pale blue the began demolition of the store
first, complex located just south of
Area Cleared the general store site. They are
Just south of the Benet Store, also tearing down the entire
Steinbach's crews have been west wall of the store complex,
busy clearing land. for the re- which is solid coquina.
construction.of three houses, one This old rock, now stacked in
of which dates back to the first' high piles around the area, will
Spanish period. '* be used in the reconstruction of
Unlike the Benet store, which the three homes.
is a 'project of the restoration' Once 'these three structures
commission, the reconstruction' are completed, it is hoped that
of these three buildings is being they can be utilized for "furth-
undertaken by the St. Augustine' er development of the Interna-
Restoration, Inc. companion tional Center," Newton ex-
a g e n c y to the commission plains. At present, the commis-
Funds for this group are more' sion is continuing -negotiations
limited, Newton explains, so with the Mexican. government,
work on this site will probably and Agustin Salvat, minister of
continue at a slower rate. tourism, is "very enthused about
Through the "generosity of it," Newton says. It might be
donors" the property was ac- possible that two could be utiliz-
quired, Newton explains, and ed by the Mexican government,
now others must be found "for according to Newton, with the
funds to construct the build- third one operated by the Cen-
ings." tral American common market
Steinbach's findings have re- organization.
vealed that three private homes Negotiations however, con-
originally stood on the property. corning this phase of develop-
The northern most one, a resi- ment are still continuing.
dence dating back to the first Other Projects
Spanish period, probably re- Meanwhile, plans are being
mained through the years, and formulated for other restorationi
had additions added to it from properties. This week, Stein-
time to time,- Steinbach says. It bach expects to put his crews'
was'probably a five room to work clearing the Judson
house. property at the corner of Cuna
Occupying the'house during and Charlotte streets.
he 'fit Spanish Acprid were- Thu.s. far, a floor of a "real
fle,- i t'F'!'^'lr~)l''tr')(~i-,(?*:l ,~w -r k- ,-i f ,crio
pear on any maps" has been
discovered t h e r e, Steinbach
says. "We'll probably put the
real old one back," he says, ex-
plaining that investigation will
continue as demolition progres-
With the arrival of fall, New-
ton anticipates that work will
begin on reconstruction of a
high wall, once located on the
east side of Government House.
For the present, work in- the
tourist center has been com-
pleted, Newton explains, and
now, energies will be directed
to restoration of the governor's
mansion. One of the biggest
problems, however, is lack of
material concerning the interior
of the mansion.
It is hoped this information
can be found in the Spanish
archives, and current efforts in
Madrid are being directed to-
ward this end, according to