Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: (Block 15, Lot 7) Joaneda House
Title: $35,000 'White Elephant' Perfect Gift foro Mother
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094802/00016
 Material Information
Title: $35,000 'White Elephant' Perfect Gift foro Mother
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: (Block 15, Lot 7) Joaneda House
Physical Description: Clipping/photocopy
Language: English
Creator: Powell, Nancy
Publication Date: 1972
Copyright Date: Public Domain
Physical Location:
Box: 6
Divider: B15 L7 Joaneda - Architecture, History, Archaeology
Folder: (B15 L7) Joaneda House
 Subjects
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
57 Treasury Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Joaneda House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 57 Treasury Street
Coordinates: 29.893459 x -81.313492
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094802
Volume ID: VID00016
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: B15-L7

Full Text

IF HER NAME'S ELIZABETH TOWERS



#'$35,000 'White Elephant'




Perfect Gift for Mother


Story and Photos
By NANCY POWELL
Times-Union Staff Writer
ST. AUGUSTINE What
do sons give a 73-year-old
mother who seemingly has
everything?
A mother, who, for exam-
ple, takes p daily dip in a
heated swimming pool .in
Jacksonville regardless of the
weather.
Try this for size: A gutted,
vandalized, 166-year-old house
on a sleepy, one-way street
barely wide enough for a
horse and carriage in down-
town St. Augustine.
A less imaginative, senti-
mental and historically orient-
ed woman than Elizabeth
Morley Towers might have
thrown up her manicured
hands in despair and declared
the shambles purchased for
her by Bill and Charlie Tow-
ers a $35,000 white elephant.
*But darling it's just
what I have always wanted
since I met St. Augustine in
1918," she declares, and
means it.
THOSE CRACKED, aging
rock walls are steeped in his-
tory. And, as far back as 1763
people have lived on the site
at the corner of Spanish and
treasury streets. Hie present
structure ... or what is left
of it was built in 1806.
The gift which Mrs. Tow.
ers says her late husband,
Daughtry, a Jacksonville at-
torney, would have written off
as a Towers folly will pro-
vide- her with another golden
opportunity to practice what
she preaches as a member of
the' Historic St. Augustine
Preservation Board.
It would be far cheaper to
call a demolition crew and
then build a new house from
scratch than to follow through
with her plans to restore the
structure according to resto-
ration standards as a vaca-
tion. and weekend home for
herself and her sister, Elean-
or Morley Vail, also of Jack-
sonville.
S-But, in her opinion, it would
be a sacrilege to destroy what
is left of the Montgomery sis-
ters antique shop which
closed in 1966.
'WO CHANGES will be made
in the actual structure and
character of the building -
which once housed a $10,000
doll collection owned by the
Montgomerys, who purchased
the house in 1925.
The street entrance to the
old house will be locked per-
manently because there is no
sidewalk on the alley-wide
-stteet and "we could step
right out the front door in
front of a carriage horse,"
Mrs. Towers explained.
The new entrance will be
routed through the gate of a
walled garden to be built
around an ancient well after


the grounds are cleared of
luxuriant scrub palmetto
growth, sand spurs and di-
seased plants.
Panes in one of the cracked
windows at the front of the
house will be replaced with
stained glass ... she thinks.
SHE HAS NOT as yet
"conned"' the architect from


restoration into drawing up
plans according to state
standards.
"I would pay him of
course," she hastened to add,
"but the problem is he may
not have time and I'll have to
look elsewhere."
An indoor stairway will be
built to reach the two rooms
upstairs which now can only


be viewed through holes in
the decayed ceiling.
The o r i g final stairway,
which was outside, has disap-
peared along with fixtures
and doors at the rear of the
house.
The .restored house will not
have an upstairs and down-
stairs maid but it will keep
the fireplaces on both floors


116
ffj ~ ~ ^^ fr


Morley Sisters Examine Ancient House
Mrs. Towers (left) and Mrs. Val proclaim the crumbling ruins
Ancient City house with a "Morley Sisters" sign (above) and inspect
year-old structure (below) with an eye toward complete restoration.


of their
the 166-


because they both work and
every house should have two
fireplaces.
TRANSFORMING a wreck-
age into something of value in
the Ancient City is nothing
new for Mrs. Towers who had
her first taste of what resto-
ration entails back in 1939
when as a Colonial Dame, she
assisted with restoration of a
house here.
"We were the first patriotic
society to purchase an old
house and put it back in
shape," she said, recalling the
warfare with roaches, rats
and owls as the Dame$ assist-
ed with scraping floors, wash-
ing and painting walls.
Later, when she was ap-
pointed by then Gov. Haydon
Burns to the original Preser-
vation Commission in 1965,
she helped raise $52,000 in
Jacksonville to build the His-
panic Garden in the restora-
tion area.
It was a project originally
estimated to cost $5,000.
She knows the work and
money involved.
The Morley sisters' house
will be her first one-woman
project one she hopes will
generate interest and inspire
others in "our Bold New City"
to help with the restoration of
"our Ancient City."




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