Old Spanish hospital is now an art gallery
Window to the west is a Stormy creation
Record Photos By Anne Carling
By ANNE CARLING
St. Augustine artist Stormy
Sandquist is about a year ahead of
schedule now, but it's working out
all right. 1979 was the year she had
set aside to go to Europe. Instead,
she finds herself living in the heart
of old St. Augustine, in, of all
things, an old hospital. That's
something, she grins, for someone
who "faints at the sight of blood."
FRIENDS TOLD HER about the
vacant hospital building, but she
had to be dragged "kicking and
screaming" because she hates the
thought of hospitals. However,
once she got inside and "saw it, it
She's put much hard work into
the project and she's still working all
the time, Stormy observed, but it's
been a lot of fun. She moved into
the place in September and spent a
pieces she's discovered at garage,_
flea and barn sales around the
Gallery guest register, for
example, is a book which she came
across in Bayard and which carries
an 1886 date; her typewriter is an
ancient Underwood which she
discovered at a Michigan barn sale.
It was on the ground, with grass
growing out of the keys, and she
paid $10 for it. Now that it's
renting, he thought that was all
So, Stormy and her two cats
don't mind him at all, and Roca is
happy with things the way they
"I tell the tourists and they love
SHE NOTES, TOO, THAT the
visitors to this city come from
around the world, and they enjoy
buying good art and spending for
And, although she wasn't able to
go to Europe, Europe has come to
Stormy, if her guestbook is any
Operating a gallery has made
Stormy revise her life. "It takes a
little getting used to" putting herself
on regular hours. For awhile, it was
"a shock to my system."
It hasn't bothered her painting,
though, because she does that in
early mornings -or after the gallery
closes -- it's opened from 10 a.m. to
5 p.m., closed Tuesdays; and open
1 to 5 p.m., Sundays.
On her day off, she, like those
before her, tends to her gardening.
This time, though, it's not an herb
garden, but lots of plants.
Opening her own gallery was
"something I wanted to do next
yr-a-....I wasn't all that ready for it,"
the blonde-haired Stormy grinned,
seated in her Aviles Street "San-
dquist Gallery," just inside the
arched entrance, off King Street.
But, last summer, she learned
about the availability of the Spanish
Military Hospital, and "I would
have been a fool to give this up."
She's got everything she wants in
one central location -- her own
gallery on the first floor, living
quarters upstairs and plenty of
room to keep up with her own
A RESIDENT OF ST.
AUGUSTINE for the past three
years, Stormy came to the oldest
city via Miami. She chose the area
after participating in the St.
Augustine Arts and Crafts Festival.
She had been here as a child,
Stormy explained, but was re-
introduced to the city through the
arts and crafts festivals.
Until she found her gallery-home
combination, Stormy spent most of
her time on the road, traveling to
35 to 40 arts and crafts festivals
throughout the country. When not
in the shows, she'd dig through flea
markets and garage sales, finding
treasures for her home.
Now that she's a St. Augustine
businesswoman, though, she will
limit her traveling to about four to
six shows per year.
solid month preparing for her Oct.
1 formal opening. Not only did she
prepare the downstairs to house the
gallery of all American artists and
craftsmen and get their art work
checked in, but she readied the
upstairs for her living quarters.
(When she opened the gallery
Stormy had 37 artists, and now she
has 53 representing 14 states.
The second floor was one large
room and a smaller one, with no
closet space. To make it liveable,
officials of the Historic St.
Augustine Preservation Board
allowed Stormy to participate in the
second-floor remodeling. She
designed the north wall closet,
window seat, storage area, and she
also aided in maintaining the open
feeling in the living-dining room,
A carpenter of note, Stormy also
took out her own building tools and
made herself bookshelves, plant
stands and she even created her
own west window -- there is none,
so she created a fake one. That
helps with a feeling of space, as
well, Stormy grins, because the low
ceilings took some getting used to,
especially if you suffer from
claustrophobia, like she does.
SSTORMY'S HOME AND
GALLERY are furnished with
treasures she's acquired throughout
the country. She describes it as
"early landlord and late Salvation
Army," but she really has some fine
repaired, it works fine -- types as,
well as Stormy does! i
LEGAL. DESCRIPTION of the
Spanish hospital property is "lot 2,
block 28." Before the Spaniards
built several houses on the lot, says
Stormy's brochure for the gallery --
one which combines the history of
the location with features of the
gallery -- "there was a large
common Indian (possibly Timucan)
grave a few yards north of the site.
By 1766, the property held a stable
which a Scotch carpenter, William
Watson, remodeled for his home."
Eventually, the property came
into the hands of the Spanish
Government, and they remodeled
the building for use as a pharmacy
and apothecary shop, with five
rooms for patients, lumber and
storage and upstairs quarters for
A medicinal herb garden was on
the grounds, as well.
Use of the property changed
through the years -- a Chinese
laundry, bookstore, law office,
meat market, storage and office
and, finally, the Tradewinds Bar
and Cocktail Lounge.
In 1964, the Tradewinds moved
from the location, the red brick
building which had housed the bar
and lounge was destroyed, and
reconstruction began of the Spanish
It was opened as a museum in
1967, closing about a year and a
A MODEL OF THE hospital
facility provides visitors to the
gallery with a look at what the
museum featured, and Stormy is
happy to tell all visitors about the
site and its history. She enjoys, too,
telling them a story which she made
up about the ghost of the hospital.
It's not true, and the visitors know
it, but they get as much of a kick out
of the story, as she does telling it.
This part is true -- Matheo Martin
Hernandez was one of the owners
of the property. He died in 1799,
without heirs, and willed the
property to Dr. Jose Roca, who
tried to claim it until 1800. He died
two years later, leaving the claim
open. During the litigation, the
Spanish continued to use the
building as a -hospital, and for a
time, despite its bad condition, the
structure was considered the main
hospital for the town.
Stormy tells visitors that Roca still
claims the property as his own and
his ghost is a frequent visitor. When
she told him that she was only
Fireplace is focal point of the bedroom
Bedroom features number of antique treasures
Stormy, pet relax in spacious living area
Storage in closets, window seats