Page Two, The St. Augustine Record TV-Feature Section, January 8-9, 1972
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', By ANNE CARLING
An architectural historian was in St. Augustine this week,
"'etting acquainted," lmth the historic Ximenez-Fatio House, as
the first step under a grant from the National Trust for Historic
Preservation in the United States.
Charles E. Peterson, F.A.I.A., Philadelphia, Pa., was in the city
SMonday through Wednesday, investigating the house, studying
Ss documents relating to it and talking with personnel from both the
Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board and the St. Augustine
He returned to Philadelphia late Wednesday, and will now draw
up a report which will include recommendations of what might be
the next steps as the Colonial Dames begin restoration work of this
historic structure, which dates back to between 1797 and 1802.
Acquired by the National Society of Colonial Dames of
America in Florida in 1939, the Fatio House, as it is known
to many St. Augustinians, has been preserved by that group
ever since. This past October, the group, which has as its
president Mrs. Judson Freeman, Jacksonville, announced that
turesque the organization was one of 16 grants announced which
together totaled $10,200, and the Colonial Dames was the first
historic organization in Florida to receive funds from the program of
welling the National Trust, supported by a special grant from the
Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
of historic Among notification of the grant, a three-point program was set
z-Fatio House up first architectural investigation; followed by archaeological
investigations as the second and third phases, and this was followed
top photo, Mrs. by the Colonial Dame examining a list of names recommended by
reeman, Colonial the National-Trust of those who could conduct architectural in-
president, and vestigations.
rural historian Peterson, a veteran in this field, who began his professional
career in 1929 with the National Park Service in San Francisco,
Peterson seated has served as architect of many historic building restorations
upstairs drawing including Yorktown, Va., and Society Hill in Philadelphia, and
the historic Aviles he has directed sizable programs of restoration scattered from
Boston to the Virgin Islands to St. Louis.
lome; in center Oringinator of the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1933, it
irs. W. G. Lock- has become one of the largest archives of its type in the world. In
study committee addition to this work, Peterson was appointed adjunct professor of
for the project, architecture at Columbia University in 1964 for work in its new
Ifor the project, graduate program in restoration and preservation, he has authored
by the stairway numerous articles and serves as an officer for many organizations
to the second related to the restoration field.
ind in bottom Reunion
Examining this house was much like a reunion for the Minnesota
the separate native, he suggested this past week, explaining that his very first
facility is shown. restoration job was a Spanish one "41years ago this month." It was
son says that the an old mission church in Arizona. Peterson added that he is par-
ticularly interested in Spanish restoration, as it represents the first
is one of the settlers in the New World.
resting features In the three days he was here, Peterson learned some very
welling, and lists interesting facts, and he was particularly fascinated by his
hen as probably discovery of Francisco Pellicer who "very likely" constructed
the Ximenez-Fatio House.
est structure on Pellicer came to St. Augustine from New Smyrna, Peterson
operty. (Record relates, and he was a carpenter by profession, as well as the
by Phillip father-in-law of the first owner of the house, Ximenez.
Pellicer may have built the original house, as well as its
addition. In fact, "it's very likely."
In addition, the architectural historian discovered that the
home's addition is older than it was at first thought. The Colonial
Dames had thought that the wing dated back to the 1850s, but
Peterson has discovered that it was, instead, about 1815 or 1820.
"That stairway is the most unique feature of the house,"
Peterson continued, gazing at a winding stairway which leads to
the second floor. "It's a very old one in good shape. Most of them
get banged up and disappear."
Woodwork is one of the keys to finding out about a house, he
S added. Moldings are an invaluable way.
Peterson also found some of the original shingles on the roof of
the original structure. They had been covered up when the new
wing was added.
Andres Ximenez, who built the house in the late 1700s or very
early 1800s, was a merchant who operated his business on the
property. One of the oldest houses in the city, it is constructed of
In 1855, the property was purchased by Miss Louise Fatio,
daughter of Don Francisco Felipe Fatio. It was purchased by the
Colonial Dames, an organization devoted to the preservation of
history, from the late Judge David Dunham, a descendent of the
Fatio family, and at the time of its purchase, was serving as
headquarters for many area artists.
The house consists of 16 rooms, plus a three-room garret and
separate kitchen, which is probably the oldest structure on the
... The Ximenez-Fatio House is open Thursdays during the winter
months, with members of the Colonial Dames, serving as
S. hostesses. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., each Thursday.