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ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA., SUNDAY MORNING, JUNE 29, 1958
Rebuilding of Old St Augustine Nearer
Raises Hopes Of
^, B, _- -, A-
EDITOR'S NOTE: The St. Augustine Restoration project
was given top feature billing in yesterday's Miami Herald and
appeared on page one of the state section, under an 8-column
streamer heading. The article, written by W. W. Wilson, with
photographs by Charles Olson, was prepared at the request of
John Pennekamp, Associate Editor of the Herald, who has
shown a strong interest in the preservation and restoration of
old St. Augustine. ..-.
By W. W. WILSON
ST. AUGUSTINE-The restoration of the St. Augustine of cen-
turies ago, or at least part of the old and history-rich city, may yet .
become a reality despite several "near misses" in years past. ,. :-:...
The most recent development is the release of $8,450 by the .- .; .
State Cabinet to assist in the initial phase of the planning and the,- .
approval of Dr. Verne E. Chatelain as executive secretary of the
advisory committee which will draw up the plans for thedevelop- Y
ment. Chatelain will act as director of the project and evaluate -" -..
Dr. Chatelain wa.s originally named to this post when Frank D. ,
Upchurch, chairman, and the Florida State Board of' Parks and
byMeriaGov. LeRoy Collins.ponsibility for the stud Home of Peter Liambias, Leader of First Minorcan Refugees Speeded Trend
S Dr. Chatelain's Interest Keen T :
Dr. Chatelain is professor of history at the University of Mary-
land and has a keen interest in St. Augustine. In 1937 he came to
this city as director of the St. Augustine Historical Restorati'on which
:at that time had the interest of the Carnegie Institute.
Dr. Chatelain with a staff of well known researchers, historians,.
:archeologists and others made a complete study of early St. Au-
:.gustine in 1937 and presented a plan for the restoration and pres-
ervation of the city.
The St. Augustine Historical Society and some individuals,
have done some restoration and preservation of old buildings.
SUntil recently there has been no unified eommunity.wide at-
tempt on such a project.
The recent revival, began in the latter part of 1957 when The b
S St. Augustine Record sent me to Williamsburg, Va., to do a series,
S of stories on restoration and preservation there, ,Several weeks
ater, the newspaper's ptiblisher-owner, A. 1H. Tebault, gathered,
S .togeethe'r a group of iocal citiizei who showed a keen s inter-st il
.ievitahring the Ir'torationp. .:iect. even if.on, a- less :p.ret oouis"'
plan sn t o ie.iahized in the earlier pmpoal. '
In _larh of thiil vear Tiandt and hi, ncro'nPtri ( :" P _t: '
the, fminnr,..1 a'.: 1 ',o0 k,,a banKs. Ihe St. AuLustiie Nitlona
Bank and The Exchanre Bank, spon-oted a study itor ':to -Wil.'
The tour g'roilp couliste.1 of 55 il-diiIg business men.and wom-
ell., ep, eentinc rpi .tically eiy nviho cluhb and type. of business
in the ci.y. Tie toi returned with a new sense of appreciation of
what St.. Augustine already had in the way of: historical interest and
what could be added with some additional restoration and preser-
:Governor Expresses Interest
Shortly after the Williamsburg tour a group of prominent St.
Augustine citizens, together with a number of state leaders inter-
ested in Florida's early history met with Governor Collins in Tal-
lahassee to enlist his aid in seeking to rekindle interest in'restora-
tion of the oldest permanent white settlement in this country,
founded in 1565 and continuously populated ever since.
Governor Collins said he felt it would have an excellent chance
of progress under the authority of the Florida State Board of Parks Nati
and Historic Memorials and formally requested the board to head man
up the restoration project. ify
Meeting in Pensacola on April 28 the Board unanimously his
consented to the Governor's request and Upchurch appointed fam
five distinguished Floridians to serve on a special committee to Flo
make a study of restoration in St. Augustine and to recommend r
necessary legislation to provide state funds for the work. tion
Appointed to the committee were Dr. A. Curtis Wilgus, director five
of Inter-American Studies and professor of history at the Uri- five
versity of Florida, later named chairman; Karl A. Bickel of Sara. bee
sota; Rolland Laminar Dean, of Winter Park; J. D. Johnson, Pensa- larg
cola and Charles H. Crandon, Miaipian. Mr. Crandon was unable mar
to accept the appointment, and was replaced by August Burghard, C
Fort Lauderdale. to
SAttention On National Level t
Whether the present restoration study will bear fruit is a ques-
tion yet to be answered. The enthusiasm seems stronger than the re
1937 failure because of the state backing and because of interest in
shown on a national level.
Only recently has the National Park Service, custodian of an-
cient Castillo de San Marcos (Old Fort), and state officials come d
to an amicable agreement over a bitterly contested plan to widen
a highway adjacent to the Fort grounds. The true spirit of St. Au-
gustine remains, however, and there are still many narrow streets,
Spanish-type overhanging balconies, and historic shrines which daily
h are hosts to thousands of visitors.
The city had its beginning in 1565 when it was settled by Pedro
de Menendez de Aviles, 53 years following the discovery of Florida
by Ponce de Leon. Despite the fact that Florida was the shuttlecock
of nations she has mainly retained the Spanish influence. During
its turbulent history the town has flown four flags, Spanish, Eng-
lish, United States and The Confederacy, with some unsuccessful
attempts by the French to overcome Spanish forces here.