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Florida Master Site File, Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, Historic Properties Inventory Form - Constitution O...
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095508/00020
 Material Information
Title: Florida Master Site File, Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, Historic Properties Inventory Form - Constitution Obelisk
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Plaza: Constitution Monument
Physical Description: Application/form
Language: English
Publication Date: 1980
Physical Location:
Box: 8
Divider: Plaza - General Info.
Folder: Plaza: Constitution Monument
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
Plaza de la Constitucion (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Constitution Plaza (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine
Coordinates: 29.892493 x -81.312335
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UF00095508:00020

Full Text



FLORIDA MASTER SITE FILE
HISTORIC ST. AUGUSTINE PRESERVATION BOARD
HISTORIC PROPERTIES INVENTORY FORM

I. LOCATION & LEGAL DESCRIPTION
FDAHRM 802== Site No. 1009==
Site Name: Constitution Obelisk 830== Survey Date: 7809 820==
Address: Plaza de La Constitucion, St. Augustine, FL 32084 905==
Instructions for Locating:


813== County: St. Johns


Location: City of St. Augustine
(subdivision)


Plaza
(block)


808==
868==

868==


(lot)


Owner of Site: Name:
Address:


City of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, FL 32084


902==
Occupant or Manager: 904==
Type of Ownership: City 848== Zoning: HP-2
NR Classification Category: Object 916== Recording Date: 832==
UTM: 17 469820 3306700 890== Location: T07S R30E S18 812==
(zone) eatingn) nothingn) (T) (R) (S)
Map Reference: USGS St. Augustine 7.5 MIN 1956 (PR 1970) 809==
Recorder: Name & Title: Nolan, David (Historic Sites Specialist)
Address: H.S.A.P.B. 818==


II. SITE DESCRIPTION
Condition of Site
( ) Excellent
(X) Good
( ) Fair
( ) Deteriorated


Integrity of Site:
(X) Altered
( ) Unaltered
(x) Original Site
( ) Restored Dal
( ) Moved Date:


863==
863==
863==
863==



858==
858==
858==
858==
858==


Threats to Site:
( ) Zoning
( ) Development
( ) Deterioration
( ) Borrowing
( ) Transportation
( ) Fill
( ) Dredge
( ) Other


878==
878==
878==
878==
878==
878==
878==
878==


--


te:




II. SITE DESCRIPTION, continued.
Original Use: Government 838== Present Use: Government 850==
Date: +1814 844== Period: 19th cent. 845== Culture: Spanish 840==
Architect: 872==
Builder: 874==
Style: Spanish Colonial 964==
Plan Type: Rectangular 966==
Exterior Fabrics: Stucco


854==
856==


Structural Systems: Masonry,
Features of Structure: (942)
Window Type:
Foundation: Stone pier
Roof Type:
Secondary Roof Structures:
Porches & Balconies:


stone, (coquina)


942==
942==
942==
942==


942==
942==


Chimney Location:
Materials: (882)
Chimney:
Roof Surfacing:
Ornament Exterior: Neo-classical moulding


882==
882==


882==


Quantitative Data: (950-954)
Chimneys: 952== Dormers: 954== Stories:
Other:
Surroundings: Recreational
Relationship to Surroundings: Set on one end of plaza. Near Cathedral
and Episcopal Church.


950==
956==
864==


859==
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. PHOTOGRAPHY
Photographic Records Numbers: 860==
Contact Prints







Page 2


IV. SIGNIFICANCE
Areas of Significance: Architecture, Politics/Government. Tourism
920==
Statement of Significance: (911==)
ARCHITECTURE
This monument known as Constitution Obelisk, was erected in 1814. The
thirty foot high coquina obelisk is set on a coquina foundation. Most of
the exterior is plaster, with diamond shaped scoring marks. Marble slabs
on four sides of the base-state "Plaza de la Constitucion." The history of
the monument is given on marble plaques on the east and west sides. The
monument is situated at the west end of the Plaza and is surrounded by the
Cathedral-Basilica, Government House, Trinity Parish Episcopal Church and
commercial buildings.
The Plaza area--a central green with surrounding buildings on the bay-
front--is an essential feature of the St. Augustine town plan listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. The Plaza has been the favorite place
for the town's monuments from colonial through modern times, and it has been
a periodic focal point for community improvement drives, tree plantings, etc.
It has included many different features over the years, including an alliga-
tor pond and an open bandstand popular for music and political rallies. The
Plaza is bordered by churches, commercial and governmental buildings repre-
senting a range of construction dates of over 180 years. The buildings
around the Plaza have changed over time. There have been rebuilding on
sites after fires and demolitions, and the scale, mass and style of the sur-
rounding buildings have changed over the years. The area includes St. Augus-
tine's tallest building, the Atlantic (formerly First National) Bank. There
have been conscious attempts over the years to model or remodel buildings
in Spanish or St. Augustine Colonial Revival style. The skyline above the
Plaza is lined with the Spanish Renaissance Revival towers and domes of the
Flagler era. The area has been augmented by the creation of additional adja-
cent green areas west of Government House with public monuments put in after
World War I. The Plaza is not only a famous scenic site for tourists, it is
also located at the center of the town's commercial, religious and govern-
mental life. As a result, traffic and parking problems plague the area, and
many significant buildings in adjacent areas have been demolished for park-
ing lots.

HISTORY
The concept of a plaza or public square has been central to Spanish ur-
(over)-------

V. BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. "Real Ordenanzas para nuevas poblaciones," Hispanic American Histor-
ical Review, Vol. 4 (November, 1921), pp. 743-53; Anon., "S. Augustini pars
et terrae Florida," 1588; Archivo General de Indias 54-5-9/47 and 49 (Stet-
son Collection).
2. Juan Jose Elixio de la Puente, "Plano . de la Plaza de San
Agustin," January 22, 1764; Mariano de la Rocque, "Plano Particular de la
Ciudad de San Agustin," April 25, 1788; Ramon de la Cruz, "Inventario,"
June 4, 1821, East Florida Papers, Bundle 260, No. 1.













ban planning in the new world since the late 16th century. According to a
1572 royal ordinance, the plaza was to function as the principal recreation-
al and meeting area in the community and was to be surrounded by the most
important governmental and ecclesiastical buildings. The St. Augustine
Plaza dates from this period, although only one of the stipulated buildings,
the Governor's Mansion, actually fronted the Plaza before the early 18th
century.(1) In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Phe plaza became surroun-
ded by a cluster of newer civic and religious structures, including the
Bishops' House (later the British Statehouse and Spanish provisional church)
at the corner of St. George and King, the Accountancy and Treasury building
at the corner of Cathedral and Charlotte, the public school at the corner
of St. George and Cathedral, and the parish church (now the Basilica-Cathe-
dral). The Plaza itself contained several colonial structures, most notably
the non-extant stone guardhouse at the eastern section and the still stand-
ing constitution monument at the then center of the square.(2) Construction
of Trinity Episcopal Church and the Public and Fish markets were major chan-
ges introduced in the 1820's and 1830's, although the "Public Square" went
only as far as Aviles (Hospital) Street just west of the above markets. In
the 1870's trees, plants, and fountains were added to beautify the "Plaza
de Constitucion," a Confederate monument was erected, and the Plaza was ex-
tended east to Charlotte Street. By the late 1880's, the Plaza was ringed
by large structures, notably the St. Augustine Hotel. Smaller commercial
buildings replaced the hotel after the devastating fire destroyed the hos-
telry and severely damaged the Public Market and Cathedral in 1887. In
1893, Cathedral Place was extended from St. George Street to Cordova Street,
thus forming a smaller Plaza to the west of Government House. Although the
massive 18th century coquina Rosario redoubt had been earlier demolished to
widen Cordova Street, the west Plaza area was still engulfed by the monumen-
tal Flagler hotels on the south and west and by a cigar factory on the north.
Dramatic alterations were seen in the Plaza area in the 1920's. A bandstand
was built in the center of the Plaza, the Ponce de Leon statue was unveiled
to the east, the tall First National Bank building was constructed, and the
Bridge of Lions was opened at the east end, formerly the Plaza basin. In
the last two decades, demolition of the Bishops' House and Bishop Block
have altered the view in the northwest corner of the Plaza.(3)
This monument on the Plaza was erected in celebration of the new con-
stitutional government formed in Spain. A royal decree dated August 14, 1812,
dictated the erection of a monument and the naming of the plaza "Plaza de
la Constitucion." The newly formed municipal council Aldermen Don Francisco
de Rovia and Don Fernando de la Maza Arredondo (the younger) were appointed
to present a plan. Apparently Arredondo asked to be excused after reporting
on July 27, 1813 that the sum of money collected was not sufficient to fin-
ance an appropriate monument. It was suggested that the rubble from the old
Palacio Episcopal (present site of Trinity Episcopal Church) be used for con-
struction. The completed obelisk stood on the west end of the Plaza by Jan-











Page 3


uary, 1814. For a time it was necessary to remove the plaque proclaiming
the park, the "Plaza de la Constitucion," as the government in Spain was
overturned. Finally, in 1820, Spain returned to a constitutional rule and
the places returned. A Herculite glass frame now protects one plaque.(4)

ARCHAEOLOGY
For archaeological significance of the walled colonial city see Master
Site File Form 8SJ10.


3. Anon., "Copy of a Plan of the City of St. Augustine," 1833; John S.
Horton, "View of St. Augustine, East Florida," 1855; 1885 and 1894 Birds-
Eye Views; Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1884-1958; St. Augustine Record,
July 4, 1937 and February 5, 1950.
4. "The Municipal Council and the Constitution Monument," El Escribano,
Vol. 4, (July, 1967), pp. 4-8; Constitucion Obelisk, Block and Lot File,
Monuments, Sites, and Objects, Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board.