On Sunday, October 28, at 12 noon, the City of St. Augustine will
hold a brief ceremony in the City Plaza to mark the completion of the
restoration of the Constitution Monument, one of the oldest and most
distinguished public monuments in the United States. The Department of
Heritage Tourism, which is conducting the ceremony, extends an open
invitation to all residents and citizens to attend this rededication of the
nearly 200-year old monument.
The white obelisk, a familiar sight to St. Augustine residents and
visitors, was raised in 1813 to honor the promulgation of the first Spanish
constitution. At the time, Florida was still a Spanish colony. A year later,
following the overthrow of the constitutional government in Spain,
orders were issued from Madrid to destroy all such monuments in the
Western Hemisphere. The citizens of St. Augustine refused to tear down
theirs. It is one of the few -- perhaps only -- such monuments remaining
in this part of the world.
Following two centuries of deterioration and many repair attempts,
the monument has been restored to its original appearance, thanks
largely to a special grant from the citizens of the Historic District I
Association in St. Augustine. City workers have also contributed to the
restoration task, which was directed by Bob Steinbach, who for twenty-
seven years served as chief of research for the Historic St. Augustine
The original construction documents were consulted to determine
the composition of the stucco mixture used to coat the coquina structure.
Authorities in Europe and the United States on the subject of repairing
masonry objects were consulted in the process of restoration.
Two historians, Dr. Carlos Ripoll and Dr. Cecile-Marie Sastre, will
make brief presentations on the history of the monument. Dr. Ripoll, a
native of Cuba who came to this country in 1960, is Professor Emeritus at
Queens College of the City University of New York. Dr. Sastre earned
her doctorate in history at the Florida State University. An authority on
Spanish Colonial fortifications, Dr. Sastre has closely examined the
original documents that described the construction of the Constitution
After the formal dedication, the celebration will move across the
street to the Government House, where the St. Augustine Trust for
Historic Preservation (SATHP) will serve a "Barbacoa" (Bar-B-Q) in the
courtyard. Music will be provided by
Tickets for the event will cost $13 for SATHP and Historic
District I members: $16 for all others.