Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Plaza Ponce Statue
Title: City is helping San Juan store its Ponce statue
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: City is helping San Juan store its Ponce statue
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Plaza Ponce Statue
Physical Description: Clipping/photocopy
Language: English
Creator: Feagin, Jackie
Publication Date: 1987
Physical Location:
Box: 8
Divider: Plaza - Ponce Statue
Folder: Plaza Ponce Statue
Subject: 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: 29.892527 x -81.311253
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095510
Volume ID: VID00011
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

Volume 87, No. 21
S1987 The Florida Publishing Co.

October 24, 1987

Four sections, 40 pages

City is helping San Juan

store its Ponce statue


Su arke records measurements Mike Curry makes of Juan
Ponce de Leon statue on bayfront as Dewaynon Jenkins steadies
the ladder, in photo at left. Right photo, taken in early 1970s, shows
statue of explorer in Plaza San Jose, San Juan, Puerto Rico, from
which St. Augustine's replica was made.

One good turn deserves another,
/en when it comes to statues of
panish explorer Juan Ponce de
Leon, who is credited with discovery
of Florida.
Sixty-five years ago, the city of
San Juan, Puerto Rico, allowed casts
to be made of their statue of the man
who, early in the 16th century, estab-
lished a colony on that island and
whose remains are buried there.
From those casts, the statue of
Ponce, pointing north from its pedes-
tal near the east end of the Bridge of
Lions, was molded by Gorham Man-
ufacturing Co. of New York and pre-
sented in 1923 to the city as a gift
from civic leader Dr. Andrew Ander-
son but only after Anderson and
city officials had dealt with reloca-
tion of a "comfort station" and a
pond full of alligators which had oc-
cupied the site and received some
help from President Warren G. Har-
Now, as preparations are made to
restore the Ponce de Leon statue in
Plaza San Jose in San Juan, St. Au-
gustine's statue is providing infor-
mation which, in all probability,
could not be obtained elsewhere.
Today's chapter of the Ponce de
Leon statues saga began when the
Historic St. Augustine Preservation
IBard received a letter from Emilio
Cianfoni of Cianfoni Art Restoration
fti 'i.v ,

SAlong the

Jackie Feagin
1' Regional Editor

of the St. Augustine replica of Ponce.
Cianfoni, an Italian immigrant
who now is a U.S. citizen, specializes
in restoration of statues and build-
ings. For the past 10 years he's been
the conservator at Vizcaya, working
on restoration of the Biscayne Bay
villa which last month gained inter-
national attention as the site of the
meeting of Pope John Paul II and
President Reagan.
"I am a consultant for the city of
San Juan," Cianfoni said in a tele-
phone interview from his Miami
business. He's been commissioned to
restore San Juan's statues of Christo-
pher Columbus work already in
progress and Ponce de Leon, a job
still in the research stages. The res-
toration is being done with a federal
grant, "so Uncle Sam is paying for
this," Cianfoni said.
San Juan's Ponce was cast in 1881
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.. gatta:s bais; a parade and fire- he O!d Slave Market, including trees As part of a program that inciud- py,
S works. and shrubbery, the public comfort ed recognition of Spanish-American Ma
SMI There were, however, delays. Ap- station and the alligator pool, is be- War veterans, 30 seconds of silence Str
Continued from Pge 1 A parently, some problems were en- ing removed therefrom, at the re- in tribute to those who lost their lives and
countered in getting permission to quest of a public-spirited citizen of in the great war which had ended site
at the J.L. Mott foundary, and C. make the casts in San Juan. Dr. An- this city, who has asked that the park only five years earlier, patriotic mu- the
Bupert was artist for the project, derson, in his speech during the dedi- be turned over to him for beautifi- sic and speeches, Dr. Anderson un-
Cianfoni explained. It's said that the catory ceremony, alluded to that, cation in an artistic and appropriate veiled his gift to the city. Mayor Pe- im-
statue was cast from cannon cap- saying President Harding who had manner," The Record reported. ter Perry accepted in behalf of St. ten
tured by Spaniards from the British died little more than three months "Everything is being removed, in or- Augustinians. on
in 1779. before the statue was unveiled had der that the work of the city's bene- 'The statue here surmounts a co
"I wrote a letter asking if it is the been requested to ask Puerto Rican factor may be in no wise hampered handsome pedestal of Dummerston in
same statue," and sent along a pho- authorities to permit the casting and and that he may have opportunity to granite, this pedestal as well as the the
tocopy of San Juan's Ponce, made bad done so "gladly." carry out his plans in their entirety." statue being very much, in outline po
only a few years after its dedication, Harding, incidentally, had spent a "At present nobody knows just and proportions, like the base upon see
and marked to show an estimated 20 week in St. Augustine in March 1923, what to do with the 'gators, and nu- which the Porto Rican monument la
inches of the explorer's sword that's arriving by yacht as hundreds lined merous suggestions have been made stands," The Record reported. "The te
now missing. the bayfront to greet him and his as to locating them," the report con- statue in Porto Rica contains, on the e
Cianfoni also is interested in party. tinued. "Some say put them in the bronze base for the great explorer's de
'learning if someone here can make Dr. Anderson's forthcoming gift moat up at the Fort, others say put feet, the date 1511, the year in which fin
an imprint of the missing piece of the had been announced in the lead story (them in) the pool at the head of Bay that venturesome knight became but
sword, or if he should come to St.,Au- in the Dec. 14, 1922, edition of The St. street (now Avenida Menendez), prominently identified with Porto Ri- mo
gustine to personally do the task. Augustine Evening Record. near the entrance to Fort Marion can history; and as the local statue is so
Friday morning, Susan Parker, "The generous benefactor to the (now called by its original name, a replica of the one in Porto Rica the co
historian for the preservation board, city has for some months been work- Castillo de San Marcos), others have same dae appears thereon, but on of
was at the foot of St. Augustine's ing 6n his contemplated plans of cre- suggested petitioning the Florida sae pedestal i P e de eon, bt but
bronze likeness of Ponce, jotting ating a Ponce de Leon Park opposite East Coast Railroad authorities for the pedestal in Ponce de Leon Park,ds
down measurements called down the old market place and in the space permission to put them in the rail- thedate ofthediscovery of Florida:
from city maintenance employee now occupied by the comfort sta- way park. So far the future home of
Mike Curry as Dwaynon Jenkins, an- tion," The Record informed readers, the saurians is an unknown quantity,, "The discoverer of Florida Juan
other city maintenance worker, "Dr. Anderson communicated with however, City Manager Masters Ponce de Leon landed near this spot
steadied the ladder against the brisk President Harding in an effort to ob- says. But the 'gators will not be dis- 1513."
breeze off the bay. tain from the governor of Porto Rico posed of. An inscription on the south side of
Mrs. Parker will relay informa- (the anglicized spelling was still in "The doing away with the comfort,, the base identifies the physician -
tion about the statue, including use at that time) permission that station will mean for the present,. who earlier had given the city the
Ponce's five-foot, 10-inch height would allow the Gorham Manufac- Mr. Masters says, the use of the fa-,, Anderson Circle park and later
that's including plumed hat and turning Company of New York to ob- cilities in the waiting room of the~ would give the lions which guard the
boots and 41-inch sword blade, to tain a plaster cast of the monument. bridge office, the county commis-1 Bridge of Lions as donor. Ander-
Cianfoni. The matter was referred to Secre- sioners at their meeting Tuesday '.son's daughter, Clarissa Anderson
St. Augustine's statue was un- tary of War (John W.) Weeks" who have agreed to this arrangement. 'Gibbs. has continued the philanthro-
veiled in November 1923, as St. Au- cabled the Puerto Rican governor. Later on, if a suitable location pre- .
gustine celebrated Armistice Day. It was noted, too, that Weeks had sents itself, a structure of tile and
Originally, it had been intended been requested to furnish credentials terra-cotta will be erected, and fitted
that the statue would be dedicated as to the manufacturing firm as soon as in a modern and complete manner,
part of the city's annual "Ponce de possible and that the work was being with sanitary plumbing, and every-
Leon Celebration," an event that had rushed in hopes the statue would be thing in keeping with a thoroughly
been initiated sometime prior to 1885 ready in time for dedication during up-to-date structure of the kind. It is
and by the early '20s had grown to a the Ponce de Leon Celebration, set in the desire of the city authorities to so
three-day extravaganza complete 1923 for April 4,5 and 6. place the new building amid flowers
with pageants depicting Ponce de A sidebar story revealed that the and shrubbery that it can never be
Leon's landing in 1513, Pedro Menen- site for Ponce de Leon Park already called an eye-sore, the name which
dez de Aviles' founding of St. Augus- was being cleared, has been given to the present struc-
tine in 1565, British Gen. James Ogle- That meant finding another loca- ture, City Manager Masters de-
thorpe's siege of the city in 1740; re- tion for the "comfort station" and for caredd"
the alligators which sunned them- Dedication of the statue, the
selves in a pool located east of the "principal feature" of the Armistice
seawall. Day program, also captured the No.
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underwriting renovations to
rkland, the family home on King
eet now owned by Flagler College,
I more recently, creation of a new
for the lions and landscaping on
"Ponce de Leon could not have
igined, when he sighted the glis-
ing sands of Florida and landed
the savage shores that he had dis-
ered a boundless empire, which
Sfew centuries would swarm with
countless millions of the most
verful nation the world has ever
n," Anderson said in his speech.
Ponce de Leon, Anderson told the
ge gathering, "sailed forth with
hope of finding gold and the won-
ful island of Bimini. He did not
i gold and he did not find Bimini;
he did find a continent and im-
rtality. Sauntering over those
then seas, looking for what he
ild not find, suddenly the wreath
the immortals fell upon his brow;
he knew it not. His fantastic

search for the Fountain of Youth i4
added to the interest attached to hi
memory as the discoverer of the cO<
"I think, your honor," Anderst
said in conclusion, "that we owe E
apology to Ponce de Leon for having
allowed over 400 years to slip b
without having made some suitabi
acknowledgment to him, not only fo
discovering the continent, but ini.
dentally for discovering this liti
spot which we call St. Augustine. TV
day we make partial amends for thf
neglect. ."

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