FLORIDA MASTER SITE FILE
HISTORIC ST. AUGUSTINE PRESERVATION BOARD
HISTORIC PROPERTIES INVENTORY FORM
I. LOCATION & LEGAL DESCRIPTION
FDAHRM 802== Site No. -) F9/ 1009==
Site Name: Paredes-Dodge House 830== Survey Date: 7902 820==
Address: 54 St. George Street. St. Augustine, FL 32084 905==
Instructions for Locating:
813== County: St. Johns 808==
Location: City of St. Augustine 12 868==
(subdivision) (block) (lot)
Owner of Site: Name: St. Augustine Historical Society
Address: 271 Charotte Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084 902==
Occupant or Manager: The Old Curiosity Shop 904==
Type of Ownership: Private 848== Zoning: HP-3
NR Classification Category: Building 916== Recording Date: 832==
UTM: 17 469715 3307115 890== Location: T07S R30E N18 812==
(zone) eatingn) nothingn) (T) (R) (S)
Map Reference: USGS St. Augustine 7.5. MIN 1956 (PR 1970) 809==
Recorder: Name & Title: Scardaville, Michael (Historian)
Address: H.S.A.P.B. 818==
II. SITE DESCRIPTION
Condition of Site: Threats to Site:
( ) Excellent 863== ( ) Zoning 878==
(x) Good 863== ( ) Development 878==
( ) Fair 863== ( ) Deterioration 878==
( ) Deteriorated 863== ( ) Borrowing 878==
( ) Transportation 878==
Integrity of Site: ( ) Fill 878==
(x) Altered 858== ( ) Dredge 878==
( ) Unaltered 858== ( ) Other 878==
X) Original Site 858==
( ) Restored Date: 858==
( ) Moved Date: 858==
II. SITE DESCRIPTION, continued.
Original Use: Priv. Res. 838== Present Use: Commercial 850==
Date: +1813 844== Period: 19th cent. 845== Culture: Spanish 840==
Style: Spanish Colonial 964==
Plan Type: Rectangular 966==
Exterior Fabrics: Stucco; stone (coquina)
Structural Systems: Masonry, stone (coquina)
Features of Structure: (942)
Window Type: DHS 6/6; fixed multipane
Foundation: Stone (coquina) wall
Roof Type: GAble
Secondary Roof Structures: Dormer, shed wall
Porches & Balconies:
Chimney Location: End, interior, ridge
Chimney: Stone (coquina)
Roof Surfacing: Coposition shingles
Ornament Exterior: Deocrative front door; red band(Zocalo) at base of
east elevation; iron grilles
Quantitative Data: (950-954)
Chimneys: 1 952== Dormers: 4 954== Stories: j1
Other: Exposed beaded beams in interior
Surroundings: Restoration Area.
Relationship to Surroundings: On street line in Restoration area; part of a
cluster of colonial buildings on the northern end of St. George Street.
Photographic Records Numbers:
Areas of Significance: Architecture, Maritime, Commerce.
Statement of Significance: (911==)
This one and one-half story Spanish Colonial style structure, at 54
St. George Street, known as the Paredes-Dodge House, was built between
1803 and 1813 and is one of the surviving colonial structures in St. Aug-
ustine. As is typical in colonial architecture, the coquina house abuts
the street line, and the property is enclosed by a coquina wall constructed
in the 1940's. Architectural research indicates that the street facade was
formed by raising on existing street wall to its current height. The house
shares a common chimney and coquina first floor wall with the adjacent
Rodriguez-Avero Sanchez House to the north. The original 11 inch width of
the south wall of the latter house was increased to 24 inches when the north
wall of the Paredes-Dodge House was reinforced against it. Three dormers
punctuate the gable roof on the street side of the building. Two major win-
dow openings are on the first floor of the street facade and the casement
windows and the double hung 6/6 windows are enclosed by carved iron grilles,
an inaccurate portrayal of typical St. Augustine Colonial Rejas. The house
has undergone several major changes since colonial times. Map (1833 Anonymous
and 1860 Dorr) and architectural evidence indicate that the original struc-
ture consisted of only two rooms, the easternmost or street rooms, and that
two rooms were built behind them in the late territorial or early statehood
periods (1833-1860). Moreover, the original gable roof was retained and a shed
roof was extended over the coquina addition. On site inspection of the build-
ing reveals two evidences of a mid-19th century alteration: The roof slope
over the two west rooms is not a highly pitched as the slope of the original
gable roof and the half-story is found only over the two east or original
rooms. Thus, the Paredes-Dodge House resembled the adjacent Rodriguez-Avero
Sanchez House in size, configuration, number of rooms, and building materials
until the mid-19th century. The possibility also exists that both structures
had rear porches where the west rooms are today. Another change occurred
during the commercialization of St. George Street after the Civil War. By the
1890's, a second street door was opened in the southernmost section of the
building, perhaps to maximize commercial usage of the structure. The spacing
on the front has not changed since the late 19th century, although an effort
has been made to make the building appear more in the colonial tradition by
adding double hung 6/6 windows and grilles over the windows, and by painting a
1. Pedro Ruiz de Olano, "Plano del Fuerte de San Agustin de la Florida,
y sus contornos," August 8, 1740; Juan Jose Elixio de la Puente, "Plano de
la . Plaza de San Agustin," January 22, 1764; Mariano de la Rocque,
"Plano Particular de la Cuidad de San Agustin de la Florida," April 25,
1788; East Florida Papers, Escrituras, 1784-1821; Albert Manucy, The Houses
of St. Augustine, 1565-1821 (St. Augustine, 1962), pp. 22-25 and 41-47;
Patricia Griffin, "Mullet on the Beach; The Minorcans of Florida: 1768-
1788," Ph.D. diss. (University of Florida, 1977), pp. 106-108 and 134-151;
red band (zocalo) at the base of the facade, a common practice in Spanish
and Spanish Colonial Architecture. In mid-1948, the owner of the buildings,
the St. Augustine Historical Society, undertook stabilization of the structure
The openings on the St. George St. Elevation were reinforced with "I" beams
and a 32 foot 3/8" by 12" steel plate was fastened in the east wall and an-
chored to the ceiling joists to reinforce the coquina wall. The southeast
and southwest rooms were replastered on the first floor. On the second
floor, new flooring was laid over the original in order to level it, and
a bathroom and kitchen were installed in the south end. Dormer windows were
placed in the west roof slope for ventilation. The stairway from the first
to second floor was rebuilt, and the entire roof was reshingled with Johns-
Manville asbestos shingles.
The area of the old colonial city between Hypolita Street and the City
Gate has been the major area of restoration efforts over the past two decades
and is one of St. Augustine's leading tourist attraction areas. There are
eight colonial buildings and structures in the area, a number of reconstruc-
tions, and other buildings designed or remodeled in the St. Augustine Colon-
ial Revival style. Restorations and reconstructions line most of St. George
Street. Elements contributing to its colonial ambiance include buildings con
structed right at the street line, walls lining the street (some of tabby or
exposed coquina), overhanging balconies and ornamental rejas. Side streets
like Spanish and Cuna still have a number of post-colonial buildings. The
bayfront has a number of commercial structures of modern vintage. The area
generally retains the old colonial street patterns, though there have been
major alterations around the City Gate and bayfront. Traffic is limited in
the area and banned on St. George Street, but there are still serious traffic
and parking problems because the area is so heavily traveled. Because of the
commercial value of the land, there are continuing pressures for new develop-
ment in the area. It is an area of combined tourist, commercial, and resident
tial usage. It is bounded on the east by the Castillo de San Marcos, the
seawall and the bayfront. On the west it is bounded by the Model Land Comp-
any subdivision developed by Henry Flagler. This section of the colonial
city is part of the National Landmark District, listed on the National Reg-
ister of Historic Places.
The northernmost section of the walled colonial city was bounded in the
18th and early 19th centuries by the Cubo defense line and City Gate on the
north and by the Rosario defense line, present-day Cordova Street, on the
west. This area first developed in the late 17th century as a work camp dur-
ing the construction of the Castillo de San Marcos and later as a neighbor-
hood after the completion of the fort in 1695. All structures were destroyed
in the 1702 seige of the city, those generally north of Cuna Street by the
Spanish to establish a clear field of fire from the fort, and those south by
the invading South Carolinians. By mid-century buildings had been rebuilt
mainly along St. George and Spanish Streets, and a number of them still stand
on St. George: Avero, DeMesa, Arrivas, Rodriguez-Sanchez, and Paredes Houses
During the British period, the Minorcans generally settled in this section
of town, and it remained the "Minorcan quarter" well into the 19th century.
New construction continued in the Second Spanish Period (1784-1821), with
a number of extant structures, such as the Triay House, the Oldest School-
house, and the City Gate, dating from this period.(1) By the mid-19th cen-
tury, development expanded westward along Hypolita and Cuna Streets. The
post-Civil War years brought intense commercialization to part of Hypolita
Street and all of St. George Street as the main thoroughfare became lined
with shops, boarding houses, and large hotels. The areas off of St. George
Street remained essentially residential, and Spanish Street became by 1900
one of several exclusively Black neighborhoods outside Lincolnville, with
its own school and church in the southernmost block of the street. St.
George Street underwent major changes in the late 19th and early 20th cen-
turies with the construction of the massive city hall at Hypolita Street and
with the demolition of colonial structures and the erection of brick commer-
cial buildings.(2) This section of the street gradually deteriorated into
a depressed business district. Since 1959 the Historic St. Augustine Pres-
ervation Board, in conjunction with the St. Augustine Restoration Foundation
and private citizens, has restored and reconstructed twenty-five buildings
along St. George and Cuna Streets as part of a movement to recognize the
city's disappearing colonial past. Several of the Preservation Board's build-
ings are operated as part of a living-history museum, San Agustin Antiguo.
In addition to the Restoration Area, this section of the city, especially
along Spanish and Cuna Streets, also has a large concentration of 19th cen-
tury buildings, particularly from the pre-Flagler era, and even some pre-
Civil War structures. Avenida Menendez, formerly Bay Street, has become a
modern commercial street adjacent to both the Restoration Area and the
Castillo de San Marcos.(3)
The colonial structure at 54 St. George Street, the Paredes-Dodge House,
is best known for its association with the adjacent Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez
House to the north, and for its use in the early 20th century as the dodge
This site formed the northernmost parcel of a lot owned by Antonio Jose
Rodriguez in 1764. Rodriguez, an elderly, invalid infantryman, owned two
tabby houses on his property, although they were situated at the southern
end. One of there buildings (46' Cuna Street) was reconstructed by the St.
Augustine Restoration Foundation, Inc. in 1969.(4) Rodriguez' property was
transferred to Jesse Fish when England gained possession of Florida in 1763-
64, and Fish sold it as well as the extant Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House
to the north to Joseph Dyason in late 1768. By this time, however, the two
tabby houses had already been demolished.(5)
When Spain reacquired Florida in 1784, this property reverted to the
crown which soon granted custody of the small house and 23 Vara (63.25 ft.)
lot to Colonel Antonio Fernandez, the son-in-law of Antonia de Avero, the
proprietor of the house in 1764. Fernandez, commander of a dragoon company,
returned to St. Augustine to regain the former Avero properties.(6) In 1791,
however, Governor Quesada sold at public auction properties that had become
royal patrimony at the resumption of Spanish dominion in 1784. Don Juan
Sanchez, a Spaniard who held the important position of chief master Caulker of
the royal works, purchased the house and lot and enlarged the one story, one-
room, coquina structure to a two-room, one and one-half story building with
a fireplace and chimney bulging out of the south wall.(7) The enlarged
house sat on only half of the 23 Vara lot, and in 1803, the year after San-
chez' death, his widow, Marie del Carmen Castaneda, sold the vacant southern
portion (54 St. George St. property) to Juan Paredes, a mariner from Mallonca.
Castaneda also gave him wall-sharing rights (arrimo), that is paredes was
allowed to reinforce his house against the existing Castaneda house to the
Paredes construction a one and one-half story stone house, and, in building
up to the Castaneda house, connected his fireplace into the existing flue.(8)
On May 4, 1813, Juana Paredes, the daughter of the deceased sailor, sold
the property for 1,300 pesos to Pedro Fucha, a farmer and landowner along the
North River who also acquired the Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House three weeks
later.(9) Sometime between 1813 and 1834, Esteban or Stephen Arnau acquired both
houses. Deeds documenting the transfer of both properties are not found in
Spanish or American records, although Arnau appears as legal properitor
on the 1834 clements map of the city.(10)
In 1851 Esteban's widow Margaret D. Arnau recieved this house as part of
the settlement of his estate. The property stayed in the family until the
1890's. Some recollections of this house during the Arnau ownership were
given in the St. Augustine Record in 1937:
"Miss Anna Arnau lives in a cottage on Spanish Street that
is on part of the property the Arnaus owned for long years,
starting in the second Spanish occupation. Miss Arnau's fa-
mily owned and lived in the coquina house on St. George Street
known now as the Old Curisity Shop.
"The garden was at the south of the house and until quite
recently one of the old grapenes was still living in Miss Arnau's
present garden, that was at the west of the old coquina home.
"Miss Arnau states, as did the late Mrs. George Gibbs, that
the portion of the house north of the big chimney in the main
room of the Old Curiosity Shop used to be but one story in
height. When the house was divided into two holdings Miss
Arnau does not know.
"Many things grew in the Arnau gardens. Among others, lufas
hung from vines. When her brother had dried and prepared them,
Miss Arnau says she made them into hats, made trimming from
the lufas for the hats and they were sold in Mrs. Segui's shop.
Miss Arnau does not recall any one else making lufa hats for
which there was a great craze at one time as their light open-
work fibre made them particularly adapted to a warm climate.
"Miss Arnau is one of the limited number of descendants of
second regime families who are still holding a portion of
their old lands and living upon them. The Arnaus were early
listed and in 1788 Francisco Arnau had the last house on the
west side of St. George Street with no building between his
house and the fortified line and city gates.
"Arnaus were prominent in city affairs and a Paul Arnau
resigned as mayor rather than officiate in handling St. Aug-
ustine over to the Federal Army."(ll)
In the 1890's the Arnau heirs mortaged the property to Coloniel
George L. Eastman, a prominent Flagler era resident of St. Augustine. The
mortgage was foreclosed, and in 1895 the property was deeded to Eastman.
He held it until 1900, when it was sold to James P. Dodge.(12)
Dodge was a jeweler who established a business in St. Augustine in
1885. An 1886 directory listed his as "Watchmaker and jewler and sewing
machine repairer" with a shop on Charlotte Street near Hypolita. 54 St.
George Street came to be known as the Dodge House during his tenure, and
he billed it as "The Oldest House in America, 1565." After his death in
the late 1920's, the building went through a period of vacancy until his
widow, Emma Dodge, sold it to the St. Augustine Historical Society and
Institute of Science in 1934.(13)
The building has been used as a gift and curio shop since that time,
first as Pearl Lyman Curios, then as the Barlow Gift Shop, and finally
(since the late 1940's) as the Old Curiosity Shop, under a variety of
Major stabilization and preservation work was done on the building
in 1948 by the Historical Society, and in 1959 a bronze marker was placed on
the building proclaiming:
"A Spanish Home"
"When Spanish rule returned to St. Augustine in 1783, this
property, like many others left by the English, reverted to the
Spanish Crown, and was sold at public auction. It was purchased
by Juan Sanchez and inherited by his widow, Maria Castandea.
Later owners include the Arnau Family. The present coquina
house was built about 1803 by Juan Paredes. An original build-
ing preserved by the St. Augustine Historical Society since
John Bostwick, et. al, "A Sub-Surface Archaeological Survey of the Northern
Colonial City," (St. Augustine: HSAPB, 1978).
2. Anon., "Copy of a Plan of the City of St. Augustine," 1833; 1885 and
1894 Birds-Eye Views; Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1884-1930; St. Augustine
City Directory, 1885, 1899, 1904.
3. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1884-1958; City Directory, 1959, 1960.
4. Puente, "Plano . de San Agustin," No. 69. see 46 Cuna Street
5. East Florida Papers, accounts of Josse Fish, Bundle 319, no. 99; James
Moncrief, "(Plan of St. Augustine)", March 1, 1765; Eugenia B. Arana and
Doris C. Wiles, "The Don Juan Paredes House," El Escribano, No. 47 (April
1963), p. 5.
6. Charles W. Arnade, "The Avero Story: An early Saint Augustine
Family with many Daughters and many houses," Florida Historical Quarterly,
vol. 40:1 (July, 1961), p. 24; Rocque, "Plano Particular . de San
Agustin," no. 42.
7. Arana and Wiles, p. 6; Eugenia B. Arana, "History of the property
at 52 St. George Street, St. Augustine, Florida," El Escribano, 46
(January, 1963), pp. 11-12; Earle W. Newton and Robert H. Steinbach, Archaeological
and Architectural Investigations at 52 St. George Street, St. Augustine,
Florida," El Escribano, no. 46 (January, 1963), pp. 16-19.
8. Arnau and Wiles, pp. 6-8; Newton and Steinbach, pp. 16-19.
9. Arnau and Wiles, pp. 7-8; Arana, pp. 13-14.
10. Ibid., Benjamin and I.B. Clements, "Plan of the City of St. Augustine,"
1834-35, Block 12 lots 12 and 15.
11. "Miss Anna Arnau is still living on land granted to her family," St.
Augustine Record, Sunday, July 4, 1937.
12. El Escribano, April 1963, p. 8. Deed Book YY, pp. 111-3.
13. Webb's St. Augustine Directory, 1886; City Directory 1911-12, 1927,
1930, 1934. Deed Book 106, p. 711.
14. City Directories, 1937, 1940, 1947, 1949, 1962, 1977.
15. El Escribano, April 1963, p. 9.
Historic American Building survey photo-data book Information, the Dodge
House (Paredes HOuse), St. Augustine, Florida in St. Augustine Historical
Society files on Block and Lot file, HSAPB.