HISTORICAL STRUCTURES FORM
FLORIDA MASTER SITE FILE
Site 8 g-a r"2I
SITE NAME: Arrivas House
HISTORICAL CONTEXTS: 18th century
NAT. REGISTER CATEGORY: building / /
OTHER NAMES OR MSF NOS:
COUNTY: St. Johns OWNERSHIP TYPE: state govt.
PROJECT NAME: DHR NO:
LOCATION: (Attach copy of USGS map, sketch-map of immediate area)
ADDRESS: 46 St. George St., St. Augustine, Florida
VICINITY OF/ROUTE TO: West side of St. George St. between Oran
ge & Cuna Streets
SUBDIVISION: City of St. Augustine BLOCK: 12 LOT: 21
PLAT OR OTHER MAP:
TOWNSHIP: 7S RANGE: 30E SECTION: 18
IRREGULAR SEC? Y N LAND GRANT:
USGS 7.5' MAP:
UTM: ZONE: 17 EATING: 469722 NORTHING:3307130
COORDINATES: LATITUDE D M S LONGITUDE D M__ S
CONSTRUCTION DATE: +1764
MOVE: DATE: / /
ORIGINAL USE(S): priv. resid.
PRESENT USE(S): commercial
RESTORATION DATE(S) : 01/01/61
STYLE: Spanish Colonial-American Territorial
PLAN: EXTERI OR: rectangular
NO. : STORIES: 2.5 OUTBLDS: PORCHES: DORMERS:
STRUCTURAL SYSTEM(S): wood frame; masonry, stone (coquina)
EXTERIOR FABRIC(S): stone (coquina), stucco, wood weatherboa
FOUNDATION: TYPE stone wlal
PORCHES: 2-story wraparound on north & west, south logg ia, i
ROOF: TYPE gable SURFACE wood shakes
SECONDARY STRUCK. hip porch N & W
CHIMNEY: NO. 1 MTLS brick stuccoed LOCNS offset ridge
WINDOWS: DHS 12/12; blinds moveable; casement, wood, 12-
EXTERIOR ORNAMENT: chamfered wood posts, 6-panel door, rega
CONDITION: SURROUNDINGS: urban, narrow streets
NARRATIVE (general, interior, landscape, context; 3 lines only)
ARCHAEOLOGICAL REMAINS A: T THE SITE
FMSF ARCHAEOLOGICAL FORM COMPLETED? Y __ N (IF Y, ATTACH)
ARTIFACTS OR OTHER REMAINS
FMSF HISTORIC STRUCTURE FORM
RECORDER'S EVALUATION OF SITE
AREAf OF SIGNIFICANCE: architecture, tourism, military economics
ELIGIBLE FOR NAT. REGISTRY? Y __ __L.IELY, NEED INFO __INSF INFO
SIGNIF. AS PART OF DISTRICT? _Y __N _LIKELY, NEED INFO __INSF INFO
SIGNIFICANT AT LOCAL LEVEL? __Y __N __LIKELY, NEED INFO __INSF INFO
SUMMARY ON SIGNIFICANCE (LIMIT TO THREE LINES PROVIDED, SEE PAGE 3)
* DHR USE ONLY * * * * * * DHR USE ONLY ** *
KEEPER DETERMINATION OF ELIG. (DATE):
SHPO EVALUATION OF ELIGIBILITY(DATE):
LOCAL DETERMINATION OF ELIG. (DATE):
* * DHR USE ONLY * * * * * * ** DIHR USE ONLY ** *
RECORDER INFORMATION: NAME
DATE / / AFFILIATION
PHOTOGRAPHS (ATTACH A LABELED PRINT BIGGER THAN CONTACT SIZE)
LOCATION OF NEGATIVES:
PHOTOGRAPH 0 0
M A P
SUPPLEMENT FOR FMSF SITE FORMS
SITE NAME Arrivas House 46 St. George Street
NATURE OF SITE standing structure archaeological site both
A. NARRATIVE DESCRIPTION OF SITE
The colonial architecture of St. Augustine was influenced by a royal
ordinance concerning the laying out of new towns issued by the King of Spain
in 1573. It was decreed that in hot climates the streets should be narrow,
and that: "All town houses are to be so planned that they can serve as a
defense or fortress against those who might attempt to create disturbances
or occupy the town. Each house is to be so constructed that horses and
household animals can be kept therein, the courtyards and stockyards being
as large as possible to insure health and cleanliness."
Thus, in St. Augustine, the streets were narrow, and the houses built
right upon them, with walls protecting the courtyards from the street.
The Arrivas House at 46 St. George Street, a Spanish Colonial building
with an upper floor from the American territorial period,shows the influence
of these regulations in its placement on the streetline with walls to the
north and south.
It is 2 1/2 stories high with a slightly double-pitched gable roof of
north-south orientation extending over the balcony that projects on St.
George Street. The two-story open wraparound porches on the north and west
sides have their own separate hip roof. They feature simple balustrades and
chamfered wood posts which are much thicker on the first story than the second.
There is a loggia on the south side of the building, not arcaded but supported
by heavy stuccoed pillars. Stairs run from the loggia up to the inset second
The first and second stories are constructed primarily of coquina, a
native shellstone quarried on nearby Anastasia Island. Due to its porous
nature it was usually plastered rather than left exposed. All the coquina
on the Arrivas House is plastered except for the first floor facade along St.
George Street which is protected, to some extent, from the elements by the
The attic and part of the second floor are sided with wooden weatherboards
with cornerboards. There is a center ridge chimney. As recently as 1960,
fireplaces were the main source of heat.
Features from different historic periods are included in the building,
reflecting its growth and change over time. On the first floor street side
there is a projecting wooden reja at the window, typical of the first Spanish
period. On the balcony level above are three windows of 6/6 sash, each having
two small doors below that make for access to the balcony when they are opened
Arrivas House (continued)
and the lower sash raised. A similar feature is found on the Peck House at
143 St. George Street on a part of the building dating from the American
territorial period. Other first floor windows are 14-pane casements, while
the upper floors have double-hung 12/12 sash and blinds with fixed louvers.
The doors on the first floor are of vertical boards; those on the second
There is an arbor in the back yard, in the center of which is a round
The building as it appears today is the result of extensive restoration
in 1960-1. Prior to that, due primarily to extensive remodeling in the 1920s
and 1930s, it was a textbook example of how to mistreat an old building. The
restoration was based on archaeological, architectural, photographic, carto-
graphic and historical research and the resultant structure looks much as it
appeared in the earliest known photographs, c. 1870. Somewhat later photographs
shbw the balcony at one time had a jigsawn Victorian balustrade, but the decision
was made to restore it to its earliest documented appearance.
The Arrivas House was the first restoration project undertaken by the state
agency that was to become the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board.
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 Colonial
Revival style. Restorations and reconstructions line most of St. George Street.
Elements contributing to its colonial ambiance include buildings constructed
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 commerical structures of modern vintage. The area generally
retains the old colonial street patterns, though there have been major altera-
tions 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 development in the
area. It is an area of combined tourist, commerical, and residential 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 Company subdivision
developed by Henry Flagler. This section of the colonial city is part of the
National Landmark District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
B. DISCUSSION OF SIGNIFICANCE
The northermost section of the walled colonial city was bounded in the
18th and 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 during the
construction of the Castillo de San Marcos and later as a neighborhood after
the completion of the Fort in 1695. All structures were destroyed in the 1702
Arrivas House (continued)
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 construc-
tion continued in the Second Spanish Period (1784-1821), with a number of
extant structures, such as the Triay House, the Oldest Schoolhouse, and the
City Gate, dating from this period.(1)j By the mid-19th century, 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 centuries with the construction of the massive
city hall at Hypolita Street and with the demolition of colonial structures and
the erection of brick commercial buildings.(2) This section of the street
gradually deteriorated into a depressed business district. Since 1959 the
Historic St. Augustine Preservation 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 Preserva-
tion Board's buildings are operated as part of a living-history museum, the
Spanish Quarter. In addition to the Restoration Area, this section of the city,
especially along Spanish and Cuna Streets, also has a large concentration of
19th-century 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)
C. HISTORY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PAST WORK AT SITE
The colonial structure at 46 St. George Street is named for its first
documentedowner, Don Raymundo de Arrivas.
The first known building on this site was a two- (later expanded to three-)
room tabby house, probably constructed soon after the 1702 siege of the city
had left most of St. Augustine in ruins. Sometime between 1710 and 1740,
probably in the 1730s, a coquina structure replaced the tabby one, using some
of the same foundation and wall lines. The new building consisted of two rooms
with an east-west orientation, an arcaded loggia to the south and a tabby-floored
patio on the north. Documentation is lacking, but it is possible that it was
built for Diego Ripalido, a Spanish lieutenant in the infantry who in 1738
married Ursula Avero, a daughter in one of the more prominent creole families
of St. Augustine whose sister, Antonia, was then living across the street in
the extant colonial building known as the Avero House, at 41 St. George Street.(4)
Ripalido died in 1747 and Ursula remarried the next year to Raymundo de
Arrivas, a second lieutenant in the infantry who was promoted to first lieutenant
by 1759. Archaeology and cartography indicate that Arrivas made several changes
Arrivas House (continued)
to the building, including the addition of two north-south interior walls to
divide the two large rectangular rooms into four smaller square ones. A
three room wing, possibly of tabby was added to the west of the main structure
and it is possible, though not certain, that a frame second floor was added.
Arrivas, the first documented owner of the property according to a 1764 real
estate map, left St. Augustine that year for Havana, upon the transfer of
Florida to British rule. While some buildings were sold in the rushed trans-
fer period, many could not be and were conveyed to Jesse Fish, a merchant who
stayed on through the change of flags, in the hopes that he could sell them
later, as the market improved, and send the money to the former Spanish owners.
It is unclear what the exact fate of the Arrivas house was duirng the 20-year
period of British rule, but as Jesse Fish's name is connected with it, it
probably fell into this limbo. The building remained relatively unchanged,
except for the addition of a fireplace, which the British preferred to the
Raymundo de Arrivas rose in rank to Captain, but did not survive long
enough to reclaim his St. Augustine house when Florida was returned to Spanish
rule in 1784. However, a son, Tadeo de Arrivas who had been born in Cuba in
1764, came to St. Augustine as clerk of the Treasury and did reclaim it in
1785. Tadeo married Maria Perpall, a native of St. Augustine, and they had
several children. The building was described in 1788 as a "two story masonry
house, in good condition."(6)
Tadeo rose in responsibility from clerk to Minister of the Royal Chests
of Florida, including a stint as collector of customs at the troubled, rebell-
ious, smuggling port of Fernandina. When the Adams-Oris Treaty of 1819 signalled
the end of Spanish rule, Arrivas sought a job in Cuba where he was eventually
With the change of flags and the Spanish exodus there was once again a
glut on the real estate market and it was not until 1824 that Arrivas, then
in Havana, was able through his Perpall in-laws in St. Augustine, to sell the
house for $1,200 to one of the incoming Americans, John Oates. Oates died
within two years and the administrator of his will, Thomas Murphy (a former
clerk to Governor William Oppe DuVal) sold it to Alice Oates for $750. Alice
married James P. Cotter, who had been schoolmaster of a private school in St.
Augustine in 1823 and was presiding judge of the St. Johns County Court when
he died in 1829.(8)
The widowed Mrs. Cotter kept the house until 1832 when she sold it for
$1,000 to Waters Smith Jr., a surgeon in the U. S. Navy, whose recently deceased
father had served as Mayor of St. Augustine and U. S. Marshal for East Florida.
Three years later Smith, then residing in Philadelphia, sold the house to Mrs.
Dolly McLean who had come to St. Augustine in 1834 from Lockport, N. Y. and
died here at the age of 74 on November 12, 1838.(9)
The Arrivas House was left to her daughter Esther, who was married to
maritime pilot Morris H. Tucker, and they lived in the building. But those
were difficult economic times. First a freeze and subsequent infestation of
the scale insect had destroyed the once-thriving orange crop. Then the Seminole
War broke out. Finally in 1837 there was a national financial panic. Florida's
banks collapsed, proposed developments were abandoned, and real estate values
Arrivas House (continued)
plummeted. The Tuckers were forced to mortgage the inherited property and,
unable to make the payments, it was sold at public auction in 1846.(10)
The Arrivas House was bought for $310 by Eliza M. Nunes whose husband,
Albert, was publisher of the St. Augustine News and whose brother, William
Wing Loring was to become a celebrated Confederate general. One Nunes
daughter, born in the Arrivas House, was named William Loring Nunes, after
her uncle who had just lost his arm in the Mexican War. Because he was a major
at the time, his namesake was nicknamed "Major." This daughter, despite her
reverence for her uncle, went on to marry, in 1877, a former Union general,
George E. Spencer, who at that time was serving as United States Senator from
Alabama. Spencer, a native New Yorker, a Republican and-in the language of
the time-a carpetbagger, lost his senate seat when Reconstruction ended and
retired to his ranch in Nevada. In 1919 the widowed Mrs. William Loring
Spencer, after a career that included writing several novels, returned to St.
Augustine and helped to raise money for a memorial to General Loring by giving
"readings of head face and hands" in a tent by the post office. The Daughters
of the Confederacy hastened to deny that this was "fake fortune telling,"
describing it instead as "scientific psychologic readings" by "the gifted
niece of a distinguished uncle." The Loring Memorial was finally erected in
St. Augustine just before Mrs. Spencer's death in 1921.(11)
The Nunes family lived in the Arrivas House until it was sold in 1852 for
$750 to Dr. R. G. Mays, a planter and South Carolina native who became one of
St. Augustine's wealthiest citizens. The 1860 census showed him as owning
$20,000 in real estate and $100,000 in personal property. That year he was
selected as a delegate to the secession convention that removed Florida from
the Union and attended, even though struck blind just before taking his seat.(12)
In 1857 Mays sold the Arrivas House to Romalda Arnau (1832-1911) whose
husband Paul Arnau (1827-86) was Collector of the Port of St. Augustine and one
of the city's political leaders, serving several terms as Mayor over the years
from 1858 to 1877. He resigned that post in 1862 rather than surrender the
city to the Union Navy, and was arrested for a time until he produced the lenses
to the lighthouse beacon which he had hidden earlier to hinder Union navigation.
Romalda Arnau kept the house after her husband's death, living with her
daughter Antonia and son-in-law Frank Genovar, a cigar maker and, in later
years, a motion picture operator. The ground floor was rented out for stores:
a meat market, a curio shop, a luncheonette, a cobbler. After Mrs. Arnau's
death in 1911, the heirs sold the property for $7,500 to J. C. Libby who already
owned the building north of it where he lived and had a shop for his work as
plumber, gas fitter and tinner. Libby also served as a city councilman. But
in 1918 he went bankrupt and lost the Arrivas House, which was taken over by
the Peoples Bank for Savings and sold two years later to Morris Friedman (1870-
1935). After the Arnau's left, the building had been used as rental property,
occupants including the Bludwine Bottling Works and the Casas Brothers cigar
factory. During the early 1920s it became more tourist-oriented, housing the
Original Antique Shop and Crichlow's Museum of Natural History, where birds
were displayed and sold.(14)
In 1925 the Arrivas House was bought by E. E. Boyce and V. J. Chauvan.
Boyce was a former Mayor of St. Augustine and long-time sheriff of St. Johns
Arrivas House (continued)
County. Chauvin, his son-in-law, was a deputy sheriff and ran a meat market
on St. George Street. In 1926 the new owners radically modernized the build-
ing, removing the balcony and putting on a glass front. A few months later a
long-term tenant arrived: G. B. Rogolino, who sold ladies furnishings in the
modernized storefront and lived upstairs with his family. The Rogolino dress
shop occupied part of the Arrivas House until after World War II, when Chauvin
finally sold the property.(15)
Other changes were noted in 1937 by Albert Manucy, who was then working
with the Federal Writers Project: "Today the structure, remodeled to a remark-
able extent, houses a number of small shops on the first floor. The second
story is being repaired to be used for apartments. The balconies have been
enclosed; the east one is now a part of a bedroom and the north one will be
Among the businesses that came and went were watchmaker, photo shop,
newspaper office, restaurant, locksmith and antique shop.(17)
In 1954 the Arrivas House was acquired by Walter B. Fraser, a former Mayor
and state Senator who had twice sought the governorship of Florida. Fraser
operated tourist attractions like the Fountain of Youth, Garnett Orange Grove,
and Old Wooden Schoolhouse and also dealt in historic properties. He sold the
Arrivas House the next year to its last private owner, MacDonald Johnstone,
president of an office supply and printing business which occupied part of
the downstairs, along with the studio of popular St. Augustine artist Emmet
Fritz. In 1960 the St. Augustine Historical Restoration and Preservation
Commission (later re-named the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board), a
state agency, bought the Arrivas House and made it the first restored colonial
building in their overall plan for the Ancient City.(18)
Project architect was William A. Stewart. Albert Manucy and Frederik
Gjessing were consultants. Archaeological work was directed by Hale Smith of
Florida State University. Assistance was received from surviving members of
the Arnau family. The building was restored to its appearance in the earliest
known photographs from the 1870s. One interesting item that came to light was
an old slave ship manifest, found in a rat's nest in the walls.(19)
The formal dedication of this first restoration project by the Commission
took place on March 11, 1963 with the Spanish Ambassador and Vice President
Lyncon B. Johnson taking part. Johnson made a speech from the balcony of the
Arrivas House and administered the oath of office to members of the newly-
appointed St. Augustine Quadricentennial Commission.(20)
Since that time the Arrivas House has been used as office space, museum,
and shops in the restored district.
1. Pedro Ruiz de Olano, "Olano 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,"
Arrivas House (continued)
Ph.D. diss. (University of Florida, 1977), pp. 106-108 and 134-151; 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. Hale Smith, "Final Field Report of Archaeological Investigations of
the Arrivas House"; Charles W. Arnade, "The Avero Story," Florida Historical
Quarterly 40 (July 1961), pp. 1-34.
5. Puente (1764) and Moncrief (1765) Maps of St. Augustine; "Notes"
Arrivas House and Family" (HSAPB Block and Lot File).
St. Augustine Parish Records, White Baptisms 1764-1792 and
(1788) Map of St. Augustine.
7. "Notes: Arrivas House and Family."
8. St. Johns County Courthouse, Deed Book E, pp. 48-9; G, pp. 24-6;
East Florida Herald February 1, 1823 and October 15, 1829.
9. Deed Books I-J, pp. 278-9 and M, pp. 276, 279-81; St. Augustine News,
December 1, 1838.
10. Deed Books 0, pp. 387-8 and P, pp. 116-7.
11. St. Augustine News
Florida Journalism (DeLand,
Biography (New York, 1888),
26, 1919, p. 4; January 14,
April 12, 1845; James 0. Knauss, Territorial
1926), pp. 19 + 74; Appleton's Cyclopedia of American
Volume V, pp. 629-30; St. Augustine Record September
1921, pp. 4 + 5.
12. Deed Book P, p. 274; 1860 census; St. Augustine Examiner January 26,
13. Deed Book Q, p. 130;
(St. Augustine, 1978) pp. 102
Thomas Graham The Awakening of St. Augustine
14. St. Augustine City Directories 1886-1925; Sanborn Maps 1893, 1899, 1904,
1910; Deed Books 23, p. 12; 42, pp. 366-7; 44, p. 203; Record November 24, 1923,
pp. 5 + 6; April 25, 1924, p. 4.
15. Deed Book 64, p. 542; Record May 19, 1926, p. 2; October 15, 1926, p. 2.
16. St. Augustine Historical Society, Block and Lot File.
17. City Directories 1927-45.
18. Deed Book 212, p. 384; 217, p. 32; Record June 8, 1960, p. 1.
Arrivas House (continued) -8-
19. Record February 19, 1961; September 1, 1961, p. 4. HSAPB Block and
20. Record January 30, 1963, p. 1; March 10, 1963, p. 1; January 25,
1986, p. 9.
The Block and Lot files of the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board
(Block 12, Lot 21) include the following:
Historic American Buildings Survey Photo-Data Book Information, "The
Arrivas House (August 1962).
Hale G. Smith "Final Field Report of Archaeological Investigations of
the Arrivas House" (August 20, 1960).
William A. Stewart "The Arrivas House Restoration Drawings" (September