FLORIDA MASTER SITE FILE
HISTORIC ST. AUGUSTINE PRESERVATION BOARD
HISTORIC PROPERTIES INVENTORY FORM
I. LOCATION & LEGAL DESCRIPTION
FDAHRM 802== Site No. 1009==
Site Name: Government House 830== Survey Date: 7809 820==
Address: 48 King Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084 905==
Instructions for Locating:
813== County: st. Johns 808==
Location: City Of St. Augustine Plaza 868==
(subdivision) (block) (lot)
Owner of Site: Name: Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund, Inc.
Address: Elliot Building
Tallahasee, FL 32304 902==
Occupant or Manager: Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board (occupant) 904==
Type of Ownership: State 848== Zoning: HP-2
NR Classification Category: Building 916== Recording Date: 832==
UTM: 17 469740 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: Scardaville, Dr. Michael C. (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: Government 838== Present Use: Government 850==
Date: +1716/+1936 844== Period: 18th/20th 845== Culture: Span/Amer 840==
Architect: Rocque.Mariano De La: Mills. Robert; Kimball William M.; Greeley 872==
Style: Spanish Colonial Revival 964==
Plan Type: L-Shape 966==
Exterior Fabrics: Stucco
Structural Systems: Coquina, Masonry, Hollow Clay Tile, Metal, Steel, 856==
Features of Structure: (942) Skelton
Window Type: French Doors, Casement, Wood, 4-pane 942==
Foundation: Clay Tile Wall 942==
Roof Type: Gable, Intersecting 942==
Secondary Roof Structures: Balconies, Galleries, Loggia 942==
Porches & Balconies:
Chimney Location: 942==
Chimney: Brick, Stuccoed 882==
Roof Surfacing: Tile, Flat 882==
Ornament Exterior: Neo-classical Balastrade, Cast Iron Work, Cast
Stucco Moulding 882==
Quantitative Data: (950-954)
Chimneys: 2 952== Dormers: 954== Stories: 3 950==
Surroundings: Mixed Commercial/Institution/Cultural 864==
Relationship to Surroundings:Government house forms an integral part of the
larger downtown plaza complex which consists of a number of colonial structures
(Cathedral and Constitution monument),territorral structures (Trinty Church 859==
and the Public Market) _and monumental hotels of the late 1880's which suggest
traditional Spanish architecture.
Photographic Records Numbers: 860==
Areas of Significance: Architecture. Politics/Government, Military,
Archaeology: Historic 920==
Statement of Significance: (911==)
Government House, situated on the site of the first Spanish Governor's
residence, faces the original Spanish Plaza to the east and forms an integral
part of the complex of colonial, territorial and monumental late 19th cen-
tury structures that encircle the plaza. The plan of this Spanish Colonial
Revival structure forms an irregular "L" on the eastern boundary of the pro-
perty. Structures on the site have evolved in successive periods from the
irregular complex of the Governor's residence, circa 1713, to an "L" plan,
circa 1833, to a simple rectangular plan of 1873, then back to the present
irregular form according to the drawings of Architect Mellen C. Greeley in
1936. The building is currently three stories in height, steel-framed, and
has a gable roof covered by flat tile. The east wing contains three old
coquina walls, although the south wing was constructed in 1936. Each street
facade has a balcony, and the south facade of the east wing, which overlooks
a walled patio, has a two-story porch. Main entrances are in the north and
south street facades and lead into the exhibition lobby. Details of the
building are formal, massive, Spanish in style, and generally oversized in
The existing structure is framed with fireproof steel columns and
beams, concrete floor slabs and steel trussed roof. Except for the new
south wing and the extension to the west, this steel frame has been inser-
ted within the shell of an older existing wall of native shellstone (co-
quina). This existing wall was underpinned and shored at the time of new
construction. The overall existing north dimension is 144'-10", incorpora-
ting 115'-4" of the older wall. At this point, the wall breaks back to en-
close and demark the original older west wall of a distance of 7'6". The
east wall, consisting of the entire older wall, measures 39'4". The older
south wall continues from this point for 58'9" where it intersects the new
wing added to the south. This intersection occurs at an old cross wall in
the former interior, part of which is incorporated in the new interior.
All of the openings in the existing walls are new, the former openings
having been filled with masonry as required. The former recessed portion
of the east wall has also been filled in on the first floor only. The ex-
terior finish is entirely new stucco except on the lower surface of the old
north wall and the corners. Here the old coquina in irregular course
1. The following historical report is based on the sudy of Albert Manucy
and Luis R. Ana, "Historical Significance of Federal Building: Federal Post
Office and Customshouse", unpublished manuscript (St. Augustine, 1965).
2. St. Augustine City Directory, 1885-1924; Historic Properties Inven-
tory Research File.
3. For additional information on Government House see two reports in the
Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board Block and Lot File, including
Doris Wiles, "U. S. Post Office", unpublished manuscript (St. Augustine,
heights is exposed. The modern red tiled roof is gables. The modern open-
ings consist generally of wood casement windows and doors with stone sills.
Two solid wood batten doors with iron straps and exposed hammered bolt heads
are also used in the older section, and plate glass doors are used in the
new portion of the main lobby. The existing building has a large stucco
chimney on the north wall. Drawings indicate that an older chimney was used
up to a point just above the new cornice line. There is another chimney on
the west wall of the new addition.
There is a Spanish style wood balcony over the new main entrance on the
north wall and similar ones on the east wall and the south wall of the new
wing. Along the south wall of the old wing is a new two-storied Spanish
style gallery. The lower portion is of concrete floor, columns and ceiling.
The upper gallery has wood columns and railings and exposed wood beams and
ceiling. There are several enclosing walls on the property. A four foot
wall of coquina encloses a small court on the north and a similar wall en-
closed the larger patio on the southeast corner. A service area on the
west is enclosed with a 7'6" high concrete wall.
None of the interior walls and partitions are original except for the
small segment of the former cross wall, along which the new stone staircase
is built. The plans do indicate, however, segments of former north-south
walls, including former corner fireplaces. It is noted that these latter
do not coincide with the existing fireplaces. Floors on the first floor are
terrazzo, patterned with inlays of white and black marble. Walls are plas-
tered above a black marble base. The lobby screen wall is marble with metal
grill above. False ceilings in these rooms very. Exposed antiqued wood
beams with plaster in-fill are used in the south lobby and exposed wood joi-
sts and wood ceiling occur in the main lobby. Modern ornamental lanterns
are suspended from these ceilings. The chief decoration consists of orna-
mental plaster brackets at the pilasters and the plaster corner fireplaces
in the east lobby and above on the second floor.
Since the late 16th century, Government House building and site has
been a leading administrative center for colonial and American-period Flor-
ida.(1) From 1598 to the present, the site has been the location of the
Spanish governors' residence and offices, and, in the American period, fed-
eral offices (Courthouse, Custom House and the Post Office), state institu-
tions (the 1823 Legislative Council and since 1966 the main offices of the
Historical St. Augustine Preservation Board), and local organizations
(county court offices, public library, a school, and a bank).
The House of 1598. The first known structure on the Government House
site was a residence built by Governor Gonzalo Mendez de Canzo about 1598.
Undoubtedly the location of this early building was influenced by a con-
temporary event of such significance--the establishment of the plaza, or
town square. This act of 1598 conformed to a royal decree which stipula-
ted that all Spanish towns must have a central plaza large enough for
gatherings and processions. Principal buildings, such as the church, govern-
ment house, market, and so on, were to face the plaza. Canzo's house stood
at the west end of the St. Augustine plaza. His successor in 1604 arranged
for its purchase as an official residence.
The House of 1690. The Canzo house evidently served until the 1680's,
when it was replaced by a new two-story building with balconied masonry
walls. The construction required 200 days in 1689-1690, and was supervised
by a British expatriate named John Collins. This was the "governor's house"
where the shipwrecked Quaker Jonathan Dickinson found hospitality in 1696.
"We were got up a pair of stairs," wrote he, "at the head whereof stood the
governor, who ordered my wife to be conducted to his wife's apartment. I
and John Smith went into a room where the governor asked us a few questions;
but seeing how extreme cold we were, he gave us a cup of Spanish wine and
sent us into his kitchen to warm ourselves at the fire." The 1690 building
was burned in 1702 by British troops departing after their unsuccessful
siege of the Castillo. Stone from the ruined walls was salvaged for a
guardhouse on the plaza.
The House of 1713. Government House was rebuilt sometime after 1706
and before 1713, at which time the record mentions a fiesta, during which
the governor and his lady provided sweets and drinks in the patio and tos-
sed coins from the balcony to the crowds below. To this Spanish capitol of
Florida came English emissaries from Carolina and Georgia, urging de facto
recognition of their settlements, and gathering intelligence to guide tac-
tics against Spanish Florida. Here too were received Indian leaders and
their retinues who bespoke allegiance to Spain--or sometimes the opposite.
The Renovation of 1759. A major renovation of the house is mentioned
in the records of 1759, and soon thereafter a sketch and an appraisal pro-
vided detailed information for the first time. The main structure was two
stories high, with a shingled gable roof. Bearing walls were 22 inches
thick, others 11. Official entrance was on the east, through a Doric por-
tal in the masonry fence bounding the lot. The east facade was further dis-
tinguished with a street balcony. The appraisal lists 16 masonry pillars
and capitals. These are indication of a porch or gallery, perhaps on the
south face of the main building. There were 32 doors and windows, and a
main stairway of masonry. The second story had a wooden floor and a din-
ing room, with its own service stairway. There was also a single-story
kitchen-and-dining room. It was flat-roofed and was probably a semi-detached
wing on the south. Other structures included ovens, chimneys, watchtower,
guardhouse, stable, and four privies. The western part of the lot had a
grape arbor and an orchard with citrus, peach, pomegranate, fig, quince, and
cherry trees. Another significant construction was the erection in 1761 of
El Rosario, a masonry lunette on the western boundary of the lot. It re-
placed an earthwork redoubt in the western defense wall of the city.
English Renovation: 1763-1784. By the Treaty of 1763, Florida passed
into British ownership. The 21-year English occupation wrought only minor
changes in what Governor James Grant called reallyy a Very bad Spanish House
without a Chimney, or even a Window except such as were made of boards (i.e.,
shutter)." Grant's renovations included the installation of glazed double-
hung sash in 1765, and a new stable and coach house in 1766.
The Spanish Renovation of 1785-1787. Upon return of the Spanish,
the "Casa de Gobierno" underwent drastic rehabilitation. Engineer Mariano
de la Rocque discovered structural failures in the east wall. He recon-
structed and strengthened this wall, along with portions of the adjacent
walls. Walling was raised 16 inches higher and new framing was built for
the main roof and porches. The street balcony was rebuilt. Changes were
also made in fenestration. Parts of the north and south porches were en-
closed and glazed. Floors were replaced. The entire building was white-
washed, and the woodwork painted light ochre. The renovated structure was
described as three rooms in a row, 7 x 23 varas each, upstairs and down.
It had a shingled gable roof. Porches extended along both north and south
walls, and a balcony was on the east. A covered walk connected the kitchen-
and-pantry to the house. The tower adjoined the house on the west. Govern-
ment House continued to be the administrative and social center of the pro-
vince until 1811. By then it was in such poor condition that the Governor
refused to live in it.
The Reconstruction of 1833-1834. With the cession of Florida to the
United States in 1821, Government House was patched up for officers' quar-
ters, but soon surrendered for civil functions. Federal Judge Smith reno-
vated part of the building as a courtroom. Here is 1823 (before Tallahassee
became the new capital) the Legislative Council met. Once again for a few
weeks, Government House was the capitol of Florida. With Congressional
funds, Elias Wallen undertook in 1833 to reconstruct Government House in
line with the plans of Robert Mills, the talented architect, then at the
threshold of his career, who later designed the U. S. Treasury Building and
the Washington Monument. Basic provisions of the contract called for:
(1) razing the west wall, in order to extend the main building
westward by 16' 9";
(2) razing the north wall, in order to widen the main building
northward by 14' 6"; (this part of the contract was not executed,
(3) raising the main walls about 6' to a height of 24';
(4) adding a second story to the south wing.
Work was completed in 1834. While the new structure incorporated the old
east and south walls, the north and west walls were new except for whatever
stone had been salvaged from the old walling. The south porch was rebuilt
and extended along the east side of the wing. All parts of the structure
had gained in height, and the main building was crowned with a parapet.
There were now 16 rooms. One of these was the Post Office. Since most of
the others were for courthouse or other Federal functions, the building
was generally called "the Courthouse".
The Remodelling of 1873. During the Civil War, Federal troops were
quartered in Government House. By 1866 it was again in bad condition. In-
terim repairs were made in 1868; then in 1873 the structure was remodelled
a third time, using the plan of William M. Kimball. This time the south
wing was removed, and the main building and porch extended westward some
27 feet. The roof plate was raised another 3 feet; a cornice replaced the
parapet. A north porch was added in 1889. After the 1873 remodelling,
Post Office and Customs were the only Federal tenants. Other tenants from
time to time included the County Court, Public Library, Peabody School, an
artist, and a bank. Prominent late 19th and early 20th century Postmasters
included W. W. Dewhurst, mayor of St. Augustine in 1888-1889 and author of
the 1881 publication The History of St. Augustine; and Charles F. Hopkins,
Jr., grandson of Gad Humphreys, Indian agent in Territorial Florida.(2)
While Government House expanded in size, the lot was constricted. The wid-
ening of King's Road (Street) in 1839 had pushed back the south boundary;
widening Tolomato (Codova) Street in 1871 sliced away the western boundary
and destroyed Rosario lunette; and on the north, a new street (Cathedral
Place) was cut through in 1890.
The Reconstruction of 1936. Postal needs led to construction of an
enlarged facility in 1936 (dedicated February 22, 1937). In recognition
of historicity, Architect Mellen C. Greeley designed a facade reminiscent
of the 1764 sketch. He retained three of the old walls. His plan shows
these were the north wall (1834), the east wall (1713, partly reconstruc-
ted in 1786), and most of the south wall (1713). Fenestration in these
walls was changed, however, and the structure was again raised in height.
A new wing was built over the site of the old south wing, and there was
utilitarian expansion toward the west. The new "U. S. Post Office and Cus-
toms House" also quartered other Federal agencies, including Agriculture
(county agents), Coast Guard (Captain of the Port during World War II), In-
terior (National Park Service), and Justice (FBI agents). Postal need for
the structure ended in 1965 with completion of a new Post Office at the
corner of King Street and Central Avenue.
Government House was transferred as surplus property on February 14,
1966 from the U. S. General Services Administration to the State of Flor-
ida as a public monument to be administered by the St. Augustine Historical
Restoration and Preservation Commission, now know as the Historical St.
Augustine Preservation Board.(3)
ca. 1965). The plans for the 1936 reconstruction are also on file at the
Gove r nmen t -Hou.se, si. tuated on the site of the f ir "st
Spl:anish Governor's resi.ldence, Fac:es the original Spanish
pIlaz a to the east and forms aln integral part of the
comiple-.x of colonial, territorial. and monumental late 19'tl
century buildings that erncirc.le the plaza.. Its ground
plan is ell shaped. Buildings on the site have evol ved
duIrinig sucEc.ess:i ve pur'.id rf::, :: rom the irregul. ar co.:implex: of L(.he
circa 1713 Go vernlor s re si dence, to an el plan, circa
1833, to a simple rect ang ul. ar j:.)pan of 1873, then back to
the current irregular plan :'f 1936. The building i :
cuI..l'rrently thrl.e:. stories in height, steLel-framed, and has a
gable roof covered by .flat tile. The east w:i.g contains
t hle remna nts of tr t'l hlr ee o d c:. qui i na wal 1 s, alt hou gh the
remainder of the buildinglc dates from :1936. Each siitreet
facade has a balcony, and tie south facade of the east
wing, which overlooks a walled patio:, has a two--stor y
Soggi a (?) Ma :in entrances are in the north and south
street facades and lead to the :lobby., The arc hitectu:;ral.
details of the building are forma]., massive, Spanish (?)
in style, and generally over sized c in scal e.,.
The ex-ist ing bIuil din rg is f ramied with fi repilroof steel
columns and beams, concrete floor slabs and steel tr.ussed
roof Except for the new south wing and the ex!tensi on to
the west, the stLeel frame has been: inr i inserted wi thi. n the
.shell of an ex: i :isti ng wall of coq.cinA. (nativLe s:hel 1 stone) .
The exi sting wall. was underpinned and shored in 1936,. The
north f.:acade o(f the buitl. ing measures 1.44'-10, "
ii r c:o :r" a i. i J :1.1. 5:'-4" o.f t. e I, .: l derl wal. iAt t'ie west. an d
of the origi final north w.:l"l all., thlie north facade is set back::
7":6" marl::ing tlihe beq.ginni ng.r' of the original west wall .f4:
over nment house. The e asL wall of the east wing,
measure.i .s 39:'4". Trhe south wall of the east wing mIeasurc.s
58"--9" to the :po:.i nt where it intersects: the .south wing.
l"The interl-section occurs at an old cross wall in the form 'er
interi or part of which is i corporate .i.n the new
All 1 door arnd w:i. ndow open i. ngs in the exis :ting walls1 s
are e thene, te original openings having been filled with
masonry. A recessed portion of the original east wall has
been infilled on the first floor. The ext:eri or finish is
new sLucc:o e;xcep:t at the lower sur-face o:f the old north
wall and at thle corners, where thle .i rregul artly coursed
coqu ina is exposed. lThe buJ.ilding has a f lat tLied, gabl e
nc-_ I-~ .~h J .I T U ru ICJE-
P H YSI C A I.... D I C T I N
roof and wood casement windows with stone sills. Two
solid wood bal:ten doors wi. th i ron straps and e posed
hammered bolt head are: also used in the. older section,
and plate glass dors are u:-sedl in the new portion of the
main lobby,, A large stuc::co chimney rises :from the north: i
wa:l. Historic.: drawings ] indicate that an<: older ch:i.miney
rose to a point just above the cornice line of the present
building, A second chimney rises along the west f acade.
There is a Spanish style wood balcony over the new
mai ni entrance on the north wal 1l and sii l. a 1 coni
(balconnettes) on the east and south walls of the south
wing., Along the south wall of the east w:i. ng is a new
t wo--st or i ed Span i sh sty]. e gal. ]. ery. The power story
consists. of a poo:red c.::oncr ee flc : oor co lu mns and c ei l i ng.
The up per st Iory Ii as wood o lu1 umn s anid rail. ings and ex ,'. posed
woo)ld ::e-a.ms and ceiling. There are several enclosing wall. s
on the pIroperty. A four foot: c:quina wall. en] lses a
small court on the north and a similar wall encloses the
lar-ger pa :i. o at. he woutheast corner A service, area :on
theI west. is enclosed with a 7:' 6" high co::ncrete wall.,,
None of the original walls and partitions are
or ig. inal exc ept f:or a: small l s imenlt of the for mer cr' oss
wall, along which the new stone staircase is built. The
pI1 ans :i. i icat e, h ciwevere se:: gmet r s of former wa L1 s,
including former corner f:irel::.ac:s. Floors on the firs
floor are terrazzo, patterned wit h inlays of white and
blackk: marble. Walls are plastered above a black marble
base. The lobby screen wall is marble with metal grill.
above. Walls are plastered above a black: marble base.
The cei 1 i ngs in the i nt er :i or exhi i bit a vari ety of
material s and structural members. Exposed wooden beams
with p:las er i n.-fill 1 are used i n the south lobby an ild
exposed wood joists and wood : c:ei li.irng are found L d in the i main
lobl:y. Ornamental. metal lanterns are suspended: fram the
ceilings,, The ::chi ef decoration consists of or nami mental
p::) .astic brack :: ets atop pilas ters and the plaster corner
fireplaces :i.n the east lobbyl: a:nd above the second floor. -
-I ST:I ORiCAL BAC KGOROUND IiND SiTTEIMET OF: I GN I iAlC
Since the late 1 th centu.. ry, Governrme nt. 1HlaI;use and the
surrounding site has been a leading adminstrati ve- center-
f or coloni al arnd Amer i can--per i od Flori da.'d" From 1598 to
1821, the site has been the location of the Spanish
Governor'i-s residence and offices. Since that time, it has
housed a number of government al organrizat ions, including a
federal courthouse cust.omL house and p:: cst office, their 1823
Florida Legislative Cou.ncil., and, beginnii. ng in 1966 the
main offices of the Historic St. Augustine F'reservation
Board. It has also been the locaa tion of many local
organizat:i on:Is, cironq them county coLurLth offices, a public
library, a school, ard a bank,.
The earl iest documented buil ding on the Government
House site was a residence built by Governor Gonzalo
Iendez de Canzo about :l.598. The construction of the
governor'a residence was almost certainly associated with
the laying out of tI he plan which gener-all y forms the
colonial city of St. Augustine."' The plan was an expansion
of the original town whlicl-i was founded in 1566 and was
located south of the central plaza. The laying out of the
town conformed to a royal decree which stipulated that all
Spanish towns must have a central plaza large enough for
gatherings and processions. Principals buildings, such as
the church, government house e, market, and so on, were to
face thle plaza." The resi dence of Governor Mendeiz de
Canrao stood at the ,west end U.of Slt., Augiustine's cenitr-al.
plaza. Hi- successor ai lrrlant.id. fo:r 1.. s 1: purchase in 1604 as
an off i ci a res i de nce."m
The governor's resi dencet served until th lie 16i80 s when
it was replaced by a new two--story building wi Lt balconied
masonry walls.. The constru ti on required 200 days during
the years 1689 and 1690, and was su..pervised by a Dritlhi a
ex::pa:triate named James Coiliins,," The r-esidence was the
on7e in which the shi pwrec: ked ua.k::er Jonathan, Dic k. inson
found hospitality in 1696. "We were got up a pair of
stairs, he wrote "at the head whereof stood the
governor, who ordered my wife to be conducted to his
wife's apartment .. I and Jchn Smith went into a room where
the governor asked us a f: ew questLions; but seeing how
extreme cold we were, he gave us a cup of Spanish wine and
sent into his kitchen to warm ourselves at the fire. "'
The 1690 building was burned in 1702 by Bri.tish troops
departing after their unsuccessful siege of the Castil1lo.
Stone'from the ruined walls was salvage for a guardhouse
on the plaza',!E
Govern ment I li ,::;. : 1 u : ri" .b. :. 1 L. e .. w tee. n 170. a6 nr 1 713,
when,, d.ur:i.ng the course of a :fiesta,,"' th e governor' and Ihis
wife prov:i.de:d sweets an id drinkl::s in thie patio. :o anid tossed
co:i.s fr om the bal cony i.o the crowds below.1 Eng 1 :i. sh
emissaries from Carol.in an and Georgia visited the governor
at his residence, seeking ri ec gc::)ni Li con of their c:oloni.es,,
while gathering intel. i gence for futL.ure ra:i.ds on
Floirida.' Irndian l.eadeirs andc. their retinul..tes a.vlso visited::
to disc tuss their r el at ion s w ith t h Si parn is h,, :L
A major renovation: of the building was undertaken ii
17 9. '* Sioon t hereafter a eh an ci a c a app ra.i sal
provided detailed informaLtion about its appearance -For the
first t:ime.."1 The main building was two stori es high,
wit h a sh il-ing 1ecl gal:e: 1 roof:. )Bearilng wa 1lls were 22 i.n c es
thi c:k1.::,, others 11. Official eIntrai:nce was on the east,
through a Dorric portal in the masonry fence bounding the
. L. The eas t facade was further isti nguishe b:. y a.'
st r"ee t bIal cion ly. "The apple rai sal 1 i sts 16 mtnaso n ry pi ll. ars
and c:ap ital s. "Thel"sIe feat.iur es ind :i.cat ea: idli cate porch r i
gallery, perhaps on the so.luth face of thie main building.
There were 32 doors and wind Iows, and a main stairway
constructed. of masonry material <.s. The second story had a
wooden floor and a dining room w:i.th its own service e.?
sta i rway. 1 'e Tlhere was a so a s ingl e-.- store y
kitch:en-and-a-di ningii room. It was fl.at-roofed and probabl:ly
took the form of a semi. -d. :et4ached wing "on the south.
Acd :i.ional. bu. db i din g s and structures i nc udd o en s,
chim :i lineys a watchtower: a gua.id a g.eari ..ie, a stable, and four
privies. The western part of the had a grape arbor and an
or chard wi lth c i trus, I:: ecah, I a pomegranatle, f ig, quinc e, and
c:herrly trees. "' A-nothler sti:ignificant conlstr uc:tion was the
ere -ct i on i n :. 761. of E:l R osar i o, a masonry 1. L.un at te on !..L e
western boundary of the lot. It replaced an earthwor.::
redl:b:.oubt:i in the( western defense wall of the city:. ,, 1.
IUnder terms of the Tr eatl y of Par:is,, Fl or ic a became a
British p i.:ossessin in 1764. The Brit.i.sh did. not c change thl
bu ilding si.gni. fi cantly ,. G (ove : rnor James Gran t descr :i. .ed
the ::..:id1 :i. n as reallyy a Very I::acd Spanish H lo i use without a
chimney, :or I even a Window (c-. c:ep.t s ..uchIi as were made of
boards; (i ., ., shutt.er)r ,,i "'u' Glranti. 's renovations iinclu..ed
the i.installat:i on of glazed' dob..e. l-h.ung sW ash in 17655, an d a
new stable e arid coach Ih:)louse :i.n 176 .' 1'?
Upon the retur- t n of the Sp anish, t he "Cad:a' cde
Gobierlno" C..underw ent conr'si.derable r"elahabi.l:i.i tati on, Engd:i.rineer
east'i wa.. He r ec t.. struck t:. ed .. and strengthened the wall.
alon..g wi. thl :r L.i ons of adjacent walls. The walls were:
raised J. : inches, new framing was u: ..I.ilL for he main roof:
and porches., and hi.he street bal. cony was r ebuil t. The
fenesLraL.in was al a.: :hanged. P::: ts of the north and
south .pro:ches were enclosed and gla:::ed:. F lo:rs were
replaced,. The' entire b:u:i.ldi was wh:i. tewashe-d, a)::I thead
woodwor :: i pai :i (:i ht oi ::hre T he r enovated str ture L
was ci e-::.cribl:ed as. three rooms i.n a row, 7 mx 23 ::al each,
upstairs and down. It h sad a shingled able r oof. iar: ches
extended al ong bo:::. north' and s:un.. uth walls, and a balcony,
was located ion! thein east side.., (A1 covered walk: conn iected
the k:itc.i':ien andc.I paiiLry I o. to i house.. The Lo:wer adjoinedI
the building on the west."' Government House continued to
i::. ni e : i U ., i. l I:'. i 1:. ..".c : l... I i .j i =, 'i ]. i.. .:- ,: l t, I iii. :::c: 1 ci
be t;: he ad min- s:acI I :aj tl iv.: 'e a nd: s oc :i. al. ce nr o :.ere of l'i:e p roving i. ir ':.
until 1 0 i when the :q;oi" v.. rnor" ref usined t.. o live in :it
bec :.:: :;.l.use of i L9. p t.)or co(ndj :i. ion "
FI.ll.ow ing th. session of F'l orii da to the Un:ited Stales
in I12:1.,. o ve'.rn'menit H.Iouse.' w::as pat:che.:d up l fo of fi ce:ur .s
q uart ers ,, I- .i.. c s:on s urrendere d f or c i v:i. I. func : tions,.
Federal ju.. .dge Smit h rern..ovated pa t of the b uildinq as ; a
cour- roomm:. The Fl.orid::ia L.egi sl ai v'e Council met at
Government Ho..use prior r to the estabi shmen t of the new
capital at Tall].ahassee. Once again for a few weeks,::, the
building served as the capital of Florida ,.": In 833 ,
El:i.as Walle. reconstructed government house using plans
draw b::: y Rolert Mill s, the tal en' ted : arch i tect :: then at the
Sthr'eshold of his car eer. M:i.l l after designed d the U, S.,
Trea su.ry Buiilding and the Washington Monument., Ba sic
pr ov i. si ons of the cont :rac t c: a r ( ::t: l d f or ra :i.ng the west
wall 1 ., in order toi e: tend t Ihe main building westward.:. :f. 69 ;
razing t:he I :north wall., :i.n order tio widen the main buil'. .diir'ng
northward bv 14'6" (this part of the contract. was in.ever
executedd; raising. the main walls a.:)ut 6' to a.c height of
24":1. ; a nd. ad i :ing a i-s coind:: sit or- to t" he s o uth wi ng. i'':"
Thl r i ::.':- :: c:i : i. cn c io was1 complete l d in 1t :. 834. Whi tI. ,. : lt he
new ::)bu:il. ing .i ncorp:)oraLted the col d easL and south waIll s,
the north and west wallswwere new ex.:cept 'for whatever
stone had ::een salvaged from::i the old1 walling.. The ou..th
proch was rebu ilt arid ex .endclec along the east si de of the
wing. All. p:::arts of the building had been raised, and th:.1 ie
main bI:uilding was crowned with a pa::)-rapet. There were now
16 rooms., One was u..ised as the post o f ice. Since most of
the others'il were used as courtroo'i' or other federal.
activities,, the i:bu.ilding was generally called "the
Courthouii ise. ''
During the Civil War, Federal troops were quartered in
Government House. By 1866 it was again .in bad
condition. Interim repairs were made in 1868. In
1873, the building was remodel ed a third time, using
plans drawn by Willim M. Kimball. The south wing was
removed, and the main building and porch e extended
westward some 27 feet. The roof plate was raised
another 3 feet and a cornice was substituted for the
parapet. A north po rch was added in 1889. "- Aifter the
1873 remodeling, the Post Office and the United States
Customs Service were the only federal tenants. Other
tenants from time .to time include d the County Court ,
Public Libray, reabody Schoo.l, an artist and a bank.i"7:
Prominent late 19th and early twentieth century
postmasters included W. W. Dewhurst, mayor of St.
Au..gustine in 1888--1889 and author of the 1881
pu blication the :!iJs. i ry a_ f St. iAutqustine; and C harles
F., H-opkins, Jr., grandson of Gad Huimprheys, Indian
agent in Territorial Florida.2m
While Government House was expanded in size, the lot on
which it was sited was constricted. The widening of
the King's Road (Street) in 1871 had pushed back the
south boundary;"' the widening of Tolomato (Cordova)
Street in 1871 sliced away the ws:stern boundary and
destroyed th e Rosar io redoubt; and co i nstruc ti on of
Cathedral pl ace in 1890 constricted ithe north
The Post Off:ice's need for additional space led to the
construct ti on of an enlarged facility in 1936 (dedicated
February 22, 1937). In recognition of its history,
architect Mellen C.. Greeley designed a facade
reminiscent of the 1764 sketch. He retained three of
the original walls (?). His plan shows these were the
north wall (1834), the east wall (1713), partly
reconstructed in 1786), and most of the south wall
(1713). Fenestration in these walls was changed,
however, an d the height of the building was raised once
again. A new wing was built over'the site of the old
south wing, and there was utilitarian expansion toward
the west. The new "U. S. Post Office and Customs
House" also quartered other Federal agencies, including
Agriculture (county agents), coast Guard (Captain of
thePort during World War II), Interior (National Park
Service), and Justice (FBI agents). The construction
of a new Post Off :ice in 1965 at the corner of K:ing
Street and Central Avenue ended federal occupation of
Govelrnmelnt L house was ti:rans ferred as surpl::us property on~
February 14., '1 966 Fro the Uni:ted States General
Services Administration lo th:e State of Florida as a
public monument toc be aJdmini stered b:y tlhe St. August.ine
Hi stori cal Restoration aid. Preser;evation Commissi on now
known as thie Historical St., Augustine Preservation
1. The fo:.ll owing histCorical report :i..s based oni tlhe
study of Albert- Marnucy and Luis R. A rania, "Historical
Si gnif: i c:anrc:e of Federal Bu.ilding Federal Post Of:fice
and Customshouse," unpublished manuscript (St.
2. Governor Gonzalo Henrder de Canzao of Florida to the
crown, St. AugLustine,, FIebruary, 23, .1598,, Archivo
General de Inrd:ias 54-5-9, in Woodb:,cury Lowery, "Florida
MarnuLsc:r i pt vol .. 4..
3 Ve -rne E., Chate.1ai n 11TheD.e- S er;. o : s.....::!-!..S an i
Fl' o ida,3 J.56-._7Z' (Washington, D.. C.), p. 127, note
4. Governor Pedro de I: bairra to the crown, January 8,
1604,, AGI :54 -5-9/47; id. L :i. Al.)ril 1.2, .1.604, AGI,
54 -5-/49, both in SLetson Coll ect: :i on::, Unr:i.versi t oy of
Florida. The ipur.tchase was approved in crown to the
governor of F].or i da, San Lorenzo, October 10, 1604, lAGI
86-5--.19 (SD 2528), SC,.
5. Gov.ernror Diego : de Quiiqlga to the crown, J.une 8,
1690, AGI 54-5-:1.2/102, SC; royal officials of Fl.'-ida to
the crown, A:pr:i.l 20, 1696,, AGI 54-'' 5-15, SC ,
".:. !..a."... ...i-i. ..! ......',.- '
Provi. dence. (Niew Ilaven: Yale Uni versi ty Press, 1945),
7. Governor Francisco de Corcolus to3 th crown, August.
13, 1709, AGI, 58-1-2E./66, SC.
8. Resi denci a de Don Jose dte Zunig a y Cercd a, St..
Augustine, 1707 0,AGI 58-2-8, SC: Cu.adernI 4, pp.
142--:150, 315"-31 8 Dema-nda pp., 350v: -363 ,:,
c. Crc:ules to crown, August 25,, 1713, A
58-1-:. 28/109, S3C.
10. Governor Manuel de Montiano to Governor Jluan
Francisco de Guemes of Havana, April 3, 1739, East
Fl.orida Papers, S, eries 37I, Ltteri no. 135,, LibLrary of
11.. Gover nor Juan de Ayala to t" he CI: r.wr n, Ap::r"i1 :18,
171:7, AGI 58- -1-30 / 64..
12. Pari sh Prie.st. Juan JCose Sol .an a to Don Jul.ianr de
Arriaga, April 9, 1760, AGI 8 6-7-21./4 :1., SC.
13. John Bartram, "Diary of a Journey through the
Carol a inas, Geor rg:i.a, and F orida ." :i. in Tr'ansact i:.on)s
o f the American PhIil osophical Society, vol.. XXXIII,
part 1 (Philadelphi.a, 1942), plate XVIII,.
14. Charles W. Arnade, "The Arc.hi:tectLur::te of Spani.'sh
St. Aiugusti ne T Ihe... !. i L a:.! s XVIII no 2 (Octobe:r,
16.. Governor Lucas de Palacio to Dun Julain de
Arriaga, July 15, 176:1, AG I 86- -6/25, SC.,
17. Governor James Grant to Board of Trade,, March 1,
1765., British Pul::1ic Reecord Office, Colonial Office,
class V, vol., 540.
18. Governor James Grant to Board cf Traclde, July 16,
1765., CO 5/540; statement cof mater i al s and labor,
October 4, 1766, CO 5/541.
19. Mariano ce la Rocque, FRelacion de Ios reparos
ejecutadcos en las abras del Rev, December 3:1., 1785.,
EFP, series 170, no. 297; id.,, December 31, 1786, EFP,
series 170, pp. 170-889 (?).
20. Mar:i ano de la Rocque,, "I'lano Particular de .a
Ciudad de San Agustr.n de la Florida .," April 25,
2:1. Captain J. C. Post to IL... r Colon. l Q. A. Gil more
Charlest on O(c.tol.) r 1.1, 1880..
22.. General Services Administration, "Gc.ivernment :.
Iouse, St. ALuguLstine, Fl::orida A Hlistoric :al SLu..d';y"
(Washington, D. qC. s 1965) pp. 3, 5, 1, 15, 2:1 -23.
23. Ibid., 25, 30, 31.
24. Ibid., 35, 36.
25.. Ibid., 41, 45, 54-I56, 59, 6,5.
26. Ibid., 47, 49, 50, 62, 64.
27'. Governor Enrique White died in Governmernt Iouse or
April 1 3, 11 1 (EFP, Series 301-318J. Testamentary
Proceedings, Box, 44 or Reel 11). [n 1.813--181i5,
proceedings rect the estate of Dona "Marl.i.a d.el Carmen HIill.1
show that J Ju.an Jose Estrada, S~eb.astian Ki. rndel an, .and
Jose Coppi ner wr e paying rent to thie deceased lady.
Ki ndel an speci.f i c al ly :i. nhlabi ted a i house of her
property, frornti ng on San Carlos (Charlotte) street
(..;;L:i... ) These gentle eimen were su.:c:ce.sors:. of Govern or
218. .St.. A u. .st-:i e _.C.i. y_ l. rec.-Q.o. : 1885-1924; I!. sto:- ri c
Properties Inventory Fi1e. e,,
29. "Government House .," 37, 38, 65.
30. Mellen C. ;Greeley, <.lan of="" ::=""> United States Post
Of f:ice &. Customs Holuse, St. i:Aq..qustillne, Flor:ida, 1935;
W. W. Wilkins, "Architectural Eval.uati. on, LI. S. Post
Office and Customs Hou3e, St. Alugustine, Florida, "
report to the Nat:i.onal Park Servi.ce, St. Augustin.e,
31. For add itional in f r:matin an GoI ve rnme"int 1- loEiuse see
two reports in thl ie I-list.oric St. u.qL. stin.e P'rese:rvation
Boar d BE].oc: k an d I... o File, i nlc.l. I.cud.i n Do-r is Wiles, "U. S.
Post Of f'ic:e, unpublis ed mS anuiLscr i p t (St. Augu. Lst i ne,
c. 1965). The plans for the 1936 rI"econstruction are
also on file at the Preservalti on Board.