September 4, 1974 *
By Merrill Craig
One of the nicest young couples you'll ever meet in
this old town is Bob Drashin and his charming wife, Etta.
Friendly and enterprising, they operate the Oldest
School House, the Old School Gift Shop, and the Old City
Gates Ice Cream Shop, which is adjacent to the grist mill.
In their gift shop they have copper wall hangings of
most unusual designs which sell for only $25. These copper
wall hangings are hand crafted and imported from the
Orient. They also have name mugs, as well as souvenirs.
S The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, which is owned and
has been owned by the Fraser family for many years (the
late H alter B. Fraser was a former mayor of St.
A\ ugustine and later a state senator) has a unique history
spanning nearly 200 years.
Located on St. George St. near the old city gates, the
lot according to archive records, was purchased by Juan
Genoply in 1780. The dwelling on it was erected before
School classes were held in it for several years in the
early 19th century and were taught by Mary Genoply
The building was used as a guardhouse and shelter for
city gate sentries during the Seminole Wars, 1834-1841.
The building served as a school again from 1854 to
1,64. It was rented for a Tea Room and Gift Shop in the
It was opened as a historic exhibition building in 1939,
recreating the 1864 school room and living quarters.
Built entirely of red cedar, the structure is secured by
mortising the joints, wooden pins (called "tree rails")
and hand wrought iron spikes.
The roofing is of hand split cypress shingles. Inside
are large hand wrought beams, while the floor is of
'tabby" -- oyster shell concrete. Inside is the old
classroom, with life-sized figures of the teacher and
pupils, rare old school books, old-fashioned slates and
slate pencils, and old maps.
It is recorded that in 1858 students paid 25 cents per
week for schooling, however, the schoolmaster was more
often paid in cordwood, wool, or milk rather than in
There is a flight of stairs which lead up to the
teacher's living quarters on the second floor. Underneath
the stairs was a closet with a strong door and a lock where
unruly students were placed for punishment.
In back of the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse is a
beautiufl garden, once the school playground, with its old-
fashioned flowers and trees.
Leaving the lovely garden and exiting through the gift
shop, you will once again encounter the warm, friendly
smiles of Bob and Etta Drashin. Bob and Etta both grew
up in Jacksonville, Florida, but had never met until both
went to the University of Georgia where romance
bloomed and they were married after graduation.
FOR ALL AGES
1st Game FREE With This Ad!t
CHADA'S GAME ROOM
Billiards Pin Balls Etc.
Soft Drinks Snacks
PHONE 110V2 ANASTASIA BLVD.
829-9436 ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA
Moving to St. Augustine, they soom became a part of
the community and established a large circle of friends.
I '-'U ',WI I^f"ct~
Courtesy of Foundation for Schools for the Deaf & Blind of Fla., Inc., at Fla.
Sch. for the Deaf and Blind, P.O. Box 1209, St. Augustine, Fla. 3204. Original
prints available from the school and in various shops in the Restoration & St.
Augustine. Drawings by Wilma Combs, teacher at F.S.D.B.