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The people of the United States, even in the midst of a fast-growing, modern world, point with glowing pride to a history filled with sacrifice, imagination, and dedication to freedom. But it is only in our own time that there has been a widespread movement to preserve the highlights of that history � to keep for the enjoyment and education of generations to come, the invaluable dwellings and objects that are the basis of our culture as a nation.
With this interest in mind, the State of Florida, in 1959, established an Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission for the purpose of recreating the ancient city of St. Augustine, the oldest existing permanent settlement in the United States. This is a project of not only state but national concern. As a master restoration plan was formulated, opportunities were created for every American to have a hand in this tremendously worthwhile project.
St. Augustine, Florida 3
What kind of City was it ? 5
What has it become ? 7
What can he done ? 11
A "Master Plan" for Restoration 13
A demonstration project 15
How do you restore a "Living City"? 19
Where do you start? 21
How does a restored city function ? 25
Where do you go from there ? 23
How can it all be financed? 28
What will the Restoration mean to you? 29
Pz^uv oftAe Town of
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3 C Al K , 6(io Kec( or i 1'urlong.
Courtesy Saint Augustine Historical Society
Today, St. Augustine is a picturesque city in Florida � a very small part of this nation. But, in 1565 � long before the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock � long before the settlement of Jamestown � a permanent community was established by Spain in a virgin country they called "La Florida." This community, St. Augustine, encompasses much of the Spanish story in North America � a vital, but neglected story � for Spain was the pioneer in spreading European civilization to all parts of the Western Hemisphere.
Here, in modern Florida, along the route of a great tourist influx, stands a city which holds the key to an understanding of the common heritage that binds us to our Latin American neighbors. St. Augustine is a most significant illustration of the cultural and institutional beginnings of this country.
A ST. GEORGE STREET, looking north; Spanish Treasurers House * (still extant) to the right, Old Convent (long gone) to the left.
ST. GEORGE STREET, looking south through the City Gates.
iOLD CHARLOTTE STREET, looking south toward the Plaza, Mfrom Raya Lane. All these houses were burned in the 1911 fire.
OLD MID 19th CENTURY photographs show the ancient city as it once was, its former charm and beauty faded. Dilapidated, it none the less retained its historic architecture, soon to be lost to modern "progress."
What kind of city was
St. Augustine, even from the beginning, was a well-planned and charming city � situated in such a way as to take full advantage of its remarkably beautiful and well-protected harbor. Although it was completely dependent for its safety upon the great, austere fortress, the Castillo de San Marcos, the city wore an aura of pleasant and comfortable living. The architecture was, of course, predominantly Spanish, with picturesque walled patios or gardens, containing lush trees and flowers, accented by sparkling fountains. Dwellings were usually located directly upon the street lines, with large balconies jutting over narrow streets. Carnivals and festive balls, resplendent with elegance and gaiety, often were held in the larger homes. An abundant array of colorful trees, flowers and shrubs added to the charm of the scene, as did the old city gateway near the fort with its great drawbridge and ever-present sentries standing guard.
CITY GATES remain, almost unchanged like the adjacent fort, the entry point to its great guardian wall � the Cubo line. The National Park Service, custodian of Fort San Marcos, hopes to rebuild the moated and palisaded wall.
CONFUSION of nondescript business facades, strident signs and plate glass replaced the old buildings on St. George, King and Cathedral streets. Even where pseudo-Spanish architecture has been utilized, neon signs and plate glass often destroy its effectiveness.
What has it become?
To envision the epochal changes that have led to present-day St. Augustine, we must examine the various shifts of power in the small city. Some sections of the Spanish city were rebuilt by the English when, having held Spanish Havana for ransom, they took possession of all of Florida in 1763. A brief 20 years later, Spain regained control of Florida, and St. Augustine was made even more beautiful by the addition of structures which were outstanding examples of Spanish religious architecture.
When Florida became a part of the United States in 1821, industrial progress had already begun to take its toll of the original city landmarks. Toward the end of the Victorian era, huge hotels began to rise, and more of the original Spanish houses disappeared. Many of these hotels have been destroyed by fire in the intervening years, but the earlier loss to St. Augustine in historic culture has yet to be repaid.
The 20th century has seen the greatest change in "old" St. Augustine. Each new plate glass window and neon sign meant a, change in the economic value of many sections of the city. Some areas were left to decay. Others were changed to conform with business needs.
Only a clearly formulated plan � beginning in a neighborhood but aimed at the whole city � designed to restore systematically existing buildings and reconstruct those that have disappeared, could stop the eventual obliteration of this historical highlight of the American past.
BLIGHT has over-run much of the historic area.
Although there is much to be done to make St. Augustine the historic focal point it should be, there are many remaining structures around which the "restored" city can be built. Most prominent is the great gray Castillo de San Marcos, now being carefully preserved by the National Park Service. For many years, this fort has been a major attraction for visitors to Florida.
There are also many authentic residences remaining from various eras, depicting the colorful existence of over a century of the city's early life. These buildings, scattered throughout the "old section" of the city, include the early 18th century house known to thousands of visitors as the "Oldest House", a restoration of a beautiful Minorcan home of the 18th century, known as the Llambias House, and a group of houses once owned by members of a prominent Spanish family, called the "Avero Complex." This latter group of homes were selected by the Commission as the starting point for restoration of that part of the city. These homes and others that have been and are being restored by various groups and private citizens form the core of the restoration movement.
Charlotte St. from Cuna St. to Treasury St. � East side
Charlotte St. from Cuna St. to Treasury St. � West side
Charlotte St. from Cuna St. to Treasury St. � West side
St. George St. from City Gates to Cuna St., East side
St. George St. from City Gates to Cuna St. � East side
West side of St. George St. - Cuna St. to City Gates
What can he done?
The first step taken by the Commission, in cooperation with the city administration, was to stem the tide of deterioration and inappropriate modernization. By improving the language of zoning laws, controls have been proposed which prevent selfish interests from undermining the final completion of the restoration. New buildings, conforming to the scope of historic St. Augustine architecture, can bring back to life the appearance of the ancient streets. These steps have stabilized and arrested the decline of the city, but the greatest step for progress was made in the drafting by the Commission of the "Master Plan." This plan emphasizes St. Augustine's growth not only as an historic shrine, but a living city. A careful analysis of the city as it exists today, the development of a series of practical stages for its transformation and the diagramming of the positions and character of the many historic buildings that will have to be reconstructed, are all interwoven with concern that these buildings be used to the economic advantage of private investors and the city.
Drawing a Master Plan
Many years of research have already been devoted to the history of St. Augustine. Some of the information turned over to the Commission during its first preparations for a master plan of redevelopment was found to be accurate. However, there was also a considerable amount of unauthenticated historical tradition that could not be relied upon. Since 1960, a continuing research program has been under way, providing a sound factual basis for each individual historic restoration. This research is undertaken simultaneously on four levels:
A selective approach has been taken to vast numbers of untranslated Spanish documents, both in this country and abroad, in an attempt to discover material which might bear upon the character of the St. Augustine homes and the families that occupied them.
Substantial information on original house foundation lines and architectural details has been provided by an archaeological team.
All available ancient maps have been gathered and studied for the information they could provide. These findings, when cross-checked with data unearthed by the archaeologists, have proven to be surprisingly accurate.
Complete drawings for each building to be restored are carefully prepared. Even after the restoration of a building has begun, an architectural team works with the builders to obtain the greatest possible accuracy.
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A key document discovered in the Florida State Agricultural Archives in Tallahassee. A part of this page reveals the Blanco family's relationship to the Avero Complex.
Courtesy Saint Augustine Historical Society
THE AVERO COMPLEX
, I! i~BB
The Arrivas House and the Avero Complex
In a small neighborhood near the ancient gates stands the Arrivas House, one of a group of historic homes once owned and occupied by a prominent St. Augustine Spanish colonial family, the Averos. Because of the proximity of the Arrivas House to the fort and because of the quantity of information available regarding the Avero Complex, the State Commission decided to utilize their restoration of the Arrivas House as a demonstration project. When the reconstruction of the complex is complete, this neighborhood will be representative of the proposed complete restoration project.
SUGGESTED RELOCATION PLAN FOR THE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT, INDICATING THE REDESIGN OF STREETS. PLACEMENT OF COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS, LOCATION AND AMOUNT OF OFF-STREET PARKING.
THE CENTRAL AREA ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA. �
J: . '. � J HISTORICAL CONTROL AREA
I COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS SUGGESTED IN A | RELOCATED CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT
PARKING PROBLEM AREAS
�S�gS#ll OFF-STREET PARKING AREAS
A COURT HOUSE
B FIRE STATION AND POLICE HDQRS. - PROPOSED C CITY HALL - PROPOSED D TOURIST RECEPTION CENTER - EXISTING E LIGHTNER MUSEUM - EXISTING
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BAV SI ' '
How do you restore a "Living City"?
The first consideration of the Commission was that the restored "Ancient City of St. Augustine" would not be a museum, nor should the life of the community be deprived of its normal activities. On the contrary, the restoration should result in many new opportunities � both in business and employment � for the present citizens. In this connection, the Master Plan proposes the revival of some of the shops and businesses of Spanish St. Augustine. In addition, a projected portion of the Plan envisions the restoration of many features of the waterfront.
Furthermore, the Plan, as one of its objectives, places emphasis on the development of a center devoted to the study of the many facets of colonial Spanish culture and civilization.
The restoration of the ancient city is a task that cannot and should not move too rapidly. A tentative development plan has been adopted which breaks the reconstruction redevelopment into four "stages," covering different sections of the city and stretching over a period of many years.
Bay St. from Treasury St. to Cuna St. � West side
Where do you start?
Complete valuation maps of the existing city lots and buildings have made it immediately possible for the Commission to determine the areas of high valuation, where the cost of land acquisition would be prohibitive � and the lower-valued property where poor business conditions and future slums exist. In the areas of substantial blight, restoration may possibly move faster with the aid of federal funds. In the high valuation areas, restoration will have to await a period when existing buildings will have outlived their usefulness and have been substantially depreciated. With this information and the location of the largest group of standing historic buildings in mind, the area close to the ancient city gate was selected as "Redevelopment Area 1."
Marine Street from Artillery Lane north
I Redevelopment Area One
Redevelopment Area Two
OLD ST. AUGUSTINE
Where do you go from there?
Based on painstaking analysis, the development map indicates projected areas of activity, starting with "Redevelopment Area 1," which houses a heavy proportion of the existing historic structures and the Commission's own restoration within the Avero Complex. In this area a great deal can be accomplished with a minimum of resources.
Redevelopment Area 2" moves southward, including a substantial business area. However, only the waterfront property values in this area are high � and even these are showing signs of deterioration. Two outmoded hotels were demolished on this waterfront property in 1961, making it immediately possible to rebuild at least one of these lots with historic architecture, properly adapted for motor-hotel use.
Further to the south of this area lies a section of extremely high valuation. These are the buildings that must wait to be replaced. In the meantime, the Commission, in cooperation with the city and private businessmen, is encouraging the removal of plate glass windows and neon signs in favor of Spanish architectural motifs.
The fourth principal area in the south part of the old city is designated as a "Rehabilitation Area." It is proposed that this area be redeveloped by cooperative programs with existing land owners under special tax concessions. The map also designates "temporary" business streets, where high-value business properties will be expected to remain for some time. It is expected that these businesses will gradually be drawn to a new retail business area catering to local citizens, already blocked out in the City's own Comprehensive
Treasury St. from Spanish St. to Bay St., North side
Plan. Smaller businesses, catering to visitors, would be encouraged to remain within the historic area.
Looking forward, the Commission currently seeks to direct every new building project within the old city toward the ultimate plan, even though it may not be realized as a whole for twenty or thirty years. It has, for example, been working with a hotel corporation which has just pulled down an outmoded bay-front hotel, looking toward the rebuilding of the block in the form of the original buildings, re-adapted to use as a modern motel hotel. (The balconied, two-story St. Augustine architecture, is ideally suited to the purpose and very like the newer two-story motels being built today.) It is endeavoring to persuade the Catholic Church, which has just taken down a large business block, to rebuild on the site the original buildings, adapting them to shops and offices. Several other owners of antiquated business buildings have been approached to rebuild in this fashion.
Negotiations are also under way with the Art Association, which hopes to expand its Gallery on Marine St., to reconstruct the original building which was there as a wing to its present structure, and modify the latter. Similar discussions have been held with the St. Cecilia Club, which wishes to sponsor the building of a new music and cultural center, and will consider doing it as a reconstruction of another old building.
Each successful project of this kind advances the overall project, and perhaps even more important, sets important precedents for private restoration.
proposed land use OLD ST. AUGUSTINE
How does a restored City function?
Analysis of St. Augustine's future indicates that its economic life will be dependent, as in the past, on the influx of visitors from other states. There is no doubt that this tourist business can be dynamically stimulated by successful restoration of the ancient city. The restoration itself, therefore, is planned to provide facilities to accommodate these visitors. The reconstructed buildings will be devoted primarily to shops, restaurants, lodging facilities, arts and crafts studios, and other services that will offer the visitor a revitalized city within new and fascinating architectural surroundings.
The first proposed land use map illustrates how reconstructed historic buildings could be utilized for these purposes in Redevelopment Area 1. Shops and exhibition buildings predominate along the main historic route from the City Gates to Cuna Street, giving way to a concentration of lodging and eating facilities along the waterfront where present high land value dictates use of this property for high income return.
The second proposed land-use map covers the central area of the city. Here a greater portion of the existing buildings are marked for retention within the initial 20-year planning period. Here again, you will see the extensive use of the waterfront area for lodgings.
Treasury St. from Spanish St. to Bay St., North side
proposed land use OLD ST. AUGUSTINE
The third proposed land-use map covers the southernmost area of the old city. It projects the use of reconstructed buildings along the main thoroughfare leading to the "Oldest House" for shops and craft studios. The owners of existing residential dwellings within this section will be encouraged to adapt the architecture of their homes. Areas to the west are predominantly Catholic educational properties and will remain devoted to that use indefinitely.
proposed land use OLD ST. AUGUSTINE
How can it all be fi
It is possible that a program of this magnitude could be financed by a single benefactor, as has been done elsewhere. But, although financial assistance of this kind would be highly desirable, the Commission has not remained inactive, waiting for such help to appear. Each step of the redevelopment program has been formulated so that all types of donors and investors will have an opportunity to participate.
The State of Florida, St. Johns County, and the city of St. Augustine have, themselves, demonstrated their deep faith in this project by allocating the first funds. They have also assisted in a variety of ways, eliminating many costly problems for the restoration program. Special projects for federal funds have been laid out. And special aid from the government of Spain in a particular area is now being sought.
An important step in the financing of this historic venture was the tentative division of the required investments into the categories of research and building. Assistance from foundations, established for that very purpose, is being requested to support research and planning. In the building category, certain groups of reconstructions are available for corporation grants. There is no doubt that public service-minded corporations will find the restoration of St. Augustine an excellent investment opportunity. Other projected reconstructions could be easily handled by private investors. Anyone owning or buying property or a business within the "old city" will be given every possible kind of cooperation � from professional advice to assistance with the actual architectural plans for the restoration or reconstruction of his building.
Treasury St. from Bay St. to Spanish St., South side
What will the Restoration mean to you?
There could be no better way to breathe life into the pages of American history than to recreate in actual, living form our nation's oldest existing colonial settlement. This is of primary importance. But there are other assets to be considered as well. We and our Latin neighbors to the south share more than a hemisphere; we share a common heritage. The restoration of this community would illustrate our pride in that heritage for all time.
For every school child or adult who finds an understanding of a vanished culture within the ancient city � for every Latin American friendship that is made stronger � for every individual who has seen his faith in the concept of a "living" St. Augustine fulfilled � this project becomes more worthwhile.
The complete restoration will take many years and much labor, but it is an undertaking that promises ever-increasing benefits not only to the country as a whole, but to you, individually. With your help this important segment of America can be preserved as a source of inspiration for generations to come.
Treasury St. from Bai/ St. to Spanish St., South side
A Statement of Architectural Policy
It shall be the objective of this Commission to obtain, with its own resources and those of others, as nearly accurate as possible a restoration of the Ancient walled city of Saint Augustine. Recognizing that this area includes the present business heart of the modern city, and that the ultimate sources of funds to accomplish its objective are as yet uncertain, the Commission proposes to divide its project into a series of stages, which may be approached over a succession of years to minimize any possible unfavorable impact on local business interests. The work which this Commission will undertake, will be based on the most authentic information which can be derived from careful documentary, architectural, and archeological investigation, carried to every reasonable limit within the resources of the Commission and other cooperating bodies. Where preservation can be accomplished, it shall take precedence over restoration; where restoration can be accomplished it will take precedence over reconstruction. Where historic buildings have disappeared, but re-creation of the historic environment is deemed important, they shall be reconstructed in the form and on the site they originally existed. Where historical data as to their original form is not complete, reasonably representative structures may be reconstructed, and sympathetic uses found for them. It is not to be assumed that all, or any large part of these restored or recon-
structed structures will be opened to the public, and it shall be the objective of the Commission to seek uses which can be considered appropriate within a historic restoration area, such as residences, or businesses serving the visiting public. In areas designated as transition areas because of the intensity of their present business use, the Commission shall encourage the development of temporary compatible Spanish Colonial architectures of the type used in St. Augustine, except where so doing involves an undue capital investment which might impede the ultimate authentic restoration of the area. In areas projected for early restoration, no further investment in non-historic buildings, for building or remodeling shall be encouraged.
The Commission shall in every way encourage private owners to restore accurately their property, providing advice and counsel. It shall endeavor to protect those who do so, as well as the historic interests of the community as a whole, by cooperating with the city to institute adequate historic zoning and taxation policies. It will cooperate with the city in providing adequate facilities and a hospitable environment for those who live within the historic areas, and will recognize equal obligations to past and present.
Eable W. Newton Executive Director
Adopted: April, 1960
Charlotte St. from rear line of Plaza Hotel to Bridge St. � West side.
HISTORICAL RESTORATION AND PRESERVATION COMMISSION
A FLORIDA STATE COMMISSION