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STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
THE ROOM IN THE COURTYARD OF GOVERNMENT HOUSE
The accounts of repairs or modifications to Government House
usually described work to the main building with little
information about the courtyard area, where this year's
excavation has focused. In the late 18th century a series of
annual engineer's reports, however, recounted work to a structure
situated in courtyard space--a larger open area at that time than
Engineer Mariano de la Rocque reported that between 1785 and
1790 work to the building "to the left of the principal entrance"
was limited to upgrading or adding wooden features: windows,
doors, ceilings. Some new windows boasted glass panes while
others were merely apertures with two-leaved wooden shutters. A
window with glass panes was installed in the east-facing wall,
directly on St. George Street. Windows were opened on the
opposite wall to face west toward the courtyard and a fence of
small, finished boards and posts was erected in front of those
windows. Inside, workmen added in 1787 a wooden partition and
new wood floors, apparently in both the upper and lower stories.
The newly floored area in the upstairs bedroom measured 6h varas
square (vara = 32.9 inches), using boards two inches thick. In
1790 a tabby floor was laid. The report suggests that the tabby
floor might covered only a portion of the lower story; it might
have replaced part of a wooden floor.
De la Rocque's 1788 map depicted a "Floor Plan" of
Government House. The south wall of the main building of
Government House corresponded to today's south wall, adjoining a
loggia 3 varas (about 8 feet) wide. The loggia opened onto the
courtyard space, 8 varas wide (north to south) and 17 varas in
length, between the main building and the auxilliary structure
discussed here. The north wall of the building in the courtyard
sat about 11 varas (approx. 30 feet) south of the southern
exterior wall of the main building. The tabby floor uncovered
during the recent excavation might weel be the floor of the
building shown in de la Rocque's map. The building persisted on
an 1833 map. The- ingdid not appear in the photograph taken
of Government House during the Civil-War occupation of St.
Augustine 6ind Govrr mntr-TMuIJrby Union troops.