This item is only available as the following downloads:
SANCHEZ- ORTIGOSA HOUSE
A new addition to the demonstrating craft shops of San Agustin Antiguo has been recently opened, made possible by the generosity of a member of the State Commission which has undertaken the restoration of Spanish colonial St. Augustine.
Mr. Edward Ball, whose extensive contributions to charitable and educational endeavors were little known until recently, donated $47, 000 to purchase the site of the colonial SanchezOrtigosa House on the old Calle Real (present day St. George Street). Here careful archaeology unearthed the foundations of the original house as shown on colonial maps of 1763, 1764 and 1765. A simple one-story two room structure, it was one of several homes owned by the family in St. Augustine. A distinguished and large family, it could not possibly have been housed in this building as a principal residence. Many of the families in St. Augustine owned several structures, which were either occupied by various members of the family or leased to others as homes or shops.
Into this building has been incorporated a colonial cabinet shop, and here the cabinetmaker plies his trade as he did 200 years ago, building by hand Spanish furniture, doors, windows and a variety of cabinets.
The Spanish "carpinterio" was somewhat different than our modern carpenter, who normally works in the construction of houses, rather than in furniture. But in Spanish colonial days, most all houses were of masonry, with only the doors, windows and certain cabinets supplied by a craftsman working in wood. The nature of the work in wood involved in constructing the elaborate panelled doors and window shutters (some of which were used for chests) was so similar to that required for the construction of furniture that the same man did both. "Carpinteria" consequently constitutes the trade of woodworking and was more comparable to the modern trade of cabinet making than of carpentry as we know it.
In addition to the small items made for the visitors who pass through, the shop completed its first major furniture contract for the Southern Bell Telephone Company. The Commission's Director had not only persuaded the telephone company to occupy a reconstructed colonial building for its offices, but to furnish with Spanish colonial furniture made in the restoration shops. Handsome desks and chairs and
other pieces of distinction began to flow from the shop early in 1967, and the order was completed in time for the opening of the offices March 30, 1967. Bell Telephone Manager Randy Pierson has exhibited great enthusiasm for the project, and his assistants seemed delighted by their new and handsome surroundings.
Archaeologists in exploring the property found also the foundations of a somewhat later colonial building behind the Sanchez-Ortigosa house, and this was also reconstructed. Cut off from the public visitation, it serves as an auxiliary to the demonstrating handcraft shop on the street. In an interchange between the two shops, major orders are executed. The Bell Telephone order required the cooperation of both shops. But recently a traveler spotted an elaborate carved Spanish antique chair in a restoration building, which she asked the cabinet maker to reproduce. He did so in all the detail.
The contribution of Mr. Ball, Chairman of the Board of the Florida National Bank, of the Florida East Coast Railway and the St. Joe Paper Company, was one of the largest single contributions to the special projects campaign of St. Augustine Restoration, Inc.
In making the gift, Mr. Ball was quoted by a reporter as saying that his interest was especially stimulated by the growth and importance of the international aspects of the program, which has already involved Spain and the Organization of American States in the construction of special exhibits and cultural centers.
Purchased: March 25, 1966
From: Louise H. Powers, Mary P. Burton and Marion B. Burton By: St. Augustine Restoration, Inc.