Title: Appendix A : The Arrivas house restoration drawings
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087027/00001
 Material Information
Title: Appendix A : The Arrivas house restoration drawings
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Stewart, William A.
Publication Date: 1960
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
46 Saint George Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Arrivas House (Saint Augustine, Fla)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 46 Saint George Street
Coordinates: 29.896311 x -81.313236
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087027
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: Public Domain
Resource Identifier: B12-L21

Full Text
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General Statement

During the process of investigating this house, over the course of this

summer, a number of attempts have been made to visualize its condition at various times.

Floors and sub-floor walls have been dated archaeologically and suffice to show basic

outlines at various periods. Maps and their brief descriptive keys indicate the

number of stories (though not with great consistency), the type of materials, the

owner and the general condition. Photographs are helpful, but only after about 1860

and for the parts of a structure that they show. Inevitably the most convincing

visualization results when all of these, together with a sense of historic occur-

rences and ownerships, are related to the remaining fabric of the structure. In the

case of this house, a large portion of the remaining fabric is a wood frame second

story. The most authentic restoration of this house would, therefore, attempt to

represent its condition when this story was in its original state.

For a time it was felt that the majority of this second story was the one

referred to by Mariano de la Rocque in the description accompanying his map of 1788,

although he described it as "a house of masonry, of a story" which corresponds with

his description of other two story masonry houses. It was felt that the brevity of

his descriptions were subject to misinterpretation, that there was evidence of some

inconsistency on his part in other instances, that the lower masonry walls showed

no evidence of or capacity for a masonry second floor, that the second story

framing corresponded with early British practice, and that the evidence of a pro-

jecting balcony over the street coincided with 1760-80 descriptions of the city.

However, all of these feelings were put in proper perspective by the discovery that

much of the stucco lath was secured to the original frame with cut nails of a more


recent origin. The exact date of the particular type of cut nail used has not been

determined but is presumed to be around 1830. Fred Gjessing's report will provide

further enlightenment on this.

The determination of the probable date of the second floor was a distinct

disappointment to all who were concerned with this project. Further efforts were

made to construct a visualization which would have a masonry second story and could

be justified by some physical evidence. None of these succeeded in being sufficiently

convincing to merit serious comparison with the evolving knowledge about the nature

of the house with its wood frame second story. These efforts seemed to underscore

the recommendation of restoration professionals, as expressed by Fred Gjessing and

Earle Newton, that the best evidence should be used.

The drawings represent a serious attempt to show the building as it existed

when the most evidence was relevant. At that time it contained many parts of older

structures just as it does today. It is felt, however, that the period for which we

have the most evidence, and to which it would be restored on the basis of these

drawings, was also the period of its highest development as a home for St. Augustinians.

First Floor

As indicated by the archaeological investigations and the character of the

second floor framing, the first floor consisted of four interior rooms (with plastered

coquina masonry walls and partitions), an arcade or loggia onto a south patio (with

coquina piers or arches), a porch or loggia onto a north patio (with wood posts),

and a similar porch to the west. The floors to all of these areas except the west

porch and south patio were what is now the top-most layer of tabby. Due to grade

conditions the west porch floor was probably tabby as well, though none was found

in this area and wall remnants there seem to indicate the existence of a wood frame


and floor at some period. The absence of tabby there is presumed to be the result of

destruction caused by numerous pipe trenches and other occurrences which have left

the ground in a very disturbed state. The wood frame and floor are presumed to have

existed during the time of the three west rooms shown on Rocque's 1788 map. A well

was found just west of this area. It is believed that the kitchen in use during the

subject period will be found under the present office and south of the well. A

building shows in this location on the 1893 insurance map, and people still living

remember "the old stone kitchen" south of the well. Undoubtedly gardens and out-

houses existed to the west beyond the well.

The east wall of the house and the patios was located at the present street

curb line. This was determined by excavation at the northeast corner and by early

photographs. The placement of the curb has destroyed this wall to such an extent that

further excavation, to attempt to locate door openings, was not considered feasible

at this time. Door and window openings have been located by projection from photo-

graphs and adjustment to the earlier room uses (resulting in the abandonment of a

central door which shows in the earliest photograph). The size and type of these

windows have been made to match others which remain in the building and this also

seems to correspond with photographic evidence (although the photographs are not clear

enough in this area to show convincing detail).

The south wall of the south patio was incorporated into the north wall of

the Rodriguez-Watkins House in accordance with wall rights granted in 1760. It may

be possible to determine something more of the character of this patio when the present

office structure is removed. The arcaded loggia portion of the house which faces

this patio is based partly on the memory of living relatives of the Arnaus, who lived

in the house during most of the 19th century, and partly on physical evidence. The

second pier from the east, which now supports the second floor fireplace, is a

newer construction than the other piers and has been deleted in the drawings. The

other piers show evidence of having been cut square above a certain level. This

level has been used as the spring-line of the arches. A pier to replace the deleted

one has been placed in a logical position to form reasonably regular arches. A pier

to replace the deleted one has been placed in a logical position to form reasonably

regular arches. It is possible that this pier was also sculptured similar to the

other interior pier as it exists today. This has been considered relatively unlikely,

however, due to the loss of strength this would entail and to the fact that stucco

remains on the sculptured portion correspond with that on later additions in other

parts of the structure (such as the west chimney base).

The location of stairs was a considerable problem. For a long time it seemed

that there was no evidence of stairs, other than those which had been recently

built over the interior fireplace and a curious floor framing condition at the south'

east corner of the loggia. Parts of this framing seemed to be very recent. We

pursued this clue, however, and found (upon removing stucco on the adjacent pier)

the imprint of a stair carriage where the mortar of masonry in-filling had been ex-

truded against it. We then looked more closely at the earliest known photograph

and were able to detect the railing around the well for this stair. This has been

further confirmed by Arnau descendants. We felt that there must have been a stair up

to the west porch second floor also. The 1893 insurance map indicated one on the

outside of the porch area leading up to the north. One of the Arnau heirs seemed

positive that it went down straight west from the stairs to the attic. No doubt

both of these existed, but neither are shown, for several reasons. The first is

that the south wall projected somewhat to the west of the west wall of the house,

and until a fairly recent date as no stucco is to be found on the broken ends remain-

ing. How far this projection extended is unknown. It is felt, however, that some

functional object must have existed near it in order to justify its intrusion into

the porch area. The stairs shown seem to be ideal for this. The second reason

is that sheltered access to the upper rear area is preferable (certainly for

modern occupancy by the Commission) and that the possible sacrifice of authenticity

for this element is not a serious consequence.

The door and window openings from the arcade into the south rooms are all

justified by physical evidence. The eastern-most of these appears to have been in

continuous use since the first coquina structure. The central door opening has

been squared-off in recent times but evidence of its former beveled jambs is still

visible. The westernmost opening was originally a door and was later converted

into a window. By correlation of the various coats of plaster it has been decided

that it became a window either before or during the time of the remodeling which

included the construction of the wood frame second story.

The west wall openings also appear to have been in use since the earliest

coquina structure adjacent to them. Both have been reformed several times and are

now shown with beveled jambs and sizes which conform to the remainder of the first

floor. The fireplace and chimney have been determined to be a later addition and

have been deleted in the drawings. This determination was partly based on the exist-

ence of stucco on the original wall against which the chimney base was built and

partly on the condition of the wood frame and stucco behind the second floor portion

of the chimney.

The door openings now shown in the north wall also appear to have been

in use since the time of the walls in which they exist. This is borne out by the

archaeological excavations at the easternmost door. This door has been widened

beyond its earlier condition and is now shown with its beveled jambs and probable

original size restored. The westernmost door has not been studied below its present

sill level, is curious in its proximity to the northeast corner and the west door,

and also shows strange inconsistencies in the shaping of its east jamb. Nevertheless,

it has been accepted, both as a necessary access to the north patio during the

existence of the w est rooms and, later, as a convenience which was maintained. The

irregularities in the east jamb are assumed to have occurred as a result of careless

cutting and of the reconstruction of the upper portion of the wall. The central

opening, now shown as a window, actually exists, at present, as a door. However,

the previous window opening and frame are visually evident. The way in which some

of the coquina, around the window opening, are cut indicates that the window too

was probably built into an existing wall. This would have been consistent with the

need for light after the addition of the west rooms (prior to 1788). In any event,

it seems to be logical as a window for the house as remodeled with the second story


The central fireplace was built against existing coquina walls and on top

of the latest tabby floor (apparently British period). There are a number of factors

which indicate that it too was a part of the remodeling which included the construc-

tion of the wood frame second floor. One of these is the angle at which the begin-

ning of the flue is constructed. As may be seen in the drawing of the reconstructed

fireplace group, this angle is ideal for directing the smoke from this fireplace into

an upper cluster of flues serving other fireplaces as well. Also, the placement of

this fireplace in the corner is less than ideal for this room, but does locate it so

that a fireplace above will be centrally located on the interior wall of the main

upper room. The existence of such an upper fireplace, together with two smaller ones,

has also been verified. The upper closet and roof framing also correspond with these

assumptions. The trim indicated for all fireplaces presumes that they were built at


- 7 P

the same time and that the trim used would correspond with other trim used at that time,

particularly for the second floor doors and windows. The extent of this fireplace

trim could be determined fairly accurately from smoke smudges and other markings on

adjacent surfaces.


The minor second story fireplaces were determined from the location of the

attic stair partition and from indications of their hearths. This evidence primarily

occurs on the uncovered floor planking, but is further substantiated by the charred

condition of some lath and the ceiling framing for the attic stairs. The trim for

these two fireplaces is more speculative than for the others but seems reasonable.

It was felt that the later fireplace on the south wall, which still exists, was built

to match these, and its trim has been used as a model.

Much of the interior plaster is original and serves as a guide to the

original room arrangement as shown. Marks on the ceiling joists indicate that it too

was finished with wood lath and plaster.

The original flooring, of wide wooden planks, also still exists in most

areas, though covered in some places by later flooring materials. Not only did this

help in locating fireplace hearths, but it also served to locate the doors between

the west rooms. Under the flooring, in the west central area, beams were found which

had beaded edges and mortise cuts indicating a probable earlier use as exposed beams

under a flat roof. It is believed that they were cut from mulberry. None are now

in the original position and many have become unserviceable due to decay.

The southeast corner room and the east balcony are shown as indicated on

the earliest known photograph. This is consistent with evidence found in the walls,

with railings which still remained on the north porch, and with much of what is known

of St. Augustine practice around the beginning of the 19th century.


The north balcony, or porch, size was determined from the condition of the

ends of the continuous beams which supported it. These also indicated the existence

of an edge beam which was needed to provide additional support from columns or

posts. These wood posts were made to correspond with those which would have occur-

red above by following the pattern shown in the early photograph.

The west porch is assumed to have corresponded with the north. At the

southwest corner, there are markings on the corner-post which indicate the terminus

of a railing and which show the location of an eave closure beam. The height

of the eave beam corresponds with that on the south side of the east balcony. By

employing the photographic evidence as to roof slope and by assuming a ridge location

over the central interior beam, the west eave projection then corresponds with the

depth of porch also determined for the north side. It has been assumed that wall

support for the floor beams was provided by the large wood plate, though no physi-

cal evidence was found to justify this.

Most of the interior trim and many of the doors and windows were deter-

minted, by their paint coatings, to be original materials. Where they were not of

this nature, the drawings now show them restored to this condition or one which

matches it.


The existence of a former attic was suspected from the amount of space

which would be available under the roof indicated in early photographs and from

the evidence of nails and planking on the upper side of the ceiling beams in much

of the eastern portion. This was later confirmed in conversations with the Arnau

descendants and by evidence of the stAir to this attic. The location of partitions

is a speculation based on these conversations and the demands of logic. There is

little physical evidence observable at this time, though this may alter after the

existing roof is removed. The window locations are strictly speculative. As has

- 9 -

been noted, the form of the roof has been derived from photographic evidence.

The covering of wood shingles also derives from this, from the practices then

current and from the 1893 insurance map. The framing method is one which was fairly

common except in the way in which the eaves were framed. The extended ceiling

beam rafter connection has no known counterpart in this area. It is, however, the

only way to justify the absence of any indication of the use of another method and

maintain structural stability and consistency with other details. The collar beam

above is a detail frequently found in old St. Augustine structures and accounts

for the lack of evidence as to any other kind of central support. It also creates

the kind of attic space that corresponds most closely with obtainable descriptions.

It is not known how the attic was finished and we have simply assumed that it too

was plastered.

William A. Stewart
12 September 1960

Appendix B

Recommendations Relative to the Arrivas House Reconstruction

In addition to the nature of the construction team, previously referred to,

the following recommendations are offered for consideration:

I. A general clean-up of the premises should precede any demolition or reconstruction.

This should include:

a. A safety cage over the well;

b. The removal of debris from the archaeological trenches;

c. Refilling the trenches with selected sand, except at a point
adjacent to the south edge of the interior fireplace;

d. Refilling by the fireplace with concrete containing fine aggregate
(3000#, 7" slump);

e. Shoring the main floor beam on this concrete (preferably with
a steel screw column);

f. Reshoring the easternmost interior door arch;

g. The removal of all debris from the premises (being careful
to save large fragments of tabby and coquina, doors, hardware and
other items that may have significance for display or reuse);

h. Cutting weeds and policing the grounds;

i. Posting the property more adequately and providing some means of
restricting access to the interior of the structure;

j. Establishing a method and a place for cataloging and storing
relevant parts of the structure to be disassembled; and

k. Clearly defining a separate place for the temporary collection
of the loose debris resulting from disassembly.

II. Raze the front portion of the present office, being especially careful with

the removal of the floor slab.

- 10 -

III. The entire second floor should be disassembled. The existing roof struc-

ture, and other portions not indicated as being included in the restored

building, should be discarded.

IV. Those portions of the coquina walls which are loose should be removed and

reset. This refers especially to the interior door arches.

V. New materials, to replace those discovered not to be reusable, should be

modern equivalents of the old (rather than imitations of them, regardless

of how carefully contrived), such as:

a. Wood framing of stock mill lumber chemically treated and
dyed for identification;

b. Wood trim, similar to above, but shaped to correspond with that
which remains;

c. Coquina masonry set in portland cement mortar;

d. Portland cement stucco;

e. Concrete patching for the tabby floors; and

f. Modern glass, glazing compounds and paints;

Note: The question of hardware seems to be the most serious one in connection

with this policy. At the least, the metal should be treated with contemporary

rust-proofing materials. This decision should also be influenced with the probable

necessity of incorporating modern lighting and other conveniences in the building.

It may well be best to be honest and consistent with all of these elements.

VI. Obtain expert advice on the landscaping of the patios and rear yard.

VII. Continue the photographic recording of all new aspects of the building,

both as it is dismantled and as it is rebuilt. The uncovered second story

wall framing will be of special interest.
William A. Stewart
12 September 1960

% V


Arrivas House

The recent efforts to determine and describe the one story version of the
Arrivas House, as it may have existed around 1730 or 40, are primarily based upon
the following:

1. Archaeological studies;
2. Existing coquina walls;
3. Remnants of salvaged beams (re-used in the floor of the later
second story); and,
4. Documentary descriptions (but not of this specific structure).

Further archaeological work, undertaken during this last week, reveals
some items which have not yet been accommodated by the latest drawings. These are:

1. The location of two doors in the east (street) wall; and,
2. The westward extension of the south main wall.

This last item poses a question which is not readily answerable.
Also, no further light was cast on the q question of the character of the semi-enclosed
space at the east end of the loggia. We are not satisfied as to its probable use
or in the manner in which it was roofed.

The absence of fireplaces and of some of the existing masonry columns is
determined by evidence in adjacent floors and walls. Window and door types are a
combination of descriptive documents and apparently logical use. In terms of their
use in this building they are speculative.

The roof is based on the beam remnants and descriptive documents. Its
height, and the height of the parapet walls above it, are speculative. The same is
true of the loggia roofs on the north and south sides.

It is hard to believe that the family we know lived in the house at that
time, could have been contained in the structure shown. In addition to separate
kitchen and out-house buildings, there must have been at least one other structure.
It is possible that this existed across the court to the north, or was a westward
addition of which only a portion of one wall remains. In any event, the building
shown cannot represent the whole story of the facilities present at that time.

In conclusion, it should be pointed out that those who have worked on
this problem are less satisfied with this version than they were with the results
of the previous investigation and the first plans based on them. Mr. Gjessing's
sketches of this "early" version correspond very closely to ours and may be con-
sidered identical in character. Nonetheless, we are less sure of this character,
(and the elements which compose it) and we consider the results to be less dis-
tinguished or desirable. We can only say that they are as honest as they can be
at the present time.

Oct. 24, 1960 Sincerely,
William A. Stewart

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