Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Sanchez House, Block 7 Lot 6
Title: Appointees to architectural review board discuss the future of St. Augustine's history
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 Material Information
Title: Appointees to architectural review board discuss the future of St. Augustine's history
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Sanchez House, Block 7 Lot 6
Physical Description: Clipping
Language: English
Publication Date: 1981
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
43 Saint George Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
de Mesa-Sanchez House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 43 Saint George Street
Coordinates: 29.896429 x -81.313225
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091263
Volume ID: VID00073
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: B7-L6

Full Text

Friday, July 10, 1981

EUL E iViq

PrMThe Ponte Vedra RecorderQ
The Ponte Vedra Recorder

Appointees To Architectural Review Board

Discuss The Future of St. Augustine's History

The recent city elections in St.
Augustine brought two freshmen coun-
cilmen to the oldest city's five-seat com-
mission. Henry Whestone Jr. and Rita
Cornwell, both local businesspeople,
have already made their presence felt in
.commission meetings, finding
thelinelves often aligned with Ramelle
l'etraglou re-elcted to a second term
this spring as a bright new force in the
ancient city.
Controversy will be no stranger to
commission meetings this year, if the last
month is any indication. And one of the
group's latest actions promises to carry
this lively new tone into other area's of
city business, namely the preservation of
the historic character of St. Augustine.
"History is big business here,"
observes Bill Daniell, 30-year resident
and businessman in the city. In his time,
he has watched the state get involved in
the restoration business, he has observed
the development of the "preservation
area," and he has very definite ideas
about the right and wrong of it.
Rachel Welch is an architect who,
together with her lawyer husband,
Names, moved to St. Augustine to build a
did home in the style of the Second
Period Spanish (1783-1821). She too has a
inm vision of the potential of St.
Augtustine' heiitage. "We must restore a
,,u.iiuhv called HISPANIDAD." She

.Mrs. Welch, "but I was hoping I'd be
"I worked better in the background,"
chuckles Daniell. "I have a tendency to
express myself strongly and people have
a tendency to think I'm speaking for the
comn mittee."
Both of the new members made
themselves heard at their first HARB
meeting last week. Their knowledge of
local architecture, .the subtleties of
renovation and reproduction, and their
awareness of the sensitive nature of the
city's character were clearly evidenced as
applicants produced their plans for alter-
nations in the city's appearance.
When a local architect offered a design
"for a duplex in the characteristic St.
Augustine style with wooden balconies
and shuttered windows, both objected to
the arched-double-doors that would
serve as garages on street level. (There is
no precedent for such arched doors in
l the city's old homes.)
Daniell wanted to commend the
owners for their effort to conform with
the proper style, but he observed that
historical accuracy is a critical factor in
the old section. "When you come into
the walled city, you are joining a very ex-
clusive club and you must pay your
Mrs. Welchsuggested that the garage
space be used for another apartment.
"V .... .i v u n rit dlip r ic hr*ro int

do things, so they did them."
Mrs. Welch's admiration of local
workmanship extends into the present
day, where her own homebuilding ex-
perience showed their skill and ingenui-
ty. She relates the story of a visitor's ap-
preciation of the "sensitive restoration"
of her home. When informed that it was
a new house and that nothing had been
"faked as antique," there was amaze-
ment at the natural evolution of such an
"historic atmosphere." Much of the
credit she gives to her workmen, and in
thanks she allowed the craftsmen to
name rooms after themselves.
Like Daniell, she believes that the
Spanish influence is to be the guiding
spirit in the restoration area. "The
historic impulse which created St.
Augustine in 1565," she says, "can still
be felt."
Though such sentiment, on the face,
may not seem controversial, there are
varied pressures to diversify the architec-
tural restoration of the oldest section of
the oldest city. Later structures, par-
ticularly of Victorian construction,
stand in the way of a unified district and
even the State Historical Preservation
board is introducing other periods into
the touristy downtown area.
Daniell can list the problems as he
walks down St. George St. in his mind's
eye. "We going in the wrong direction

when we take a 1740 structure (The
Spanish Inn) and make it 1890. When
you throw out the Spanish furniture and
put in Victorian. The Avero House was
1730, but it's been turned into a square
.1979 Florida-boom structure with 1885
wood turnings in the windows. The
1730 Arrivas House has been turned into
an 1830 Mid-Western style. The Dr.
Peck House has become an anti-bellum
He concludes, "When dealing wjth an-
,tiquities you always deal with the earlier
,period." And he dismisses the Victorian
elements, "Every city could have that.
The St. Augustine feeling is primitive
American architecture."
Most of the "mistakes" in preserva-
tion were projects of the State agency,
and Daniell feels that restoration should
be put in private hands. Both the new
HARB members have their differences
with the National Trust as well, for their
emphasis on "pretty" Victorian rather
than the rough accuracy of the local
Mrs. Welch brings impressive
creditials to the job, being the first
woman member of Society of Naval Ar-
chitects and Marine Engineers, a world
traveller and avid student of Spanish ar-
chitecture, and a veteran of a superbly
successful renovation in Georgetown in
(Cont. On Page 32)

Page 27

National Trust for Historic Preservation '"W "

July 27, 1981

Mr. Robert C. Stewart
Museum Curator
Historic St. Augustine
Preservation Board
P.O. Box 1987
St. Augustine, Florida 32084

Dear Mr. Stewart,

I want to thank you for your remarks in behalf of the Trust in your letter
to the Editor of the Ponte Vedra Recorder of July 21. We appreciated your
clarifying the mission of the Trust and offering the perspective on what
it is we are concerned with in promoting historic architecture.

On another note, your comments concerning the new members were apt based
on my running correspondence with Mrs. Welch, At this point I am working
with Mrs. Welch as necessary to provide her with more information on preser-
vation. This is essential if the HARB is to survive the onslaught of anti-
regulatory sentiment and I will continue to copy you with correspondence with
Mrs. Welch.

Again thank you for your support of the Trust. Please let me know as I can
be of assistance in the future,


ohn Meffert
Assistant Director

JWM: rb

cc: R. Morrell
J. Jennewein

Headquarters Office: 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 673-4000

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