Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Plans
Title: De Mesa meeting with Esther
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: De Mesa meeting with Esther
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Plans
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Publication Date: 1988
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: UF00091264
Volume ID: VID00009
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


April 5, 1988

1. Interpreters are telling all different kinds of things; it needs to be

2. Before putting more things in the house we have to have a way to keep it

a. Cleaning just isn't possible in the spring.

b. Suggestion: Esther come in 30 minutes early and clean before tours.

...Kitchen will need a lot of cleaning.
...The men do not do any cleaning.
...I would like to hire a maid.
3. We could use a maid two hours every day.

a. Vacuum all floors
Woodwork and stair rails
Outside windows

b. Who cleans at Flagler, Lightner??

4. Heating/cooling system also needs to be fixed first.

5. Needs semi-annual closing to clean.
6. Put a sealer finish on downstairs modern floor.

7. Extend yard to south

a. Roses
Clothes line, clothes basket, etc.
Citrus trees
Well, rope, bucket
Privy!! (Give a sense of what really changed in 100 years)
Bring in older school groups for comparison

8. Would quilters like to sew other things for De Mesa?

a. Clothing for display--bonnets, capes, hats
b. Cloth cases to hold needles, toiletries, etc.
c. Linens
d. We need patterns. Ask Donna Foster.
9. Esther will make a fabric list.

10. Put vacuum on wish list, also bed pillows.

April 26, 1988

1. Hallway floor canvas-design is art nouveau.
a. New hallway light needed, put ropes to lower and raise, sand in it.
2. Graining of doors-Lput a colored varnish over it if possible. It has a
polyurethane in it now. Comes in colors now.
3. Put glass around door and take plexiglass out.
4. Exterior shutters are tacky and wrong; photos show a solid shutter.
5. Crown molding in hall is incorrect (very expensive to replace).
6. Hallway is 19th century. Would be very plain. Put clothing in hall.
7. Interpret as Hispanic American business man.
8. Replace wall map on linen canvas with dowels with finials; paint black;
put nail in crown molding and cord.
9. Large table: replace top with thin one.
10. Chippendale chair: slip cover, small flowers and ruffle. Seat is too
elegant because chair is 100 years old by this time. Muslin?
11. Spittoon on piece of painted canvas.
12. Chess board is too pretty; should be plainer.
13. Business probably a little bit of everything; put more things in office.
14. Put liquor set in dining room.
15. Should have green bottle of liquor and two tumblers.
16. Put shelves with stuff on them, packages, boxes, munitions, etc.
17. Guides are not to give a tour of furniture, but of the lifestyle.
18. Hang up deerhorns, etc.
19. Put out stationery (Easton stationery, antique letters, hat, vest).
20. Storeroom-add shelves, more barrels, corks for bottles.
21. Upstairs hall-lamp.
22. Fainting couch--too late (1850s) and fabric is all wrong.
23. White fabric on sofa is wrong too; could slipcover it; should be
horsehair too.

April 26, 1988

24. Make curtains for all windows.

25. Winter curtains should be replaced.

26. Put that summer curtain up!

27. Painted window shades would liven up the room.

29. Downstairs parlor--melodian is 1850s.

30. Put cloth on table, blue, nice with wide black grosgrain ribbon on it.

31. Put his bottle and glasses in office..

32. Slipcovers should be without piping and tie in the back.

33. Could put painted shade in here too.

34. Bring in more shells, small vases with botanical samples in them.

a. Could put a plant in here-sweet potato vine, geranium, etc., plain
pots, at fruit stand.
35. Lamps are organ lamps; they did not have them here according to records;
besides they are now kerosene lamps.

36. Need a lamp on center table.

37. Fireplace was in back bedroom (upstairs) originally; black is correct color.
38. Fireplace could have a board -n front of it.

39. Downstairs floor could be darkened by oil.

40. Dining room-need large napkins in napkin rings of silver, pewter, bone,

41. Need cloth under glasses on sideboard, a narrow runner.

42. Put potted plants in windows.

43. Curtains could be tacked to a board and pulled back with rings that pull
up diagonally.

44. Maid's room needs curtain on inside.

45. Get rid of Guatamalan cupboard.

46. Close door to dining room and open door to kitchen.

April 26, 1988

47. David Parker has a chandelier that would be perfect for dining room;
put gauze over it.

48. Upstairs bedroom-Catholic it up.

a. Valerie has a little painting with a fancy frame.
b. Hang rosary by bed with painting and shelf (Ron can make it).
c. Use Santos with glass eyes that is in government house.

49. Create a triangular closet with fabric curtain and clothes in it.

50. Make bathroom-curtained off triangle with potty and bathtub. Also put
quiltes in here. There's a quilting frame that we could get which stands
against the wall.

51. Front upstairs door louvered in early photo.

52. Other back room-Hispanic grandmother (Minorcan). It would be common for
here to be here; put in baby bed too (we have a lathe-turned Spanish bed
and trunk in here). Sitting room too; very religious.

53. Child's room-needs another mattress.

54. Upstairs front parlor--turn chair to desk and put footstool at couch.

55. We could slipcover the fainting couch and put it downstairs. Put other
chair out of hall back into room.

56. Put lamp in middle of table on a doily.
57. Piano needs cover--olive green moire with embroidery to match gold trim.
Turn it more catercorner.

GO TO: Calico Corners, San Jose Blvd. Get tassle trim for curtains
Bruenschwag and Fies

ASK: Muriel Palmer at Carlton's to find horsehair in colors.

Could use mirrors on stairway

Interpreters don't tell other visitors what some visitor said.

Anthea: cheese cloth curtains.

YARD: Shelldrive, citrus, privy and well. More fence?

JJi6 toric &StjAuu6Line

,Prfcrv aUtof iboardC

The State of Florida


TO: David Scott

FROM: Marsha Chance

DATE: July 19, 1988

SUBJECT: DeMesa House Project Proposal

Attached is our proposal for the DeMesa-Sanchez House
project which we have been discussing for several months.
for you to submit it to the Project Committee for approval
on it.

We would like
to go ahead

We will need to coordinate this with you, but couldn't decide if
Susan Parker should have to be on this committee, or not. Perhaps we
could call on her for research assistance only. I would also like to
involve Jon and Maureen if they are interested, and of course, Esther.


(904) 824-3355

(SUNCOM) 821-5455

MEMO JULY 19,1988




Upon review of your memo of July 19,1988 on the same subject I

would like to propose the following:

In the project mode each project requires a Project Manager to

direct it. That person should be the one to take the project to

the Project Committee.

I think that this particular project should have either Marsha or

Valerie in that position. I would be glad to serve on the

project team and think that someone from the construction area

should be directly involved.

In bring such a project proposal in front of the Project

Committee a general resource requirement should be outlined. How

much time and whose time will the project require. A speculative

budget should also be put in front of the committee.

I will be glad to offer my assistance in preparing your proposal

for the De Mesa House Project, just let me know. I suggest you

get your "team" together to plan the proposal.

JiStoric St5 uuSutUne

Jfrc erv a ioan loa rdc

The State of Florida


David Scott

Marsha Chance

July 19, 1988

SUBJECT: DeMesa House Project Proposal

Attached is our proposal for the DeMesa-Sanchez House
project which we have been discussing for several months.
for you to submit it to the Project Committee for approval
on it.

We would like
to go ahead

We will need to coordinate this with you, but couldn't decide if
Susan Parker should have to be on this committee, or not. Perhaps we
could call on her for research assistance only. I would also like to
involve JQnp and Maureen if they are interested, and of course, Esther.


(904) 824-3355

(SUNCOM) 821-5455




A Proposal for the Interpretive Development of the
DeMesa Sanchez House 1988-1989

Over the past few months, Valerie, Marsha and Esther have met several
times for the preliminary planning of this project. Esther has accomplished
considerable research on objects of the period, and Valerie has inventoried
collections to determine what is available which can be used. Marsha and
Valerie have also toured the house with Bob Harper, noting his suggestions
for furnishings and interpretation. A file of his research on the subject
already existed. Susan Parker has done some documentary research, as well.

Current Interpretation.

The visitor enters through a gate into a grassed yard area. The
structure is restored to 1840. Orientation is given by means of exhibits in
the two eastern rooms on the second floor. The large "kitchen" on the first
floor currently houses a slide presentation which is out of order. The rest
of the structure is interpreted as a residence of either a wealthy
businessman from the north or perhaps a Minorcan plantation owner escaping
the Indian fighting. The interpretation is somewhat confused and tends to
focus on the furniture and structure rather than people.
There is no interpretation of the yard area. When visitors enter the
area, they get no sense of "living history."
The visitor then passes through a gate following an "Exit" sign. To the
left is a structure where candle dipping is demonstrated twice a week. To
the right is a structure that houses the store. These two buildings are not
really interpreted. Adding to the visitors' confusion is the fact that the
candle maker is interpreted as an 18th century character. This causes the
visitor to re-enter the 18th century and then jump into the 20th.
Therefore, the problems we have identified are:
1) There is no outdoor living history aspect at the DeMesa House.
2) The kitchen is not being used to its best interpretive advantage.
3) We are not providing the human aspect for visitors through the
interpretation of a specific family or individuals.
4) The centuries are mixed up as visitors move between the DeMesa
and DeBurgo-Pellicer houses.

Proposed Changes.

Premise: When the visitors pass through the fence, they have left 1740
and arrived in 1840. They will be able, if so inclined, to draw comparisons

between lifeways in the two centuries.
1) The Yard: We would like to expand the backyard to include
activity areas. In our opinion, this would involve: a) removing
the fence between the DeMesa yard and the back of the DeBurgo-
Pellicer kitchen; b) erecting a fence from the southwest corner
of the storage building; c) removing the shelter from the DeBurgo-
Pellicer yard (it can be reconstructed to serve as the children's
orientation area near Triay House); d) building a privy (Manucy,
page 127); e) erecting a clothesline; f) putting a mashpot in the
yard; g) planting orange trees and/or vegetables; h) planting
roses (this idea is to accommodate the roses which must be removed
from the Ribera garden when excavation begins); and i) construction
of a well.
2) The Kitchen: We believe that the kitchen should be interpreted as
an active, working space furnished with implements and objects of
the period, as well as fresh food. The kitchen was a room of
extreme importance in the nineteenth century. Much of a woman's
daily life was spent within it. Chores included preparing food
(i.e. plucking the chicken, making preserves etc.), cooking,
washing, mending, scrubbing floors, ironing and even soap- and
candle-making. Many of these activities can be incorporated into
the interpretation of the room. Other activities that would have
taken place in the kitchen include bathing, so even that activity
can be discussed.
In the winter, many activities would have taken place in the
kitchen because of the warmth. In Florida's hot summers, much
kitchen activity would have taken place outside on the loggia.
Activities such as mending, etc. would move to cooler locations
inside the house.
Cooking would probably not be conducted there as part of
interpretation due to the need to protect interior furnishings
from grease and odors. This would require: a) removing the
screen from the north wall; b) some construction of shelves,
cabinets, and, perhaps, an oven; c) the acquisition of large items
such as a stove; d) the use of many objects now in our collections;
e) finding and purchasing some small objects; f) handcrafting some
wooden and iron objects; g) the installation of plexiglass in the
kitchen window so that the shutters could be left open for light.
3) General Interpretation: From the interpretive standpoint, it is
necessary to choose a single time period and stick to it. If 1840
is the date we wish to interpret, all incorrect furnishings, such
as the Sanchez painting, should be removed. While we do not know
who actually lived in the house in 1840, we should "create" a
scenario for interpretation and use it exclusively. The choices
seem to be: a) a northern family rented the house, or b) a local
Minorcan or partly Minorcan family rented the house. Using the
northern family we can interpret influences and changes brought on
by Florida becoming a U.S. Territorty. Using the Minorcan concept,
we can interpret adaptation by the local (Minorcan/Spanish)
population to the new government and culture which dominated the
town. We advocate finding a way to bring the Minorcan culture
into our interpretation.
We also feel that the candle kitchen should be interpreted as
a ninteenth century building, in order to avoid jumping from one
century to another, and back again.

4) The Future: We have discussed several additional concepts which
bear consideration. They are: a) Putting the interpretive panels
upstairs into chronological order. This should be done as soon as
possible; b) Moving all exhibit panels into one room, possibly
incorporating the slide presentation as a video presentation, and
interpreting the small upstairs exhibit room as a living unit. It
has been suggested that it be used for crafts, such as quilting or
weaving, or that it be furnished as a bathing area; c) Removing
the exhibit panels and furnishing the exhibit room(s) as the
"grandmother's quarters," where Minorcan (hispanic) elements could
be concentrated.

We would like to complete changes in the kitchen and yard during the
1988-1989 fiscal year, and to initiate the removal of all temporarily
inappropriate furnishings. In addition, Marsha will have the upstairs
interpretive panels placed in chronological order, beginning at the exterior
door, in the near future. The possible development of the upstairs exhibit
rooms should probably be accomplished in 1989-1990.

Jiit oric &S .Au&u ine

,fc6fe era ion board

The State ofJFliwifa


TO: Mr. Newton

FROM: Marsha

DATE: July 10, 1989

SUBJECT: Plans for DeMesa House Yard and the DeBurgo-Pellicer Kitchen

Last summer (July 19, 1988) a project was proposed to the then functioning
project committee, regarding "reworking" the DeMesa kitchen, yard and the
adjacent DeBurgo-Pellicer kitchen. A copy of the initial proposal is

The first part of the plan, the refurbishment of the DeMesa kitchen, has
been accomplished, although a few additional items which have not been
readily found, could be added to it. Most of the refurbishment has resulted
from the purchase of antiques appropriate to the period by myself, and by
the construction of certain pieces of furniture by my staff. All of the
items purchased have been added to the collection inventory, which is kept
by Valerie.

We have also altered the house interpretation to include the facts regarding
the Loring family who actually inhabited the house in 1840. This information
was uncovered by Susan Parker after the project was initiated. Therefore, we
abandoned the possibility of a Minorcan interpretation,

Some of the plans described in the initial proposal were changed by committee
assent, such as the installation of plexiglass in the shuttered window.
Instead, David Scott directed his staff to install a complete sash window
into the opening. This, of course, is much more authentic and appropriate
than the plexiglass would have been.

In preparation for the plans for an extended yard, one fence has been removed
and one fence has been constructed. The effect has been to connect the rear
yard of the DeBurgo-Pellicer kitchen with the side yard of DeMesa. The
thatched shelter has been moved into the 1740 village tb serve as a children's
orientation area. No further development of the yard has occurred.

(904) 825-5033 (SUNCOM) 865-5033

MEMO:Plans for DeMesa House Yard -2- July 10, 1989
and the DeBurgo-Pellicer Kitchen

One of the reasons has been that we wished to incorporate the DeBurgo-
Pellicer kitchen into the yard interpretation. This would require cutting
a door in the back of the building, so that an interpreter could be stationed
in that yard and house. This would serve several purposes as follows:
1) It would provide a realistic outbuilding/yard complex to compliment
the interior DeMesa interpretation.
2) It would provide visitors with something else to do, while they wait
for the DeMesa tours. Tours are given on the hour and half hour, and visitors
have the option of waiting in the upstairs exhibit room or outside.
3) It would utilize the kitchen building and would facilitate candle-
making. Until six or eight months ago, candlemaking took place in the kitchen
for 2 or 3 days a week, at the expense of the store budget. The building was
entered after leaving DeMesa, which meant that visitors were re-entering the
18th century after leaving the 19th century. Candlemaking is popular with
visitors, but we do not have an outlet for candles to be sold if they are
constantly being made. The process is often just described.
4) Therefore, it was our idea that we could find a multi-talented crafts-
person to put in this small building, who would interpret the yard (privy,
laundry methods, gardening, etc.), as well as a variety of 19th century crafts,
including candlemaking, quilting, and/or whatever skills the person might have.

The first step toward the accomplishment of this plan is to cut a door into
the back of the DeBurgo-Pellicer kitchen. Until there is a door, or until we
know there is to be one, we cannot proceed with the interpretation element.
We also need to construct a privy, and the committee needs to meet to decide
on what it should be like, based upon historic research.

In regard to the initial proposal, it was found that it was not possible to
put the upstairs interpretive panels in chronological order, due to their
shapes, as well as the fact that there are back-to-back panels which were
designed to fit the rooms. We also feel that it would be quite an undertaking
to furnish the upstairs rooms, because we do not presently own any appropriate
furnishings. The yard and outbuilding development is much easier for us to
accomplish at this time.

If it comes to pass that we are able to hire the gardener/leathersmith I dis-
cussed with you recently, and we can find a multi-talented person for the DeMesa
yard, we will have increased the museum by two craftspeople. One position at
$5.50/hour for 7 days/week amounts to $16,000 per year. These two positions
have been interpretive goals for some time, but have been preempted by the
attainment of several other positions in the time I'vle been here, including
the gatekeeper, a weekend woodworker,, the street stroller, a second break person,
and the full-time interpretation of the Gomez House.

I would like your permission to call a meeting of the committee, and to then
pursue the development described herein. I look forward to discussing this plan
with you whenever you have time.

c:Valerie, Susan P., Bruce, Hector

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