Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 28 Lot 2, Military Hospital
Title: Spanish Military Hospital
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 Material Information
Title: Spanish Military Hospital Historic St. Augustine
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 28 Lot 2, Military Hospital
Physical Description: Brochure/pamphlet
Language: English
Physical Location:
Box: 7
Divider: Block 28 Lot 2 (Spanish Military Hospital)
Folder: Block 28 - 2, Military Hospital
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
3 Aviles Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spanish Military Hospital (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 3 Aviles Street
Coordinates: 29.891837 x -81.311598
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094843
Volume ID: VID00004
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: B28-L2

Full Text




On the west sideof Aviles street near the plaza
there stood in the 18th century a Spanish military
hospital. During the British occupation of St. Aug-
ustine 1763- 1783 a Scottish carpenter and builder
named William Watson purchased andremodeled into
a dwelling a stable which stood opposite it. Soon
thereafter he built a new house a few steps to the
southeast (Watson House), and his former residence
was remade into a convalescent home. Not long after
the Spaniards retook possession of the town a fire
destroyed the hospital. In 1791 the government pur-
chased the convalescent home and modified it for use
as a military hospital. This present structure is a
restoration of thathistoric edifice on its original site.

Above the main entrance the visitor first sees the
coat-of-arms of Charles IV, king of Spain during the
late 18th century. Entering the building one notices
fi r st the apothecary shop with its pharmacist sur-
rounded by antique drug jars from Spain; in historic
times the resident apothecary had to g r ow his own
herbs and/or gather wild ones. On the counter is a
modern replica o f a traditional mortar and pestle.
Behind the grille is visible an old Spanish marble
pill-rolling slab, with marks for slicing pills from
a cylinder of medicinal material, some of which
would have been ground in the small bronze 18th cen-
tury mortar beside it. The book is an 18th century
French volume of prescriptions, many of which are
in Latin. An antique balance-scale with weights
completes-the main working area. Beyond it in the
glass-topped case are 19th century doctors' bleeding
knives for letting blood from veins.
f *****

Beyond the antique Spanish floor-chest and modern
reproduction r e e d chair ca n be seen the darkened
morgue, where relatives and friends of a dead soldier
might pray and burn candles for the traditional 24-
hour period. A grieving young lady inblack sits, fan
and rosary at hand, beside the deceased. He, in
dress uniform, lies in an antique mortuary bed
brought from Spain; the sides arehinged to facilitate
movement of the body from stretcher to bed and bed
to coffin. The iron candle brackets are reproduc-
tions made in our blacksmith shop.

Next is the doctors' office, where operations were
also performed. All furnishings except the bed are
18th century antiques. Here the resident physician
prepares further bandaging of a soldier patient. Out-
side the door is the official bulletin board, on which
may be seen translations of excerpts from the Span-
ish RoyalArmyMedical Corps' regulations as to per-
sonnel and their duties.

*.* ***

The large room beyond is the Officers' Ward,
being bigger, lighter, and airier than the re st and
including a table for eating and card playing. Hung
on one of the wa ll clothing-pegs is an antique bed-
wrench for p eriodic tightening 9f ropes supporting
the straw-filled mattresses. There is a door to the
loggia outside for use wh e n weather permitted. A
water-jar and dipper stands in the corner. A toilet-
box with jar rests against the south wall. Each bed
is equipped with the necessary T-bar and mosquito
net. The fireplace is used both for warmth and for

heating water in the old kettle. A portrait of a saint
overlooks the room.

Through the next door is the Enlisted Men' s Ward,
,with beds for sergeants and corporals, al long shelf
for lowly privates (built for four but in an emergency
could accommodate eight). The ward attendant per-
forms nursing duties for the three patients, each
with different ailments. Minimum accessory items
are mosquito nets, toilet box, and candle holders.

At the rear of the building is located the Isolation
Ward, with two patients. Besides the standard fea-
tures this room also has floor length white draw-
curtains, pulled when the Governor or any other visi-
tor not previously exposed visited and/or inspected
the hospital, to prevent contagion. The stairway
leads to the second floor, historically the living quar-
ters for attendants and employees. Current plans call
for conversion of the upper etory to a Museum of
Florida Medical History as soon as sufficient funds
are found.

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