Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 35, Lot 1
Title: The Historic American Buildings Survey Photo-Date Book Information
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: The Historic American Buildings Survey Photo-Date Book Information The O'Reilly House
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 35, Lot 1
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Publication Date: 1962
Physical Location:
Box: 7
Divider: Block 35
Folder: B35 L-1
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
32 Aviles Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Father O'Reilly House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 32 Aviles Street
Coordinates: 29.890417 x -81.311379
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094857
Volume ID: VID00003
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: B35-L1

Full Text




City of St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida

St. Augustine Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission

August, 1962


The house that has been entitled the "O*Reilly" house is located

at 131 Aviles Street in the City of St. Augustine, Florida. According to

the Tax Rolls of St. Johns County the property is designated as lot 1,

block 35 of the City of St. Augustine. St. Joseph's Convent currently owns

this historic building and the lot it is constructed upon. At this time

the structure, which possesses two floors and an attic, serves as an unfinished

museum of the Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

The O'Reilly house is significant historically because its present

architecture reveals at least two different historical and cultural periods;

it seems to manifest eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century architectural

features even though the house presently exists as a reconstructed structure.

Architectural investigation has indicated that the reconstruction was imple-

mented with the intention of duplicating the original in both method and

craftmanship. The old dwelling thus reflects a current of cultural history

through its renow&bdd and reconstructed architecture.


While the historical site of the 0*Reilly house can be successfully

located from 1788 to the present time it is very difficult to locate it accur-

ately before 1788. Since most of the property transfers fail to describe the

properties that changed ownership, and since the Spanish, British, and American

occupants of St. Augustine employed different measuring systems in the eighteenth

and early nineteenth centuries, properties and land sites cannot usually be

clearly delineated. The cooperative efforts of the archaeological, architec-

tural, and historical disciplines should eventually accurately locate these

historic land plots.

The Juan Elixio de la Puente Map of 1764 reveals that a house was

located on what is believed to be the present site of the O'Reilly house.

That building, situated on lot 265, Square C (according to the descriptions

of the Puente map) was described as being a ripio house of Joseph de la Rosa;

since it is quite difficult to use the Puente map for modern measurements it

is possible to suggest that the house of stone of Lorenzo Jose de Leon,

located on lot 266, north of de la Rosa's house, may have been the dwelling

that stood where the present O'Reilly house rests. Nevertheless, the Mariano

de la Rocque Map of 1783-89 refers to Don Miguel de O'Reilly's dwelling as

a two story masonry house in mediocre condition. The John de Solis and James

Moncrief maps of 1765 had shown a house on the approximate site, but the house

varied in size and position on each map; only the Moncrief listed a possible

owner--Mr. Watson. Don Juan Nepomuaeno de Quesada's Property Assessment of

1790 and the tax list of 1800 describe the O'Reilly house a rubble-work

masonry house following de la Rocque's description.


Following Father O'Reilly's will, in the early nineteenth century

the house passed into the trust of his brother, James, with the instruction

that the building be used to house nuns, for education, according to the plan

of St. Francis de Sales with its Institution of the Visitation.

James O'Reilly and, then, David A. King in 1827 held the building

in trust until Miguel O'Reilly's instructions could be arranged in 1870. At
that time Bishop Verot became the first Bishop of the area and received the

house in the name of the Catholic Church. In 1876 the building was transferred

to the Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph, a corporation of St. Johns County,

and the stipulations of Miguel O'Reilly's will were flus finally realized.

Since the Sisters of St. Joseph have acquired the O'Reilly House

it has been renovated and modernized internally. Except for the fireplaces

and paneled ceilings architectural investigations show that the house has been

generally reconstructed. However, a reconstruction was accomplished which

carefully copied the form and craftmanship of the historic structure.

1Before the arrival of Bishop Verot the Catholic Church interests in Georgia
and Florida were vested in the office of a Vicariate. The Vicariate, or the
Vicar Apostolic, as he kas entitled in Georgia and Florida, did not have the
power to receive property in the name of the church. Thus, it was only when
a Bishop's office was opened in the Florida area that the O'Reilly will could
be fulfilled. This information concerning the Catholic Church's historic
operations was obtained through the kind assistance of Sister Mary Albert of
the Sisters of St. Joseph.


1764 and for an unknown time prior to 176k....Joseph de la Rosa

(Juan Elixio de la Puente May and Index of St. Augustine,
ida, in --17k7 --

1764-85 Mr. Watson

(James Moncrief Nap of 1765)

1785 and for an unknown time prior to 1785....John Mowbrary

(Esorituras July 16, 1784, February 26, 1787, p. 191)

1785-1800 Don Miguel de O'Reilly

(Escrituras, July 16, 1785, February 26, 1787, p. 191)
(Mariano de la Rocque Map and Index of St. Augustine,
Florida inT7 T'- .- -f --..
(Don Juan epoceno de Quesada Land Inventory and
Assessment of 1791)
(Tax List of lo0)

1823 Don Juan O'Reilly (Juan O'Reilly held the property in trust
according to Miguel O'Reilly's will)

(St. Johns County Deed Book H, page 156, June 27, 1827)

1827 David A. King (trustee)

(St. Johns County Deed Book H, page 156, June 27, 1827)

1870-1876 Bishop Verot in the name of the Catholic Church

(Roman Catholic Church Records)

1876 Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph, A Corporation of
St. Johns County

(Roman Catholic Church Records)

'his chronological listing of owners concerns the owners who lived on
the probable site of the present O'Reilly house. According to the con-
clusions of this research it is doubtful that all these owners lived in
the house that currently exists. Also, it is essential to mention that
this list is not necessarily complete.


1899 St. Josephs Convent (The Sisters of St. Joseph changed their
legal title to "St. Joseph's Convent")

(St. Johns County Deed Book 3, page 250, Nov. 28, 1897)

Bibliographical Notation:

The historical research in this report was compiled primarily from

the property records of the St. Johns County Record Archives, the Archives of

St. Josephs Convent, and the Carnegie Record files and other library sources

of the St. Augustine Historical Society and the St. Augustine Historical Restora-

tion and Preservation Commission.

Date of erection:

The exact date of erection is unknown. The house before reconstruction,

however, was probably erected in the late eighteenth century ca. 1760-85.

Architect and builder:

The architect and/or builder of the house remains unknown.

Original plans:

The original plans of the house are not available.

Notes on alterations and additions:

According to the architectural study of August, 1960, it was deter-

mined that the present house is a reconstructed building. The reconstruction,

however, sought to duplicate the original techniques and craftmanship.

Old views:

There are some late nineteenth and early twentieth century photographs

of this building.

Source of information:

Most of this research was drawn from the Land and Deed Records of

the St. Johns County Archives, the maps, Spanish Records, and Carnegie file

house documents of the St. Augustine Historical Society and the St. Augustine

Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission. The property records of

St. Josephs Convent were particularly useful in the study of property transfers

in the nineteenth century.

Likely sources not yet investigated:

The University of Florida's P. K. Yohge Library's Stetson Collection,

Lockey Collection and British Colonial records could offer more material relevant

to the history of this house and other St. Augustine historic houses. The East

Florida Papers collection in the Library of Congress (Washington, D. C.) and

the Bahama Islands Colonial records might likewise offer information pertaining

to St. Augustine historic houses and sites.

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