Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Government House, Correspondence
Title: [Letter to Bradley Gwinn Brewer]
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 Material Information
Title: Letter to Bradley Gwinn Brewer
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Government House, Correspondence
Physical Description: Correspondence
Language: English
Creator: Greeley, Mellen C.
Publication Date: 1968
Physical Location:
Box: 8
Divider: Government House - Correspondence
Folder: Government House, Correspondence
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
48 King Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Government House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 48 King Street
Coordinates: 29.892465 x -81.313142
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095478
Volume ID: VID00011
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text



August 23, 1968.

Mr, Bradley Gwinn Brewer,
P.O.Box 1987,
St. Augustine, Florida. 32084

Dear Mr. Brewer;

To my great embarrassment I have just dis-
covered an error of statement caused by a faulty memory; I
hasten to apologize and to correct my statement. This is
in reference to the Post Office building in St. Augustine
and in particular to the East Wing thereof.

I have stated more than once that in remodeling and
restoring the old so-called Governor's Residence it was
necessary to completely rempve the old walls of the East
Wing, down to the ground level and then rebuild them with
more modern design and materials.

Yo check my memory I called upon Mr. Clyde E. Harris,
an architect practicing in Jacksonville. At the time thr
Post Office building was designed, Mr.Harris was the design-
er and head draftsman in my office and he was thoroughly
familiar with the conditions at the old building as well as
with the drawings for the new building. His memory is that
the construction drawings required that the contractor
demolish completely the second floor walls and of course
the ceiling and roof, but that the first story walls were
to be reused after considerable repairing and reinforcing.
in order to make them safe for carrying the new loads wh-
ich would be put upon them tn the building of the new sec-
ond floor walls, the ceiling and the roof.

Mr. Harris recalls,(and I shall have to depend upon
the memory of a younger man,) that the four exterior waAks,
East,South and North, and the "Cross Wall" just East of the
stairway, as well as several interior partitions, were the
walls which were reused after some o~gsinm repairing and
the cutting or new door and window openings.

I recall, and some photographs taken by me will con-
firm, that the walls of the second story of the old build-
ing were removed, probably down to the level of the second
story floor joists. The old exterior walls on the second
story had, in some places, wooden posts and beams embedded
within the coquina masonry. This lead me to believe that
at some time these walls were of frame construction, and
at a later date the coquina stone had been filled in be-
tween the woodwn posts and beams. This was a customary
practice in construction many years ago.


Mr. B.G.Brewer-lo.2

If my reawakened memory and the memory of Mr Harris
are not at fault the structure of the East Wing is entire-
ly new above the second story floor line and the walls
below the second story floor line are the original ones,
except the needed reinforcement and some old openings clo-
sed and some new ones cut in.

It is most unfortunate that the working drawings
have not been discovered. They are probably buried some-
where in the files of the General Services Administration,
successor to the Officd of the Supervising Architect of
the Treasury Department with whivh I dealt during most of
the time I was engaged union thic commission. It occurs to
me that there should be on file somewhere, "Construction
Progress Photographs" made a part of the building contract.
If these can be found they will show definitely what work
was performed upon the walls. I regret that I was not all-
owed to retain any drawings of the work, nor was I allowed
to take any photographs during the construction work. The
only ones that I have were made during demolition.

I have made no reference to the part of the old
structure which was West of the cross wall East of the pres-
ent stairway. I feelsure that my memory is not at fault
again when I say thatthis part of the original building
was demolished completely. This is the part which served
as the work area of the Post Office and the Public Lobby.
There is a large basement under this part of the new build-
ing, the construction nf which required the removal of all
old partitions and foundations.

I regret my poor memory which lead to my statement
regarding the walls of the East Wing, and I hope that the
present corrected statement will help in the planning of
the restoration, if such work is to be undertaken. I nev-
er could find much information about the old building, but
what I havefound leads me to believe that many changes
must have been made by the several Governments which own-
ed the building at different times. Perhaps there was such
a building as was portrayed in "a watwr color painting" sup-
posedly made, in 1764, by some englishman, and which paint-
ing,( or a black and white reproduction if itm) was thr in-
spiration for the design of the present Post Office build-
ing, in the 1930's.

What little historic background, 'photos. and plats
which are in my possession are gladly offered for the assis-
tance of the San Agustin Antegua effort, and my own personal
assistance is humbly offered if it may be of andj service to
the Restoration.

I am sorry to have made statements which I now belie-
ve to have been in error.
SSincerely ee

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