Florida Master Site File, Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, Historic Properties Inventory Form - Public Market Place
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095511/00002
 Material Information
Title: Florida Master Site File, Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, Historic Properties Inventory Form - Public Market Place
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Plaza Public Market
Physical Description: Application/form
Language: English
Publication Date: 1980
Physical Location:
Box: 8
Divider: Plaza - Public Market
Folder: Plaza Public Market
Subjects / Keywords: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
Plaza de la Constitucion (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Public Market (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine
Coordinates: 29.892549 x -81.311594
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UF00095511:00002

Full Text


FDAHRM 802== Site No. S-/ )1 ) 1009==
Site Name: Public Market Place 830== Survey Date: 7809 820==
Address: Plaza de La Constitucion, St. Augustine, FL 32084 905==
Instructions for Locating:
813== County: St. Johns 808==
Location: City of St. Augustine Plaza 868==
(subdivision) (block) (lot)
'Owner of Site: Name: City of St. Augustine
Address: St. Augustine, FL 32084
Occupant or Manager: 904==
Type of Ownership: City 848== Zoning: HP-2
NR Classification Category: Building 916== Recording Date: 832==
UTM: 17 469900 3306700 890== Location: T07S R30E S18 812==
(zone) easingn) nothingn) (T) (R) (S)
Map Reference: USGS St. Augustine 7.5 MIN 1956 (PR 1970) 809==
Recorder: Name & Title: Nolan, David (Historic Sites Specialist) ;
Address: H.S.A.P.B. 818==

Condition of Site: Threats to Site:
( ) Excellent 863== ( ) Zoning 878==
x) Good 863== ( ) Development 878==
( ) Fair 863== ( ) Deterioration 878==
( ) Deteriorated 863== ( ) Borrowing 878==
( ) Transportation 878==
Integrity of Site: ( ) Fill 878==
(x) Altered 858== ( ) Dredge 878==
( ) Unaltered 858== ( ) Other 878==
(X) Original Site 858==
( ) Restored Date: _858==
( ) Moved Date: 858==

Original Use: Commercial 838== Present Use: Other: Recreational 850==
Date: +1824 844== Period: 19th cent.845== Culture: American 840==
Architect: 872==
Builder: 874==
Style: Monry Vprnn~in r 964==
Plan Type: Rectangular 966==
Exterior Fabrics: Stucco, novelty shingles (slate)
Structural Systems: Masonry, stone, (coquina) 856==
Features of Structure: (942)
Window Type: 942==
Foundation: 942==
Roof Type: 942==
Secondary Roof Structures: Cupola, hip 942==
Porches & Balconies:
Chimney Location: 942==
Materials: (882)
Chimney: 882==
Roof Surfacing: Slate shingles 882==
Ornament Exterior:
Quantitative Data: (950-954)
Chimneys: 952== Dormers: 954== Stories: 950==
Other: 956==
Surroundings: Recreational 864==
Relationship to Surroundings: East end of Plaza facing waterfront.


Photographic Records Numbers: 860==
Contact Prints

Page 2

Areas of Significance: Architecture. Commerce, Politics/Government
Statement of Significance: (911==)
This one-story building known as the Market Place was constructed in
1824. Square coquina pillars rise from the masonry floor and support a gable
roof. The roof is covered with slate shingles and sports a hip-roof cupola.
The Market Place is on the eastern end of the Plaza and faces the bayfront.
The Plaza area--a central green with surrounding buildings on the bay-
front--is an essential feature of the St. Augustine town plan listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. The Plaza has been the favorite place
for the town's monuments from colonial through modern times, and it has been
a periodic focal point for community improvement drives, tree plantings, etc.
It has included many different features over the years, including an alliga-
tor pond and an open bandstand popular for music and political rallies. The
Plaza is bordered by churches, commercial and governmental buildings repre-
senting a range of construction dates of over 180 years. The buildings
around the Plaza have changed over time. There have been rebuilding on
sites after fires and demolitions, and the scale, mass and style of the sur-
rounding buildings have changed over the years. The area includes St. Augus-
tine's tallest building, the Atlantic (formerly First National) Bank. There
have been conscious attempts over the years to model or remodel buildings
in Spanish or St. Augustine Colonial Revival style. The skyline above the
Plaza is lined with the Spanish Renaissance Revival towers and domes of the
Flagler era. The area has been augmented by the creation of additional adja-
cent green areas west of Government House with public monuments put in after
World War I. The Plaza is not only a famous scenic site for tourists, it is
also located at the center of the town's commercial, religious and govern-
mental life. As a result, traffic and parking problems plague the area, and
many significant buildings in adjacent areas have been demolished for park-
ing lots.

The concept of a plaza or public square has been central to Spanish ur-
ban planning in the new world since the late 16th century. According to a
1572 royal ordinance, the plaza was to function as the principal recreation-
al and meeting area in the community and was to be surrounded by the most
important governmental and ecclesiastical buildings. The St. Augustine

1. "Real Ordenanzas para nuevas poblaciones," Hispanic American Histor-
ical Review, Vol. 4 (November, 1921), pp. 743-53; Anon., "S. Augustini pars
et terrae Florida," 1588; Archivo General de Indias 54-5-9/47 and 49 (Stet-
son Collection).
2. Juan Jose Elixio de la Puente, "Plano . de la Plaza de San
Agustin," January 22, 1764; Mariano de la Rocque, "Plano Particular de la
Ciudad de San Agustin," April 25, 1788; Ramon de la Cruz, "Inventario,"
June 4, 1821, East Florida Papers, Bundle 260, No. 1.

Plaza dates from this period, although only one of the stipulated buildings,
the Governor's Mansion, actually fronted the Plaza before the early 18th
century.(1) In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Phe plaza became surroun-
ded by a cluster of newer civic and religious structures, including the
Bishops' House (later the British Statehouse and Spanish provisional church)
at the corner of St. George and King, the Accountancy and Treasury building
at the corner of Cathedral and Charlotte, the public school at the corner
of St. George and Cathedral, and the parish church (now the Basilica-Cathe-
dral). The Plaza itself contained several colonial structures, most notably
the non-extant stone guardhouse at the eastern section and the still stand-
ing constitution monument at the then center of the square.(2) Construction
of Trinity Episcopal Church and the Public and Fish markets were major chan-
ges introduced in the 1820's and 1830's, although the "Public Square" went
only as far as Aviles (Hospital) Street just west of the above markets. In
the 1870's trees, plants, and fountains were added to beautify the "Plaza
de Constitucion," a Confederate monument was erected, and the Plaza was ex-
tended east to Charlotte Street. By the late 1880's, the Plaza was ringed
by large structures, notably the St. Augustine Hotel. Smaller commercial
buildings replaced the hotel after the devastating fire destroyed the hos-
telry and severely damaged the Public Market and Cathedral in 1887. In
1893, Cathedral Place was extended from St. George Street to Cordova Street,
thus forming a smaller Plaza to the west of Government House. Although the
massive 18th century coquina Rosario redoubt had been earlier demolished to
widen Cordova Street, the west Plaza area was still engulfed by the monumen-
tal Flagler hotels on the south and west and by a cigar factory on the north.
Dramatic alterations were seen in the Plaza area in the 1920's. A bandstand
was built in the center of the Plaza, the Ponce de Leon statue was unveiled
to the east, the tall First National Bank building was constructed, and the
Bridge of Lions was opened at the east end, formerly the Plaza basin. In
the last two decades, demolition of the Bishops' House and Bishop Block
have altered the view in the northwest corner of the Plaza.(3)
The Market Place on the east end of the Plaza is located on a site known
to have been occupied by a succession of markets, and for a short time a guard
house. Governor Gonzalo Mendez de Canzo wrote to the Spanish Crown in 1598
proclaiming that . after my arrival I caused a market place to be estab-
lished, where there would be weight and measure, which heretofore had been
lacking. ." It is significant to note that this was the first use of weights
and measures in the country. The market was probably on the east end of the
Plaza although neither the location nor duration are definitely known. The
1764 Puente map shows a building on the site of the present market which is
designated "Stone house used as the Main Guard House." A 1764 sketch from the
Governors House shows a building conceivably this guardhouse. A market place
with bell and beam scales existed on the site during the British Period
(1763-1784). Rocque in 1788 describes a 10 section structure partially of wood,
partially masonry. The general report states "In the island called the Marqueta
within the city and looking toward the sea, there are some masonry quarters, the

Page 3

walls of which are in good condition." When Florida became a U. S. Terri-
tory (1821), a beef market is listed. The wooden portions of the structure
were removed shortly thereafter, however, leaving the stone building to
serve as a temporary Market Place. By the end of 1823 a new building was
planned to replace the former market. The new market was severely damaged
by a storm in 1825 but was rebuilt immediately. Numerous documents des-
cribe modifications such as the addition of the bell and an extension for
a fish market. By 1887 a new market existed on Hospital (Aviles) Street and
Captain E. E. Vaill leased the old building, rehabilitating it and improv-
ing the surrounding property. The fire of 1887 destroyed all but the mason-
ry work of the structure; however, it was restored to its former appearance
with an addition of a blue slate roof. By 1890 the city council moved the
market area into a portion of the new City Building erected by Henry M.
Flagler. The old Market Place remained a landmark as it is today commem-
orating the customs and life styles of generations in the past.

For archaeological significance of the walled colonial city see Master
Site File Form 8SJ10.

3. Anon., "Copy of a Plan of the City of St. Augustine," 1833; John S.
Horton, "View of St. Augustine, East Florida," 1855; 1885 and 1894 Birds-
Eye Views; Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1884-1958; St. Augustine Record,
July 4, 1937 and February 5, 1950.
4. "The Public Market Place," El Escribano, No. 54 (October, 1964),
pp. 1-18; Public Market Place, Block and Lot File, Monuments, Sites and
Objects, Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board.

~>1 I, s', j -5 I ,
HE PAVI LION type struo-
Sture at tlie cast end of the
Plaza shares largely in at-
tractions of the park's notable landmarks,
and few tourists leave St. Augustine with-
out having asked "Where is the Slave Mar-
As with various historical locations,
records concerning structures existing at
this east end of the old Plaza do not yet
present an uninterrupted chain.
Recently, however, translation and inter-
pretation of original material make it evi-
dent that a house for a market was located
at the water end of tie Plaza in the 16th
Exceptional interest has now been added
to the formerly known records by a cedula
of the King, Philip the Second, issued in
1573, only eight years after the founding
of St. Augustine. In this cedula King
Philip advises how lie desires all settle-
nents in his provinces in New Spain and
the Indids shall he laid out. lie provides
for both inland settlements and those such
as are located with water fronts.
After the land for the settlement was
chosen, his first thought was for the Plaza
Mayor. what dimensions would he most
desirable for certain size population: also
what relation the widthl of the plaza should
bear to the length, with room provided
for expansion of the plaza to meet increase
in population. He distinctly recommends
"The principal Plaza from which the set-
tlement is to commence being on the coast
of the sea" is to be made the "disembark-
ing place of the port" being in the "center
of the settlement."
Here is the inception of the old Market
'Basin that came so close to the market
building that at one time there was no reg--
ular cart road or street between them.
All this cedula was 13 years before the
coming of Francis Drake to wreak damage
on the young St. Augustine town, and it
is not yet known whether any part of this
plan of the king lhad been carried out in
tlint 15116 location. Ull, eleven years after
D)rskn' aitlsak ioi the old town, thie ener-

getic governor, Gouzalo Mende' de Canso,
wrote his king "Since I came I caused
them to make a Plaza and that all of them
come to sell there and a house where there
are weights and measures, which until now
they have not had." Thusin 1598 Mendez
de Canso creates a picture of a Plaza with
a market house in it. His king is so pleased
that he writes in tile margin of the paper
that the governor has done well; that he
is to keep right on, and not to hesitate
about writing him plenty of information
about such things.
From this it is considered St. Augustine
possesses the oldest example of the typical
projected Plaza with market. Also re-
search authorities now maintain this loca-
tion would be where people sold by weight
and measure for the first time in these
United States. Royal officials had weights
and measures for their dealings, but now
the residents were equipped for business.
Later in several records, a guard house
and market are apparently under the same
roof. In another instance there is a record
where people resided in part of tie guard
house. There also is mention of a person
living in a market house..
It has never been claimed by historians
that such institutions as a slave pen and
slave block, as known in cities with huge
plantation hack country, were maintained
in St. Augustine.
The old Spaniards handled their trans-
actions in slaves in a more personal fashion
than slave owners of the 19th century. In
1792 one Gaspar Papy "being sick in bed
of the accident that God our Lord has been
pleased to give me" and "fearing the
death," made a will in which his financial
condition is recounted. He says "I declare
that I have entrusted to Don Miguel de
Acosta, Captain of a sloop, one hundred
and eighty pesos for the purchase, of a
negro" and other articles,
Possibly by the time Captain de Acosta
arrived with the negro, Papy, who didn't
die of that accident he names, might have
been able to be waiting at the Market to
receive the negro as de Acosta carn ashore
at the "disembarking place of the port."

Many other negroes were landed at this
spot and the Market Basin became the
place where they'reached their new mas-
Also the County Court House provides
slave sale records. In.Book E, Page 288,
there is found notice of public sale at auc-
tion of a woman slave named Tamaha, age
28, for $180, at the public market, in 1824.
In Deed Book M, Page 24, is found
notice of a sale of Slaves at the Market
House. Thompson Mason and wife had
given a mortgage to Theodore Flotard on
two slaves, "Malvina 19 and Gabina, about
same age," and the notice stated that the
"two slaves are to be sold at public auction
to the highest bidder." This was in 1836.
If the mortgage money was paid the sale
would not take place.
These are examples of what may be
found in court records.
In a private letter, an old resident of the
Black Creek section wrote that he recalled
his grandfather always brought his slaves
to St. Augustine to be whipped at the Mar-
ket House, providing the punishment was
to be severe, and once, while the slave was
being whipped, he watched a trained bear
performing in the Plaza.
The dae of construction of one market
house has been argued without considera-
tion for the succession of structures that
had served the purpose since that first one
Gonzalo Mendcz de Canso wrote about in
1598.. A record seemingly not previously
brought forward is in the report of the
Committee on Public Property, dated Sept.
9, 1821. Then P. Lynch, Wm. Living-
stone a'nd Charles Vignoles said in "Item
No. 17. The Market Place-The small
wooden buildings and sheds erected on this
public square are strongly recommended
to be removed as a public nuisance. The
stone market may remain until a more
suitable place can be provided.". This
"stone market" was left by the Spaniards
of the second occupation .
The story of the slave dealings of the
first Spanish occupation will sometime pro-
vide information connecting the Slave
Market transactions with those first.two
hundred years in St Augustine.