Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Gallegos House
Title: Gallegos House
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 Material Information
Title: Gallegos House
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Gallegos House
Physical Description: Interpretive outline
Language: English
Physical Location:
Box: 8
Divider: Interpretive Plans
Folder: Gallegos House
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: UF00095543
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text


This is the house of a Spanish artilleryman, Martin Martinez Gallegos. He

lived here about 1750 with his wife Victoria and three young children, a son,

Joaquin, and two daughters, Rosalia and Francisca. Also living in the house

was an elderly, invalid, infantryman, Juan Garcia. This kind of arrangement was

not uncommon. In this case the house probably originally belonged to Garcia, who

had become gouty, and an agreement was made to share the house with Gallegos.

In the period from 1750 until the end of the First Spanish Period (1763)

there were approximately 3,000 people living in St. Augustine (most of them

soldiers from the garrison with their families) in some 300 houses (most of them

quite similar to this one).

This house is built of tabby, a mortar made from locally available oyster

shells, limestone made by burning shells, sand and water mixed in equal parts.

The walls were plastered inside and out, and the floor is tabby. The two-room

floor plan with loggia (usually on the south) is known as the St. Augustine plan.

You will notice that there are no windows on the north side of the house. This

keeps out the bitterest of the winter winds, while the winter sun, low in the

sky, shines into the loggia and warms that protected area. In the summer the

prevailing winds come off the ocean and cool the house through the large windows

on the east and west. Again, the loggia plays a part in climate control. Now it

acts as a buffer zone and the summer sun, high in the sky, is kept at a distance

from the interior of the house by the roof of the loggia. Notice that the doors

and windows are solid wood without glass panes. During most of the year they

can be left open. For privacy and protection there is a reja, or wooden grill, at

the street window and also an interior grill. Another common feature of the

18th-century St. Augustine'home is that one enters the house from the loggia

rather than from the street. Each house and yard is fenced from its neighbor, and

the street door gives entrance to the compound rather than the house proper.

While many homes had detached kitchens for reasons of comfort and safety, in

this case we have a stove built right into the house. There is no chimney, and

the smoke rises and escapes through smoke holes in the roof. Obviously not all

the smoke leaves through the smoke holes, and periodically the walls of the house

must be whitewashed. The long bench provides work and seating space. The alacena,

or standing cupboard, is storage for dishes and food (note olive jars filled with

beans, rice, salt, and olive oil). The hanging shelf above the table provides

rodent-free storage. Other storage is by means of wall pegs and wooden chests.

Most adults owned a chest, such as those in the front room, where their personal

belongings were kept. These chests, as well as the rest of the furnishings in

the Gallegos house, were made in our Carpinteria, reproduced from 18th-century

pieces in our collection.

Other interpretive points inside the house:

Seating The chair and two stools can be used to illustrate the social

stratification of 18th-century society. If there were one chair in the

house, the oldest male had first call on it. In this case Garcia would have

sat in the chair, while Gallegos and his wife sat on the stools. If the

priest came to call, he was seated in the chair, while the men sat on the

stools and the wife probably left the room. Other available and probably

much-used seating was the stove bench and the window sills.

Religion Religion played a very important part in the lives of the people.

In each home would be found a small religious shrine. Here we see a painting

on wood hanging over a shelf for a candle and perhaps a flower. There is

also a simple cross over the doorway.

Bedding The beds are the three mats rolled up in the corner of the front

room. Most people did not use actual beds.

Fishing equipment The mullet net hanging from the ceiling in the front

room is a reminder that the people had to provide much of their own food.

Interpretive points outside the house:

1. On the loggia is seen a large mortar and pestle used for grinding corn.

This was made from a tree trunk.

2. Another tree trunk was used to make the dugout canoe. Although this one

was made quite recently by a Seminole Indian, it is similar to the ones

used here for use in shallow coastal waters.

3. In the yard is.a barrel well. There are three more barrels sunk below

ground level. Archeologists working in St. Augustine have found the

remains of this type of well with various kinds of trash deposited


4. The structure in the northeast corner of the yard was originally

intended to provide shade when the plants in the herb garden were small.

5. The garden (which won't be planted until later in the summer) provided

dried beans, squash, cabbage, onions, turnips, tomatoes, etc. We use

the produce from our garden in our culinary demonstrations. During the

18th century most of the food was sent in by the government as part of

the annual situado, or subsidy, while the rest was grown or otherwise

procured by the people themselves.

6. There was no garbage pickup in the 18th century. People threw garbage

out their windows or dug trash pits. The orange tree outside the kitchen

window has been well-fertilized by various kinds of garbage.

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