The Room in the Courtyard of Government House


Material Information

The Room in the Courtyard of Government House
Series Title:
Government House Archaeological Excavation Documents
Physical Description:

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
West Plaza Lot
System ID:

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The accounts of repairs or modifications to Government House usually described work to the main building with little information about the courtyard area, where this year's excavation has focussed. In the late 18th century a series of annual engineer's reports, however, recounted work to a structure situated in courtyard space--a larger open area at that time than today.

Engineer Mariano de la Rocque reported that between 1785 and 1790 work to the building "to the left of the principal entrance" was limited to upgrading or adding wooden features: windows, doors, ceilings. Some new windows boasted glass panes while others were merely apertures with two-leaved wooden shutters. A window with glass panes was installed in the east-facing wall, directly on St. George Street. Windows were opened on the opposite wall to face west toward the courtyard and a fence of small, finished boards and posts was erected in front of those windows. Inside, workmen added in 1787 a wooden partition and new wood floors, apparently in both the upper and lower stories. The newly floored area in the upstairs bedroom measured 6 varas square (vara = 32.9 inches), using boards two inches thick. In 1790 a tabby floor was laid. The report suggests that the tabby floor might covered only a portion of the lower story; it might have replaced part of a wooden floor.

De la Rocque's 1788 map depicted a "Floor Plan" of

Government House. The south wall of the main building of Government House corresponded to today's south wall, adjoining a

loggia 3 varas (about 8 feet) wide. The loggia opened onto the courtyard space, 8 varas wide (north to south) and 17 varas in length, between the main building and the auxilliary structure discussed here. The north wall of the building in the courtyard sat about 11 varas (approx. 30 feet) south of the southern exterior wall of the main building. The tabby floor uncovered during the recent excavation might weel be the floor of the building shown in de la Rocque's map. The building persisted on an 1833 map. Ti e-idid not appear in the photograph taken of Government House during the Civil-War occupation of St. Augustine -id z-ovem-zn Iu- by Union troops.