Thursday, July 9, 2009
St. Augustine, Florida #6 - Historic District
The St. Augustine Historic District is one of the most remarkable heritage destinations in Florida.
Stretching out for blocks in three directions from the city's Plaza de la Constitucion, the district includes a massive collection of colonial structures. Although St. Augustine dates back to 1565, it took on its current appearance following a devastating attack by English forces under Governor James Moore of South Carolina in 1702. Moore tried unsuccessfully for 52 days to batter his way into the Castillo de San Marcos. When he finally admitted that he was unable to do so, he retaliated by burning the civilian areas of the city to the ground.
The citizens rebuilt on the ashes, creating the city that visitors see today. Because so much damage from Moore's attack resulted from the fact that most of St. Augustine's early homes were built of wood, the citizens rebuilt using masonry. Coquina rock was quarried from nearby Anastasia Island and other location and use to build almost fireproof floors and walls. As a result, numerous structures in the city dating from the early 1700s survive to this day.
When St. Augustine passed into British hands after the French and Indian War, English settlers added wooden second floors to many of the old Spanish homes and buildings. Many of these second stories can still be seen today, including at the Nation's Oldest House.
A favorite part of the district is the section that lines St. George Street, where entire blocks have been either restored or reconstructed. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/staugustinedistrict.