Friday, January 21, 2011

Oldest city in the United States

We drove to St. Augustine on Thursday with our friends Deb and Dale Wiegand, who spend winters in their Florida home near Punta Gorda.
There is a lot of history in St. Augustine and we barely scratched the surface.  A history buff could spend a week here and not run out of things to see.
Castillo_de_San_Marcos-898[1] Large Web view
Photo from by Barry Drawn
The National Park Service has conferred National Monument status to the ancient Castillo de San Marcos which is the oldest masonry fort in the United States.  Construction on the fort was started in 1672. However, the city itself was established in 1565 and since that time has been continuously inhabited – making it the oldest city in the United States.
A working replica of the original gate.
One of the many mortars used to defend the fort.   This one could lob a iron ball slightly over one mile. 
These cannon (on right) could send a canon ball up to 2 miles, providing plenty of protection against ships in Matanzas Bay.
This is the Shot Furnace in which canon balls were heated until red hot and then carried inside the fort and up the stairs to be propelled at wooden ships where the damage they wrought was enhanced by starting fires.
Officer quarters.  Others were even more Spartan.
The old fort is one of the main attractions in St. Augustine, but we may go back to see what me missed in the city.
For centuries St. Augustine was surrounded by a wall with gates that were locked from sunset to sunrise.
The oldest wood school house in the U.S.
Flagler College started as the ultra-modern Ponce de Leon Hotel built by Henry Flagler in 1882.  {Flagler was an early railroad baron.} Today the building is a four-year liberal arts college.  I took this photo from a trolley ride which I cannot recommend as a good way to take pictures.
Many of the older homes are on narrow streets and are behind brick or stone walls, giving the area a charming and unique feel.
Tomorrow we plan to do something really different. Stay tuned.


  1. I grew up in Daytona Beach so I remember St. Augustine well. It has been several years since I was there....thanks for the tour!! You all enjoy and stay safe!

  2. We intend to hit St Augustine when we leave Tampa. The only time we went there it was stifling hot so we didn't see much. Nice pictures.

  3. Thanks for the flashback. We took the tour of the college and found it to be very interesting. The students get to sit on antique chairs in the dining rooms and lots of Tiffany glass all around.

  4. Your pictures brought back some fun memories. We also did the trolley tour, great way to see a beautiful city and see places we might have missed otherwise. We enjoyed the flea market next to the RV park we stayed at to.