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Oldest House

Oldest House
Oldest house in the United States, built by the Spanish about 1564, St. Augustine, Florida. This is on St. Francis Street, opposite the U. S. Barracks. The street is old and narrow, and today it is surrounded by the rest of the city. The material of the house walls is "coquina," a rock like combination of seashell remains and mortar, with which a good many building experiments were made in old times, in this part of the country. That portion of the old house has stood the wear and tear of almost three hundred and fifty years, though the wood finish which you see is of course modern. This very house that you see standing today stood here away back in the times when Michael Angelo was building the dome of St. Peter's over in Rome, and while the doctrines preached by Martin Luther were still startlingly new and strange. The building of this house was, in fact, begun about 1562 by French Huguenot (Protestant) emigrants who came over here by a long, hard journey in a little sailing vessel, hoping to find under the Florida palm trees a peaceful refuge from the religious quarrels that were growing so fierce and furious at home. But peace was not to be had even in this far off retreat. Spanish adventurers came following after, led by Pedro Menendez d'Aviles, and the poor Huguenots were butchered without mercy. The house was afterwards (1565-1580) used as a home for the monks of St. Francis; it must have been a picturesque sight when the brothers lived there. In 1586 came another fierce wave of warfare, when Sir Francis Drake, with his band of bold English boys, landed here on his way home form San Domingo and made havoc of the little Spanish town. All around this house other buildings were sacked and burned. Off and on, up to 1762, the English and the Spanish were quarrelling over this territory. It was not until 1821 that the Spanish flag finally came down in St. Augustine and this street became actually a part of the United States.
Publisher & City:
Underwood & Underwood: New York, London, Toronto-Canada, Ottawa-Kansas
Series & Number:

Scan courtesy of Roy Winkelman. Image retouched and converted to anaglyph in 2005 by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. View this image using 3D glasses with the blue lens over the left eye and the red lens over the right eye.

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