St. George Street 1861 and today
American Rule: Florida was ceded to the U.S. by Spain in the 1819 Adams–Onís Treaty, ratification of the treaty took place in 1821 and it officially became a U.S. possession as the Florida Territory, in 1822, with future president Andrew Jackson as the military governor, succeeded by William Pope DuVal as territorial governor. Florida gained statehood in 1845.
After the U.S. took possession of Florida in 1821, the Castillo de San Marcos (British, Fort St. Marks) was renamed Fort Marion for Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the American Revolution.
During the Second Seminole War of 1835–1842 the fort served as a prison for Seminole captives including the famed leader Osceola, John Cavallo (John Horse) as well as Coacoochee (Wildcat), who made a daring escape from the fort with nineteen other Seminoles.
St. Augustine waterfront, Slave Market and Town Plaza, 1860’s
In 1861, the American Civil War began and Florida seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy. On the 7th of January 1861, prior to Florida's formal secession, a local militia unit, the St. Augustine Blues, took possession of St. Augustine's military facilities, including Fort Marion and the St. Francis Barracks, from the lone Union ordnance sergeant on duty.
Crew from the USS Wabash reoccupied the city for the U.S. government without opposition on the 11th of March 1862 and it remained under Union control for the remainder of the war. In 1865, Florida rejoined the United States.
After the war, former slaves in St. Augustine established the community of Lincolnville in 1866, named after President Abraham Lincoln. Lincolnville, with the largest concentration of Victorian Era homes in St. Augustine, also became a key setting for the Civil Rights Movement a century latter.
The Ponce de León Hotel 1901
After the Civil War, Fort Marion was used twice, in the 1870’s and then again in the 1880’s, to house first Plains Indians and then Apaches who were captured in the west. The daughter of Geronimo was born at Fort Marion, and was named Marion, though she later chose to change her name. The fort was also used as a military prison during the Spanish-American War of 1898. It was finally removed from the Army's active duty rolls in 1900 after two hundred and five years of service under five different flags. It is now run by the National Park Service, and called the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument or Bear’s Fort.
Flagler Era: Henry Flagler, a partner of John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil arrived in St. Augustine in the 1880’s and was the driving force behind turning the city into a winter resort for the wealthy northern elite. Flagler bought a number of local railroads which were incorporated into the Florida East Coast Railway, which built its headquarters in St. Augustine.
Flagler contracted the New York architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings to design a number of extravagant buildings in St. Augustine, among them the Ponce de Leon Hotel and the Alcazar Hotel built partly on land purchased from Flaglers' friend and associate Andrew Anderson and partly on the bed of Maria Sanchez Creek, which Flagler had filled with the archaeological remains of the original Fort Mose. Flagler built or contributed to several churches, including Grace Methodict, Ancient City Baptist, and most ornate, the Venetian-style Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Flagler had Albert Spalding design a baseball park in the town and the waiters at his hotels, under the leadership of Frank P. Thompson, formed one of America's pioneer professional black baseball teams, the Ponce de Leon Giants. It later became the Cuban Giants, and one of the team members, Frank Grant, has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In the 1880’s, there was no public hospital between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. On the 22nd of May 1888, Flagler invited St. Augustine's most influential ladies to his Ponce de León Hotel and offered them a hospital if the community would commit to operate and maintain the facility. The Alicia Hospital opened on the 1st of March 1890, as a not-for-profit institution, but was renamed Flagler Hospital in 1905.
The extravagant Florida Land Boom of the 1920’s left its mark on St. Augustine with the establishment (though not completion) of Davis Shores, a landfill project on the marshy north end of Anastasia Island, which was promised to be "America's Foremost Watering Place". It was reached, from downtown St. Augustine by the Bridge of Lions, billed as "The Most Beautiful Bridge in Dixie" (own blog).
During World War II, St. Augustine hotels were used for the training of Coast Guardsmen, including the celebrated artist Jacob Lawrence and actor Buddy Ebsen. It was also a popular place for R&R for soldiers from nearby Camp Blanding, including Andy Rooney and Sloan Wilson who went on to write the classic 1950’s novel The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.
Martin Luther King Jr. being denied entry to the whites only Monson Motor Lodge restaurant by owner Jimmy Brock. Current site of Hilton Hotel.
Civil rights movement: St. Augustine was a pivotal site for the Civil Rights Movement in 1963–1964. Efforts by African Americans to integrate the public schools and public accommodations such as lunch counters were met with arrests and Ku Klux Klan violence. Non-violent protesters were arrested for participating in peaceful picket lines, sit-ins, and marches. Homes were firebombed, black leaders were assaulted and threatened with death, and fired from their jobs. In the spring of 1964, St. Augustine civil rights leader Robert Hayling asked the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and its leader Martin Luther King, Jr. for assistance. From May until July 1964, they carried out marches, sit-ins, and other forms of peaceful protest in St. Augustine. Hundreds of black and white civil rights supporters were arrested, and the jails were filled to overflowing. At the request of Hayling and King, white civil rights supporters from the north, including students, clergy, and well known public figures, came to St. Augustine and were arrested. The KKK responded with violent attacks that were widely reported in national and international media. Popular revulsion against the Klan violence generated national sympathy for the black protesters and became a key factor in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2010, former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young premiered his movie, "Crossing in St. Augustine" about the 1964 struggles against Jim Crow segregation. Young is now working to establish a National Civil Rights Museum in St. Augustine, which could be part of a St. Augustine National Historical Park and Seashore.
The Lyric and New
Amsterdam Cinemas. Bridge of Lions and Old Shoe (soon to be the Luff Bug)
The Lyric and New Amsterdam Cinemas. Bridge of Lions and Old Shoe (soon to be the Luff Bug)
ALL IN ALL THE TOWN HAS BEEN VERY WELCOMING TO US
A VERY RICH HISTORY