After posting a brief history of Saint Augustine, Florida here on HHH last month, I began to wonder about the history of specific places in the old city. The Castillo de San Marcos, The Old Jail, The Saint Augustine Lighthouse, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Treasury Street, The Saint Augustine Alligator Farm, the Old Wooden School House, Ponce de Leon Hotel (Flagler College), and The Fountain of Youth are the places we’ll explore today.
There are more—many more, but we’ll keep it to nine . . . For now.
1. The Fountain of Youth. Located in the Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park in St. Augustine, it could be considered Florida’s first tourist attraction. The park observes Ponce de Leon’s 1513 quest for the legendary Fountain of Youth and overlooks the Matanzas River and St. Augustine Inlet. The park also boasts beautiful flora and wildlife.
2. Castillo de San Marcos. Actually, the tenth fort built in Saint Augustine, construction on the Castillo de San Marcos began October of 1672 and took 23 years to complete. The coquina used to construct the thick fort walls was
|Castillo de San Marcos|
|The Old Saint Augustine Jail|
4. Ponce DeLeon Hotel (Flagler College). Built by Henry Flagler to bring the rich and famous to East Central Florida coast, the luxury hotel opened in 1887/8.
|Ponce DeLeon Hotel (Flagler College)|
5. The Saint Augustine Alligator Farm. This zoological park opened in 1893 and is still in operation today. The Saint Augustine Alligator Farm houses all twenty-three recognized types of crocodilian.
6. The Old Wooden School House. Located close to the city gate, the actual date of construction is unknown, though the old school house appears on tax annals
|Old Wooden School House|
7. Treasury Street. Believed to be narrowest street still in use, the old road is just under seven feet wide. Legend claims residents built the street just wide enough for two men to carry a treasure chest from the bay to the city bank. Therefor, not allowing a horse drawn carriage to pull up and make off with the gold.
8. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. St. Augustine Florida is the first permanent Ripley’s attraction. The three-story-high, castle style building where Ripley’s is located contains over 800 exhibits including interactive oddities, bizarre displays and even some of Mr. Ripley’s original collection.
9. The Saint Augustine Lighthouse. Located on Lighthouse Avenue, the 164-foot-
|Saint Augustine Lighthouse|
Many tales of romance, war and bravery have been told about Saint Augustine’s colonial days. Soldiers, pirates, explorers and oil magnates are just a few of the characters who have had a place in the stories of the area. For a historical romance writer—it doesn’t get much better than discovering the past of Saint Augustine.
I hope you enjoyed a reading about a few of the attractions to explore in the old city of Saint Augustine Florida. Thanks for stopping by HHH and have a wonderful month—until we meet again.
Multi award-winning author, Michele K. Morris’s love for historical fiction began when she first read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House book series. She grew up riding horses and spending her free time in the woods of mid-Michigan. Married to her high school sweetheart, they are living happily-ever-after with their six children, three in-loves, and ten grandchildren in Florida, the sunshine state. Michele loves to hear from readers on Facebook, Twitter, and here through the group blog, Heroes, Heroines, and History at HHHistory.com.
Michele is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.