Wednesday, June 19, 2013
|Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Bike Tour of Lincolnville|
|Florida Trust Annual Meeting Tour Description|
Lincolnville was the first St. Augustine neighborhood to be approved for designation as a National Register District, approved for designation in 1991. Lincolnville was founded shortly after the Civil War by emancipated African Americans from the area. It was originally called "Little Africa" but was later renamed in a reference to President Lincoln. It is composed of over 500 structures with the largest number of 19th and turn-of-the-20th century Victorian houses in the City. Today it has become one of the City's most interesting restored areas with many of the two-story Craftsman style and one-story Shotgun style houses lovingly restored. The Florida Trust chose to feature Lincolnville's restoration activities by organizing a bike tour during its May, 2013 Annual Meeting held at the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine.
The tour was led by Barry Myers, a curator at the Lightner Museum, and a long-time resident of Lincolnville.
|Barry, tour leader, and Friederika|
|St. Augustine Bike Rentals|
|Sola Carraba Cigar Factory|
Next on the right is the former city ice plant presently being restored to become the city's first liquor distillery.
|Yallaha Plantation House|
On the left, still standing, is the deteriorated Sister's of St. Joseph School. The Sisters left France right after the Civil War to teach St. Augustine's freed Black children. Today, many St. Augustine families send their children to the Cathedral Parish School, still taught by the good Sisters of St. Joseph. The State of Florida granted funds to stabilize the old school building but an adaptive reuse is needed to save this beautiful historic structure.
|Sisters of St. Joseph School|
|St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church|
We take a small detour down Kings Ferry Way to see two nicely restored shotgun houses which together form a little compound with a courtyard between, an interesting way to expand a small property. These two shotgun style houses were restored by the Elaine H. Darnold, Inc. Construction Company which specializes in historic restoration.
|Former M and M Market|
|Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. slept here|
|Trinity United Methodist Church|
Turning right on Washington Street, another church important in the Civil Rights movement comes into view, St. Mary's Missionary Baptist Church.
In the early 20th century, Washington Street was the major commercial district for the African American community. With desegregation, most of the African American-owned establishments along Washington Street declined. One that remains to this day is the Elks Club, still an active community establishment with its own historic marker in red.
|Mr. Butler's house|
A noted African American business man, Frank R. Butler, lived in this house on Washington Street. Mr. Butler established Butler Beach on Anastasia Island, the only beach open to African Americans during the days of segregation.
Demolition of Lincolnville's old houses is a constant threat, with demolition by neglect impacting many. Lincolnville has become a desirable place to invest as vacant lots become locations for infill housing. One of the better examples of new housing that fits into the Lincolnville style is this new house on Washington Street.
|Replacement with inappropriate balcony railing|
|Addition of appropriate balcony railing|
An outstanding example of restoration in Lincolnville is St.Cyprian's Episcopal Church on the right side heading south on M.L. King Ave. During segregation this Episcopal church served an African American congregation. It had fallen into disrepair but was sensitively restored in the 1990's and today St. Cyprian's is again an active parish. It serves as a community focal point providing community-based programs in the arts, health care and education.
|St Cyprian's Episcopal Church|
Another house associated with the civil rights movement on M.L.King Ave. is known as the "Civil Rights House". Dr. Robert B. Haling, a local dentist, lived here in 1964. He is known as the father of the Civil Rights Movement in St. Augustine.
|Dr. Robert B. Haling's house|
The bikers next proceeded to Oneida Street, one of the prettiest streets in Lincolnville. Here we began our house tours. The first house toured was a large house on the Maria Sanchez marsh, a house with a name: Villa Rosa. This large frame house from the late 19th century was originally built by one of Henry Flagler's protegees. It was recently completely restored by John Valdez and Associates, one of the City's most accomplished historic restoration companies. The house is filled with mahogany and wood inlays and has a restored tower to view the beautiful marsh and Intracoastal Waterway in the distance.
|View from Villa Rosa Tower|
The next house we had the privilege of touring was a late 19th century Victorian being lovingly restored by the owner, Meg. The rear of Meg's house has a kitchen which had been a separate building from the main house but was moved and attached to the house structure later.
|Rear kitchen added to Meg's house|
Another approach to rehabilitation is Rosamond's house on South Street. Her small bungalow from the early 20th century has been completely gutted and beautifully modernized in the interior but maintains the original exterior.
|20th century bungalow|
|Backyard of bungalow|
As a contrast, the comfortable Richardson family home, has been in the family for several generations, with ongoing improvements over time.
|Richardson family residence|
|1920s house on the lake|
That completed our tour of the five Lincolnville houses, each representing a different approach to restoration. We thanked Barry for a most insightful tour of one of St. Augustine's most interesting neighborhoods and a great laboratory to view historic preservation in action.
Text and photos by Toni Wallace.