Friday, December 13, 2013

Today we held a social media workshop for heritage partners.  One of the assignments during the workshop was to draft a sample blog post.  How'd our newbies do?  I think pretty great!

Hi! My name is Gabrielle. Are you interested in Textiles? Here in St. Augustine we have a Textile Guild which is made up of members that share a common love of all things textile!  We enjoy spinning, weaving, dying…and everything in between.  Being based in St. Augustine, FL our nation’s oldest city, our members also are interested in the historical aspect of our craft. We delve into this history through demonstrating to the public different techniques of textiles that would have been done during the 1500’s – 1800’s. We would love to have you join our group to learn and share your craft!  Please visit us in the historical Lightener Museum Building , First Floor… on the second Thursday of every month.
For more information check the organization's website:

The Saint Augustine Garrison is a group of re-enactors who portray the life and times of the Spanish soldiers and their families in 1740s Colonial Spanish Saint Augustine. The Saint Augustine Garrison was created in July, 1984 by the Historic Florida Militia, Inc. a 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit Cooperation. Their mission is to foster an understanding of military history of early Spanish Florida through military demonstration, interpretive programs, portrayals and publications and to provide visitors of the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas a trip back into time of 1740 Spanish Saint Augustine.

A Hidden Treasure Waiting for You

Next time you are in Northeast Florida, please be sure to visit one of my favorite places- Mandarin Museum and Historical Society.   It is located in Walter Jones Historical Park.  You can step back in time as you walk along the path under the ancient oak trees.  Or sit on the porch of the old farmhouse and get your picture taken.  If you are really lucky, the manatees will be feeding just off the shore.  I love to spend time here and think about the days long ago when Harriet Beecher Stowe sat on her front porch just down the road waving at the river boats going by.  This place is a hidden treasure!!

Confessions of a Serial Blogger

Blogging is great but there is a learning curve.  Over many years – and some abandoned blogs – I feel that I’m getting a little closer to it, mostly by learning that less is more.  My first blogs looked like something useful for defending a dissertation – ponderous, lengthy, full of notes, research, citations, careful prose - and then I discovered the joys of simple conversational writing and photos.
I realized that the whole point was to tell people about something I was interested in, answer a question somebody had asked me about some of the things that I do – which range from traveling to Spain, to constructing Nativity scenes, to working on historic cemetery preservation – and let people know how interesting and fun this was.  And once I stopped looking over my shoulder and just chatting, which is really what a blog is, a chat with photos, my blogging took off.  

My current most active blog is not a personal blog, but belongs to the aforementioned historic cemetery: Tolomato Cemetery.

What photo might work for this blog? Well, there’s always the classic headstone…

However, most of the photos I use are actually photos taken at the cemetery, either by me or by one of the other members of our group, the Tolomato Cemetery Preservation Association.  

Above is a visiting day at the cemetery.  There’s always something to talk about, and the blog is really just an extension of this.  

How I arrived in St. Augustine
By Kaitlin Dorn

At St. Johns County – Cultural Resources, I’m researching West Augustine as a significant and historical community.  This class is a great way to introduce myself!  I started my Master of Historic Preservation at the University of Florida.  My introduction to UF and Historic Preservation was in Preservation Institute:Nantucket (PIN).  Starting in summer 2012, I went on a 15-month adventure which started with a field school in Indonesia.  UF partnered with InstitutTeknologi – Bandung to analyze the potential for listing the ex-mining city, Sawahlunto, as a World Heritage Site.  After the program, I traveled around SE Asia with 3 other girls.  It inspired me to serve as an AmeriCorpsVISTA for one year in Honolulu, Hawaii.  I worked at Hawaiian Community Assets, a HUD-approved non-profit organization founded and run by Native Hawaiians to help the community reach financial literacy to obtain permanent housing.  While I was in grad school, my mom walked the Camino de Santiago across Spain, fell in love, and stayed in Spain.  After my VISTA year, I visited my mom after walking the Camino myself.  Immediately following the Camino, I began working for St. Johns County – happy to be here!

Check out my travel blog: 

 by Sandy Arpen, volunteer

 Mandarin is today known as a suburb of Jacksonville but it was once a significant community whose economy was driven by the citrus, lumber and turpentine industries. Harriet Beecher Stowe wintered in Mandarin for  17 years and played a significant role in Reconstruction in this area.  We preserve and tell the stories of Mandarin’s past events and people through exhibits, educational programs and activities.

 Coming up in April, 2014 is a very significant event in Mandarin’s history - the 150th anniversary of the sinking of the Union steamship Maple Leaf by the Confederates in the St. Johns River at Mandarin Point.  Join us on April 6 for a Sesquicentennial celebration of the Maple Leaf, her men and the archaeological team who brought her story to life for us. Artifacts from the Maple Leaf will be on exhibit throughout the rest of 2014 and Dr. Keith Holland, organizer of the underwater survey and recovery of artifacts will be an integral part of the activities.  For more information check out our website: 

Volunteer at Tolomato!

Hello my name is Patty Kelbert.  I am a volunteer at the Tolomato cemetery my job is preservation and restoration.  I am learning to restore metal work which is a 3 part tedious task.  First you clean the metal of all rust dirt and pealing of old paint and debris we do this by brushing and scrubbing with wire brushes. Then when the surface is clean we spray and cover with a rust barrier that will block the rust. Then we cover with a primer by painting on.  Then we the last step is to protect with paint.  

The O’Reilly House

One of the most undiscovered museums in St. Augustine, Florida is the O’ReillyHouse Museum. It is located on one of the oldest cobblestone streets, Aviles Street  in St. Augustine.  It has lovely antique pieces, musical instruments and wonderful old school books. Some of the school supplies were printed on the German Weiler Press.  That is also located in the house.  The house is built of coquina and tabby. It was the rectory for Fr. O’Reilly, who was the pastor when the Cathedral Basilica was built in 1793 – 1797. Then it was used as a convent and school house. It is a wonderful place to step into the past.
Posted by Louise A. Kennedy

Posted by Patricia Kenney
Friday, December 13, 2013

Today I visited the Ximenez-Fatio Historical  House on Aviles St. in St. Augustine, FL, to view their new introductory video. It’s located in the Gift Shop area of the site.   WOW!! They have really provided great visuals with the story of people who might have visited St. Augustine in the nineteenth century and chose to stay at the Ximenez-Fatio Boarding House.   Most people traveled to St. Augustine via the St. Johns River and stopped at Picolata.  From there they traveled by stagecoach over muddy/rough roads for up to eight hours to reach the “ancient” city.   Sometimes, the military would have to escort the “tourists” to town.

 You can gain better insight into “tourists” or “sojourners” who might have chosen St. Augustine as their destination by taking the thirty-minute tour that takes you into a variety of rooms that have been designed to represent the typical boarder.  For example, we know that naturalists like John and William Bartram stayed in St. Augustine during their travels.  One of the rooms is set up to reflect what a naturalist would have in their room.

By the way, staying in a boarding house instead of going to a hotel was selecting the “gold standard” of visiting.  No private bathrooms, however!  Today’s visitors would demand much more, but the beauty and history of St. Augustine still brings lots of people!!  

For more information check out the official website:

San Sebastian / Pinehurst Cemeteries
by Mark Frank

On Memorial weekend 2012, my wife and I attended a clean up day for these cemeteries.  After being introduced to Juan and Kristie, the hosts for the clean up, my wife and I told them thank you for showing us around the cemetery and we returned to Jacksonville aster having promised to return the following day ready to work.

Once in Jacksonville, I told my wife we had some shopping to do as I no longer had any of my outdoor power equipment.  We went to ACE hardware and purchased new Stihl professional grade landscape tools and began preparing for the next day.
On Sunday, we arrived at the cemeteries around 0700.  We set up our outdoor canopy and worktable, fired up the new line trimmer and set to work.  As I operated the trimmer cutting through grasses about 12 inches tall, my wife and two children began raking and bagging the grasses and small branches laying around.  We set a goal of 20 feet and made it with the results shown below.

Old things in the now

Looking at old things is what I do.  In the woods, in a field, in the marsh….I search them out across the county.  This search ends up in some happy places, beautiful places, dark places, and maybe some haunted places (It can feel that way sometimes).  All these things, left behind by people who lived lives where we live them today.  These things remain and they are part of our world right here and now.  Stepping into their world is like opening up a direct link to humanity past and future.  My own Tardis.

text and images: noted in articles where permitted and most images credited to organizations with links in the text.

Castillo de San Marcos Timeline Event

The Castillo de San Marcos hosted the annual Timeline event on November 23, 2013. This year, our event featured soldiers through history, an interpretive program that took visitors through the different eras of the Castillo’s history, including the 1st Spanish period, the Civil War, and WWII. History about Oglethorpe’s 1740 siege and the Patriot War was also presented to visitors as they navigated through the Castillo.

Park Ranger Joe Brehm briefed the volunteers before the beginning of the timeline event. Without volunteers, the Castillo de San Marcos NM would be unable to provide such an immersive experience, Thank You!

In 1740, British troops under Governor Oglethorpe laid siege on the Castillo de San Marcos. During the siege, the entire city of St. Augustine was packed inside the walls of the Castillo. Volunteers at the timeline event explained the impacts of the siege to the visitors.

Stay tuned for more information about the Castillo and the Timeline Event! 

NPS Photographs

One Response so far.

  1. Nice pictures which you have shared with us.I have come to know lots of things which I did not know before that,

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