Pictures from St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, Florida

Pictures from

St. Augustine.

St. Augustine is in Northeast Florida inland from the Atlantic Ocean, 37 miles south of Jacksonville. Strategically located on the St. Augustine Inlet and easily accessible from the Atlantic Ocean, the nation's oldest city was founded in 1565 by Spanish soldiers and settlers. About 12,000 people still call St. Augustine their full-time home but because of its attraction as a tourist destination and its close proximity to the beaches, there is always an abundance of people and cars here.

 

The two biggest features of St. Augustine are the Old Town historic area and the 300 year old coastal fort, Castillo de San Marcos. Even today, from views high atop the old fort's walls, it is easy to see the layout of the area and intuitively understand the relationship between the sea, the old fort and the early town. As St. Augustine grew from its founding it became a prized coastal port city, suffering attacks from the indigenous Indian populations, pirates, brigands and foreign powers which necessitated the construction of well fortified defensive positions like the Santo Domingo Redoubt shown in the photos. Greater threats from aggressive enemy countries required the building of Castillo de San Marcos.

 

St. Augustine's Old Town is today a prized Historic District. Years of painstaking reconstruction efforts have yielded an authentic old world Spanish town. The narrow streets, once accommodating horse and wagon traffic are now used as wide pedestrian walkways through the quaint yet modern shopping areas formerly used as residences, shops or to provide town services. Old structures, like the Rodriguez - Avero - Sanchez house built in 1762 or the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse in America provide a glimpse into our nation's history prior to even the Revolutionary War and American Independence from the British. 

 

The coquina stone, shell and sand fort, Castillo de San Marcos, has been guarding the city and surrounding waters of St. Augustine since 1695 when construction was finally completed. Powerfully built from local stone quarried nearby and righteously defended by its garrisons, the old fort has never been conquered in battle. Many times during its existence the local citizens left their homes in the city and encamped for days and weeks on its parade grounds, safe from attacking forces inside the high, thick walls. Today, the Old Town, a few hundred yards away, is easily seen from from the walls of the fort and one's imagination can easily roam back 300 years to portray Spanish soldiers and citizens of the colonial era.

 

The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum conjures up similar historic visions for visitors, although nearly recent compared to the Old Town era. In 1824 the first maritime beacon became active at the nation's oldest port city. The current structure and buildings have been rebuilt but date to 1876. The Lighthouse offers its visitors the opportunity to climb its 219 steps to the top and get a soaring panoramic view of of the area. Those less intrepid may see this same view from the relative comfort of the museum's books and displays.  

 

Across the Matanzas River, which separates the mainland from the outer islands, spans the Bridge of Lions. This route provides the northernmost entry onto Anastasia Island from St. Augustine. On Anastasia Island visitor delights abound starting with the Anastasia State Recreation Area. Continuing south is St. John's County Fishing Pier, St. Augustine Beach, Butler Beach, Crescent Beach and finally Fort Matanzas National Monument. Continuing a drive south on US A1A one will discover Marineland, Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, beautiful oceanfront houses and communities and miles of scenic Atlantic Shore roadway.

 

Visitors to St. Augustine  can tour many local cities by car.  Jacksonville is about 40 minutes north and Daytona about an hour south. This area can be accessed best by aircraft from the International Airports in Daytona or Jacksonville.

 

St. Augustine Old Town Area

 

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Visitor's Center in St Augustine Old Town Casa Rodriguez - (Rodriguez - Avero - Sanchez) - circa 1762
 
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Oliveros House circa 1798 St. Augustine Old Town house.
 
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The Arrivas House - circa 1764. Oldest wooden schoolhouse in the USA.
 
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st-augustine-historic-area-1.JPG (20647 bytes) Pictures above and left show restored St. Augustine Old Town houses, many of which are now used as residences, gift shops and stores.
 
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The streets of the Old Town (photos above and below) are very narrow. Some have been designated walking areas and some still carry vehicular traffic.
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Tolomato Cemetery - formerly an Indian burial ground. View in Old Town. The Santo Domingo Redoubt - old defensive fortification.
 

St. Augustine Beach

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Pictures above show St. Augustine Beach on Anastasia Island. Beaches are characterized by high and wide powdery sand dune areas and hard-packed sand near the water.
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Photos above show the Frank G. Butler Park public beach area on Anastasia Island.
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Condos on or near the beach in St. Augustine Beach.
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Bridge of Lions from Old Town to Anastasia Island.

St. Augustine Inlet. St. John's County Pier on Anastasia Island.

 

St. Augustine Beach Houses

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Photos above and below show beach front houses along the beach and residences near the beach. Sand-swept streets remind one of "old Florida" beach towns.
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Houses along St. Augustine Beach . St. Augustine Beach streets views.

 

Castillo de San Marcos

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Overhead view of Castillo de San Marcos (finished in 1695). Castillo de San Marcos entrance from parking lot.. View of the moat and bridge entrance to the fort.
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Outer stone walls were made from coquina - a local stone. Bastions extended beyond the fort walls enabling crossfire. Dry moat and walls
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NE bastion (Bastion of St. Charles) shows bell tower (upper left) used for enemy alerts. Upper middle shows St. Augustine Inlet and Atlantic view. Fort overlooks the old city, which is just beyond the parking lot
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Townsfolk gathered in the courtyard when the area was under attack.

Stairway from courtyard to top of walls.

Entrances to several rooms built into the walls.

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Thick walls made the fort impregnable. Gun emplacements on top of the walls. The fort was never taken by force.
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17th century weapons of war 

 

St. Augustine Lighthouse

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St. Augustine Lighthouse and fuel storage house. St. Augustine Lighthouse Administration Building. The pier at Lighthouse Park.
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Admin building viewed  through the trees.  Administration Building was first used as keeper's quarters.. Lighthouse steps looking upward - 219 of them!
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St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum.

Lighthouse Park Restaurant View of the shoreline from Lighthouse Park Pier.

 

Miscellaneous Pictures

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Steps into the moat are well worn - note depressions.

Steps into the sea from the seawall.

The drawbridge entrance into Castillo de San Marcos.
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Pictures above and below show the narrow streets and buildings from the Old Town.
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