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Cathedral Place: 1906

Cathedral Place: 1906

St. Augustine, Florida, 1906. "Cathedral Place at Charlotte Street, Plaza de la Constitución." The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine at right, with the Ponce de Leon Hotel at the end of the street. 5x7 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Cannonball Run

I see that there is a pyramid of cannonballs stacked up at the corner in case the Spanish come back to reclaim Florida.

We are now so used to not seeing underground utilities that telephone poles are getting to be, more and more, an oddity. I had hoped to see them completely eliminated in my lifetime, but since they are popular (and cheap) as neighborhood towers for the new 5G service, I have to doubt it.

St. Augustine is amazing

St. Augustine is one of the most pleasant cities to walk around in at night. That probably sounds crazy, but it's FACT.

As a kid growing up in Fernandina Beach, we used to say, "Oh, YEAH? Fernandina is older than St. Augustine," and who really knows? Both are old, and both are beautiful—and spooky. New Orleans is another such place. Maybe Baltimore, too.

But I've been fascinated from Day One by coquina buildings, and just imagining all the folks who've live in them. Wow.

Cool town. Even if it is younger than Fernandina.


Ponce de Leon Hotel

Yes, the Ponce de Leon Hotel never burned down, because it was built of solid mass concrete (unreinforced). The concrete is mixed with coquina shells, like the local stone used to construct the nearby Spanish fort, the Castillo de San Marcos, in the late 17th century. Many other 19th-century hotels were built of wood frame construction, which is why they had a tendency to burn down. The architecture firm of Carrere and Hastings designed the Ponce de Leon Hotel, as well as the Hotel Alcazar across King Street, the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church, and the Grace United Methodist Church; all these St. Augustine structures are built of unreinforced mass concrete.

Much the Same Today

The street view from this direction looks remarkably unchanged -- sans cannonballs! The Ponce de Leon Hotel is apparently one of the rare ones that didn't burn to the ground like so many others. The magnificent building is now a part of Flagler College.

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