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Dr. Vedder: 1894

Dr. Vedder: 1894

St. Augustine, Florida, circa 1894. "Treasury Street." Dry plate glass negative by William Henry Jackson, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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A Great Town

An amazing photograph with the kind of clarity that glass plate negatives could give. Dr. Vedders' building was originally the Panton and Lesley office, built during the 1770s British period. They were the licensed Indian traders at the time of the Revolution. It is currently the site of the Hilton hotel, but the short wall in front is still there, retained as an historical artifact, as is Treasury Street itself, touted for years as the country's narrowest thouroughfare. Bay Street is now Castillo Drive, but is still commonly called the Bayfront. It's a great place to visit!

Curlicues and flourishes

It's always fascinating to see how commercial signage styles change. One thing you would never expect to see any more is the decorative detail in the D, and that thingy dangling from the V.

Family member here

I am a great-great-great grandson of Dr. John Vedder. I have seen several photos of him but this is by far the clearest. There is a similar photograph in the Rollins College Archives. You can read all you care to know about the Vedder Museum here:


This is the kind of photo I get lost in. Wonderful. I love you Shorpy's.


This is, by far, the most amazing photo I've seen on Shorpy yet. It has a time-machine quality to it; you can almost feel what it would have been like to stand there with the good doctor. The image also has a sense of movement - when you look at the gentleman in the distance at the other end of the alley, who is strolling down the street. I'm left wondering, though, what the sign leaning against Dr. Vedder's 1st floor window says.

["Oceanic Sun Fish." - Dave]

Dens of Alligators

Dr. John J. Vedder (1819-1899), seen here, was a wealthy retired dentist and business investor from Schenectady, New York, with a passion for the natural history and fauna of Florida. He transformed his residence into a private museum, Vedder's Genuine Curiosity Store, to house his displays of Florida's native species, and learned taxidermy to create his displays. His first cousin, Elihu Vedder, Jr., was the renowned American painter. Dr. Vedder eventually sold his museum to the St. Augustine Historical Society, its first home. Here is an 1886 advertisement for Dr. Vedder's museum.

Clean alley

Obviously, the posts at each end kept vehicles (horse-drawn at that time) from traveling down the alley. No back door deliveries on this segment of Treasury St. Also no horse manure on the cobblestones. If men didn't pee there (forgive me, I have lived in a third-world country), it was not a bad-smelling place.

The alley has a slight V-shape, so water drained to the center and may have flowed ... somewhere. A finger of the ocean was a very short distance away, if today's Treasury Street is still in its 1890s location.

Clean alleys are coming back in style. They are an important pedestrian-friendly component of "New Urbanism" neighborhoods. Other elements of New Urbanism include front porches, neighborhood stores, sidewalks, parks, common areas, and smaller lots -- much like an average middle-class 1890s neighborhood.

Wilson's Pride

One of the great picket fences ever! Wonderful!

Augustine, here I come

Have seen now several pictures of Augustine. I believe I should have been born there and not in in the wet-feet country Holland.

Great marketing

Gotta love that sign. Dr. Vedder will make you better.

Treasury Street

Doesn't the sign underneath the "Dr." say Bay Street - or is that alleyway Bay?

[The "alleyway" is Treasury Street -- the subject of the photo. - Dave]

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