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History is Just Around the Corner

Old Jail: History is Just Around The Corner

The exterior Romanesque Revival appearance, giving it the look of a Victorian house, belies the stark reality of what’s inside.  This was done by design.  It was important to Flagler that the jail did not interfere with the beauty of the Ancient City.  Except for the barred windows and the set of gallows on the property, it was unrecognizable as a jail. 

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Potter’s Wax Museum: History is Just Around The Corner

Potter’s Wax Museum, located inside the Old Drugstore in St. Augustine’s historic district, is America’s first and oldest wax museum. It’s a place to have fun while learning about history and culture through the people who made it.

Opened in 1948 by George Potter who was inspired to create his own wax sculptures in America while visiting a museum in London as a child, it is now home to more than 145 wax figures.  The A-list of celebrities, sports stars, dignitaries, politicians, entertainers, musicians, artists, writers, scientists, inventors, royal families, U. S. Presidents and fictional characters is long. The remarkable likeness to the characters the wax figures represent is due to the intricate process used to create them.

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Spanish Military Hospital Museum: History is Just Around The Corner

Situated on the oldest named street in America just steps away from the Matanzas River, the Spanish Military Hospital Museum enables visitors to travel back in time to St. Augustine in the late 18th century. Focusing on the Second Spanish Period, the museum provides visitors with a unique insight into the “cutting edge” medical practices and surgical techniques of the Colonial era. This captivating glimpse into the past is hosted in a reconstructed building that has been furnished to reflect the various rooms of an 18th-century hospital. The building occupies the site of the original hospital, which was in operation from 1784 until 1821.

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Ximenez-Fatio House: History is Just Around The Corner

Travel back in time as you tour our rooms and learn about the intrepid, sophisticated women who owned the property and operated it as an exclusive inn. The unique house museum is a dynamic learning project. As historical research, archaeological exploration and advanced structural analysis continue, it continues to provide new information about St. Augustine’s first tourism boom.

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Colonial Quarter: History is Just Around The Corner

Take in the immersive, captivating journey through centuries of St. Augustine’s rich history, brought to breathtaking life at the Colonial Quarter – the revitalized two-acre signature attraction in the heart of the downtown historic district.  Experience the Nation’s Oldest City like never before with an Historical Adventure Tour that immerses you in the sights, sounds and smells of three centuries.

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Oldest Wooden School House: History is Just Around The Corner

Located near the City Gates, the Oldest Wooden School House is a surviving expression of another time.  Built over 200 years ago, while Florida was under the rule of Imperial Spain, it was constructed of red cedar and cypress and put together with wooden pegs and handmade nails. There is an old pecan tree that has been there for 250 years – a magnificent site. The schoolmaster and his wife lived upstairs, above the small classroom.  Their kitchen was separated from the main building because of the threat of fire and to spare the house of any excess heat during the long summers.  Several of the cooking utensils used in those days are displayed here for visitors to see. In the schoolhouse, related artifacts and copies of books that pupils studied are exhibited.

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Pirate & Treasure Museum: History is Just Around The Corner

In 2005, Pat Croce, an author, sports team executive and entrepreneur, opened a pirate museum in Key West, Florida that included many artifacts from his personal collection. The history buff has been collecting pirate memorabilia since he was a young boy. Some of the artifacts are over 300-years-old. Five years later, he announced that the museum was relocating to St. Augustine. It reopened across from the Castillo de San Marcos in December 2010 occupying the former location of Teepee Town and the Christmas Store. It displays one of the largest and most authentic collections of historic pirate artifacts under a single roof.

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Oldest House: History is Just Around The Corner

The Oldest House (Gonzalez-Alvarez House) is Florida’s oldest surviving Spanish Colonial dwelling and a National Historic Landmark. The Oldest House opened as a museum in 1893. Docents lead guests through an escorted tour of the house and give an overview of how the changing colonial tides of St. Augustine impacted the residents of the Nation’s oldest city through an account of the people who lived in the house. The 25-minute tour brings St. Augustine’s history to life through the lives of its residents.

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Mission of Nombre de Dios: History is Just Around The Corner

Established in 1615, many people have traveled here to pray for mothers and mothers-to-be. On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed on this site and proclaimed it for Spain. Prior to raising the King’s flag, Menendez revered a cross dedicating the site to God.  Mission Nombre de Dios was established to bring the Christian faith to the Native people of this land.  This is also the site of the first parish Catholic Mass and first shrine to Mary, Mother of Jesus, in what is now the U.S.  The site is marked by a 208-foot stainless steel cross, an 11-foot bronze statue of the chaplain of Menendez’ fleet, Fr. Francisco Lopez de Mendoza, and other significant memorials.

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Villa Zorayda Museum: History is Just Around The Corner

Built in 1883 as the winter residence of Franklin W. Smith, an eccentric Boston millionaire, the Villa Zorayda Museum became one of the most fascinating places to visit in northeast Florida. Modeled after a section of the grand Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, this once lavish home now serves as a museum and is open to the public. Also known as Zorayda Castle, this unique structure has a long and colorful history. Today, Villa Zorayda continues to inspire the local architectural landscape.

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Lightner Museum: History is Just Around The Corner

Otto Lightner’s collection of fine and decorative Victorian Era art and relics is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, which was built by railroad tycoon and hotel developer Henry Flagler in 1888. Lightner was a Chicago-area newspaper editor and publisher who made his fortune by rescuing financially struggling publications, which he turned into profitable ventures. During the Depression, he retained his wealth as the owner and publisher of Hobbies magazine, one of the country’s first publications dedicated to antiques and collectibles. He believed that everyone should collect something. As a result, when wealthy Chicagoans began to sell off their art collections in the 1930s to pay back taxes, Lightener began collecting all or portions of their holdings. He purchased several large homes and estates in and around Chicago to house his growing collection.

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Flagler College: History is Just Around The Corner

Established in 1968, Flagler College is a four-year, private, liberal arts institution of higher education. Offering 29 majors, the school has been ranked by US News and World Report as well as The Princeton Review as one of the best regional colleges in the southern United States. The college is named for industrialist Henry Morrison Flagler. The centerpiece of the school’s 19-acre campus is the former Ponce de Leon Hotel, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

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Castillo de San Marcos: History is Just Around The Corner

Constructed by the Spanish between 1672 and 1675 to fortify the tiny garrison town against invasion as well as to defend the primary trade route to Europe and the Gulf Stream, the Castillo de San Marcos is a historically significant structure.  Throughout its history, the many flags which have flown over it reflect the colonization of the New World and North America.  All changes in occupation of the fort came about not by force, but through military agreements or political treaty. It was occupied by military forces for more than 250 years before being deactivated and taken over by the National Park System.

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Fountain of Youth: History is Just Around The Corner

Encompassing 15 acres of lush Old Florida landscape, The Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park in St. Augustine is the perfect way to spend a day in the Nation’s Oldest City. It’s also considered the state’s oldest attraction and it commemorates the Florida landing of Ponce de Leon in 1513 and his quest for the legendary Fountain of Youth.

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