Governor's House Library

Governor's House Library Governor’s House Library is jointly managed by Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida and UF Historic St. Augustine Inc. on behalf of the state of Florida.

Inspired by the Pan American Center, this month's virtual road trip is going to take us through some of the countries on...
06/05/2020

Inspired by the Pan American Center, this month's virtual road trip is going to take us through some of the countries once represented in this building. The exhibition center - dedicated in 1965 - highlighted cultural connections between St. Augustine and Central and South American nations. The exhibits featured historic objects, crafts, art, and much more. Although the Center closed long ago, you can still visit it on our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/property-spotlight-pan-american-center/

And don't forget to follow along on Instagram: www.instagram.com/govhouselibrary/

Is it just us, or did May fly by? We’re closing out our celebration of Florida’s flora and fauna with none other than ou...
05/28/2020

Is it just us, or did May fly by? We’re closing out our celebration of Florida’s flora and fauna with none other than our beloved citrus, the orange!

Dr. Reuben Garnett purchased 20 acres of land on today’s San Marco Avenue in 1883. He developed this land into Dr. Garnett’s Orange Grove, one of the most popular tourist attractions in St. Augustine at the turn of the century.

The Garnett Grove closed in the 1950s and its land is long built over, but we have these colorful postcards to keep its memory alive!

William Bartram was mostly interested in capturing Florida's flora and fauna, but he found some time to draw a snake or ...
05/26/2020
William Bartram’s Legacy

William Bartram was mostly interested in capturing Florida's flora and fauna, but he found some time to draw a snake or two! 🐍 This drawing titled "Trumpet Leaf" was sketched by Bartram on his famous trek through the south from 1773-1777. Learn more about America's first native naturalist-illustrator and his legacy in St. Augustine on the blog!

Bartram Trail, Bartram Park, Bartram Farms…ever wondered who Bartram was and why there are so many things named after him in Northeast Florida? William Bartram There are actually two Bartrams…

Today we remember the bravery and sacrifice that our members of the United States military have shown to protect us. We ...
05/22/2020

Today we remember the bravery and sacrifice that our members of the United States military have shown to protect us. We hope that you find an outdoor space for peace and contemplation - such as St. Augustine National Cemetery - this Memorial Day weekend.

To read the full pamphlet created by National Cemetery Administration (NCA) U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, visit our digital collections at https://ufdc.ufl.edu/USACH00002/00009.

Did you know that the Spanish Military Hospital had its very own apothecary where medicine was created for patients usin...
05/18/2020
18th Century Surgery in a 20th Century Museum

Did you know that the Spanish Military Hospital had its very own apothecary where medicine was created for patients using plants and herbs? One of the most popular ingredients was sassafras, which could be called the "miracle drug" of colonial times. It could be used to ease liver and stomach pain, fevers, headaches, toothaches, and even morning sickness! ⁠

While these colonial treatments are fascinating, we sure are glad that we have modern medicine to help us stay well, and medical professionals to treat our ailments, especially now as we continue to face COVID-19. Let's give a round of applause to all the frontline workers that are giving their time, energy, and risking their own health in service to their patients.⁠ 👏

Spanish Military Hospital, 1967 The Spanish Military Hospital was reconstructed by the St. Augustine Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission on Aviles Street in 1966 to resemble a Spanis…

May is #HistoricPreservationMonth! We "wood" not have much of St. Augustine's architecture without trees and woodworkers...
05/14/2020
Wood you have ever guessed?

May is #HistoricPreservationMonth! We "wood" not have much of St. Augustine's architecture without trees and woodworkers. Over 50 years ago, the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board employed carpenters with traditional woodworking skills to reconstruct and restore historic buildings. Learn more about their process on our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2020/02/05/wood-you-have-ever-guessed/

“Wood” you have ever guessed that carpenters built Crucial Coffee Cafe by hand? The Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board employed traditional woodworking skills on the wood frame s…

"Mom, we picked you a crate of oranges for Mother's Day, but our ox ate them all. Hope you enjoy this postcard instead!"...
05/08/2020

"Mom, we picked you a crate of oranges for Mother's Day, but our ox ate them all. Hope you enjoy this postcard instead!"

Happy Mother's Day from all of us at Governor's House Library! 🍊

(P.S. Still looking for the perfect Mother's Day card? Create your own from the images in our digital collection: https://ufdc.ufl.edu/hsa1)

They say April showers bring May flowers, so we thought we’d bring flowers (or trees) to you digitally! We’ll be celebra...
05/01/2020

They say April showers bring May flowers, so we thought we’d bring flowers (or trees) to you digitally! We’ll be celebrating all things nature this month here and on our blog, so stay tuned for fun facts on flora AND fauna.

It's time to wrap our #MuseumAlphabet with the letter "Z"! In St. Augustine, "Z" stands for "zocalo.” Upon first glance ...
04/30/2020

It's time to wrap our #MuseumAlphabet with the letter "Z"! In St. Augustine, "Z" stands for "zocalo.” Upon first glance it looks like a decorative feature, but actually serves a very practical purpose. The band of darker paint around the bottom of the Sanchez de Ortigosa House on St. George Street (now home to The Nature's Legacy LLC) helps to hide dirt and mud that would get washed up on the building after a rainstorm. Have you seen other examples of this around town?

🎨 We are going to paint the town white for our #museumalphabet! Yes, you heard us right - white not red. Inspired by our...
04/29/2020

🎨 We are going to paint the town white for our #museumalphabet! Yes, you heard us right - white not red. Inspired by our next home improvement project, we thought "W" should stand for "whitewash". This wall treatment (also called limewash) was popular among early St. Augustine residents, who used it on everything from their bedroom walls to the Castillo de San Marcos.

Explore more about whitewash and the other colors that once coated the nation's oldest city in today's blog post: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2020/04/29/a-brush-with-the-historic-colors-of-st-augustine/

What day is it again? Tuesday? Oh wait, it's time for "V" for "vernacular architecture" in our #MuseumAlphabet. Vernacul...
04/28/2020

What day is it again? Tuesday? Oh wait, it's time for "V" for "vernacular architecture" in our #MuseumAlphabet. Vernacular architecture refers to structures built with the available materials and manpower of the time. Such buildings are usually simple, and practical. Many of St. Augustine's historic buildings fall under this category, but some of our favorites are at the Saint Augustine Historical Society - Oldest House Museum Complex. Learn more about them over on our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2020/01/08/the-oldest-house/

Today, we are going to cover the letter "T" with "thatch" in our #MuseumAlphabet. Early residents of Florida and St. Aug...
04/27/2020

Today, we are going to cover the letter "T" with "thatch" in our #MuseumAlphabet. Early residents of Florida and St. Augustine often used thatch to cover the walls and roofs of their pole framed homes. They created their thatch from hey and palm fronds - like seen in this postcard from the collections of the Matheson History Museum in Gainesville, Florida. You can explore more of their extensive postcard collection through UFDigital: https://ufdc.ufl.edu/mhcc

Up next we have the letter "S" in our #MuseumAlphabet. In Florida, "S" stands for "Spanish Revival." This is an architec...
04/24/2020

Up next we have the letter "S" in our #MuseumAlphabet. In Florida, "S" stands for "Spanish Revival." This is an architectural stylistic movement that arose in the late 1800s and really boomed in the early 1900s. Architects drew their inspiration from Spanish-influenced architecture.

Here in St. Augustine, we have many great examples - including our neighbors at the Cathedral Basilica of St.Augustine (which is both a Spanish Colonial and a Spanish Revival building!). Learn more about the Cathedral Basilica on our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2020/01/06/cathedral-basilica-of-st-augustine/

We're nearing the end of our #MuseumAlphabet, but the letter "R" is one of our favorites! A "reja" is a screen or grille...
04/23/2020

We're nearing the end of our #MuseumAlphabet, but the letter "R" is one of our favorites! A "reja" is a screen or grille placed over a window to protect a house or building. Many Spanish colonial homes did not have the glass windows we're accustomed to today, so the reja served as a protection between St. Augustine families and the outside world while still allowing fresh air to circulate through the house. One of our favorite examples of a reja in St. Augustine is the Ortega House, better known to you as The Hyppo on St. George Street!

For more on this cool colonial feature, check out our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2020/04/23/rejas-floridas-16th-century-home-security-system/

Our #MuseumAlphabet letter of the day is "P", which stands for "poured concrete". Did you know that St. Augustine is hom...
04/22/2020

Our #MuseumAlphabet letter of the day is "P", which stands for "poured concrete". Did you know that St. Augustine is home to one of the earliest known poured concrete buildings?

The Ponce de Leon Hotel (now Flagler College) was built in the late 1800s and used this newfangled construction technique, which involved building a mold, and allowing the concrete to set right there on site. This method was also used to build the Ponce's sister hotel, the Alcazar (now the Lightner Museum).

You can learn more about the evolution of Flagler's hotels on our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2020/01/10/henry-flaglers-hotels-the-ponce-de-leon-and-the-alcazar/

🎵 "All the old-paintings on the tombThey do the sand dance, don't you know. . ." 🎵The letter "O" - which stands for "obe...
04/21/2020

🎵 "All the old-paintings on the tomb
They do the sand dance, don't you know. . ." 🎵

The letter "O" - which stands for "obelisk" - in our #MuseumAlphabet has us walking like Egyptians. An obelisk is a stone pillar, typically having a square cross section and a pyramidal top. Ancient Egyptians began placing them at the entrance of temples. Since then, we continue to use obelisks as monuments - including in our cemeteries. You can spot obelisks in both the Huguenot Cemetery and Historic Tolomato Cemetery.

We really had to search our noggins for today's #MuseumAlphabet letter: "N" is for "nogging"! Nogging is a construction ...
04/20/2020

We really had to search our noggins for today's #MuseumAlphabet letter: "N" is for "nogging"! Nogging is a construction technique that uses bricks to fill the open space in a wooden frame. This is not at all common in Spanish colonial architecture, but was fairly common in British colonial architecture, so it makes sense that our example of this comes from the William Watson House on Charlotte Street. You can't see the brick work today, because it's been covered, but we promise the nogging's still there!

Happy Friday friends! Our #museumalphabet letter today is "M", which stands for "Moorish Revival"! This is a style of ar...
04/17/2020

Happy Friday friends! Our #museumalphabet letter today is "M", which stands for "Moorish Revival"! This is a style of architecture that was inspired by the Moors of Northern Africa who invaded and conquered Spain in the medieval era. They introduced elements of design found in countries with ties to Islam. Common characteristics include horseshoe arches, domes, and very intricate and colorful details.

Villa Zorayda Museum, our Moorish Revival building in St. Augustine, stands out among our Spanish colonial aesthetic. What's your favorite feature of this unique building? Share with us in the comments bellow.

We've made it halfway through our #MuseumAlphabet! Today, the letter "L" is for "loggia"! This architectural feature can...
04/16/2020

We've made it halfway through our #MuseumAlphabet! Today, the letter "L" is for "loggia"! This architectural feature can be found all around St. Augustine. A loggia is a gallery or room with one or more open sides, and is part of the house structure. Loggias are common features throughout the Spanish colonial homes of St. Augustine. Many of the best examples can be found in the reconstructed buildings of the Preservation Board!

This beautiful sketch shows the loggia of the Salcedo House on St. George Street (which houses Whetstone Chocolates). Discover more about this building on our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2019/03/08/property-spotlight-salcedo-house/

The letter "J" is here to support our #MuseumAlphabet. "J" stands for "joist" - which is a length of timber (or steel) s...
04/14/2020

The letter "J" is here to support our #MuseumAlphabet. "J" stands for "joist" - which is a length of timber (or steel) supporting part of a structure. Joists are typically arranged in a parallel series to support a floor or ceiling.

Today's example comes from the 1968 restoration of The Woman's Exchange of St. Augustine - Peña-Peck House on St. George Street.

Let's strengthen our #MuseumAlphabet with the letter "I" for "iron." This chemical element comes in many shapes and form...
04/13/2020

Let's strengthen our #MuseumAlphabet with the letter "I" for "iron." This chemical element comes in many shapes and forms in architecture - including "wrought" iron. It is a tough, malleable, ductile, corrosion-resistant, and easily welded material. So you commonly find wrought iron used in exterior decorative features - such as the door grilles for Mantanzas Theatre on Cathedral Place (now home to The Kookaburra and other local businesses).

Still curious about metal working in St. Augustine? Read more about blacksmithing on our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2020/02/07/forging-history/

Hey there super-sleuths, it's time to start looking for our next set of letters! See if you can find these architectural...
04/11/2020

Hey there super-sleuths, it's time to start looking for our next set of letters! See if you can find these architectural features from our #MuseumAlphabet in your own backyards and neighborhoods. To play along, download a copy of the scavenger hunt from our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2020/04/05/the-abcs-of-architecture-with-governors-house-library/

Each Saturday this month, we will share a new one based on the week's letters. Don't forget to share your finds with us 🔎

👏 Let's give a hand to our friends at UF Historic Preservation Program, who inspired our #museumalphabet letter: "H" for...
04/10/2020

👏 Let's give a hand to our friends at UF Historic Preservation Program, who inspired our #museumalphabet letter: "H" for "historic preservation"! You can find out more about the important work they do in St. Augustine (such as 3-D scanning the Paredes-Dodge House
on St. George Street) and around the world in our stories! We love having great partners like them to spread the importance of preservation and resilience in Northeast Florida.

And if you want to learn more about the origins of historic preservation in St. Augustine, check out our blog post about the early days of the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/profiles-in-history-the-first-five/

It is time to pitch the letter "G" for "gable" in our #MuseumAlphabet. A gable is the portion of the front (or side) of ...
04/09/2020

It is time to pitch the letter "G" for "gable" in our #MuseumAlphabet. A gable is the portion of the front (or side) of a building enclosed by or masking the end of a pitched roof. You can see many examples of gables throughout St. Augustine - like this one on the Arrivas House (now home to The Panama Hat Company of St Augustine).

Does your house have a gable? Please share your gables with us in the comments bellow. 📷

While pouring over Governor's House Library for our #MuseumAlphabet, we found today's letter - "F" is for "fountain." Fo...
04/08/2020

While pouring over Governor's House Library for our #MuseumAlphabet, we found today's letter - "F" is for "fountain." Fountains are a piece of architecture that streams water into a basin (or jets it into the air) to supply drinking water or to add a decorative effect.

Our featured fountain flowed in Ribera Garden in 1968. Read more about this fountain's historic garden on our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/govhouselibrary-gardens/

Today, we are elevating ourselves to the letter "E" in our #MuseumAlphabet. In architecture, "E" often stands for "eleva...
04/07/2020

Today, we are elevating ourselves to the letter "E" in our #MuseumAlphabet. In architecture, "E" often stands for "elevation." Architects create illustrations of buildings or portions of a buildings called elevations.

In this elevation, you can see southern side of Memorial Presbyterian Church USA in St. Augustine. Architects Carrère & Hastings created the drawing around 1890 as they designed the now iconic church.

Visit our blog to learn more about the art of elevations: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/elevating-the-art-of-architectural-elevations/

Like neighbors in a duplex, the letter "D" is next to "C." Today in our #MuseumAlphabet, we are looking at a historic du...
04/06/2020

Like neighbors in a duplex, the letter "D" is next to "C." Today in our #MuseumAlphabet, we are looking at a historic duplex in St. Augustine - the Pellicer-de Burgo House. You might better know this building as the Bull and Crown Publick House, but in fact, it is a reconstruction of a duplex from St. Augustine’s British Period (1763-1783).

Read more about the colonial duplex's builders and occupants on our blog: https://governorshouselibrary.wordpress.com/2019/07/08/property-spotlight-pellicer-deburgo-house/

Address

Get Directions 48 King St
Saint Augustine, FL
32084

General information

The Governor's House Library managed by the University of Florida intends to educate, inform and provide updated information on library activities and to support and promote objectives for these activities through its social media site. All comments are made by Governor's House Library designees. This site is not a public forum. Social media users may share ideas through commentary that is consistent with and furthers the objectives of the library's posts and the University of Florida reserves the right to remove any comments that do not fall within this purpose.

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Monday 10:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00

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(904) 770-3249

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Governor’s House Library

Our collections here at Governor’s House were created by the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, a state agency that operated from 1959-1997. Its mission was to restore and reconstruct downtown St. Augustine to more accurately reflect its Spanish colonial heritage. The Preservation Board was sundowned in 1997, but its legacy lives on through the University of Florida and UF Historic St. Augustine, Inc. Governor’s House Library tells the story of St. Augustine’s built environment and documents how much our city has changed in the last 60 years.