Little-Known Facts About St. Augustine, Florida
I have traveled plenty to St. Augustine. There you will find tons of cute little shops and Columbia House Restaurant. You can expect to see local artist playing guitars, playing instruments and singing while shopping. It is a great Historical place with tons of History.
St. Augustine, located in the northeast corner of Florida, was founded by the Spanish in 1565 and is the oldest continuously occupied city established by Europeans in the United States. The city also is the oldest port in the continental United States. St. Augustine is the county seat of St. Johns County and as of the 2000 United States Census had about 11,500 residents.
The area in which St. Augustine is located was initially explored in 1513, more than 50 years before the city was founded, by famed Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, who at the time was the governor of Puerto Rico. De Leon claimed the area for the Spanish crown. His connection to the city is commemorated at the Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, one of St. Augustine’s most popular tourist attractions, which is located at the site where the explorer first landed.
Narrowest Street in the U.S.
St. Augustine is home to the narrowest street in the United States. Treasury Street is just 7 feet wide and connects the waterfront Bay Street to the Royal Spanish Treasury. The street was purposely built to provide barely enough room for two men to carry a chest of gold to the treasury from ships docked on the bay. This was done to minimize the chances of a horse-drawn carriage riding by and stealing the money.
Oldest Wax Museum in the U.S.
Potter’s Wax Museum is the oldest wax museum in the country, predating Madame Tussaud’s and even the famed Hollywood Wax Museum. The museum features about 200 figures, from Austin Powers and Angelina Jolie to presidents, royalty and movie stars.
First Catholic Congregation in North America
The Cathedral Basilica is home to the first Catholic congregation in North America. The Cathedral is located on Cathedral Place, just north of Cordova Street. The cornerstone was laid in 1793. In 1887, a fire that started at the St. Augustine Hotel spread to the cathedral, which was subsequently rebuilt. Pope Paul VI in December 1976 raised the Cathedral to the status of minor basilica, the 27th U.S. church so honored by the Holy See.
First Free Black Settlement
St. Augustine was the site of Fort Mose, the first free black settlement in North America. The fort, originally known as Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, was established in 1738 as part of the outer defenses of St. Augustine. The Fort Mose site is part of Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The Florida Park Service is working in conjunction with the Fort Mose Historical Society to develop a heritage complex on the site.
Only Extant 17th Century Fort
The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in North America, and the only fort from the 17th century that is still standing. The fort was constructed from a type of limestone called coquina. Relatively rare, this type of limestone was only ever used in one other fortification, also located in Florida. The fort is now a national monument that covers more than 20 acres and includes a reconstructed portion of the wall that was built by the Spanish to defend the city. The reconstructed wall incorporates the original city gate.