John Fraser will be pleased to learn that Historic City News reporters were at City Hall this afternoon when his brother-in-law, Steven Binninger, was issued a permit to resume construction on Fuego del Mar— a replica 16th century boathouse at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.
Fraser, whose family has owned the historic attraction for generations, was disappointed ten days ago when the St Augustine building official, William Franke, ordered that volunteers, readying an authentic replica of a rustic post-and-beam, thatched roof boathouse from the 1500’s, stop work; file a code-compliant plan, and then obtain a building permit.
When Franke told Fraser that there were safety concerns because they intend to allow people to go inside the boathouse and watch volunteers building a 37-foot multi-purpose Chalupa, Fraser was surprised.
“How do you recreate history with today’s building codes and fire codes?” Fraser asked, puzzled by the action. “Clearly they didn’t have building codes in the 16th century.”
The project is the first permanent structure of St Augustine’s 450th Commemoration being undertaken by the non-profit St Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation, according to Foundation President Maury Keiser. “We’ve had to rely on membership and the goodwill of people who have donated things,” Keiser said. “I’m glad we can get back to work.”
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News staff photographer